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Friday, June 17, 2022


I recently read What Happened to You? Conversations on Trauma, Resilience, and Healing by Bruce Perry and Oprah Winfrey (2021).  

This book was extremely enlightening for me, taking me in new “directions” around topics of interest to me.

My top takeaways:

·       Think in terms of “What happened to you?” as opposed to “What’s wrong with you?”

·       Rhythm shapes us, from the womb through the final moments of our lives.

·       Humans are emotionally contagious; we sense the emotional state of others.

·       Love is the ultimate relational experience.

·       Every aspect of our “self” is shaped by early developmental experiences.

·       Not just “fight or flight,” but Flock, Freeze, Flight, or Fight.

·       Relational health = our connectedness to family, community, and culture.

·       Every cell in our body has the same genes, but not the same genes “turned on.”

·       Trauma affects disconnection, which negatively impacts every system in our body.

·       Neglect is as toxic as trauma.

·       The major predator of humans has always been other humans.

·       Disconnection is a disease.

·       Forgive – first ourselves, then others.


My favorite quotes:

“All life is rhythmic. The rhythms of the natural world are embedded in our biological systems.” (p.49)


“Relational glue keeps our species alive, and love is relational superglue.” (p.77)


“Dr. Perry: Love, given and felt, is dependent upon the ability to be present, attentive, attuned, and responsive to another human being... And this ability is based upon what happened to you, primarily as a young child.” (p.81)


“Trying to reason with someone before they are regulated won’t work and indeed will only increase frustration (dysregulation) for both of you.” (p.142)


“It takes a long time to change people—and even longer to change systems.” (p.217)


“We know that a dysregulated adult cannot regulate a dysregulated child. An exhausted, frustrated, dysregulated adult can’t regulate anybody.” (p.284)


This book is a keeper. Made me think much more deeply about the power of relationships and connection.


Very thankful that CD recommended to me.

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