Nature or Nurture - book recommendation
I highly recommend the book, "They F*** You Up" by clinical psychologist, Oliver James. The title - taken from Larkin's famously gloomy (and funny) poem - refers to the powerful influence exerted by our parents (or alternative carers) on our future lives.
It isn't nature (our genes) that determines whether we are extrovert, introvert, secure or insecure in our attachments, prone to depression or likely to make bad or good choices in our partners and career paths. It isn't even what James calls "a bit of both" - nature plus nurture.
It is nurture that shapes our lives, in everything but the most extreme cases of mental disorder. How we are cared for, particularly up to the age of seven, is always central to how we "turn out" as adults - this is James's contention. His arguments, and evidence, are compelling.
Even better, James suggests ways in which we can begin to challenge our most negative and ingrained attributes. Fundamental change tends to be slow and difficult - but it is always possible. Perhaps you are not so messed up, after all.
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About Tom Bailey
Tom is an integrative counsellor, working in Chorlton, Manchester. His interests include helping to improve family dynamics.