Why does a gifted psychiatrist suddenly begin to torment his own beloved wife? How can a ninety-pound woman carry a massive air conditioner to the second floor of her home, install it in a window unassisted, and then not remember how it got there? Why would a brilliant feminist law student ask her fiancé to treat her like a helpless little girl? How can an ordinary, violence-fearing businessman once have been a gun-packing vigilante prowling the crime districts for a fight?. A startling new study in human consciousness, The Myth of Sanity is a landmark book about forgotten trauma, dissociated mental states, and multiple personality in everyday life. In its groundbreaking analysis of childhood trauma and dissociation and their far-reaching implications in adult life, it reveals that moderate dissociation is a normal mental reaction to pain and that even the most extreme dissociative reaction-multiple personality-is more common than we think. Through astonishing stories of people whose lives have been shattered by trauma and then remade, The Myth of Sanity shows us how to recognize these altered mental states in friends and family, even in ourselves. "We only think we're sane, says this Harvard psychologist. . . . The befuddled, normally sane masses can learn a lot from the victims of grave psychological abuse." ( The Dallas Morning News )
Excellent overview of dissociation
By Michelle Pettit - June 14, 2002
It took me a long time to find a book like this. Dr. Martha Stout provides deeply-moving insights into the vulnerabilities of people affected by trauma. She describes the relativity of trauma and its effects through three common situations. Child abuse has been a common reason given for dissociation - but Stout shows there are many other reasons. (for example, a small boy "disconnects" from his fear when he isn't picked up at the bus stop. For a five-year-old in an unfamiliar place that is a traumatic situation) Using interesting and realistic case stories, she develops a compassionate picture of the gradations of symptoms on the dissociative continuum -- everything from temporarily zoning out while driving and disconnecting from yourself while watching a movie to the extreme dissociation of a man with multiple personalities. I read it all in one sitting (up until 6a.m.) and felt enthusiastic -- wanting to purchase one for all my family members and friends. A major... read more
A cogent, enlightening read
By Daniel Jolley "darkgenius" - December 8, 2003
Martha Stout has written a cogent, eminently readable book on the wide range of dissociative reactions we have to different stimuli, providing meaningful insight into the behavior of ourselves and those around us. We are all a little bit crazy, she declares. This book was something of an eye opener for me, as I had never considered dissociation as a common condition in society. Dissociation is actually a natural survival mechanism that has helped man survive for thousands of years on this planet; in cases of extreme, disturbing stimuli, the human mind may be unable to handle what it is witnessing, so it compartmentalizes the trauma into self-contained groupings within it. The person may withdraw his/her own awareness from the situation at hand, and he/she may well have no conscious memory of it after the fact. The effects of significant trauma cannot be self-contained in such a way forever, though, and so eventually the individual begins having nightmares or flashbacks, begins to... read more
The Myth of Sanity reveals the myteries of the mind.
By Carol M. Kauffman, Ph.D. - February 9, 2001
Are we all a little crazy? Dr. Martha Stout has written a compelling and controversial book about the true nature of human consciousness and identity. It is as beautifully written, as it is informative. Are we all slightly multiple? Do you experience yourself as "switching" from one you to another? Does that description fit someone you know? Dr. Stout examines the phenomenon of "Dissociation" -- the psychological defense that allows individuals to survive intense trauma. But it isn't just the Dissociative Identity Disorder (formerly Multiple Personality Disorder) who utilize it. We all do.In the Myth of Sanity, Dr. Stout shares provocative and horrifying stories of the true "survivors" of our time. Step by step she walks you through the nuts and bolts of the intangible processes the brain uses to keep terror at bay and allow the human being to function despite adverse circumstances. Did you know that trauma affects the brain? Have you wondered about how memories could... read more
In this important and original study, the myth of the Noble Savage is an altogether different myth from the one defended or debunked by others over the years. That the concept of the Noble Savage was ...
In The Myth of Morality, Richard Joyce argues that moral discourse is hopelessly flawed. At the heart of ordinary moral judgments is a notion of moral inescapability, or practical authority, which, ...