What Happened To You? by Bruce D. Perry, Oprah Winfrey

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Rating: 4 out of 5.

We elicit from the world what we project into the world; but what you project is based upon what happened to you as a child.

‘What Happened to you’ deals with the topic of developmental trauma and how its impact can travel through peoples’ adulthood. It’s written in a conversational format, with Oprah asking Dr. Bruce various questions, and both share stories about themselves and the people they have met. It’s a refreshing read, which provides an insider view into a sensitive topic.

Before I picked up this book, I had limited understanding of developmental trauma and its impact. I have read a few articles and watched some content on the topic, but I lacked the correct vocabulary or a deeper understanding of the various nuances that can play out of childhood trauma. This book did a good job of bridging those gaps and providing me with a better perspective.

The main core of the book, is that often we look at people and ask “What’s wrong with that person?”. However, we should be asking “What happened to that person?”. How we respond to certain situations or how we handle our emotions is heavily impacted by what we have been through in our childhood. We are raised in different environments and circumstances. For most this innocent phase of our lives has been interrupted by some form of abuse or traumatic event. This trauma can travel to our adulthood, and its aftermath may impact the way we respond to a certain situation. The book advocates for having a more compassionate view and understanding that childhood trauma is more common than it appears.

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