This book is going to change the way you see your life.
Have you ever wondered “Why did I do that?” or “Why can’t I just control my behavior?” Others may judge our reactions and think, “What’s wrong with that person?” When questioning our emotions, it’s easy to place the blame on ourselves; holding ourselves and those around us to an impossible standard. It’s time we started asking a different question.
Through deeply personal conversations, Oprah Winfrey and renowned brain and trauma expert Dr. Bruce Perry offer a groundbreaking and profound shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?”
Here, in What Happened To You? Conversations On Trauma, Resilience, and Healing, Winfrey shares stories from her own past, understanding through experience the vulnerability that comes from facing trauma and adversity at a young age. In conversations throughout the book, she and Dr. Perry focus on understanding people, behavior, and ourselves.
The two met 30 years ago, when Perry was on the faculty at the University of Chicago and working as a consultant for a residential home for children who had been abused and neglected. A board member at the home mentioned him to Winfrey, who had just gone public about her own experience with sexual abuse.
“She reached out and we started having conversations,” Perry recalled. “I was not her therapist. But she wanted to solve the problem. She was like, ‘How do we make this better?’ I tried to be real honest about what I thought and sometimes I walked out of meetings and I’d think, I’ll never hear from her again. But over time she came to feel comfortable with the fact that I was going to be honest with her.”
Winfrey invited Perry to be a guest on her show and he eventually worked with her on her school project in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls. Their decades-long association is the backbone of “What Happened to You?,” which tackles resilience, trauma and grief from both scientific and emotional vantage points.
The book is a wonderful conversation between Winfrey and Perry and is divided into several sections:
It’s a subtle but profound shift in our approach to trauma, and it’s one that allows us to understand our pasts in order to clear a path to our future―opening the door to resilience and healing in a proven, powerful way.