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Beyond Freud / "I Had a Normal Childhood."

In my work as a psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, it is not unusual for a patient to tell me that he or she had a normal childhood. This always alarms me. Childhood has so many conflicts and worries, so many triumphs and disappointments—how can one reduce it to a notion of normality? What does invoking this concept conceal? Isn’t the idea of a normal childhood, with its denial of complexity, itself a wishful, childlike fantasy?

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