The Genesis of Survival Personality


“The subtleties of my first visit to the emergency room, where I’d been praised as good for being brave, were already arranging themselves into a personal treatise in much the same way that a seemingly inconsequential architectural miscalculation on the ground floor can result in a sweeping chasm in the penthouse. At a time when everything in my family was unpredictable and dysfunctional, with my mother recently discharged from a brief stay in a hospital herself, here I had been supplied with a formula of behavior for gaining acceptance and, I believed, love. All I had to do was perform heroically, and I could personally save my entire family.”

Autobiography of A Face
Lucy Grealy



“I was an anxious kid. I was born with a job. My parents told me they wanted to be parents so they could avoid the mistakes their own parents had made. I think they said this to let me know I was loved, but it made me feel pressure. I was going to have a better childhood. I wasn’t sure what that entailed, but it suggested responsibilities.”

I Will Be Complete: A Memoir
Glen David Gold