Jennifer Fraser, PhD’s new book is titled The Bullied Brain: Heal Your Scars and Restore Your Health. Like any good piece of nonfiction, the title encapsulates the entirety of the read’s topicality – much like a position paper. “Neuroscientists study the way in which pain is designed to alert you to harm being done to both brain and body. Pain circuits in your brain get activated by a broken bone, but they also activate if you’re excluded from a social gathering or a meeting at work,” Fraser writes. “…The epidemic of abuse, neglect, and trauma has led to an epidemic of hurt brains. Abuse creates a cycle whereby the abuse victim’s damaged brain becomes abusive either to self or others.
In the past, we could excuse normalizing this cycle of brain damage because we could not see the harm done to the brain by abuse. However, now that we can see the neurological scars on the brain with technological innovation, it’s time to act. It’s time to heal and restore our health. Every single individual who heals the trauma to their brain has a lower chance of suffering life-threatening health consequences—and has a lower chance of infecting and harming others.”
It’s through this kind of plainspoken, appropriate bedside manner Fraser is able to make the articulations, unpacking, and arguments feel as viscerally cutting-edge as they are intellectually stimulating and enlightening. You never feel there is any beating around the bush here. Dr. Fraser is clearly passionate about the material as well, personally as well as professionally. In the book’s introduction, she writes a painfully revealing passage about her thoughts regarding the topicality’s relevance to her son. The fact she’s willing to put something as precious as that on the line immediately makes you feel a sense of trust in her as a reader, rather than something used as a parlor trick making up for gaps in logic. Everything here is meticulously presented and covered, the added emotional whallup only driving home the former with an increased sense of urgency.
“If brilliant scientific minds figured out that bullying and abuse can cause brain damage and that brain scans can reveal it, I had every hope that they would also have a host of remedies for recovery. And I was right. After each chapter that exposes how so many of us have been brainwashed in the bullying paradigm, there is a corresponding section on the remedies neuroscientists have discovered that heal brains and restore health. While you wade through the difficult sections on bullying and abuse, never forget that your brain is remarkably adept at healing when you train it according to extensive, evidence-based practices, recorded in neuroscientific research,” Fraser writes. “…The goal of this book is to change your mind using evidence.
Once you see the way in which we’ve been sold a false bill of goods when it comes to the bullying paradigm, you will hopefully be emboldened to walk away from it and be empowered to seek an alternative framework. The alternative to bullying and abusive behaviors is absolutely within reach. All it requires is a change in mindset, based on learning a new way of thinking grounded in neuroscientific findings.”