Supernormal: Childhood Adversity and the Amazing Untold Story of Resilience

Coming in November 2017

Supernormal

In Supernormal, Dr. Jay tells the tale of those who soar to unexpected heights after childhood adversity.

Early adversities are experienced by nearly 75% of us. If you are wondering if this includes you, ask yourself the following. Before the age of 20:

  • Did you lose a parent or sibling through death or divorce?
  • Did a parent or a sibling often swear at you, put you down, humiliate you, or act in a way that made you feel afraid?
  • Did you live with an adult or a sibling who was a problem drinker, or who abused other drugs?
  • Were you ever bullied by, or afraid of, kids at your school or in your neighborhood?
  • Did you live with an adult or sibling who struggled with a mental illness, or some other illness or special need?
  • Did a parent or a sibling often push, grab, slap, or throw something at you, or ever hit you so hard that you had bruises, marks or other injuries?
  • Were you isolated from friends your age, or unable to go to school?
  • Did you live in a family that struggled to pay medical or grocery bills, or did you often wear dirty clothes or live somewhere that was unclean or unkept?
  • Did someone in your household go to jail?
  • Did a parent, sibling, or another person at least five years older, touch your body in a sexual way or ask you to do something similar?
  • Was a parent or sibling in your household sometimes hit, kicked, slapped, or ever threatened with a weapon?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions—or if you lived with an adversity not mentioned just above—you are not the only one. Yet, often such experiences are kept secret as are our courageous battles to overcome them.

Contrary to the notion that resilient youth bounce back from hard times, what they actually do is something much more complicated and courageous. They are nothing if not protagonists in their own lives, often waging fierce and unrelenting battles others cannot see. Theirs is a heroic, painful, wondrous and often perilous journey, a phenomenon indeed—one that, after decades of interest and research, still amazes and confounds.

Drawing on nearly two decades of work with clients and students, Dr. Jay tells the tale of supernormals—or everyday superheroes who have made a life out of dodging bullets and leaping over obstacles, even as they hide in plain sight as students, teachers, doctors, artists, actors, athletes, parents and more. These powerful stories—and those of public figures from Andre Agassi to Jay Z—will show readers they are not alone but are, in fact, in good company. Marvelously researched, this extraordinary book narrates the continuing saga that is resilience as it challenges us to consider whether life must be a neverending battle, whether the good wins out in the end, and how exactly love fits in all this.