Oprah Winfrey Recalls Her Traumatic Childhood Promoting Her New Book
Not everyone has a universally renowned media network named after them, but then again, not everyone has the entrepreneurial spirit that Oprah Winfrey does. However, life has not always been kind to the Hollywood icon.
On April 27, 2021, Winfrey took to Twitter to promote her new book 'What Happened to You?' co-authored by Dr. Bruce D. Perry. In the process, she was candid about her traumatic childhood and discussed what happened to her.
What happened to you? It’s one of the most important questions we can ask someone, especially when they're going through something. Most of the struggles I endured as a child resulted in trauma that would define many relationships, interactions, and decisions in my life. pic.twitter.com/pNMdYRIoXm — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 27, 2021
Winfrey began her story with her parents, who were together only once in their lives. Nine months later, Winfrey's mother would welcome her into the world.
For the next six years, she lived with her grandmother right up until she passed away. She then went back and forth between her mother in Milwaukee and her father in Nashville.
Her mother, who at the time was raising three young kids, worked as a maid for fifty dollars a week. So much of her mother's efforts went into keeping their heads above water that there wasn't room to nurture.
"My mother felt distant, cold to the needs of this little girl," she lamented.
It took decades of work, conversations, and healing to break those cycles and make peace with my past. That’s why I co-authored a book titled #WhatHappenedToYou with Dr. @BDPerry, to help us heal and shift from asking “What’s wrong with you?” to “What happened to you?” pic.twitter.com/XxIuB1KGJP — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 27, 2021
For the better part of her childhood, she grew up feeling like a burden and an extra mouth to feed. "I rarely remember feeling loved," she added. These childhood experiences seeped into her adult life as well. For a long time still, she struggled with her ability to experience love as an adult.
It took decades of work, conversations, and healing to break those cycles and make peace with my past.
That is but one face of her story, and she has promised to share more throughout this week. She also encouraged others to share their past. She believes that "What happened to you?" is one of the most important questions one can ask, especially to those who are going through something.
This is not the first time that Winfrey and Dr. Perry have collaborated to help those in need. In fact, she has been working with him throughout her career to treat and help thousands of children, youth, and adults.
So what happened to me? I’ll be sharing stories throughout the week from my own life and I hope you share your stories with me. #WhatHappenedToYou is available today wherever you buy or download your books from! pic.twitter.com/0tTHl4lT0M — Oprah Winfrey (@Oprah) April 27, 2021
Dr. Perry, being one of the world's leading experts on childhood trauma, has been providing his services to individuals and communities following high-profile traumatic events for decades. His expertise compounded by Winfrey's experiences converge on understanding people, behavior, and self in the context of personal experiences.
By removing the burden of blame and self-shaming, the book opens up a space for healing and understanding. In the process, the book takes readers on a journey into their past to better prepare for the future.
All in all, the book teaches readers to ask "what happened to you?" instead of "what's wrong with you?" or "why are you behaving that way?"