They F*** You Up

They F*** You Up by Psychologist Oliver James


“They F*** You Up” is a provocative and insightful exploration of how our early childhood experiences shape our adult personality, behaviour, and relationships. The author, Oliver James, is a clinical psychologist who combines scientific research with personal stories. This way he shows us how nurture, rather than nature, is the key factor in determining who we are and how we act. He argues that the way we were cared for in the first six years of life has a crucial effect on our self-esteem, emotional regulation, coping skills, and attachment style. He also offers practical advice on how to overcome the negative effects of our past and create a more fulfilling and authentic life.

Layout of “They F*** You Up”

The book is divided into three parts: the first part explains the theory and evidence behind the author’s claims, the second part illustrates the different types of parenting styles and their consequences, and the third part provides guidance on how to heal from our childhood wounds and change our patterns of behaviour. The book is well-written, engaging, and easy to follow, with plenty of examples and anecdotes from the author’s own life and his clients. The book is also honest, compassionate, and hopeful, as it acknowledges the challenges and difficulties of facing our past, but also shows the possibility and benefits of doing so.

Some flaws of “They F*** You Up”

The book is not without its flaws, however. Some critics have pointed out that the book is too simplistic and deterministic, as it ignores the role of genetics, culture, social context, and personal choice in shaping our personality and behaviour. Some have also questioned the validity and reliability of the research and methods used by the author, as well as his interpretation and generalization of the findings. Some have also argued that the book is too pessimistic and blaming, as it portrays parents as either good or bad, and suggests that most people are damaged by their upbringing.


Overall, I think “They F*** You Up” is a valuable and stimulating read for anyone who wants to understand themselves and their relationships better. It offers a fresh and alternative perspective on human development and psychology, and challenges us to question our assumptions and beliefs about ourselves and others. It also encourages us to take responsibility for our own happiness and well-being, and to seek help if we need it. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning more about how their childhood affects their adult life.

About the author

The author of the book “They F*** You Up” is Oliver James, a psychologist, journalist, author and television presenter. He was born in 1953 in London, England. He studied social anthropology at Cambridge University and clinical psychology at University College London. He has worked as a child psychologist, a psychotherapist, a broadcaster, and a writer. He has written several books on psychology, parenting, and politics, such as “Affluenza”, “How Not to F*** Them Up”, and “Not in Your Genes”. He has also appeared on various TV shows and documentaries, such as “The Dark Side of Fame with Piers Morgan”, “This Morning”, and “The Human Zoo”. He is married to the journalist and author Clare Francis, and they have four children.

Where to buy?

AMAZON.CO.UK: They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life – Paperback
AMAZON.COM They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life: James, Oliver …

Further reading

Goodreads: They F*** You Up: How to Survive Family Life by Oliver James

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