Whoopi Goldberg's Childhood Shaped by Her Mother's Electroshock Therapy

Whoopi Goldberg's Childhood Shaped by Her Mother's Electroshock Therapy
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Sunday 5 May 2024, 20:28 - Last updated: 20:29

Whoopi Goldberg reveals that her mother underwent electroshock therapy and forgot who her children were. The actress, who has just written an autobiography, talks about her late mother's hospitalization, how it impacted her childhood, and shaped her as a person.

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But why was Goldberg's mother subjected to electroshock? When the future actress was in elementary school, her mother had a nervous breakdown, a moment in the actress's childhood that forever changed the way she faced life.

During an interview with People to promote her upcoming memoir Bits and Pieces: My Mother, My Brother, and Me, coming out May 7, she recalled how her mother, Emma Harris, had a nervous breakdown that led to a two-year hospitalization. During that period, Harris, a teacher, underwent electroshock therapy that erased her memory to the point of completely clouding her maternal awareness and forgetting Goldberg and her late brother Clyde.

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«I didn't know who I was when I came out of the hospital. I had no idea who I was. I just knew I never wanted to go back to that hospital. So I had to do everything possible. If they said the sky was green and I saw it was not green, but blue, I would say: “Yes, the sky is green”. Because I didn't want it anymore», Goldberg's mother told her.

The profoundly traumatic experience of Harris had a great impact on her when she was eight years old when her mother was first hospitalized. The absence of the mother for two years - «children were not allowed in the hospital», she recounts - forced the Oscar-winning actress to confront the world in a way that many of her peers did not have to face at such a young age.

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Harris died on August 29, 2010, following a stroke, almost five years before Clyde died of a cerebral aneurysm. But the mother's legacy continues to live on with Goldberg.

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