Dr. Gabor Maté is a well-known addiction expert who advocates for a compassionate approach to addiction in ourselves and others.

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Best Gabor Mate Quotes

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Passion creates, addiction consumes. ~ Gabor Mate.

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The difference between passion and addiction is that between a divine spark and a flame that incinerates. ~ Gabor Maté.

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Learn to read symptoms not only as problems to be overcome but as messages to be heeded. ~ Gabor Mate.

Why can’t parents see their children’s pain? I’ve had to ask myself the same thing. It’s because we haven’t seen our own. ~ Gabor Maté.

No society can understand itself without looking at its shadow side. ~ Gabor Mate.

When I am sharply judgmental of any other person, it’s because I sense or see reflected in them some aspect of myself that I don’t want to acknowledge. ~ Gabor Mate.

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Collect them before you direct them. ~ Gabor Mate.

The research literature has identified three factors that universally lead to stress: uncertainty, the lack of information and the loss of control. ~ Gabor Mate.

The warmth and satisfaction of positive contact with the adult is often just as good as a psychostimulant in supplying the child’s prefrontal cortex with dopamine. ~ Gabor Mate.

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Boredom, rooted in a fundamental discomfort with the self, is one of the least tolerable mental states. ~ Gabor Mate.

We keep trying to change people’s behaviors without a full understanding of how and why those behaviors arise. ~ Gabor Maté.

Free choice only comes from thinking; it doesn’t come from emotions. It emerges from the capacity to think about your emotions. ~ Gabor Mate.

Famous Gabor Mate Quotes

You see, the acting-out, the yelling, the screaming and even the hitting, all that a person does, serves as a defence against the experience of the anger. It’s a defence against keeping the anger inside where it can be deeply felt. Discharge defends against anger being actually experienced. ~ Gabor Mate.

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The attempt to escape from pain, is what creates more pain. ~ Gabor Mate.

Affirmation When we affirm, we make a positive statement; we move toward something of value. ~ Gabor Mate.

Do I live my life according to my own deepest truths, or in order to fulfill someone else’s expectations? How much of what I have believed and done is actually my own and how much has been in service to a self-image I originally created in the belief it was necessary to please my parents? ~ Gabor Mate.

Top Gabor Mate Quotes

From early infancy, it appears that our ability to regulate emotional states depends upon the experience of feeling that a significant person in our life is simultaneously experiencing a similar state of mind. ~ Gabor Mate.

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Judgment or blaming is not the point. Understanding is. ~ Gabor Mate.

In the real world there is no nature vs. nurture argument, only an infinitely complex and moment-by-moment interaction between genetic and environmental effects. ~ Gabor Mate.

I needed to write, to express myself through written language not only so that others might hear me but so that I could hear myself. ~ Gabor Mate.

Many of us live, if not alone, then in emotionally inadequate relationships that do not recognize or honour our deepest needs. Isolation and stress affect many who may believe their lives are quite satisfactory. ~ Gabor Mate.

Shame is the deepest of the negative emotions, a feeling we will do almost anything to avoid. Unfortunately, our abiding fear of shame impairs our ability to see reality. ~ Gabor Mate.

Sensitive children come to be called difficult because adults have trouble understanding their temperament and because parenting methods that work with other children are frustratingly inadequate with this group. ~ Gabor Mate.

Spiritual work and psychological work are both necessary to reclaim our true nature. Without psychological strength, spiritual practice can easily become another addictive distraction from reality. Conversely, shorn of a spiritual perspective we are prone to stay stuck in the limited realm of the grasping ego, even if it’s a healthier and more balanced ego. ~ Gabor Mate.

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It is impossible to understand addiction without asking what relief the addict finds, or hopes to find, in the drug or the addictive behaviour. ~ Gabor Mate.

What we call the personality is often a jumble of genuine traits and adopted coping styles that do not reflect our true self at all but the loss of it. ~ Gabor Mate.

Popular Gabor Mate Quotes

The question is never Why the addiction? but Why the pain? The research literature is unequivocal: most hard-core substance abusers come from abusive homes. ~ Gabor Mate.

Not every story has a happy ending, … but the discoveries of science, the teachings of the heart, and the revelations of the soul all assure us that no human being is ever beyond redemption. The possibility of renewal exists so long as life exists. How to support that possibility in others and in ourselves is the ultimate question. ~ Gabor Mate.

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Much of what we call personality is not a fixed set of traits, only coping mechanisms a person acquired in childhood. ~ Gabor Mate.

We think that children act, whereas what they mostly do is react. Parents who realize this acquire a powerful tool. By noticing their own responses to the child, rather than fixating on the child’s responses to them, they free up tremendous energy for growth. ~ Gabor Mate.

Wise Gabor Mate Quotes

Strong convictions do not necessarily signal a powerful sense of self: very often quite the opposite. Intensely held beliefs may be no more than a person’s unconscious effort to build a sense of self to fill what, underneath, is experienced as a vacuum. ~ Gabor Mate.

Addiction is passion’s dark simulacrum and, to the naïve observer, its perfect mimic. It resembles passion in its urgency and in the promise of fulfillment, but its gifts are illusory. It’s a black hole. ~ Gabor Mate.

As parents who make every effort we can to raise our children in loving security, we do not need to feel more guilt than we already do. We need less guilt and more awareness of how the quality of the parent-child relationship can be used to promote our children’s emotional and cognitive development. ~ Gabor Mate.

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The best attitude to adopt is one of compassionate patience, which has to include a tolerance for failure. ~ Gabor Mate.

Addictions always originate in pain, whether felt openly or hidden in the unconscious. They are emotional anesthetics. Heroin and cocaine, both powerful physical painkillers, also ease psychological discomfort. ~ Gabor Mate.

Your worst enemy cannot hurt you as much as your own thoughts, when you haven’t mastered them, said the Buddha. But once mastered, no one can help you as much—not even your father and your mother. I ~ Gabor Mate.

Not all addictions are rooted in abuse or trauma, but I do believe they can all be traced to painful experience. A hurt is at the centre of all addictive behaviours. It is present in the gambler, the Internet addict, the compulsive shopper and the workaholic. The wound may not be as deep and the ache not as excruciating, and it may even be entirely hidden—but it’s there. As we’ll see, the effects of early stress or adverse experiences directly shape both the psychology and the neurobiology of addiction in the brain. ~ Gabor Mate.

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Not why the addiction but why the pain. ~ Gabor Mate.

Not the world, not what’s outside of us, but what we hold inside traps us. We may not be responsible for the world that created our minds, but we can take responsibility for the mind with which we create our world. ~ Gabor Mate.


So these were the 40 quotes by Gabor Mate.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read our other posts on Divine Feminine quotes and Lightning quotes.