Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

Pictures of a Childhood

Farrar Straus Giroux, 1986
New York, Penguin USA, new edition 1996

In "Pictures of a Childhood", Alice Miller explores the connection between childhood and that creative activity which "somehow permits us to give form to the chaos within and thereby master our anxiety." Having realized in the early seventies a lifelong desire to paint, Dr. Miller found an unfamiliar world emerging from her paintings: not the "nice" world of her childhood, to which she had always testified, but one of fear, despair and loneliness. Meditating on her spontaneously executed watercolors - sixty-six of which are reproduced here in full color - and their implications, Dr. Miller offers an analysis of the roots of creativity in the authentic self's struggle for survival.