Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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your book transformed my life, seeking advice for future
Saturday January 20, 2007

Hello Dr. Miller,

I have an important question at the bottom of this letter.

I am a 25 y.o female law student. My sister recommended your book "Drama of the Gifted Child" to me, and I started crying the second I read the inside cover. this was very unusual because I typically find it impossible to cry unless I have just been humiliated or put down by my father/brother (who is a carbon copy), or the current father-figure substitute who (in a long series since I have been 13 y.o). Your book helped me release and address incredible inner anguish, self-hate, contempt for others, an insatiable craving for attention (especially from men curiously very similar to my father) and a numbness to so many other feelings (such as righteous anger, empathy, love without guilt/demands/pain). Despite my very high academic success and achievements in being the perfect, beloved, all-capable daughter, the ideal, always happy girlfriend/wife, and a great student on the path to a well-paid, prestigious career- I always felt like a fake, one millimeter from being a complete loser, and most of all- an overwhelming sense that "I have to, but I truly don't want to." This underlying thought (I have only recently even become aware of this) has been present in all of my relationships and every single project/task I took on, and I felt weak, stupid, and dishonest for feeling it the whole time. In fact, I resisted, attempted to sabotage, and punished myself continuously for making decisions that did not serve MY self-interest- without understanding why I was unable to escape this horrible cycle.

Now that I have recognized what happened (through reading your book)-I have experienced (for the first ever) a very intense period of depression- complete with acute insomnia, loss of appetite, etc. Many of my family and freinds see this as a sign that I have simply had a huge nervous breakdown due to the stress of law school- and that I am now cuckoo. However, I do not agree- and while I am seeking and receiving treatment from multiple sources, I feel freer, full of love for myself and others, and I am very aware that this is a natural and good phase in my emotional reawakening.

My question is- which books would you recommend that I read (either yours or others) that will help me get out of this initial depression? Also, I feel very critical and hyper-aware of too many things (such as fears/emotional pain/narcissim of others, to a very disturbing degree- like, for example the frustration, fears, and loneliness of so many around me (I live in NYC) due to our ultra competitive, often emotionally numb society, and this is causing me anxiousness, sleeplessness, and a bit of paranoia. What would you recommend that I read or do to gain some comfort, strength, perspective, and practical supportive ideas to move forward?

Thank you so much for unlocking all this awareness, joy, and love!
-Masha

AM: It is rather unusual that a person of your age is ready to confront herself with the tragic story of her childhood. But if you do, you will find much help by reading my books and articles on this site. You don't talk about your childhood, but you write: I am seeking and receiving treatment from multiple sources. I don't know what you mean. Do you take antidepressant?

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