Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Mental illness and "supportive families"
Friday January 26, 2007

I often hear people say that others have not been the subject of cruel treatment as children, as was the case with D's letters on your page on the 24th and 25th of January. To be able to say this about an other human being, one must have monitored that person every second, 24-7, from the moment of birth, and even more important, one must know for sure how that other person feels and thinks.

Researchers have often followed this logical fallacy of "not knowing about = not existing" when studying mental illness, going on fishing trips leaving the net at home. However, recent research that does look for fish and uses the adequate nets, does find fish - always.

Here's a quote from the review study of John Read and associates on schizophrenia from 2005, using pretty big masked nets, but still finding lots of fish:
"Symptoms considered indicative of psychosis and schizophrenia, particularly hallucinations, are at least as strongly related to childhood abuse and neglect as many other mental health problems. Recent large-scale general population studies indicate the relationship is a causal one, with a dose-effect."

D also says that her sister was fortunate to have support from her family. One of my worst moments as an adult was when I was visited in the mental hospital by my mother and older brother. People that have broken out of the grip of the "supportive" family get better, and those who maintain contact, keep going in circles. I do not have any contact with my "supportive" family anymore. I have only this life and I will not waste it carrying other people's symptoms.

Warmly, V. J.

AM: You are right when you write: “To be able to say about an other human being one must have monitored that person every second, 24-7, from the moment of birth, and even more important, one must know for sure how that other person feels and thinks.” But we have so many diagnostic labels that help to disguise the abuse. And this is exactly the reason why people MUST become severely ill: they are in a total isolation with their pain.

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