Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Parental responsibilty
Monday February 05, 2007

Dear Dr. Miller,

I have read many of your books and can't begin to tell you how much they have helped me. At present I am reading Banished Knowledge. In each of the books that I have read, I feel that you do not take into account the parent who is deliberately and consciously destructive with respect to their children. Not all parents want the best for their children. My mother was such a person. In almost every way she could, she tried to undermine my sense of self worth. She blamed me for everything that went wrong in her life including my pedophilic step-father, who when I stopped him from sexually molesting me, she accused me for seducing him.
I was six or seven when they married and ten when they separated. They did not divorce until I was fourteen, but they remained friends. They both agreed that it was all my fault. Naturally. His adoption of me was one of his conditions of marriage. She, in very subtle ways, made my life a living hell after they divorced, all the while taking excellent of my material needs. My friends envied my mother. You are right when you say that intellectual knowledge is not enough to free one's self of the damage.

One more thing regarding Freud. It occurred to me a while ago that his "Oepidus/Electra" complexes make no sense. If all children have these feelings which he says they have, then no child would "naturally" feel guilty about them, anymore than they feel guilty about their bodily functions, unless taught to. I believe that he uncovered something in his relationship with his mother---her inappropiate feelings towards him---that caused him so much discomfort that he immediately denied that he had glimpsed them by deciding that those feelings were his. Something I read by him that alluded to her feelings led me to that conclusion.

Thank you for being you!
The very best to you and yours,
Love, P

AM: Thank you for your letter. I think that your comments on Freud are correct. He turned around the responsibility and the facts to protect the parents. Most people do this, even today.

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