Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The angelic role model
Tuesday February 13, 2007


Dear Alice and team,

Your website is such a gift and comfort, thank you again. I am scared because my insides feel so different than what I show most of the world except for my therapist and one or two others.. I feel confused as I have always had to survive working against inner resistance to much of what was asked of me. I always felt most comfortable around my grandmother (maternal) who quietly accepted me and found joy in my just being. I also felt comfortable with my Mom when she was happy, she suffered from a heart abnormality that was not discovered til much later in her life and was the daughter of a violent alcoholic father. The rest of the time she was melancholy, or agitated, or frustrated and regularly verbally angry and hostile towards my father.
I have for over 35 years understood that I could trace my emotional reactions, intense fear, frustration, and feeling/voices of inadequacy and overwhelmment and since my mid-thirties, anger, back to my earlier experiences and when I was able to feel the anger and then usually a deep sorrow, deeply, I would feel a deep release of tension and felt freer than I had believed possible. Now, I am also hearing impaired, and have been since 2-3yrs of age, and because of the combination of issues, I have made choices that have not led to the life I imagined wanting: I gave birth to a son whose father was unable to be a father (he was an alcoholic, and abusive) so I protected my son from any contact with him. I do feel good about that. But being on welfare, which was my main source of income, was a mixed bag, and as I continuued, and read voraciously books on psychology, philosophy, spirituality, Rudolph Driekurs' work on child development and effective parenting, I knew I wanted More for my life.
Yet in my attempts at going to college and working part-time, I was overwhelmed by the responsibility of it all and did not feel up to it. I also was misled for 10 years about being able to take student loans while receiving welfare,and after 10 years and much fruatration, I said screw it! I'm going to apply for a loan anyway, so I could spend less hours cleaning and I could progress in school and set a good example for my son.
In the midst of this time, I was seeing a couple of therapists, attending ACOA 12-step groups and it was so frustrating to feel that seeing the therpaist and going to the groups never seemed to make the breakthrough I was looking for- Why does life have to be soo hard? Why can I not seem to make BIG headway anywhere? I seemed to be tied to only the small everyday chioces of trying to make my life and my son's life as comfortable, honest and joyful/fun as possible? I would feel some freedom when I would get in touch with my emotions and feel them more deeply, but I found I only had one friend who knew what I was talking about. And she has turned out to have very serious mental illness.
Now at 52, my chronic feelings, thoughts and images of fearful situations that feel unfamiliar, of shame and disgust, (which I remember feeling around my Mom often)m and of intense indignation at the slightest judgement, and anger, bordering on rage daily, these are the landscape of my days. My husband, my friends and family, my old therapist( who referred me to her supervising therapist that has specialized in trauma work with EMDR) are threatened deeply by where I am, they want to see me: become successful financially and personally. MY old therapist would like to see me take meds and passed me on when I kept refusing to do so and told me I was the most resistant person she had ever worked with. My current therapist wants me to work to finance weekly sessions with her at a reduced price and all I feel like is saying NO to everyone! I am so angry that I feel thatr I have to fight all the time to reassure others that I'm still sane and to defend my life, my choices, my confusion and lack of "SUCCESS" in the world's and their terms! Yet I do want to have more money(choices), and yet I want to spend my time doing something that pleases me more than my cleaning business, that I am bored and tired of!
I told my husband last night that I do not trust anyone anymore. Everyone has their agenda for me and for others, just like my caretaking self has an agenda for others. I said out loud that I will not, abandon my self, and whatever I am thinking and feeling at any given time and that if I lose everyone else in the process, I will not leave her. And I will not consciously manipulate her to please others and in the manipulation create more pain. Yet I am very scared, like I said as my feelings of NO to so much except really basic stuff is so BIG. I still enjoy, in fact very deeply at times, food, moving and stretching my body, walking and being outdoors, the beauty of nature, form, colour, music, my family and children, the HOPE of an organized and beautiful home, with a sprinkling of chaos.
The NO scares me, what if it devours my life? Everyone else seems to feel it is. I find, now that my husband is beginning therapy and we will start working with my therapist as a couple soon, that I feel insecure and want to ask her about her experience working through her own childhood trauma and I have not before. I feel stupid, yet I will anyway.
I am scared that I will continue to be misunderstood and judged by all my significant others and that I will have to leave them and I will be unable to survive on my own, which financially I could not do at this time. I do not want to settle for this misunderstanding from others anymore, and if they are unwilling to stick with me until I FEEL understood, then I will withdraw. By the way, as a natural response to their wanting to understand, I will and usually always have, wanted to understand them. I have been the angelic role model of this to my family and friends, but not as easily anymore. I'd love a reply, but I know again this may be not relevant to enough readers. You have my permission to use. With gratitude for this site and all your work, M.A.

AM: You write:I ...usually always have wanted to understand them. I have been the angelic role model of this to my family and friends, but not as easily anymore. You do need to stop it if you want to stay healthy.

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