Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The forbidden feelings!
Sunday March 11, 2007

Dear Alice.
I`m a 32 year old woman from Norway whom just recently started to read your books. I must say, It was like a new landscape appeared to me. I could not stop reading. I started with "the drama of the gifted child", and has now just finished "the body never lies". Thank you so much for not giving up on your brave thoughts. I am a psychiatric nurse and I work fulltime at a methadone clinic. I just recently understood why I chouse this line of work. Along with my story I have one question witch I would be grateful if you responded to.

I grew up in a very family oriented country, where hitting children is band by law. But these cruelties are still very much alive in Norway too, it`s just like you say; that children hide this truth to protect their family.
I was also once one of these children and as an adult I suffer from the forbidden feelings exploding inside my body, making me ill. I can very much relate to "Anita Fink`s" situation with her mother and her feelings in general, (the fictional diary from A. Miller`s book; "The body never lies", p.180). My mother has suffered from depression, and most probably some kind of personal -disorder, all my life. When I was 9 years old I saved her life when I by accident found her after a suicide attempt. I remember this very clearly, every detail, but we have never talked about it. My father was and still is an alcoholic and would hit me for no good reason, but most of the time he ignored me. My parents are divorced and I ended all contact with my father at the age of 18, without knowing why, I just had to. My sister who is 4 years older then me developed manic-depressive disorder very early in her teens, but she was not diagnosed before she was 30. She tried to end her life many times, and she enjoyed showing me her wounds and all the blood after she had cut herself. I remember her as being very cruel to me.

It was very hard to be a little girl trying to survive in this dysfunctional family. When I was 24 years old I consequently had a emotional breakdown and suffered from devastating panicattacks. I then started this journey witch has brought me where I am today, (and I am not half way there!). For a year I saw a therapist once a week, but we only focused on cognitive therapy to reduce the anxiety. The panicattacks subsided within a year and we ended the therapy. My therapist had reached her goal for me, and I was a very good patient of course, aiming to please. The panicattacks was however replaced with periods of depression. Last year I decided to see a therapist again after being on holiday with my mother for two weeks. This holiday resulted in me feeling like shit, but also surprisingly angry, witch where new to me. The therapist I am seeing now reminds me very much of Susan in the same story I referred to earlier. This therapist introduced me to your books. I finally feel understood and verified as a human being. I no longer seek my mothers approval and love, I do not even like her. I meet her on occasions, but I do not participate in her emotional blackmail. She tells me she miss me, but she miss the little girl who would bring her the moon if she asked for it. That little girl is not the boss of me anymore. She still lives very much inside me and sometimes she gets her way, but that nearly never turns out to be the right way. She is to nice and to pleasing, she do not know how to protect herself. But she is a wonderful little child in witch I intend to take good care of, she did what she had to do in order to survive, and she has many good qualities. I accept her very much, but she is not in charge of my emotions anymore.

So this is what I am working on now; to be true to myself, to recognize my painful past and how this past influences the perspective I have on life and everything I do, all my relationships and most importantly how it could hurt my children if I don`t take my forbidden feelings seriously. I have never used corporal punishment towards my children, but I have been tired and very stressed, and this they sense. However I find myself much more stabile now with the help of my new therapist, less quilt and pain. My quality of life is so much better and so is my health. My back and muscles do not hurt as much, my chronic infections are gone and my allergies are better. I still suffer from constipation, but I also have a long way to go before I can truly act out my new inner "landscape". I still find myself repressing my true feelings in many situations, and choose not to act upon them because I`m still insecure in many ways.

My question is:
Is this something I have to struggle with my whole life, or is there a final "awakening" at some point?

Thank you once again for your work. Love S.

AM: You write: “My quality of life is so much better and so is my health. My back and muscles do not hurt as much, my chronic infections are gone and my allergies are better. I still suffer from constipation, but I also have a long way to go before I can truly act out my new inner "landscape". I still find myself repressing my true feelings in many situations, and choose not to act upon them because I’m still insecure in many ways.”
All this shows that you are on the right path to yourself and nobody knows how long this path will be and how much time it will take to get rid of all the symptoms. But it is clear that you will succeed after all you have done until now. Your feelings know when they need to appear and when they have not yet enough security. Trust them.

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