Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Poisonous pedagogy in Primal therapy.
Saturday April 14, 2007

Dear mrs. Miller,

I've read all your books and I read all the mails on your website.
These days I struggle with my angriness/hate I feel in some social situations (with friends etc), I know that these situations are symbolic for my youth with my sadistic mother.
I have a question about the pri therapy of Ingeborg Bosch (pastrealityintegration.com). Do you think her therapy is free of 'poisonous pedagogy'? I have had therapy of her some time and it helped me and is still helping me to identify my emotions as adequate in the current situations or as a result of a symbolic situation from my youth.
But I have a question about the pri-concept of 'False Power'; pri says that anger/hate is False Power and a defense against the pain of the child when the parents where abusing the child. According to pri 'feeling the hate' is not helping you, feeling how it felt being a powerless child being abused by the powerful parents, is bringing health.
I'm very interested in your opinion on this subject.

Thank you for your great books en website!

H.I., the netherlands

AM: I totally disagree with this theory and think like you that it shows indeed traces of poisonous pedagogy as the rage and anger are condemned by all religions. However, these emotions are the most natural, healthy and logical reactions to endured pain. Since these emotions are forbidden for children, they must be suppressed (in contrast to sadness which is allowed). Neither in family nor in school are these IMPORTANT and life-protecting emotions allowed to be felt and expressed in words. They must thus stay blocked in our bodies and produce corporal symptoms in order to be heard. If they are taken seriously in adulthood, these emotions can be felt in therapy and then the symptoms may disappear. Because their only one concern was to REBEL AGAINST INJUSTICE, cruelty, perversion, hypocrisy, lies and the lack of love. All this bitterness was locked in the body without any outlet. Now, in therapy, they must be respected by a therapist who is not afraid of them. If, instead, clients should believe that their rage is only a defense against sadness and an illusion of “false power,” they will – again – be hindered to admit exactly this emotion that blocks the functioning of their bodies and whose liberation would be healthy for the adult.
Apparently the FEAR of the little child of the next blow that still lives within us penetrates also many concepts of therapy, primal therapy not excluded. We prefer to stay good, obedient children of the Kindergarten who rather do dare to cry without end, than to become adults who can feel the endless injustice they had to endure in their childhood and rebel against it. In my opinion, the adult must dare exactly that.

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