Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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On healing
Friday June 01, 2007

Dear Alice Miller

I have a question about the dynamics of the healing process. Often when I read your books I get the impression that we need an enlightened witness, other times it seems we can do it on our own. Often I get the impression it's about willed acts of mind control, like just giving up the idealization of parents.

As I see it, getting rid of symptoms and defences downstream, is a must, but it's not a willed act in itself but a part of, or end of, an other willed act: going into a process of healing - addressing the problem upstream - stopping the pollution of the river by taking out the source. Something I "refuse", is to blame myeself (or being blamed) for not having healed all by myself for what my horrible parents did to me. I'm not to blame! They are!

Isn't overcoming a child's fear of death a process that needs an enlightened witness?

Warmly, V. J.

AM: With very strong feelings, it is still better not to be alone and to have a good, understanding witness. But, you are right, there is plenty of other work that you can do alone, like for instance writing letters that you would not send and recognize in this way more and more how your parents have treated you and which impact this left on you. Nobody can find it out better than you yourself. The more you see the damage done to you, the more you begin to love the small boy who had to endure cruelty, silently, without any help.

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