Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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PTSD as effect of parental humiliation
Sunday June 03, 2007

Dear Dr. Miller:

I suspect that a child who grows up beneath an explosively violent, narcissistic father who persistently found fault with the child’s every act (and whenever the child performs splendidly, his behavior is met with complete disinterest and silence) will become an adult who, rather than charging into his life’s dreams and ambitions, will instead face life defensively, over cautiously and fearing the ingrained and inevitable backlash of criticism and humiliation. The patterns may very well resemble typical PTSD response.

I am nearing middle age, grew up in the above environment, and harbor life-long dreams of publishing fiction. My inability to aggressively address my ambitions induces me to believe that my childhood is haunting me, so to speak. Are my suspicions off the mark?

KM

AM: Your suspicion is absolutely correct. Acknowledging this is the first step to healing, the next would be feeling the huge rage that has been accumulated in the body for such a long time, expressing it and do what you always wanted but were not allowed to: to write, to speak up, and to protect the small tortured boy who lives in fear of being hurt again. Today nobody can hurt you again, unless you let him to do it. I wish you the strength and the courage to take your life in YOUR hands and away from the power of your father.

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