Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Forgiveness
Saturday June 16, 2007

DEAR ALICE,

My name is Mike, and I would just like to write you both to thank you for your work and compassion for youth. I will not bore you with my story of mistreatment and the corresponding psychosomatic manifestations, but rather would like to just thank you for acknowledging how I really feel. I no longer feel emotionally blind. I finally am starting to feel things I never allowed myself to feel.

Over the past 2 years I have sought emotional/physical relief from various healing modalities and spiritual communities, all of which denied me of my history, all of which incorporated some esoteric or illusory form of healing, never once validating how I really felt inside. Rather, many of these methods made me feel guilty for having the actual feelings I was having at the time. Like I was less of a person for feeling depressed, hurt, and guilty.

I was seeing my therapist today, who introduced me to your works, and I was talking about what I had read in your books and on the website in regards to forgiveness. For so long, people were telling me just to forgive my parents, to let the Universe heal me, to just put out the words: "I forgive my parents." I cannot tell you how much this reinforced my emotional blindness, and exacerbated my psychosomatic symptoms. I find so much danger in people telling others that they can heal themselves by simply saying we are willing to forgive. How can someone trauma's be healed by the sounds of a mere word? Not only is it not practical in my mind, it is enraging.

Until I read "The Truth Shall Set You Free," I was reliving my experience with my father over and over again, by going to see different healers, doctors, gurus, etc. all of which told me to drop the past, that there was nothing wrong with me. This was the story of my whole life. No one, including myself, was able to take me feelings, desires, and needs seriously.

Sooo, I would like to thank you for allowing me to have the validation and respect that my personal history rightfully deserves. I no longer feel guilty looking at my past. For the first time, I have felt understood in both my therapy, in reading your books, and your website articles.

I recently had to stop working because my pain had reached unbearable levels, but before then, I was working in a treatment facility with adolescent girls with behavioral and emotional issues, many of whom were abused physically and sexually as children. I never was able to realize why, when I walked out of the treatment facility at night, I would feel so terrible both emotionally and physically. After reading your books, I realized that seeing how these girls were neglected and abused, and hearing their stories day after day, reminded me so much of my own experience with my parents who were not able to love my true self, but rather, loved the image they had created for me and forced me to live up to. I also was acting as an emotional sponge for these girls, which reflected the relationship I had with my mother, which I am currently breaking away from as I write.

I thank you for your work and knowledge. At 24 years old, I am only 6 months into delving into my history with an enlightened witness. It has made my psychosomatic pain much worse, but for the first time, I have felt supported emotionally and can feel the emergence of the true self I was forced to disassociate from at an early age. And the greatest thing is in the past week, It has felt okay to feel the things I am feeling, and it has felt honorable to look at my past and attempt to understand my history. I no longer feel guilt or feel weak for doing so!!!

In the future, I hope to self-heal and work again with at- risk youth as an enlightened witness, as long as I am able to distance myself from their own traumas. I have already emailed my old co-workers your website and work so that they can better serve the young girls with the knowledge presented in your works.

Alice, I hope that one day someone of the Pope's prestige will take a stand on child abuse and mistreatment. If we cannot respect a helpless infant, than who can we respect as people? I think everyone should be required to read your books from an early age. I am so grateful to have come across you work and an enlightened witness. Have you ever heard of Dr. John E. Sarno @ NYU Medical School? He is a doctor who specializes in psychosomatic pain and mindbody illnesses. He has written books such as "The Divided Mind" and the "Mindbody Prescription." He is the doctor who diagnosed me and told me I needed psychotherapy. Fortunately, the therapist he sent me to, loves you work. :)

Thanks again for all your work and for simply respecting other peoples' feelings and histories,

Much Love, M.

AM: I was very moved by your letter. You write: I no longer feel emotionally blind. I finally am starting to feel things I never allowed myself to feel. Your whole letter shows that you are saying the truth. I wish you the courage you need to be able to face your history and am sure that this work will give you all you need to feel well in this world and to help others without being damaged by them. Congratulations.

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