Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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What My Body Is Shouting About
Monday July 09, 2007

Dear Alice Miller,

The thing that happened the day before is this: My husband was scheduled for a knee surgery with local anesthesia. The anesthesiologist said nothing in advance, but refused to do anything other than general anesthesia (unconsciousness) when my husband came in for the surgery. She tried to bully my poor injured husband into doing things her way and was very disrespectful to him, so he refused the surgery and we went home.

This reminded me. My parents used to give me and my siblings sleeping drops if we became annoying. I remember a specific incident when they threatened my little brothers with this and one of the poor little things got very scared and begged with them, hoping to be allowed to not be made to go to sleep against his will. Either I or my sister, I can't remember which, said to my father, "You wouldn't really do that to him." My father said, "Oh yes I would. We used to do it to both of you girls." He seemed amused by his power as the adult.

We had no one to protect us from our parents. No one at all. I was scared after the stressful ordeal at the surgery and I reached out for my therapist. He did not answer. I sent him a second email and I waited for him, but he still did not answer me. I needed him and he just did not answer. Maybe he's only out of town or something, I don't know, but I emailed him again and told him I don't want to talk to him anymore. I simply cannot tolerate the pain.

AM: You got the right answer; your body is enraged because the incident in the hospital triggered your memory. Your parents betrayed you, robbed you of your consciousness, so that you were unable to see what they did and protest against their deeds. Your husband could say NO because he is an adult (even many adults will not have the courage to resist in this situation and would submit to the doctor’s betrayal) but you were a child, there was nothing you could do to defend yourself. Now the arthritis tells you how furious you are about this violation and about the silence of your therapist. The pain in the body wants to help you, to make you aware of your feelings. Try to feel them and don't protect your father in any way. It was a crime what he did. Maybe you can write and fully express your feelings, all of them, then the pain in the body will leave.

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