Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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How I help myself
Thursday July 12, 2007

Two years ago, almost to the day, you quietly visited me in my prison by way of your book "For Your Own Good". you were a friend who held up a mirror and slipped me a file and I have been cutting away ever since. The last six months have brought me much pain but also invaluable insight and a real hope for an enduring peace and joy in my once very troubled life. I have experienced a deep gut level rage, openly expressed, a shattering of illusions and deeply felt pain. All of this, the result of the re-feeling of once inaccessible terror and pain endured in childhood. For example, at one point, when I was able to access the terror and helplessness of my infant, by way of a feeling-vision, I lay in bed for several weeks almost unable to feed myself. This re-feeling is allowing me to make good sense of my adult dependency problems. I know for fact, from personal experience, when one is able to access these very deeply repressed feelings and feel them, almost instantly, unknown questions are asked and answered simultaneously. The truth revealed THEN, very often gives instantaneous insight into my feelings/actions of today without any effort, and once little understood symptoms begin to disappear. This takes place only when I feel "safe". I now care about myself and have achieved a safe environment by removing all but the bare essentials. This includes removing from my life old friends and family who are unhelpful and damaging. I try to exclude as much as possible the daily rat-race of life and I thrive in the safety of my books, emerging self-love (maybe the most important of all), with my gentle and loving therapist and websites such as yours and Barbara's. I believe I may have discovered for me a new tool I can use to access these repressed feelings and hence get the connections, and I can do this on my own in safety. (of course you already know this) Please allow me to explain. First let me say that I was sexually abused as a young boy for a long period. I had some of the memories but no feelings. They finally surfaced, when I felt safe enough, several months ago in my therapist's office. This brought much pain, then a dissolving of present day symptoms. (I feel this resolution was necessary in order for my mind to reveal what I describe below) I recognize now that if I can find the feelings this can lead to easily understandable and enduring insight. Out of almost desperation I tried something new. A lump was developing in my throat and at first I thought it from allergies but medication failed. I tried swallowing and swallowing hoping to drive this feeling away. This also failed. One night in bed, as an experiment, I asked the lump to tell me what it knows (expecting nothing). After a short period I suddenly started crying very hard and very strong feelings emerged and they said " dad touch me.. please love me and love me... please don't hurt me" and then they went further and the strong feeling of "intense fear with my mom using me and I just wanted her to stop" came into view. (I might add here my father can be brutal and my mother has always used me for her own needs) Instantly everything made sense. I have experienced a lifelong fear of my sexuality. Not knowing where I fit on the continium between gay to straight. This left me distant from self and others. And I now believe the adult obsession, the worry of the "fit", disguised the real fear revealed by the lump, the intense pain of lack of love by dad, an unfulfilled need, the terror of being used by mom are the real stories. These feelings have been felt, the lump has left and the obsessions are diminishing. I have been around other people a few times since this experience and its clear I feel a difference. With men I feel little fear and just experience them for who they are. Most seem kind and friendly towards me. Around women I feel a lightness and sense a growing interest in their femininity and little fear. With hindsight two important ideas come to mind. One, I believe it to be of paramount importance to access deep feelings only in an atmosphere of love and safety. As a selflove grows it simultaneously transforms into protection and each will know when the moment "feels right". Two, I am one of those hardheaded people who believe only when I can experience for myself. Even without belief, I found here and elsewheere, taking a chance on something new may yield something valuable. Now I am willing to believe this experience has value to me, and I will try in the future to access deeply repressed feelings by becoming aware of body symptoms. It only makes logical sense, as so many people would easily believe, that an "obsession" is possibly a clear symptom of hidden troubles (feelings). This is easy to understand, thru investigation, by conscious thought, using words, the language of choice universally accepted to describe feelings based on known human knowledge. My experience listening to the lump interprets as this. The body without the normal voice has no language of words that we are used to.(Hence my once easy denial and disbelief). But we experience without knowing (conscious awareness) it does have a language. Its obsessions for example become pain and disease, once again clear symptoms of hidden troubles (feelings). If one chooses to listen to these symptoms, it makes much sense, we can begin to understand its language. Once the hidden trouble can be recognized thru dialogue, in safety, the body can yield thru sensation/feelings its knowledge which instantly interprets in the brain into words instantly recognizable to all and yielding insight. Then the pains, etc disease can leave. Right? And now another way to get the story of long repressed suffering which makes the sense for today. Thank you again.

AM: Thank you for sending us this letter, it will give some other people ideas how they can help themselves to understand the language of their bodies. You are especially creative in finding this language and a kind of pioneer, but others can follow your example in their own manner as soon as they get rid of their fear to be punished for discovering the truth. This danger no longer exists, we are free to know, only in our childhood we were not. So the fear may remain. But we can become free of this fear if we see that the dialogue with the body really works.

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