Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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To Dr. Alice Miller from longtime reader
Tuesday July 31, 2007

Hello Dr. Miller,
It is an honor to be able to write to you. I started reading your books back in the 1980s shortly after hearing a profile about you and your work on public radio in the USA. Since then I have read each book as they have come out and have always emerged with a sense of having been nurtured, understood, and in a way, defended. I particularly love your book "Pictures of a Childhood" that features many of your paintings. (I too am a painter) Are your paintings available for purchase? Having grown up with extremely abusive parents and family, I am still recovering well into my 40s. I have drawn strength from your admonition that forgiving the abuser is not necessary and often downright harmful. After many years in therapy, I still cannot forgive my family for their cruelties. As a highly sensitive male, and a new daddy of a young son, I constantly focus on giving my son the sort of love, nurturing, and unconditional acceptance that I never received. But being a male in western culture is fraught with difficulties. While males are supposed to be stoic and unemotional in this culture, I find it hard to conform to this type of stereotypical behavior. Do you have any upcoming work -- or could you recommend some to me -- that focuses particularly on sensitive males recovering from abusive childhoods? Thank you, J. F.

AM: You write: “Being a male in western culture is fraught with difficulties. While males are supposed to be stoic and unemotional in this culture, I find it hard to conform to this type of stereotypical behavior.” Why should you conform to this behavior? If you don't find models you like, you can CREATE them. Anyway, what you yourself create will give you more fun than what you will find in books. And whatever you do without fun is annoying. But don't forget that your child is not a doll to play with, that she/he is a PERSON who deserves your FULL RESPECT.

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