Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Schizophrenic families
Saturday August 04, 2007

Dear Alice,
I’m recovering child sexual abuse survivor and my primary perpetrator was my mother. I grew up in totally abusive, mistyfied, cultic, chaotic, rigid, violent, false and sick family – today I know this sad truth. Your books have helped me to see it. They helped me to feel it, and helped me to side with my inner child, against my opressors, both internal and external. Combined with therapies and support self help groups, this literature made me find my way of recovery. Thank U dear Alice…
I’ve recently read the Ronald G. Laing Book in which he describes 11 cases - families of so called schizophrenic persons. It seems to be true, what I’d been suspecting for log time: that these families are sick, and not the “sick” person who is only trying to deal with parental madness.
Somewhere I read there are two ways one can become insane: 1. being forced to believe things that are not real, and 2. being forbidden to believe things that really are real. It’s exactly what Laing research says about families of “schizophrenics.” Although he does not mention incest or other forms of sexual abuse (there was no incest awareness in the world in 50ties and 60ties of last century), I can feel sexual abuse underneath most of the cases he describes – I somehow “read,” through my experiences and today’s knowledge, the symptoms and the clues leading to CSA. I think the insane family dynamics is all the same in incest and in schizophrenics. And it is, exactly the same family dynamics I had been experiencing in my incestuous environment…
Incest was very strict taboo in my childhood (and adulthood since recovery). It was a kind of sub-reality, which no one was seeing, no one was confirming, and no one was mentioning, so, in order to survive and erease conflict with false, external family vision, I had to challenge my deepest, most painful reality. I had to negate my real experiences of abuse, and forget these feelings and these events. Instead of remembering and knowing the truth of what my mother had been doing to me – and the truth my father and grandma knew what was going on, but sided with my primal perp (I think they were so called latened pedophiles) – I had to believe lies about my family, they had been spreading: that they were loving me, caring about me, and if they had to punish me, it was either for my own good, or because I was intrinsically “bad.” So, both mentioned above ways to insanity were highly active in my life. I think it’s a kind of miracle I didn’t end up as chronic psychiatric patient, maybe because I had other ways of “coping” with my trauma – chemical use, sexual compulsions, risky behaviors, art, dissociation…
I gave up my coping strategies many years ago, and this was the moment the truth about sexual abuse started to surface. I couldn’t believe it, until I found – or met – what U, dear Alice, call “the enlightened witness:” your books, other books on recovery from incest, and shared experiences of other survivors I was talking with at my support groups (with therapies I hadn’t so much luck; I rather had to prove to therapists my memories are correct…wrrrrrrrr). I cannot overestimate all this support. Today I’m more of helping other survs, than in need of help for myself. And I’m generally happy.
I feel a lot of rage, also at psychiatric system that is forcing drugs on victims instead of hearing and seeing their symptoms. This rage and fury not only make me strong man – it make me SANE man. For the truth IS setting me free! And it does not matter, it hurts first…
Keep on, Dear Alice, in what U are doing, please… Thank U, U are! T.

AM: Thank you so much for your letter. I agree with everything you write. It is true that incest families have much in common with families of schizophrenics where it is forbidden to see the truth and demanded to believe in lies. Because families like that seem to be much more frequent than healthy ones, we have trouble to be heard when we write and say the truth. Almost everything Laing wrote was right, but psychiatrists of today hardly mention him. We must conclude perhaps that they also learned very early to deny their truth and are afraid of coming in touch with it. So instead of listening to the patients and their stories, they make them silent and even more confused by giving them drugs. Also, politicians, journalists, teachers seem to be very scared by memories of their own histories when we write about what we found out thanks to our feelings. I can only congratulate you that you could liberate yourself from this conspiracy of lies and make the experience that your life and above all your body feel healthier now. Do you know the story of the family FREYD that invented the FALSE MEMORY SYNDROM after their daughter talked about being sexually abused by her father? You will find Jennifer Freyd’s book on the Internet.

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