Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Fear of death
Friday August 10, 2007

Hello For six long weeks I have been battling a large lump building in my chest which at times drove me almost crazy. Finally in my therapist's office, two weeks ago, I dialogued with it and something very very painful happened. I was talking about how much I needed my dad as a child and then I was transported back to my child's mind and I could see what I didn't want to see. I knew my dad was harsh and brutal but what I felt was stunning. I FELT THE ABSOLUTE TERROR my child had of him, he truly believed his life was in jeparody most of the time and there was not one conscious memory of this feeling. (I was scared to death) The session ended with my therapist holding me while I was crying, like a child, saying a number of times that "I am safe". For me it was a profound moment and since then other "forgotten", but less terrifying, memories have risen to the surface. In my adult life I have had a fear of death that was unshakeable and now for the first time this fear is diminishing. I think this fear was the result of the repressed terror of my father. This experience has left me feeling frustrated because at times when I have tried to find support, outside of my therapist's office, most people just dismiss it or run away. Would it be correct, after the inital shock, to deal with this knowledge in bits and pieces rather than trying to live with it in full conscious view? I just can't take pain like this all the time. Thank You

AM: I am not sure if I understand your question well. I think that once the shock told you the truth about your father, you don't need to be shocked again. Now, you know that you don't need THIS father, even if the child thought all your life that you did need him. You needed a good, caring, honest father, but not this one, not a father who scared you to death. This knowledge is very powerful, it will give you company should the fear of death come up again. You will know WHY it came and from where and that the danger was REAL in your past but NOT TODAY.

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