Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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An incredible pain
Sunday August 12, 2007

Dear Alice,
I have recently read some of your writings and found those very real. At least very close to my experience.
My name is M. and I'm a 38 years "young" Italian guy living in London. Here I'm a musician and I teach Music Technology at the Islington Music Workshop. I've had a hectic life, playing around the world my music, sailing in the Italian team in the eighties and taking a degree in law among other things like acting and sound engineering. Yet my childwood has been terrible because of my parents' (but in the reality all the family's) behaviour, which has been incredibly controlling, full of punishments and most of all putting me under an incredible pressure in the name of ACHIEVEMENTS IN EVERY FIELD, in exchange of conditional love. I don't want to write down the whole history of my life here, but I'm writing to you now in great pain. The reason for this is that I've been in therapy for three years and I recently decided to stop in May. It has been incredibly useful. But yet I'm in great pain because I'm more and more discovering things about my past. I've recently had anm email exchange with my parents, talking about our past. They know and they have been understanding and apologizing, even though I believe their intention is to alleviate my pain rather than discussing their methods. But anyway, I received plenty of "support" as in the past three weeks all my "rage" has exploded again. Here I just would like to share a heavy burden: I am in great pain as my affection towards them is incredibly strong despite the past. But I'm questioning the "quality" of this affection: whether it is derived from religious, moral or cultural grounds or whether it is a real one, meanong that it's coming from my heart. I feel broken in two pieces: one side of me loves them to bits and the other hates them with an incredible sense of guilt. But for the first time ever your words have opened up my mind, meaning that I need to jump ahead and overcome the fear of losing them if I want to get out of my neverending depression which has kept me "Under the wheel" so far. The pain is immense. And I've always wanted to blame myself for it. But today I'm having the strength to get over it, taking my responsibility for all the consequences. At the end of the day I am alone in this. But your words (which incidentally I used to say since I was in my twenties although I didn't know much about these topics) have helped me very much.
I really hope one day I will be able to express my full and real self, not all the masks I had to wear in search of acceptance for all my life. Thank you for your work and passion.
My best regards, M. S.

AM: You write: ”I really hope one day I will be able to express my full and real self, not all the masks I had to wear in search of acceptance for all my life.” Why should you not be able to do that? Keep in mind that you don't owe to anybody fake feelings, that you are free as everybody to feel the rage without feeling guilty because every emotion has its causes and you must not minimize them. As adults we CAN live without our parents’ love, only as children we needed it to survive. I think that your pain is the result of forcing yourself to feel what you THINK that you should feel. Your body doesn't want this; it needs your emotional honesty.

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