Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Your works on abusive parenting
Wednesday August 22, 2007

Dear Dr. Miller,

I have not, as yet, had the pleasure of reading one of your works as a whole, but intend to buy some online as soon as possible. I have read excerpts from the amazon site and was profoundly moved by your ideas, and above all your gracious love towards those who have survived abusive childhoods. In particular I was interested to read, via the wikipedia page on your works, that you believe those who have been involved in religious cults are usually from abused backgrounds. I have found this to be true myself, having only just escaped from a fundamentalist religious cult. I was there for nearly 17 years. Interestingly, my elder sister also got into the grips of a fundamentalist religious cult (a different one) and married an abusive man, stayed married for 17 years, but unfortunately is still living a lie.

I recently discovered my mother has Narcissistic Personality Disorder and that my two older sisters have very similar traits. It has been very gratifying to spend the last three years of my life re-framing my past and understanding it in the light of this truth. I had panic disorder for years, from the age of about nineteen until I was about 40. Its all starting to make sense.

I thank you for your work and your approach to psychoanalysis. I fully believe that medication is not the answer (it certainly wasn’t for me) and I truly understand how important it is to know your own history, and to have it validated by a supportive and encouraging other.

As a christian, I am also understanding the dangers of the ‘nice is better than honest’ philosophy which has impregnated much of the western church, and I even understand much better now that forgiveness is for the repentant, not for anyone and everyone who offends you. Forgiveness is about relationship, wanting to keep the good and mend the mistakes. It isn’t for those who refuse to believe they have done wrong, or for parents who refuse to accept that their actions and words have destroyed their children’s lives. The bible is clear “he who says he has no sin is a liar”.

M. B.

AM: Thank you for your letter. I hope that reading the book “The Body Never Lies” will help you to walk the path you have chosen.

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