Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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I feel imprisoned by my past
Friday August 24, 2007

Dear Dr Miller,
I was introduced to your book The Drama of The Gifted Child (by a wise and compassionate therapist) many years ago. Since then, I continue my counseling with a therapist who is closer to my home.
My struggle is that I feel imprisoned by my past. Today it took great efforts to shower. Showering still has its hold on me as my boundaries were violated when bathing as a child. My father would come into the bathroom, at will, and use some form of excuse to be there while I was bathing. I learned to hate to bathe, disrobe, etc.
I was also beaten by him, and later by my mother. At 17, I was molested by an older man who manipulated me into thinking he loved me and would provide me with shelter. Later, I was date raped. Years later, I was assaulted by an irate co-worker, at the age of 35. Now, at age 47, I continue to struggle with depression, anxiety attacks, ptsd symptomology, and somatic illnesses. Anit-depression medication helps keep suicidal ideations at bay. My therapists and psychiatrist have always believed me, and take care to point out that I not blame myself in any way as I was an innocent child/adult who is special and deserves to be loved just as I am.
There are still areas with which I feel imprisoned....showering, making love freely. Even with supportive therapy, EMDR, and psychotropics, the pain of the reality that I was not loved, was not wanted (was an 'accident') is sometimes too much to bear.
I go through my life finding it difficult to not share this truth with my siblings and my parents. (They don't want to hear it.) I guess I have a false assumption that this will lift my pain, having been validated from the 'source.' However, in reading a post from another writer to you, this person had apologies from her parents and she still feels the rage.
I can only conclude that, for me, I am still struggling to see my parents as they truly are, the good with the bad, and be able to contain that truth, and find a way to lift the burden of that truth so that I can find enjoyment in my life.
I do miss my mother, (both of my parents are still alive), who failed to protect me, and chose to stay with my abusive father, over her children. She acts like she was just a hard working mom doing the best she could.
The only voices to my pain are my mental health team. Without having somatic illnesses, I would not have found a physician (who was compassionate enough to see me time after time) suggested mental health counseling, in addition to our work together, after hearing my story.
I recall a headline about a boy who was taken by his disturbed father to a hotel room. The father lit his son on fire. The son survived and during the entire ordeal, cried out for his father. His father was the perpetrator. But, the boy wanted no one but his father. That is how I feel. No matter what my parents have done, I needed them, and sometimes feel that I still do.
I have a good husband, friends, and work. But, the pain of my past is with me daily. And, at this moment, I feel immersed in it.
I do hope for some release from the ties that bind me to them and to my painful past so that I may live in my present. If you have any feedback to help me to release my pain, I would be deeply appreciative.
Thank you, Dr Miller, for your commitment to the truth, for your courage to speak for those of us who had no voice, and for believing the children of the world.
B.

AM: You write: “His father was the perpetrator. But, the boy wanted no one but his father. That is how I feel. No matter what my parents have done, I needed them, and sometimes feel that I still do.” The story about the father and his son shows that you know exactly what you need: to rebel against your parents instead of waiting for them to change. I think that you are able to do this step, but it is possible that the medication you have been taking for years makes it difficult for you to dare it. Can you now, when you have a good partner, good friends and a job you like, try to live without any medication? The pain may increase for a while but if you really want to liberate yourself from your past, you must stop to wait for the love of people who never loved you, who are just unable to love. As a child you needed your parents as the boy in your story, but now YOU DON'T NEED ABUSIVE PARENTS: Open your eyes and don't let any medication to keep them closed.

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