Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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I hate them. I'm similar to them. I love me???!!!!!
Tuesday September 18, 2007

Alice - I wrote the below email to you last night, re-read it this morning, and felt the need to write a quick follow-up. Last night I wrote "I am pretty much a worthless father". I was a tad emotional and don't believe that. I probably work harder at being a father and care more about being a father than 99 out of every 100 fathers on the planet. I suppose that's why falling short hurts so much. I'm assuming and hoping I will ease up on myself and the parenting blocks will fall into place once I gain more awareness about what the little boy inside of me is trying to tell me and what he went through. And as for my previous letter, I'm assuming just becoming AWARE of the terrible traits in me that I inherited from my parents is a necessary step in the right direction. Once again, feel free to post either or both letters. Thanks again. D.

********

Alice Thanks for responding (and Barbara too!) to my letter on 9/8/07. For some reason that I still don't FULLY understand, your words " try to talk to this child; he will have to tell you much" made my eyes well up with tears. I know I'm on the right track. I was hoping for your feedback on one more issue then I'll go back to reading letters to you versus writing them.

My 4-year old son was recently hospitalized with pneumonia. At one point during his hospitalization, we needed someone to watch our 2-year old son while I was at the hospital and my wife was getting much-needed sleep. I reluctantly called my mom. She said she couldn't help due to a previously scheduled appointment. The next day I discovered that my mother's "important" appointment was at the hair salon. I was livid. She couldn't put off a hair appointment to help us out with a son in the hospital??!! A real insight into my childhood. Unfortunately, the selfishness doesn't end there

The day before my son was hospitalized, we were under doctor's orders to just keep a close eye on him. He seemed to be doing fine, so I left my wife and kids at home to go play golf. She called me on my cell phone while I was on the golf course to tell me his breathing was labored and she was taking him to the emergency room. I decided on the car ride to the hospital that I am pretty much a worthless father.

My question is coming up shortly

The last couple years I've become much more aware of my parents shortcomings and the emotional pain I must have suffered as a little boy. This is still more of an "academic understanding" than a "visceral knowing". However, more recently I've noticed I'm a lot more like my parents than not. I'm furious at them in present day situations for their complete selfishness and last of consideration. As the above golfing example illustrates (not an isolated incident unfortunately) I am just as shitty. I also notice traits in my siblings (anger, exaggerated self consciousness, artificial behavior) that more recently I've concluded describe me quite nicely. My increased awareness of others has shed a not-so-flattering light on me as well.

Here is my question .

How do I truly love someone that I despise in so many ways? You could say "just change". Trust me I've tried. It ain't that easy. There is a certain way that I WANT to FEEL and ACT, but it is a wicked battle that I feel I am losing. How am I supposed to love myself when the more awareness I gain I become more convinced that I am so unlovable? My increased awareness seems to be working against me up to this point. Does this turn around at some point? How do I keep my kids from reliving my childhood nightmare?

You may print this letter as I've benefited so much from others' letters.

Thanks again for you important work. D.

AM: No, You are not with your children like your parents were with you. Far from that. If you repeat something you do it to protect your parents from your rage, so that you can avoid seeing how mean your parents were. After your mother refused to come to your child, you went to play golf so that you could say: the way my mother behaves is quite normal, it is normal to ignore a kid, I do it too. It is normal to have a hole instead of a heart. But you DO HAVE a heart; you only need the courage to look at your parents and to feel the RAGE. People who were most tortured in childhood are very reluctant to see their truth and to feel their rage because they are afraid of being punished again. Out of this fear they pretend that "It was not so bad". But now you can NOT be punished and NOT be hurt again - unless you have again the idea to ask your mother for a favor. Once you will learn to protect yourself and ask other people for help. There are a lot of people out there who will not hurt you when you need their help.

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