Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Wonderful research and texts
Friday October 12, 2007

Alice,

First of all, you MAY post my message to your website, with my actual name, preferably.

In an effort to keep things concise, I will do my best to give you my version of my childhood "story". My mother died when I was a little over a year old. My Dad and I then went to live with an Aunt (my Dad's sister), whose family I fit right into. Her three daughters were one year, two year, and five years older than me, and my Aunt fully took on the role of raising me as a good mother would. Because that was so early in childhood, I don't recall a LOT of specific incidents from that family, but I'm sure there were some of the beatings typical from a "good Catholic" family. Perhaps not to the extent of some stories that I've heard, but enough to be noticeable. I for one, escaped a lot of those because "Oh Poor Michelle, remember she lost her mom".

Well my Dad remarried a woman with a LOT of issues, who was very selfish and had no intention of dealing with those issues and treating her
children any different. Not to mention the fact that because I wasn't hers, she could blow me off as an "inconvenience". My Dad, finally
relieved from the stress of "having to raise a child", could now rest knowing that my stepmother was taking care of. So, he turned a blind eye to the taunting and teasing that was unleashed on me, and at times, joined in with it. He "stuck his head in the sand", and that's where
it's remained ever since. I cannot speak to the treatment and/or physical beatings I may recieved from her or my father at a very young age because I have no memory. But I feel (bodily at least) that there's something there.

But, I always felt "different', and that if I didn't conform to their expectations, I was obviously a dissapointment, and a child that was not worth their time. My half brother acted up continuously on many occasions, but he was accepted because he was "blood". I KNEW that if I did the same things, I was out on the street.

I have been to talk therapy for YEARS. To the point where I could BE the therapist. It was all interesting and perhaps not a total waste of
time. But I have recently been seeing a therapist who does sensorimotor therapy which attempts to get you to understand how you've stored
emotions in your bodies, and how you tend to react to life situations by how your body acts, not your conscious mind. It was been very hard
work, but some of the most satisfying work I've ever done in my life. For once, I'm reconnecting to that little child who was not heard and had to "talk to walls of her bedroom", because that was the only sounding board I had. And I'm starting to resurface some of those old hurts of not being heard and not being validated , and being humiliated constantly as a small child. I KNOW this affected my ability to progress emotionally and learn certain life lessons because I was stuck at that stage.

I have been very luck in my life to find people whom you call "Enlightened Witnesses" that hear the little child, and understand the neglect and abuse that was never resolved in my own psyche. Your books and your research into this area have been a very large part of that recovery. This road to wellness that I am currently on is the only one that I have felt was "right". And it is the road I will continue and the road I will reveal to my boys as they undo the harm I've done to them in their early years "before I knew better".

I can't thank you enough for your insight, and your ability to put into words so much of what I've been thinking, but haven't been able to put into words precisely because of my "stunted emotional development". Hopefully that will change, and hopefully I will read every Alice Miller book I can get my hands on.

Thank you again, and thank you for saving my boys. One more generation that will get that much closer to "getting it right".

Michelle Tokarz
Canton, MI
USA

AM: Thank you for your letter. I am glad that you found a therapist who helps you to see and bear your truth. Everything falls in its place then, doesn't it?

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