Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Do I need to know more?
Tuesday October 30, 2007

You and I were born in the same year. I was led to your books by a psychiatric social worker, and I find them helpful, but not helpful enough. They have helped me understand how I repeated my mother's abuse with my own children. I have apologized to them. I realize that I repeated my blind obedience to my mother in my relationship with my husband. Unfortunately, it's too late to apologize to him; he's dead now. He wouldn't have been receptive, anyway.

But what if I am already fully aware of my rage at my parents and still can't break through? After I retired at the age of 75, I decided to write a memoir -- not for publication, only for myself. In the course of writing I began to connect the dots, something I had never been able to do before, and realized at last exactly what my parents had done to me. My mother had never wanted a child and made that quite clear to me; she told me so. She tried to abandon me many times. She deliberately made it her mission in life to ruin mine. After all, she reasoned, I had ruined her life by being born; fair is fair. She was a closet lesbian and sexually abused me.

So now I know what she did and how my father abetted her, but still I have amnesia for several years of my childhood. Something traumatic must have happened at that time, but I cannot recall it. The social worker is a sympathetic witness, but it's not enough. What now? How can I break through the barrier that closes off those forgotten years?

Regards, L.

AM: You write: “Something traumatic must have happened at that time, but I cannot recall it.”
What are you looking for if you know this:
“My mother had never wanted a child and made that quite clear to me; she told me so. She tried to abandon me many times. She deliberately made it her mission in life to ruin mine. After all, she reasoned, I had ruined her life by being born; fair is fair. She was a closet lesbian and sexually abused me.”
What you need is to FEEL the suffering of this small girl who was not wanted, was many times in danger of becoming abandoned and was sexually abused. This knowledge is sufficient to get very angry with your mother and to become the loving mother of this tortured little girl who is still in search of a caring, empathic mother.

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