Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Letter to Alice
Sunday December 16, 2007

Dear Alice,

Thank You again for this wonderful place that I can use for comfort, clarity and to reconnect with myself. I sent my 3rd letter by accident before I had edited its free associative form. I just read the letter wednesday, from the person in England who was discussing Attachment Disorder. I was born breech, I believe that I "knew" or sensed with my whole being, the emotionally chaotic and traumatized situation that I was being born into. I have felt this since I was a teen and this sense came to me while reading while I was pregnant and preparing for my only son's birth. I began having ear infections at 3 mos. and often had colic, was bottle fed rather than nursed. There was a time when I had such high fever that I had convulsions. It has occured to me for quite some time, that my rage, horror and utter anguish at times was being expressed in the only way I could.
By the time I was 2 1/2 - 3, I had lsot a significant amount of hearing, so at the stage of exploration and moving away from the attachment to one's parents, I was doubly threatened because I COULD NOT hear them! This brings me back to the point I want to make about attachment, my basic experience of it was sooo ambivalent: NEED misxed with my response of revulsion for all the overwhelming and unprocessed trauma in my Mom and the other adults. I am finding since I am 52 and have increasinly become aware of these feelings in my whole body, of having had looked my whole life for the loving, clear and calm that I did not have. And how could I not? I desperately wanted to believe life and relationships could feel good and pleasurable and have looked, as your recent reader, for this belonging my whole life. It is our NATURE to desire belonging, yet whenever I get really close to most people, they are NOT able to love in this way. PERIOD.
This looking is a part of the continued disappointment, isn't it? It is HARD and it HURTS to feel in my stomach, the repulsion and at the same time a need to connect and to be liked, loved, known. My sense of this is that the things I did and do now to please others, when I am feeling empty, anxious, scared or afraid of being unloved does not lead to satisfaction, because so much of what I see and feel coming from others seems insincere, driven and desperate, or fearful. I am confused, and am scared that just being with the feelings and listening with an open heart & mind won't be enough. But then I don't know "enough" very well, the experience of not enough feels much more real to me. I feel alone inside, even though I have people who do love me, I find it hard to take it in, to allow myself to feel that too (and it is never simple, always mixed). I do feel connected to others when they are sharing honestly what they are thinking and feeling and I do trust my son and grandchildren and always have trusted children, more than most adults I meet, to be themselves or honest and real. I cannot believe how this world and its' institutions and social organizations and most adults do not seem to be aware of the preciousness, intelligence and sensitivity of infants and children.
Thank you for all you and Barbara have written, as it feels so true and resonates so deeply within me. Your words quench a deep thirst and keep the ground under my feet solid. When I feel so alone in my awareness of the myriad forms and expressions of mistreatment and abuse of children, I know you both and Barbara's site is here. M. R. B.

I would love a reply if my letter is relevant to other readers who may have had hearing loss and similar experiences. I wonder if most childhood illnesses and even a weakness of an infant/child's immune system is not an expression of repressed intense painful emotions. I can't believe how few people think this way about it! And how obvious it appears to be.

AM: Thank you so much for your honest and moving letter; I am sure, it will strongly resonate in most of our readers. I don't doubt that EVERY illness children (and adults) have to suffer are linked to the physical and emotional mistreatment and neglect endured in their childhood. Unfortunately, this link is strongly denied by doctors and the whole society.

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