Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The Truth Is Not ( I say NOT) a Punishable Offense
Sunday December 23, 2007

Dear Alice,
Although I know that most of the correspondences here are concerned with reader's difficulties with the later effects of the mendacity with which we have grown up,I want to share with you some related experiences I have been baving with the truth as a natural, normal state of human interaction.
I had an experience when I was 5 years old which best describes this point.
I had asked my parents for a certain toy for Chanukah, and waited excitedly for it. After prodding my father one evening about it,he explained that he had tried at "5 or 6" stores to find it,and I knew he was lying-both because I could feel it and because I already knew that he ALWAYS lied anyway.
So, with my legs shaking from fear,I stood up and told him so,for which I was "naturally" punished-sent to my room alone, "to think about what I had done".
I did, but couldn't see anything wrong.
My brother came in and told me that "I should think about everything Daddy does for us",and how I "shouldn't have said that",and at that moment, Alice, alone in my room as a 5-year-old child,did I really know that I was alone-with the truth,and that the truth was (there) a scandalous,punishable thing.
I have used this memory many times with many people Alice, to make a point about telling the truth-that it is as natural, (or needs to be), as breathing the air we breathe.
The "house" where I now still live in is a place where the truth is welcome and telling the truth is not a punishable offence,but a (child's) natural right.
I am telling you this because your books have been a great help to me in relieving the alone-ness I have always felt in my "little room",both as a 5-year-old child,and even now,today.
Thank you,and of course you may re-print this if you deem it to be useful for your readers.
steven

AM: You are absolutely right, the truth is not an offense but we were punished for seeing it so many times. You are lucky that you can so well remember this incident, so you can work on this memory. Millions of children suffered from the same treatment but they can't recall it and have never gained the insight you have. Thanks for your letter, it may help others to recall similar situations.

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