Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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keeping resolve
Friday March 07, 2008

Dear Alice Miller,

Thanks to your books and the support of my mentor, who is an excellent therapist, I have come to terms with the fact that my mother is a narcissist who never wanted me to succeed or to be my authentic self. I have allowed myself to experience the pain of having a mother who never truly loved me and have accepted that she is also reacting to the cruelty in her own childhood, and is completely unaware of this. Six months ago, my husband and I decided that if our parents wanted to visit us, they would stay in a hotel. This was not well received by our parents who have always put their needs above ours. The result is that none of them have come to see our son since. I read that one can see the size of the narcissistic wound by the reaction when one tries to put boundaries in place. My mother became so furious when I suggested the hotel and I know it is not because she wants to be with me or her grandson, but because she is embarrassed by what people will think if they know she is not staying with me. Instead she vilifies me to everyone, as if I am crazy. I know my happiness and mental health is more important to my son than a relationship with narcissistic grandparents, but sometimes I wonder if I it is worth it to maintain some kind of civil relationship with these people for my son's sake. I think it is foolish to expect anyone to be any better as a grandparent than they were as a parent, but sometimes I falter in my resolve. Even as I write this, I know the answer to my dilemma. This is just another example of the continuing pain of having a narcissistic parent, that my children will not have a loving grandmother. However, I must continue to believe that by breaking the cycle of cruelty I am giving him something infinitely more important. I suppose the loneliness that comes from the lack of maternal love is something I will have to live with, but the unconditional love that I feel for my son can at least give me glimpse into what that love might have been like for me as a child. Thank you so much for your work, it has been liberating for me.

Sincerely, AR

AM: I can't answer your questions better than you did. Congratulations! And keep to the wisdom that your body shares with you: HOTEL.

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