Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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nearly insane
Wednesday March 12, 2008

My experience of the last 12 months. This is what I've found. In therapy for years most of it ineffective. I doubted my current therapist of 5 years. It's taken until recently to understand shes great. Early trust issues i didn't understand prevented me from seeing this. In childhood i became the prisoner of developing illusions created for the sole purpose of survival resulting from a mostly loveless/abusive childhood. Basic survival was paramount.... and i fell far short of my true potential as an adult. A little over a yr ago my unconscious abruptly opened in a way i found difficult to comprehend much less find the emotional/mental agility i needed to grasp and understand it's reality. I was overwhelmed and nearly suicidal at times. I felt nearly insane. My therapist not long ago told me "i felt like you were hanging on by a thread and i was the thread". This is no exaggeration. What I discovered based on my experience is this. The first and most important illusion shattered was my illusion of being loved. This realization eventually almost entirely imploded a defense system unconsciously constructed in childhood. Very, very painfully. From my experiences i believe every child conceived is hardwired for survival. True love and its expression is the mechanism on the part of the parents/caregivers to ensure this. The infant WILL KNOW if this is forthcoming. Any disruption of infant needs being met, or cruelty, can spark and unimaginable existential terror of death in the childs mind and due to it's helplessness the unconscious mind activates and tries to ensure survival as best it can. Illusions form, needs become perverted etc. These, now transformed into "survival lies", were shaped by my inherent capacities and particular circumstances. I repressed from consciousness a lot of trauma, not only the experience but most associated emotions. I left home in my late teens and thats when my problems really started to manifest. What i carried was a defense system constructed to withstand abuse from childhood . In a way, I never left my abusive home until now. I denied the abuse in various ways or either totally repressed it. Its clear that i've been reliving old abuse as an adult, acting it out with no awareness. Sometimes old traumas were being triggered by currents situations that were similar to my past. Not only did i have no awareness but I couldn't escape the pain no matter what i tried. Early in my 20's I suffered a severe "nervous breakdown" and i became strongly depersonalized in the form of de-realization along with a plethora of other symptoms. All this, on top of my conviction that something was inherently wrong with the real me, that i was the cause of my problems(early defense). Drinking and drugs came next. They didn't work. All of this and more was nothing but a desperate attempt to survive at all costs while being crushed by my denial of the truth. The truth is that I was severly abused by my parents and others and most of it was either repressed or suppressed. It's clear i've been reacting to the adult world in the fortress of my child's unconscious without knowing it. Survival activated by stored fear ruled and i withdrew into isolation and struggled for years. The last year was a trip into hell, the way it really was, but only as a child. Old trauma was continually being activated, i could not comprehend, understand or change it. A little over a month ago the turmoil that i've been experiencing subsided and i felt better (cautiously optimistic since i've experienced several set backs in the last year). At first it ran thru my mind that my unconscious was closing. Thats not exactly true. Now, my take on this situation is that my child's defense system is largely down. I've lived in hell for a year and witnessed what's there. I've felt so many overwhelming emotions ..... terror from abandonment, sexual abuse, neglect, all forms of lack of love=pain. I grasp with with both intellect and emotions what happened. I sense that for the most part the journey back "home" has run it's course and anything that comes up later will not present a lot of trouble. I am experiencing a psyche spaciousness that i couldn't imagine. Freedom. I finally know what a need is and i have a growing confidence that i can discover ways to satisfy them. Some old ones were perverted into but with work on my part i feel confident they'll return to their original state. I have shed most body symptoms, no panic attacks, my derealization/dissociation is gradually dissolving, fear is being replace by self-esteem and confidence, hopelessness by hope etc. A very heavy fog is lifting, my crippling dependency is leaving. I've discovered and experienced MY RAGE and it's reason for being but it's disappearing fast. I'm feeling some peace maybe even the beginings of joy. I was empathetic for others but had little for myself but I feel it now and it's wonderful. I see the awesome power of the unconscious and it's effects everywhere. I had a degree in psychology.... thought i knew what it was. I was kidding myself. It meant absolutely nothing until I experienced it first hand. For whatever reason, i had the drive to go back and find my truth. I don't protect my parents now and i can live with the truth i found. I'm growing confident in my ability to transform and build a life. I've experienced several dissapointing false starts the last year but i sense this ones going to last. Denying old feelings, in whatever way, either by myself or by allowing other people to keep me from them...... NEVER EVER WORKED!!!! in my case the denial i used as an adult came very close to claiming my life. I'm not kidding myself there's work ahead but i'm already starting to have a little fun.... almost unheard of for me. Regards J.

AM: Thank you for this letter. It makes much sense and I congratulate you for the work you have done. You understand now that graduation in psychology means near to nothing if you are afraid of your truth, your emotions and above all your justified rage.

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