Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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My Boys
Sunday March 23, 2008

Dear Alice Miller,
I read the letter and your answer to the March 7, 2008 post called "A Mother's Deep Concerns." You answered that "it is very tragic that we repeat absolutely unconsciously what happened to us in our past." It is very tragic. As I pick up my sons from school, ages 11 and 14, they walk alone as groups of children laugh around them. They do not have close friends and no one calls them to come and play. I feel so sad as I drive away from their schools. I, and their father, are the reasons they don't have friends.
I have decided to write in detail about the sad and painful events of my childhood, and really dig for memories, because I have learned that just a general knowledge of having been abused doesn't help much. For example, I feel I treat one son more kindly than the other. I am going to look for every memory and feeling from my past, because I know that my
mother blatantly preferred my brother over me. I feel very sad because I am not sure I can restore my sons trust in people. Can you write something for us parents who know we have repeated damaging behavior and are still raising our children? It's challenging to try and improve while at the same time you see the damage done. It's challenging to stay optimistic. On some level I feel an overwhelming sadness and also a rage that I repeated this cold, bitchy behavior that my mother showed to me.
I have a hard time with the fact that other mothers haven't done this. I mean, I don't wish that they damaged their children like I did mine, but I'm jealous. I can't be friends with them.
Thank you so much, C.

AM: Thank you for your frank letter. You quoted from my answer to the letter of March 7, but you left out the most important part of the sentence that says that the repetition is tragic. Then I continue, saying..... ‘as long as we never had the chance to work on our repressed emotions and the story of our childhood.’

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