Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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what should I do?
Friday April 18, 2008

Dear Alice:

I am an 18 year-old-girl from Spain who has recently discovered your theory by "For your own good". I was smacked, spanked and humiliated as a child, yet nobody has ever cared; by contrast I have seen people praising my parents for doing that.
However, I have always considered unfair being hurt for doing something wrong; and it has affected me so deeply that despite not being living with my parents any longer, I sometimes still remind of that moments and cry for it.

To start with, I would just like to dedicate you a few lines to thank you for the work you are doing. I suppose that your theory has made you be criticized; due to the fact that hitting children has always been, and yet it is, socially well-accepted. Nevertheless, your statements have also made me feel relieved and self-reassured, as I seem to find at least one person who does not underestimate my pain. Therefore, I would encourage you to continue writing and hope the positive feedback compensate you for that.

Anyway, I am going to share some of my experiences and asked you some questions.
I would like to discover why I find it so hard to make new friends or stammer when I am talking to someone. I do not know if it is a barrier my body has developed in order not to get hurt. So it feels as if my "unconsciousness" wants to prevent me from bad people.
The root of that may lie in my childhood: When I was younger not only would my parents treat me badly, but also my classmates and my teachers used to laugh at me. I was a bad student and quite absent-mind so I was often growled by my teachers. If it did not work they humiliated me in front of my classmates, then they soon discovered it was acceptable to do so and did it as well. My parents did not help me to feel better; they justified my partners and teachers instead. I still remember my mother praising the “bullies,” whilst he despised me saying how miserable she was to have such a useless daughter.

Another thing that I find it difficult is to refuse to do something for someone, which I suppose it is the consequence of how my parents reacted every time I disobey: They would slap on my face until I surrender and say sorry. They did so to make me “more humble”; however, they never apologised to me because in their own words “parents are always right due to the fact that it is them who sustain their children”.

Nowadays, I am a young girl who is on the edge of breaking down and wanting to die rather than anything else. I am attending a psychologist but even her does not seem to understand me. I do not know what to do: should I stay “depressed” or should I go for a psychoanalytic for help?

Yours sincerely,

E.P

P.D.: Sorry for my English: I know it is not easy to understand it.

AM: You are very clear and brave for your age. If you ask me for advice I would say: don't go to psychologists or psychoanalysts without having first used my FAQ and having checked them. You don't need to have a depression if you allow yourself to feel and to take your feelings seriously. Read the mail on this page and my recent books, especially "The Body Never Lies".

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