Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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How to prevent a child being beaten..
Sunday May 04, 2008

Dear Alice.

I am writing to you as you seem to be the only person who sees clearly what tragedy it is when a child is being hit, and sees that ALL corporal punishment is abuse, even though many parents divide it into groups, where a small smack is suddenly nolonger abuse... It is good that there is someone like you in the world, whose lense doesnt get foggy when these parents sternly try to explain how a small smack is not violence..

I am writing you now as I have learned that my brother is expecting his first child. Both of us have had therapy for years because of out own traumatic childhood full of tyranni and emotional abuse (no fysical abuse however).
His girlfriend on the other hand has been subjected to fysical abuse and has become quite shy as a result of it. She has also suffered from losing a parent at a young age. But she refuses any kind of therapy. Last year when we were discussing how teachers can take liberties towards students, by threatening them and so on, to gain "control" in the classroom, and how that was something that teachers didnt have the right to do, but still did very much, she said: "well I have been hit when I was a child and I was never damaged by it".

Now I feel very very bad. I think I should be doing things to prevent her from hitting the unborn child. I have talked to my brother, but he seems to have blinded himself. He just keeps saying; I have talked to her and she says that she will not do that. And he doesnt believe she would ever do something like that because she is in his words such a gentle person. But how does this add up with her saying that a child doesnt get damaged by being hit, and the categorical refusal of getting therapy? I feel I should do something but I dont know what I can do. I can report it if it does happen, but in my mind that would already be too late. Is there anything I could say to her that would help her see how shes rejecting her own childhood pain and in that way open her eyes to the possibility of repetition. Or do you think it sounds like everything will actually be okay, and Im overreacting at this point?

I would really appreciate your help.

Best Wishes, K.

AM: I can well understand your concern. Try to talk to her, but saying that she would need therapy would probably not help to open her. From the web www.nospank.net you can get the brochure PLAIN TALK ABOUT SPANKING. You can give her this text to read, and I hope that this will give her the information she needs. You can also give her my book FOR YOUR OWN GOOD.

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