Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Confronting Our Parents
Friday July 04, 2008

AM: Why don't you tell him that nobody has the right to hit and mistreat him and that you will talk to his parents and tell them that what they are doing is a crime. It is your duty to protect this boy from the lies he has been taught and to tell him the truth. Otherwise a so-called therapy is a farce.

JR: Oh, I tried that, believe me. They have full support in their abusive behaviour from his headmaster, his headmistress, all his teachers, the police, the vicar, the priest, the imam, the counsellor, and the doctor. They all assure his parents that their son is evil, it is a kindness to correct him. And then, there are all my professionalist colleagues who will insist, to his parents and to everyone else that it is not their job to say what is right or wrong, that people are entitled to their opinions, it is an issue of difference and that it might well be the way he has taken his beatings that is causing his problems. His parents feel very strongly that I am a commie beatnik and they did in fact threaten to call the police if I didn't quit their premises immediately. So there is just me to reassure the little boy that all of society is quite wrong, they are child abuse perverts, and he is the only one who is right. Its very hard to convince him of that, and he (and I) have been vociferously accused of arrogance and shouted down by my professionalist colleagues. I hope that if I can stay focused and not give in to despair arising from professional and social isolation, that the little fellow will eventually respond, accept the terrible truth that our society is compulsively child abusive, and begin to emerge from the terror and horror which has gripped him thus far. I hope he can become stronger, not so easily destroyed by the lies and betrayals of parents, doctors, priests, therapists, policemen and teachers. That he will come to understand they are cowards and allow his feelings of deep scorn to arise without consuming him with other dark feelings like hatred and then, destructively acting it out. Do you think he might be able to? How can I encourage him? How can I reassure him? Would it be better, do you think, if I were to withdraw from therapy, rather than remaining as a passive witness to his suffering?

Yours, J. R., Psychotherapist

AM: You are asking me: “Do you think he might be able to (understand)? How can I encourage him? How can I reassure him?” My answer is: Only through your OWN courage, through your own freedom from lies. As long as you fear what your colleagues are saying, you can't help him. The boy will feel your fear and the lies, he will feel your fear of your colleagues (AND YOUR PARENTS).

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