Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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An incredible pain
Sunday July 20, 2008

Dear Alice,

My name is M. and I did write to you three emails last year with the above title.
A year has passed and a lot has happened. As I did say to you in the last email (last August!) i had a meeting with my parents and talked to them. It seemed ok for a while. I went totally freelance in September but needed a life coach to help me through the winter. I finished the coaching in May. Another month of so-called stability. And then I collapsed again in mid June. All my world crumbled down. That's when I decided to write emails to my parents. Getting everything out. But mostly being aware of the immense sense of guilt that I have, because I've been brainwashed to think that whatever my parents did to me was "For my own good". I bought your book. I'm reading it now. And it's mostly helping me to get through my sense of guilt. I believe I do understand your theories (which incidentally I don't consider theories but the reality of most familiar dynamics) and the fact that your book confirms them in many cases helps me to think I'm not crazy. I'm still in pain, but also (and that's what's
worrying me) I've lost every bit of motivation in my life. My thinking about death has increased a lot. And I feel like I've lost every hope to come out of my dependency from my family. I feel as I've half grown up. Not a man (at 39 years old). A half man. Stuck in time in his childish behaviours. I'm exhausted because of this and the need to work intensely to survive. It would be too long an email to completely explain my situation and I don't think this is the right place. Reading the introduction to your book I was stunned by your mention of Pink Floyd's "The Wall". The reason is that for an entire life I've listened, read the lyrics and watched the movie of what I've always considered a translation into art of a psychoanalytic treaty about child abuse. Maybe you're not yet entirely aware of its content in terms of lyrics and symbolic images and I strongly suggest you thoroughly enjoy this milestone in arts and literature, so misunderstood by mass audiences. The fact that you mentioned it (incidentally the lyrics of the famous song "Another brick in the wall, Part 2") made me think that I'm not that crazy after all. I'm sure you will (if you haven't already) thoroughly appreciate the lyrics of songs like "The thin ice" or "Mother" or "The trial" or "Outside the wall" from the same album.
Well, it's just within that wall that I've felt I've been living for all my life. And i've tried to get out of it, against my family's morbid control freakness. I've never succeeded, unfortunately. For different reasons. The main ones are the incredible fear to go out there (totally detaching from my mother and father) and the early moral blackmail based on the fact that I would be deprived of affection if I tried to escape (just to make it very simple). For my entire life I've felt like being into a prison. Which I believe is a feeling not different from the majority of people in my situation.
Now, as I said above, my hopes are just at an end. And I don't know what else to do to avoid a premature decay. I don't know if writing to my parents is a useful thing. But this time for the very first time in my life I'm letting everything out. And I do know that it's incredibly painful for them to read what I'm writing. But what can I do? Can I keep living my life with this inner cancer without vomiting it? I don't think so. It's a matter of life and death for me now. And if you have any suggestions to make, please feel free. I'm very scared this time.
Regards, M.

AM: Writing may help to say everything and to clear up your mind but don't send the letter to your parents. You will not change them. Try to give as much as you can affection to the child in yourself, the affection to the small child living in yourself who needs your understanding and your love. THIS will help you to come out of your prison and to live YOUR life, without feeling guilty. YOU ARE NOT GUILTY. You have very good reasons to be outraged! But there is not any doubt: The rage will leave you once you FULLY understood its reasons.

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