Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Saying the truth or being loyal
Tuesday September 30, 2008

Dear Alice Miller, feel free to publish this letter in your website, if you find it interesting.

In your post "Barbara's Forum 2", you write that instead of understanding you received personal attacks. I am sorry to hear that, because I was personally attacked as well. Like you, I was attacked after I criticized IFS therapy (in my forum). Why did I have to be attacked? Because I expressed disagreement with a person I was supposed to be "loyal" to?

Criticism is important when we work to find the truth; Sometimes, this truth is more important to me than "loyalty". It is not possible to have one's own opinion and to say that everyone is right at the same time. There is a difference between the truth and lies, and you have shown in numerous examples that the body also knows it. No postmodern philosophy or eclectic naivete can change this basic fact of life. The truth is not always easy to accept, of course. It is often painful and unwelcome. Besides, it makes us mad when someone else points a finger and says "you're wrong". But what if he is correct?

You were attacked personally because you "dared" to criticize and to break your "loyalty" in order not to betray yourself and your convictions. Some people obviously thougt that this was reason enough to try and punish you. To me it was familiar, because this is what my mother did whenever I dared to question her versions of the truth: to punish me, to try belittle me.

This was the dictatorship I grew up in, like so many other readers, I am sure. Certainly, this is how my persecuters' mothers had done to them in childhood: punished them for criticism. What other reason can there be for their behavior? Seemingly free from their mothers, they fight their scapegoats in the name of freedom. They were taught that to criticize is a crime against humanity, and that they have to always smile with agreement, unless they are treated with the most brutal sadism possible. They were told to keep their opinions to themselves because it is rude to disagree. Such people's rage is understandable. Every child needs her parents to appreciate and listen to her opinions. What is less acceptable is their behavior and hypcrisy as adults.

Norman.

AM: I agree with you. Fortunate are the few children who can express their criticism, who are listened to, taken siriously and understood by their parents. They receive a precious gift for their whole life. But for most of children saying the truth meant mortal danger. They are often brutally punished simply for saying frankly what they feel and think. As adults they often use the same means as their parents used before, without being aware of what they are doing. They are blindly attacking everybody who questions their traditional "opinions" given by their parents . Their children can't do anything else than to obey and staying loyal. Only adults can take legal actions if it comes to criminal harrassment or severe diffamation.

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