The liberating rage
Saturday January 24, 2009
Dear Alice Miller,
I am a childhood abuse suvivor. Your rather profound
and eye opening works gave me courage to undertake
a very long and painful journey to the feelings of my
After eight years of intensive emotional work including mourning,
harsh confrontations, and liberating rage I feel freed
from the bondages of my parents' agression and projected fears
that they inflicted upon me.
Now I feel that I live my own life. It is not easy, but it is
true and mine. I live in the present, i.e. I react and make my decisions
about the actual circumstances and situations.
As I got out of my inner prison, I found new relations to people
and to the society itself. The more clear I felt my inner pain and wounds,
the more sensitive I got to the hypocrisy of people and that of the society.
Long I was wondering how this collective hypocrisy can be maintained in
such an effective way.
I found the following. I think that the two main operating pillars of denial
[of the childhood traumas] are agression and intellectualization.
The misdirected and perpetuated agression can stabilize itself
by two mechanisms. First, in the pertinent individuals it releases destructive
energies and momentarily provides the feeling of self-rightousness and consequently
the feeling of adequacy of being able to 'defend' his/her current set of values,
i.e. the walls of denial. And because of the unequal footings [the adult against
the vulnerable child], the goal is achieved as the child gets emotionally silenced.
This might even be experienced as a satisfying victory in the agressor
parent and thus encourage him/her to continue along these lines.
How sad and awkward it is...
Secondly, at the level of the society, as you describe in your
books, misdirected agression is a widely accepted way of handling problems
even in the everyday life and unfortunately harming many innocent
souls. I feel that until a massive change emerges and percolates through
the society from bottom up (as we can hardly expect our blind leaders
to change anything), nothing significant will happen in the
recognition and assessment of misdirected agression.
I find that the other mechanism that can defend and even strenghen denial
is intellectualization. The concepts of information and knowledge based
societies are very welcome in our modern world. I have nothing against
knowing more if it supports the development of our integrity by enriching
our world of feelings and helping us in our human growth. However,
I witness day by day how the use of information is abused.
Many people who have no emotional access to their unresolved traumas
can escape now into the enhanced activity of their brain by unnoticedly choosing
This one-sided functioning indeed widens the gap between the intellectual
understanding and the actual emotional state. This further promotes
denial, further silencing the inner child. And this is rather painful to
Consequently I believe that the majority of pursuers of highly and
one-sidedly abstract, theoretical professions in which no emotional
involvment is needed (but instead, only a refined, neutral intellectual
observation is taking place) are in the state of emotional denial.
In my opinion such fields include the very rational analytical sciences
and psychoanalysis itself.
Just like misdirected agression, the abuse of information and
intellectualization is a self-amplifying process that grows and stabilizes
itself even at the level of the whole society by creating new standards
and set of 'values'. Again, I believe that only those can break these invisibly
destructive trends who possess emotional insight and integrity.
With the above letter I just wanted to write you about the long journey I undertook
and also about the related thoughs and feelings that recently came to my mind.
Thank you for your attention and I wish you a good health,
AM: Thank you for your letter and your information about how you succeeded to liberate yourself. It can help others who are not yet as far as you are.