Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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interesting research
Saturday February 21, 2009

Dear Dr. Miller –
I wanted to let you know that I just yesterday received a copy of Free from Lies from W.W. Norton. I haven’t had a chance to read through it yet, but in the next couple of weeks I will write a review for the publisher and send you a copy. I was struck when reading of the conflict between celebrity presentation of happy childhoods and loving parents and depression, suicides and discovery of violent childhoods. I was struck because this week I am reading student papers which ask them to discuss times in their childhoods when their human dignity was supported and times when it was violated. Sometimes the way they frame their experiences it is hard to distinguish between the two. It is the rare student who does not describe parents as loving and caring even after describing humiliation, physical or sexual abuse inflicted by their caretakers. As always, you do see the truth!
I’ve attached a copy of a recent newsletter from our student organization “IN SUPPORT OF CHILDREN” and a program from our annual Vigil for Children who have died at the hands of their caretakers. The Vigil was a program started by my colleague Dr. Karen Polonko (http://al.odu.edu/sociology/isoc/pdfs/ChildAbuseandNeglect.pdf) and In Support of Children 4 years ago. You can see from the program, that we call on our students and others to become ‘enlightened witnesses’ for children and we ask them to have the courage to face their own demons help others do so as well. (You can click on the link in the Newsletter Report on the Vigil or the link that follows, see a little of what we did in a local news report: http://www.wavy.com/dpp/news/local_wavy_child_abuse_ODU_20090212.) Wishing you all the best and thanking you for the wisdom you share with the world! Lucien Lombardo

Dear Lucien Lombaedo,
Thank you very much for your letter and the linked material. I am glad that you and Dr. Polonko did not abandon your important research like so many do today. They first fully agree with my findings, because these are so obvious, but then, when they look closer at their own childhood they become scared by their parents, they become less clear, even confused and trapped again in denial. What you could learn from your students is in my opinion valid for the whole society. They report about cruelties by their loving parents because they don't dare to recognize the cruelty as such. It would be interesting if you published this material in a book, with your comments.
With warm wishes, Alice Miller

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