Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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looking for a therapist
Friday February 20, 2009




Dear Alice,
Like many of your readers I enormously benefited from your books. I read "the body never lies" when I was struggling with a rare and difficult disease. It was three years ago. I first improved and then got sick again, and again, always with difficult-to-understand diseases. And if it was not a disease it was an accident or an injury. I cannot believe what I went through and how much my body has suffered almost continuosly. I thought I was progressing in my search for the true self. I left home, I went far away, I put any sort of distance with my family, I had moment of great clarity in which I wrote down my childhood experiences, and overall I have always been pretty much conscious of my sad past. So, why do I still suffer so much? Why is my body not responding? Is it too tired, even if I am still young? I feel mortified, it seems am only able to produce one failure after another. I realise that perhaps it is this feeling of failure and lack of love for myself that prevents me from finding a more permanent solution and peace. I have suffered since I was a child - both physically and psychologically. Perhaps certain abuses and neglect will forever forbid a decent life? Or perhaps I just cannot stop reproducing the suffering of the past? I notice that every encounter, every relationship is extremely painful for me. It requires me an enormous effort, even if the people around me are considerate and not abusive. Yet, whatever they say and do is a continuous threat to me. I perceive them as a threat even if they are not doing anything bad to me. Looking at the past I can say that most of the people I met were actually very decent, yet at the time when I was interacting with them I felt only horror and the need to run away. I often read that people that were abused in their childhood tend to unconsciously look for other abusers. But it seems that I am doing the opposite, I see threats everywhere and in this way I never ever enjoy social and intimate interactions. I have always been very sensitive and perceptive, I was an extremely good student, I could go well beyond the knowledge and explanations of my teachers, without any effort. Yet, once I entered adult life, I became unable to choose a career, an interest. I froze and am still frozen. Even in this field, I have achieved less than nothing. Now that I have written to you, re-reading the previous paragraphs, I realise that my story points to a particular direction: I keep killing opportunities for love and respect. My life seems to be an endeless series of missed opportunities and self-inflicted painful experiences. Perhaps my body is following the same logic, like if it did not know any other logic than that of inflicting and bearing pain. How do I change all of this? I have tried psychoterapy, but it was taking me on the wrong path, the therapist only wanted me to be grateful (grateful for the sun, for life), forgiving and forgetting. I am doing more discoveries on my own, yet not enough to save my life from constant pain. Thank you for any suggestion you might want to give me. Many times your answers have helped me to get new ideas, new insights. This is something I cheerish enormously. Thank you for what you are doing for your readers. J

AM: I can only encourage you to use my FAQ list (on the top of the page "articles") and to test different therapists until you are sure that they are INTERESTED in coming to know EXACTLY, together with you, your childhood story, always staying on the side of the wounded child you once were. Don't waist time for a second interview, you will realize in the first one if they must protect your (and their) parents. Then you have to leave and try with another one. You have all the knowledge and sensibility to find and bear your truth but you need an empathic witness so you don't have to repeat what you still don't know.Or maybe, without a witness, you simply don't dare to believe that what you do know was actually true.

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