Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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a dangerous confusion
Saturday May 30, 2009



Hello,

I am a 38 year old woman in therapy right now. After the birth of my daughters (now 5 and 2) i was thrown back into my own childhood, my experiences and my true feelings, wich i've been hiding and disregarding for so long. I have always told myself that i was ridicolous, hysterical, a liar, a mental basketcase for having certain feelings about my childhood. After everything my mom had done for me and i was ungrateful??
Looking inside my daughters'eyes i saw pain and i couldn't believe it! She had the most loving parents in the world! My eldest was pulling her hair out and thank god i went to see a therapist for her. He gave me tips and told me that my girl was very sensitive. My daughter opened up to me and said at not even four years old: "I'm a bad kid mom, 'cause i cannot take care of you" It was the mirror that i needed: in so many ways my daughter was me: trying to be invisible, trying to make things work in the family and feel like a failure. But the feelings that i, as her mother, had hidden away for so long, thinking that i had forgotten, that i lost my rights to stand up and demand my place in the family, my own place in the world (i had become a 'Stepford wife' for my family)...she picked up on it, felt responsible for it. She mirrored my pain and then i discovered that my youngest (a baby at that time!!) was also tuning in on me, and starting to feel responsible...i knew that i had to be strong and face some harsch truths about my family.
After chilling confrontations with my family i decided that i had to break of all contact. My girls are now positivly blooming and happy. Even though mommy is somewhat of a basketcase. Al my feelings, al those bad thoughts about my family seemed actually to be true and i am just a survivor of childabuse and not hysterical.
I have read alice millers' book about the denial that lives under the therapists, and i feel that i am living it right now. My therapist has been "on my side" al during the therapy and has told me that it is very rare that a person with my childhood experiences is actually a welfunctioning human being and a good mother. She believes that my father and mother were sadistic and that my life was one in constant fear and unsafety. Adding to that: my older sister and my father have trades that are probably signs of an serious mental illness. Al that has been denied by my loved ones and my family thinks that i am the crazy one for believing that our childhood was no fun. Anyway: my therapist now believes that i am 'strong enough to restore the contact' with my mother!! That blew me away...she believes that it is in the best interest of my daughters to have contact with their grandmother, eventhough we just concluded in therapy that my mom was sadistic and emotionally disconnected. That she needs the grandchildren to be a confirmation that she did a good job as a mom...that my mother still isn't prepared to accept me into her life unless i unring the bell and be 'a nice person again'...that we now know that my children are so very sensitive and that my youngest daughter catches high fevers whenever we talk about my mother for to long....and now i should restore contact? I don't think so! It's amazing that it's aparrently pretty oke to use my kids for the emotional wounds in my family. It gets validated by 'a professional'... It just blows me away.

Anyway, i also have a quesion: I get the feeling that more and more kids these days are very senitive (or at least able to show their sensitivity) and i was wandering why and how it's possible that my daughters are able to 'skip' certain feelings on the surface (that i used as a smokescreen, but i didn't know that!) and go straight to the core of the problem and have such deep impact? How do they know what they feel, what mommy feels, when even mommy doesn't know what she feels?? Is it our biological bond? Is it that children these days are more in tune with their emotions and therefore quiker in picking up signs?

Thanks for listening, A. from The Netherlands

AM: The confusion of your therapist is shocking and dangerous indeed. First she tells you that your parents were sadistic and your father and one sister were mentally il and then she is going to sacrify you again because "now you are strong enough" as well as your children because they "need a grandmother" and she needs them to feel well. Fortunately you could see through this dangerous advice, so that you can protect yourself from this therapist and protect your children from what happened to you in your family.
Children have always been sensitive but their emotions were ignored or/and forbidden. Your children have the good fortune to be loved, you want to understand and protect them and are now enough aware of the danger. They thus can show you how they feel, and you no longer need the repetition of your childhood's tragedy. The more you realize emotionally what happened to you the easier your children will grow up in peace.

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