Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The world must wake up
Saturday October 03, 2009





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Dear Dr. Miller,

This is just to thank you so sincerely for your books and tell you of my great admiration. I have read four and they have truly given me a new perspective.

There are some other wonderful readings that seem to perfectly complement and reinforce yours, such as Judith Lewis Herman M.D.'s Trauma and Recovery, the chapter on child abuse. She introduces a revolutionary concept, chronic PTSD, (CPTSD), arising from prolonged and repeated traumas, as opposed to PTSD from a one-time event. Although slanted a bit toward sexually abused children, she describes so well how a child's personality is formed and deformed through being brought up in a concentration-camp type atmosphere, such as the one I was born into and raised in.

My calvary began as soon as I was conceived; my mother told me that was when my brutal, physically violent and verbally abusive alcoholic narcissistic father began physically hitting her. My mother tells me that although we had free medical care (being military), my father refused to let her take me when I became deathly ill as an infant. I know he was abusing me in infancy due to comments he made to me when I got older, eg., that as a baby I hadn't been nice enough to him and so on.

Along with receiving slaps and strappings for no reason except that he had sudden violent rages, I had to suffer in seeing his vicious cruelties to my mother and younger brother, any pets we had, and eventually, aunts and uncles, and my stepmother after he remarried. His weapons included the use of fear and intimidation; strict orders; forced feeding; forced exercise; standing at attention; denial of sleep; forcing me to behave like a bully and fight others; enjoying it when I was bullied by other children; isolation and separation from other family, neighbors, and potential friends.

His method was to stand over us when performing tasks or chores with a running commentary of how poorly we were doing; even with all of that, our work was inevitably found deficient and defective. He had insulting names for us: my mother was crazy and stupid; I was fat, stupid, ugly, clumsy and an underachiever; my brother was a sissy and crybaby.

I heard these messages so many times that I literally developed no self beyond the "not good", "not good enough" inadequate performer. I would have been demoralized if I'd only had to hear all his continual negatives about my mother. He remembered to tell me several times how my being born ruined his life and how fortunate I was that he wasn't a rapist like so many other fathers.


AM: Your clarity is amazing, after such a terrible childhood. Thank you for the permission to publish your story, it can be helpfull for others to see that even with your brutal history you can heal if you dare to see your truth without betraing yourself. I can only congratulate you.

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