Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Dealing with anger
Thursday November 12, 2009










Thank you for writing wonderful books which, I might add, have validated me in ways too numerous to mention.

I am grateful to have faced the gut-wrenching truths regarding the constant abuses I endured for eighteen years, including verbal, emotional, physical, and sexual. I honestly do not know how I endured the excruciating psychic pain involved in facing these truths. There were days and weeks and months of deep grieving; and then the anger showed up.

The anger was always there, of course, but it had been buried, suppressed, and repressed for so long. It refused to die, and so it showed up as depression, panic, anxiety, illness, and fantasies of escape through suicide.

I think I will be able to work through this anger, and I am lucky to have an empathic therapist. However, I have an issue which I have not heard any other abuse survivor discuss and I thought I would ask you for your insights on the topic. I see parents abusing their children in public places so very often that I have gotten to the point that I actually dread going to the grocery store, a restaurant, church, etc. My feelings threaten to overwhelm me; they are a mixture of indignation, rage, desperation, powerlessness, and grief. There are instances in which I have gotten involved, confronted a parent, contacted store security, written down license plate numbers of vehicles so as to provide info to the Department of Child Protective Services. But there have been times I did nothing but rush to my car, put my head on the steering wheel, and weep in profound sorrow.

Ms. Miller, has anyone ever written to you regarding such a problem? I truly am at a loss as to what to do about this. I think the worst aspect of this problem is the terrible sense of powerlessness I feel every time I see a parent being cruel to a child. I realize that the powerlessness is felt by the little girl part of me who also felt grief-stricken and powerless when she witnessed her beloved siblings and mother being abused. But I am no longer a child. I do my best to support the little girl part of me, and I try to help her to feel safe in such instances. But even as an adult, I feel limited in what kind of an impact I can make. I want to RESCUE the child and I cannot!

Have you ever experienced something similar? Or have you received any letters from survivors who struggle with this? I honestly would appreciate your feedback as I greatly respect you, your beliefs, and your work. Surely I can't be the only abuse survivor who feels enraged and powerless in the face of parental cruelty.

Thank you, DM

AM: What you experience now i s not an exception. The rage opened your path to yourself. You had the good chance to have a therapist who enabled you to FEEL and all the feelings you repressed or dissociated over so many years come now to your consciousness. This is ALWAYS painful. Because you realize what has been done to you. But this experience is liberating, without any doubt. <7b>

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