Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Leaving the silence
Thursday November 12, 2009


Dear Dr. Miller,

I'm a psychotherapist, 61 years old, working in Marbella (Malaga) since 1990 in my private practice. Due to my good knowledge of quite a few languages, I'm treating people from many countries, adults but also children. I learnt psychoanalisis, family therapy and psychodrama after my university years and I have developped my own way of approaching my patients, always insisting on their childhood. I've read most of your books which I found very illuminating and true. They helped me to confirm my own convincement that the use of agression, violence, sexual abuse, neglect, etc.. is the cause of the problems of our patients in adult years and give children such an amount of fear, that they cannot develop their capacities. I observe those children looking "hungry", thin, pale faces, eyes full of sadness and fear wanting for somebody to give them some attention and love, the fat ones, full of tears and anger, the agessive ones just giving to others what they are experiencing at home and it really breaks my heart. They were not born like that. Often when I try to talk to the parents about it, they refuse to change their behaviour, talk about their own childhood and take the children away

As you well say, parents insist that beating or humilliating a child doesn't have any repercussions in adult life and adult patients tend to excuse their parents as if the fact of being a parent would make us all saints. If we abuse another adult the law punishes us, but the children have to bear all sorts of abuse and nobody seems to care.

I want to thank you for having been brave enough to denounce the importance of child abuse to the world and be sure I shall continue to defend children against the brutality of adults and help adults to admit the truth of their childhood.

With all my admiration, RGG



AM: Thank you for your letter. There are not many therapists who dare to see how psychic illness is created by parents. A woman recently asked me: please tell me what I must do, my doughter, 2 years old, came to the world to make my life a hell. She doesn't sleep well, she doesn't eat as she should and cries all the time. This mother had not the slightest insight into the fact that she protects her mother at the cost of her child. Sadly enough, many therapists are still blinded by theories. I am glad to know that there are exceptions. You dare to see and to write hat parents create the madness and not the genes.

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