Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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We can't buy a new family
Monday January 04, 2010

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Dear Alice,

I stopped seeing my mother 7 years ago, because I always was afraid of having deadly illnesses after the weekly phone calls with her.

Because I couldn’t cope any longer with these fears, I decided I had to have a time out and I told her I didn’t want to have contact for some weeks. She was very angry and wanted an explanation. I told her that I had the feeling she never loved me. She was very angry: how could I say that she didn’t not love me because she and my dad paid for my study, and when I was I child she could not sleep because I was afraid during the night and crying for her attention, and when I was very ill when I was a baby she was visiting doctors with me. She was so angry that she told me that she will advise every parent not to visit a doctor with a little child.

She told me that I had to apologize for saying that she didn’t love me; else she didn’t want to see me.

In the first 2 years my father was visiting me every 6 months and was asking me to apologize; that would be better for the whole family, my mother and him and my two sisters and the daughters of my sister. He stopped visiting me when it was clear to him that I was not going to apologize for something I was feeling.

I’m still seeing my sisters. We never talk about my parents, but I know that they do not understand my decision. “Because my parents are old people now, and they had their faults but now we are adults and have to cope with our problems ourselves”.

My two sisters are very close. They never contact me, I always contact them. The youngest has two little daughters and it’s nice seeing these little girls. That’s why I want to have contact with my sisters and also because I’m very afraid of not having family at all.

But the contact with my sisters is not satisfying, because the youngest sister is never ever interested in me, never asks me a question and is only talking to me about her life. The eldest sister makes me feel very bad; she tells me that al lot of things happened between her and me when we were children and that that’s the reason why our contact will never be good. I told her that the things that happened between us as little sisters is not because we were bad children but a result of the treatment of our parents.

Since I am not seeing my parents any more it’s going very well with me professionally and personally. The only problem that persists is that with friends it’s hard for me feeling comfortable; I’m often feeling overwhelmed by them and afraid that they don’t like seeing me anymore.

But with my sisters it’s not going better, even worse. It seems as if they are not interested in me and I always feel very bad after having contact with them. But I’m afraid stopping contacting my sisters, because then I am totally without family. And I’m thinking maybe it’s true, that I’m bad and that I have to try being a better person.

Last night I have a dream. In this dream first my youngest sister had informed my boss that I was a very bad person. My mother was laughing. I was afraid because my boss didn’t tell me but it was clear for me that she agreed with my sister (she changed in her communication to me). Then my other sister with a youth friend told me angrily :“that’s the same thing you did in “ city X””. I was totally in a shock, I haven’t ever heard of the name “city x”, and what did I wrong. I panicked, could not breath and awoke crying….

I’m afraid of not having family anymore, but I’m afraid as well that it is not healthy having this kind of relationship with my sisters and always have the feeling that they don’t like seeing and talking to me.

Seven years ago it was very hard for me to come to the conclusion that I had to stop seeing my mother. Now I’m very, very glad because I lost a lot of irrational fears. But now it’s even harder to know what to do in the contact with my sisters.

Thank you for your wonderful books and website!

I, The Netherlands






AM: As long as you think that you are a bad person if they don't love you you may have some additional work to do. But you did already a lot and you can't buy a loving family, you can only open your eyes.

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