Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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JULY 2005

Message from LJP
Wednesday July 27, 2005

I don't know where to begin. I know I was sexually abused by my father
at
the age of three, followed by years of his denial and emotional abuse.
I
remember him telling me I was fat and ugly, despite him abandoning me
at
the age of eight because I did not, in his words, love or appreciate
him.

I have been reading your books for a year or so now, and have
discontinued
therapy with a psychologist who only served to validate me. My big
sign
was when I attempted to talk to her about sex, the language she used
was
entirely inappropriate. When I confronted her, it turned out, of
course,
that she had also been abused sexually.

I began seeing a very good therapist who also happened to be well
versed
in EMDR, though we haven't used that method all that much. During this
time, I found myself wrestling between quiting my job (which was in
itself
abusive and traumatic) and quiting my relationship (a very healthy,
very
stable supportive young man.) A bit by force, I made the right
decision.
I quit my job because I felt like they were controlling me. They had
both
taken away all my managerial privileges with no legitimate excuse, and
questioned my resignation the first time I put it in: thus, I felt,
denying me to some extent, self control.

Still, what made me quit was the fact that I got ridiculously sick.
First
I had skin rashes, then mild anxiety, and on the final day I worked, my
blood pressure skyrocketed to 188/80 temporarily and I went to the
hospital feeling nausea, dizziness, and faintness.

I have never fainted, and the thought that I might ever is terrifying
in
and of itself.

And that was just the begining of some extreme anxiety, of the likes I
had
never seen. I constantly believed I was dying. It took an EKG to
convince me that I didn't have any heart problems. I still have some
pretty extreme chest pain from time to time and about two minor attacks
a
day (and feel and almost constant pressure there that no doctor can
explain). They are controllable, but no fun... and I want this process
to
be over with already.

I never got to be a kid, and now, because of the attacks, I feel like
I'm
not being allowed to be 23.

I have done much reawakening, reclaiming my memories, understanding
that
my father could not love me, that I must love myself, that I must
understand that none of it was my fault, that I can take care of myself
now that I am an adult. I even know why I felt so much guilt. Guilt
gave
me a sense of control. If it was my fault, then I could prevent it
ever
happening again... by being benevolent and taking care of everyone
else,
then maybe my needs would be met.

And I've learned so much about my own needs: I needed to feel in
control,
I needed to have someone tell me that I never had to see my dad again
(instead of court ordered visitation), I needed someone to listen to
me, I
needed to forgive myself and understand why I blocked that memory.

There is a mixed belief as to whether or not I can remember fully what
happened to me when I was 3 years old. I would like to, and have
always
wanted to... but what happened, save me telling my mother and social
worker at the time "daddy stuck a magic wand into here" we're not
exactly
sure.

And I realized the connection between wanting to leave my relationship
and
the trauma recovery. My dad had left me because he thought I'd be
better
off without him (he emailed me so years later, and denied ever saying
that
I didn't love him.) I had been doing that for years and years, leaving
perfectly good relationships because I felt the other person had been
better off without me. I finally found someone I respected enough to
decide for themselves whether they wanted to stay. They have so far,
and
I've put them through so much hell, thinking I'm dying twice a day for
the
past four weeks. I am truly amazed at their endurance. But that is
what
I wanted the most, to make that decision for myself: whether or not my
father should stay in my life.

And I undertand that my dad was the one who did not love and appreciate
me. Not the other way around.

In your books you give this idea that once you realize these things,
the
physical symtoms imediately dissappear, but mine still assail me some.
They are getting better, but then new signs of stress appear. I
stopped
trembling, but now I have frequent small spasms for example.

In your opinion, and I know I haven't given you much, what is left of
this
process? And how do I get there? I so want to be healed and done. I
keep thinking I am, and then six hours later there's another attack. I
want help.

Sincerely,
L J P
(and I don't mind you publishing this letter.)

To LJP 2.8.05
You tell us in your letter that your father abused you sexually when you were three years old and that he abandoned you at the age of eight because you did not love or appreciate him. He then e-mailed you many years later that he had abandoned you out of his love for you so that you were protected.
You are now twenty years old, suffer of many symptoms and of the "amazing" compulsion to abandon people who love you and care about you. You write that you do that because you feel "that the other person had been better off" without you. In this way, you try to give sense to a perversion so that you can believe you were loved, because every child absolutely needs to be loved. But the body of the 23-year-old intelligent woman feels the truth and rebels against the lie. It cannot recover as long as the adult clings to the illusion that her father loved her. A father who exploits the body of his 3-year-old daughter is a criminal who is incapable of love. In addition, he conceals the crime by telling her that he loved her.
Your letter shows that the adult daughter does want to know her truth and that she will thus eventually get it. Reading my last articles and the last interview for ONA on this website may be helpful on this path. But now, by repeating the pattern of your father (I make you suffer "for your own good") you protect your father, you deny his lies and perversions and your body screams for its truth. AM

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