Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Therapists afraid of questioning parents
Sunday January 01, 2006

Dear Mrs. Miller,

Hopefully this message reaches you. Every once awhile I read your website and information published on it. Your work has meant a lot to me, I cannot express in words how it feels to have someone on my side! I am a child of a narcissistic father and mother, it has taken me years to cope with this fact and to deal with the damage that was done to me. Big part for the reason that it has been so very difficult is because of the culture I live in. In my culture the emphasis is on the parents and their good intentions. Very few people question these intentions, it seems to be common acceptance that if there is something wrong it must have to do with the child.

In your interview "the roots of violence" you state:
"Yes. The Scandinavian lands, Holland, and the United States are most liberal and open. Most of my books are sold in Germany, but many Germans are still very much formed by the poisonous pedagogy. Swiss people, too. So many are not allowed to criticize parents or see the poison of their upbringing. These people say my work describes the education of the nineteenth century. They don't realize that they still live according to nineteenth-century values."

I am Dutch, I live in the Netherlands and I can tell you that the Netherlands seem liberal but are only so on the surface. In your description of Germany and Switzerland and their poisonous pedagogy I recognize the pedagogy of the Netherlands. In the Netherlands there is very little information and no knowledge about narcissism/narcissistic personality disorder and what it does to people. Children that had to take distance from their parents to protect themselves receive no support, on the contrary they are looked upon as the cause. Well-known Dutch psychologists publicly emphasize how children should always stay loyal to their parents and how hard it is on the parents if the child decides to take distance. Because of this situation and because I know how important support is I decided to do something about it and started two internet forums in Dutch: one for (ex)partners of people who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder and one for the children from parents with npd. In the near future I hope to write a book with someone else about what narcissisme does to partners and children. By doing these activities I realised once more how difficult it in my country is: the forum for the children is small, even though they email me privately they do not want to join a forum. They are afraid to use their voice.

It has become a longer e-mail than I intended but I hope that you understand why I do not think the Netherlands is such a liberal place.

I want to thank you for your attention and would like to emphasize again how much your work has meant to me. I wish you many more years in good health and happiness.

If you decide to publish my letter on your website, that is fine by me, my pseudonym is Eva.

With love and regards from the Netherlands.

AM: Thank you for your informative letter. I obviously idealized your country. In my book "The Body Never Lies" (Die Revolte des Kφrpers) you will find many examples of how even therapists all over the world are afraid of questioning parents.The problem is that the more people were abused the more they defend their parents because the fears of the small, defenseless, severely offended child is still very active in them. It holds them in a state of dependency and denial that often causes the panic attacks for the adult.

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