Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Yes, Life DID owe them a living
Thursday April 06, 2006

Dear Dr. Miller,
I have been reading your new book "The Body Never Lies" for the past few weeks and have been enthralled and can't seem to put it down.
I am a victim of emotional and physical abuse. I have learned that I am what is sometimes termed as the "bad child" and recently found out that my mother never wanted to have me, but coming from a very Catholic family, my grandmother "made" her go through with the pregnancy at the age of 16.While I remember being told she wished she had an abortion when she was pregnant with me, she wished I was never born, etc. as early as 4 years old, it didn't really make sense until I was told the actual story of the pregnancy about two weeks ago. She hated me my whole life, and still today harasses me through guilt. I have been told by my therapist and medical doctor to change my telephone number because she is toxic to me during this time of my attempt to heal, which I have done. However, I have done this many times in the past, but she will terriorize other family members until they give her my number. This time I have not given the new number to anyone. I can only be contacted via email. She is not computer literate, has no computer, and does not have my email address so I feel some relief in that.
With all of that said, I have a question for you. I understand that you say children should be respected and believed when they talk about troubles, etc. However, I see so many children today catered to to an almost unhealthy manner. I have three children myself and do not want to mess up by over indulging them. I do NOT emotionally or physically abuse them or play mind games with them which was what I was subjected to. However, I am unsure how to strike a balance of not creating children who feel life owes them a living. Do you have any suggestions or reading suggestions that may help me?
Thank you for your consideration,
T H
American living in Germany

AM: Why shouldn't your children feel that life owes them a living? Because you were forbidden to feel that life owed you love, acceptance and joy? But it did owe you all this. You had an extremely cruel childhood and you are lucky that you didn't abuse your children. But in your therapy you should be able to find the suffering of the small unwanted and hated little girl who knew from the beginning that her life was hated and couldn't afford to feel the pain consciously. Now you are able to feel it and to give your children your love (when you feel it), without educational poison. Maybe the book "For Your Own Good" (the book is now available online), and also my last article can help you to understand what I mean.

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