Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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corporal punishment
Saturday April 15, 2006

From: Duncan Mcdermott

Alice, thanks for your encouraging reply to my earlier post 'Sharing and Communicating'. No, I will never be silenced, I am frightened of not facing my Corporal Punishment issues and how it affected me then and now. Those poor souls who are too frightened to face this horror will be finding as I do that even though we deny and pretend otherwise, our terrible hurt feelings still controll our behaviour.This unconscious behaviour, driven by feelings we don't know about can and does get us into sometimes frightful difficulties, especially in our relationships with others. I only had two replies to my last post and an issue raised by one person is that there is no difference between Corporal Punishment and Physical Abuse, and I was told in no uncertain terms that he did not wish 'to belabour the difference'. Now maybe this view is right, it might be unhelpful to focus on Corporal Punishment rather than physical abuse. However, physical abuse has been a criminal offence for hundreds of years in the UK and many other countries, but Corporal Punishment is always done with the agreement of the whole community. The Corporal Punishment Survivor thus has double the workload of survivors of other types of abuse.The physical or sexual abuse survivor always has the agreement of the whole community that he is right and the adult who abused him is wrong, but the Corporal Punishment Survivor has to fight tooth and nail to maintain his integrity, he has to struggle to hold his whole community as wrong and himself as right. So I would like to know what you think about singling out Corporal Punishment as a separate issue. In respect of your questions about Questionnaire progress, a friend who believes in what I am trying to accomplish is attempting to organise a website which will allow respondents to complete and send it back to me online. I did send a few questionnaires to universities etc but so far have had no response, unsurprisingly. However, i will keep at it. One problem is that I have to do all my work with the library computer, which only allows half an hour sesssions and sometimes I have to wait ages until a machine is free and then they are nagging me to get off it again. Yes, we will not be silenced. Duncan McDermott Corporal Punishment Survivor. duncan.mcdermott@btinternet.com

AM: When people hear you talking about "child abuse" they can stay in distance and feel at ease. They feel that they have not been abused (of course not!), so they think that you are talking about "others", not about them. But when you raise the topic of corporal punishment they can't avoid to know that they were indeed punished (even if they call it harmless spanking), all of them, and that it was painful. So they prefer to avoid the memories of beeing beaten and will hardly join you in your endeavour to make this topic known. They avoid the pain. Can you follow me into this reflexion?

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