Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The suppressed rage
Thursday June 22, 2006

Dear Ms Miller,
I write this letter deeply moved by a lot of emotions. I have been knowing you for ten years through your books and I was very much helped by them, and thanks to them I have been knowing much more about me. At least, I think that this knowledge will help me also with my 16 years old daughter. My name is L. and I was born on the 6th 1960, in Rome. I have a twin sister, a brother and another sister, M. that was born in 1969. Before my sister M’s birth, my mum made a special prayer to Maria. (in the Catholic church she is Jesus΄s mother). My parents were always giving me this picture about myself: “this girl has character”. I was even able to discuss with my dad. My father was very strict with us and I can΄t remember him smiling. One night, in 1968, my father came back home asking me to let him control my homework. I didn΄t want to show them to him and because of this a discussion started. At the end I was beaten by him and I went to the boxroom, a place where I was used to go as a punishment place. I cryed for a long time. While I was crying I felt something strange on my leg: I had pins and needles in my right leg. I went to my mum but I fell down cause my leg was paralysed. From that moment on anything was like before anymore. I remember me, my dad running to the hospital by car. For many days I was there alone and I was very scared because even the doctors did not understand what kind of illness I was suffering from. All my relatives went and visit me, especially my mum΄s brother that was very much “interested” in me. Few years before I understood he was abusing me even when we were younger and playing together. Thanks to the psychotherapy I had this understanding.
After the hospital I got back home but my illness never let me. Infact, one morning the complete right side of my body went paralysed: the “aneurisma” went broken. I was operated on my head: an internal brain bleeding. The diagnosis was: congenital aneurisma. My parents never talked about this with me. It was a kind of forbidden argument and it seemed to me that they were ashamed of having such a handicap daughter. During my life I grew up with this strong feeling: I would have been strong and not fragile. I have never understood if my dad was guilty of my disease, because of his beat that night, but at least I understood that they did not want to take their own responsibility for my disease. I would like to ask you: can all this ruin a child΄s life? Is there always a child abuse behind a suffering? I don΄t remember any phisycal abuse from my dad but as I said I remember very well my uncle΄s. I can also remember myself going with my dad to get some therapies for my hand. I got them from a woman, a phisyotherapist, in a beautiful apartment. Once I was left alone in the therapy room and my dad went with this woman in another room. I could hear them laughing and I was very curious. I went there but I cannot remember what I saw but I connect this with a dream I always dreamt about. It is about a nice house where everything is beautiful but I always get upset. When I was 20 I was operated because of a eyes disease. I felt lonely and I was always taking care of my parents suffering. I got married when I was 25 and I had a son that died after his birth. As always I suffered on my own not showing to other people, especially to my husband, what I felt My sister M. is the only person I am close to. In 1990 I had a daughter, A. I always try not to mistake with her like my parents did with me, even if I sometimes have to discuss with my husband that doesn΄t want to argument about his family, his mum. I think that I made a lot of things on my own, even my own growth. I start 10 years ago and I wanna get along on this because of my daughter and her growth. I did my personal readings: your books, Mariella Mehr ones, J. Konrad Settbacher, Kafka, Mario Spezi, a famous Italian journalist was writing about an italian serial killer. Actually, I think my parents sometimes think over my destiny and their own responsibilities but they never talked about that openly. Now they are old and I do not hate them. I only think that when they will die I will not suffer a lot. I am not feeling guilty of this. I feel free and good. I am very happy to write this letter to you and I hope to receive an answer. Thank you very much for reading it.
Best regards L

AM: You ask me for an answer but I don't find any question in your letter. You seem to accept what has been done to you and to pay the prize with your terrible illness, without rage, without indignation. But it would be exactly the rage that could help you to heal. If you want to know my opinion more exactly you can read my book "The Body Never Lies" and the articles on this site.

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