Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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With thanks...
Wednesday August 09, 2006

Dear Alice,
I read your book “The Body Never Lies” yesterday.
For most of my life I have lived in shame for feeling no love towards my parents despite the fact that I have stayed true to these feelings and simply felt sorry for them and myself. I guess the path of my life thus far would be best traced by the chapter on Arthur Rimbaud. My ‘gift’ was music although I still believe I developed this talent through trying to find a way out of my painful and confusing childhood. I say this because I have never had the ability to write a happy song although the songs I do write relieve me temporarily of my pain. Although I still write I chose not to pursue my career in music due to my abuse of alcohol and drugs. Instead I chose to pursue love and happiness, a pursuit to which I am yet to succeed in.
My mother has discouraged me from doing and being everything I ever wanted to be in my life and for this I detest her. The only reason I have kept in contact over the years is the fact that I believe she probably went through a similar childhood to mine and I wouldn’t wish that upon anyone. I don’t really remember much before the age of fifteen but I do feel the pain. I am now 33 years old. The only adult in my family I had a healthy relationship with was my grandmother (my mother’s mother). She never judged me and for this I loved her and gave her all the affection that my mother wanted from me. When she died my mother said to me that she was arguing with her, just before her death, about my life and lifestyle. She claimed this was what killed her, that being me. I put this one down to her being jealous that she never had that relationship with her mother although when I confronted her about this she denied ever saying such a horrible thing. For this I will never forgive her.
I have been manipulated by money, guilt and false love my entire life. I can accept and understand this but what I can’t accept is the passing of this hurt onto others. Due to my frustrations at home I would torment kids at school (including my brother and sister) until they would break and beat me up and then I would feel better. Of course at the time I had no idea why I did this but I was fascinated at how good I was at it and how easy it was. I suppose this would be equivalent to someone cutting themselves to relieve tension. I only wish I had thought of that.
After I left home I concentrated on helping others to try and rid myself of this guilt. I did this whilst exploring my sexuality. My girlfriends were either sexually abused or scarred by their parents and I dedicated all my energy into making there lives more pleasant and comfortable whilst putting my own life on hold and thus ignoring my own problems. I thought I must have been the best boyfriend in the world but what I wasn’t aware of was that if they didn’t feel this bliss I wished upon them I would resort back to my mothers tactics of guilt and manipulation. Most of the time they left me in the end and I thank them for that although I could not understand at the time.
I suppose you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned my father yet. This is because I don’t know this man although I lived with him for 18 years. He chose to stay out of it and bury his head into his work. The only time I saw him was at dinner time, when we would eat but not talk, or when he was belting the crap out of me because mum had harped him for too long about my misbehavior. This was usually after she had given me her best go to which I would normally laugh at. I have little idea on how to be a man but have sourced this from other men since. ‘The parents I never had’ as I like to call them.
I have tried to communicate with my parents in recent years and have tried to forgive them but after several attempts realized that they will probably never change their ways and I was wasting my time and energy.
Thanks to your book a small weight has been lifted off my heavy heart and I plan to pursue this pleasant feeling without the aid of alcohol and drugs. I have decided to cut my parents from my life until I have achieved this. How I will do this I do not know as I still feel pity for them and don’t wish their pain to be any worse as I guess they have lived with it longer than I.
I am writing to you partly because it is good therapy for me and partly because I respect your opinion.I suppose the other thing I was wondering is if you believe I’m on the right track…
…wish me luck!
Yours sincerely, T.J.

AM: You write: "I still feel pity for them (your parents) and don’t wish their pain to be any worse as I guess they have lived with it longer than I." I can understand your concerns but feel at the same time that here might be the blockade that hinders you to have pity for the battered boy you were and for his strong suffering of being discouraged from life. He could not share his pain with anybody after the death of his grandmother. To understand what I have in mind please read my article on the reasons of our suffering and the one about feelings of guilt (both in the section "articles” on this Web site)
You also write: "I realized that they will PROBABLY never change their ways and I was wasting my time and energy." Why should they change? The word "probably" shows that the hope of the small child is still very present in your mind. Parents that could beat their small children without pity usually don’t change.

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