Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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An abused child... a hurting man
Sunday August 20, 2006

Hello,

I stumbled upon your site while searching for answers. My name is C. J. I write to you because I find myself in a relationship with a man who suffered horrible abuse as a child. I will in brief, give you some background, and I hope that you can offer me some advice.

He is a 37 year old Englishman. I am from Nashville. He has been on his own since age 16, and has had some success in the UK as an actor, both in film and theatre. He has been estranged from his family since the age of 16 when he walked out and never looked back. He has siblings who are well into their 50's, and he was the "unwanted" child, as he claims he was referred to on a daily basis. His father a strict Catholic/naval officer, retired, and had not planned on having more children, then S. was born. The physical abuse began at an early age, and he is deaf in his left ear from severe beatings. He was always referred to as "the mistake" and his mother, a quite docile lady, never protected him during these drunken rages he suffered from his father.

S. speaks of wearing only charity shop hand-me-downs, and never had luxuries as a child, even the basic minimums seemed to elude him. Food was scarce, as the money went to feed his fathers alcoholism. He was beaten very often, and often without reason. Soon he was thought of as "not quite bright" and the parents placed him in a school of special education. He spent 6 yrs being educated in that atmosphere, and even now, he recalls that he did not "fit in" with the other special ed children..he knew he was not retarded.

One of the teachers after 5 years, requested that he be taken for testing and evaluation, and they diagnosed him as dyslexic and not retarded. He has carried horrible memories of his education experiences all of his life, and of course suffered academically because of it.

He went on to leave home at 16, and pursued acting. He is good at it and has made a living, has been married before to a woman who also physically abused him. They divorced after ten years, and although it was "bad love" it was the only love he had known, and her leaving devastated him. He gained up to 350 pounds, before looking at himself in the mirror, and now he has got hold of the problem and lost the weight and is of normal size. Bring into the picture C. J., who met him while I was filming my documentary in London, however we had been email pals 4 years prior to that...we started dating and here we are 4 years into the relationship. We have shared time off and on for the past year, however he has just returned to the UK after sharing 3 months with me. It was at this time that I noted several issues. I am not sure of the ramifications of the abuse he suffered, however after sharing three very close months with him in my home, I have great concerns if the relationship could ever succeed. I care deeply about him, however need to know if he can resolve issues. What are your thoughts about the following statements I have after his three month stay?

1. Suffers severe OCD in some instances....example.. size of forkmatters...extreme cleanliness in some instances, and in others, he is a slob to put it politely.

2. Anti social behavior.. in environments where males are present and there is drinking involved..although I myself do not drink, we do go to pubs to enjoy music and to socialize with friends.

3. erectile dysfunction. Somehow appears to relate sex with pain..loses erection before intercourse. Has not been circumcised. Advises that ex wife used to beat him for poor performance. We have only been successful in having intercourse three times in 3 months.

4. Clumsy in intimacy..perhaps inexperience or shame perhaps? Does not know how to be affectionate and/or intimate.

5. Cannot tolerate seeing me discipline my son, although I never beat him..I only use tones to calm him down with a time out, and an eye to eye contact talk. I do raise my voice, but have not spanked or hit him. Still he has to leave the room when we have to maintain control.

6. He is very insecure and jealous.

7. He has stated that he would rather die than to lose me.

8. He is rather aggressive in his words when we argue, and although I never feel threatened, he self mutilates..not severely, but he has a habit of picking his fingers until they bleed, and he bites one finger in particular when he becomes agitated.

9. He will not watch programs which contain sexual or lovemaking scenes. He finds them vile.

10. He is a bit obsessive with me.

11. He is clearly uncomfortable in social situations, and has very few friends, in fact none that he sees, only those he has met through acting roles as acquaintances.

12. He actually does appear to be mildly retarded at times..when we talk about the subject he becomes very highly agitated. Is this dyslexia?Appears clumsy at times, loses focus, cannot remember things, although I remind him constantly..

13. He bathes in cool water, and said his father had also scalded him. He is clearly affected in a negative way if warm or hot water touches him.

14. In playful moments, at times he appears highly offended if I give him a playful pinch..have done it twice on the bottom..and sometimes it is acceptable form of flirtatious play, sometimes it is not acceptable to him and he becomes clearly agitated.

15. He loathes homosexuality.

16. he is overly protective of my son.

17. sometimes he is just as childlike as my son and I have to remind him that he is the adult.

18. He can go from being a very distinguished gentleman to an aggressive and immature slob.(for lack of better choice of words)

I am lost. He has now returned to England, and has given up on finding any further acting roles, he is seeking employment otherwise. I do not know when he will return, whenever I allow him to I suppose.

I have no way to prove whether the horror stories about his childhood are real. I have never met the family, and he says if we were to go to meet the siblings, they would slam the door in our faces. They despise him for leaving the family home and not attending the funerals of his parents who died several years apart. He advises that the siblings are also affected with alcoholism, drug use, and have very dysfunctional families. I shall never know.

I really care about this person. He appears to have a lot of anger turned inward. I do not feel threatened by him in anyway. I only would appreciate to have some insight as to the validity of his reported abuse. Does this sound like a sexually/physically abused boy, who has grown into a pitiful dysfunctional man?

I hope to hear from you.

Regards, C. J.

AM; You ask me: " Does this sound like a sexually/physically abused boy, who has grown into a pitiful dysfunctional man?" Yes, absolutely, I don't have any doubt about this.

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