Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The Drama. . .
Saturday October 07, 2006

Dear Dr. Miller:

In l989, when I first became a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous and underwent therapy because of a near-breakdown, I first read your book "The Drama of the Gifted Child." I am now reading the revised l994 edition as I am currently in therapy again to continue working on the sadness of the past.

As a Swiss-German woman of 61, now living in Washington State, I experienced emotional neglect at a level that has always been difficult for me to believe. When I was born in l944 to a mother who had 4 children in 4-1/2 years during wartime Europe, she developed toxemia and I was separated at birth for some time from her. We were both severely ill, according to her.

When I was 6 my family emigrated and I became very resourceful and discarded the "childish" part of myself in order to function in a new and isolated environment. While our mother was an excellent caretaker and homemaker, she had little time or personal resources to nurture her children. Our father was emotionally crippled as a result of being orphaned and from an alcoholic family. My mother died of cancer when I was 21 and my father died 2 years later.

I began to understand, reading your book, that much of what I experienced was "cultural," and have worked for over 17 years as a sober, clear-headed woman to overcome the difficulties to my "wholeness" as a result of this neglect.

I am so grateful for your insights into the world of child abuse. I will be meeting with my sisters next week and we hope to talk frankly about our past, which we are all seeking to heal. It is still a painful process, but I know how to experience the pain (still) of that long-ago time. Little by little it becomes neutralized to free me for a better life.

AM: Thank you for your letter. I think that you will succeed to liberate yourself from the prison of your past because you want to know exactly what happened in your childhood and you have the good fortune to talk to your sisters who want to know as well. I recommend that you read my last book "The Body Never Lies" and the articles on this web-site.

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