Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Also in Japan
Monday October 30, 2006

Dear Dr. Miller,

My name is Yukari Ando. I live in Japan. I read your book 'The Body Never Lies' as well as several articles written by you. I was and still am impressed by what you have pointed out in your work.

I have experience of being abused psychlogycally and physically by my parents. My father is an alcholic and has had little interest in and given little attention to me. He used to get drank and beat me when I was a child. My mother used to beat me under the name of upbringing in a very humiliating manner. She even put a dust cloth into my mouth to stop me from crying. I know I was beaten because I was crying loudly. She made me live with my aunt (my father's sister), where my non-biological uncle sexually touched me. I also know I was crying because I was always left alone, seeing my mother be with my younger brother. I always told her that I wanted to be with her too, but she kept telling me to accept the situation where my brother needed to be taken care of and trying to me understand that I had been given enough love before he was born. She said I would not need her love any more because I was old enough. Instead, she insisted that I behave as a respectable elder person. I was 3 and half years old!

My country, Japan, is not a Christian country, but we traditionally have strong idea that parents should be respected no matter how bad they are as well as idea of discrimination between men and women. I felt I was hurt by my parents but at the same time I believed that was my fault of being so selfish as to want to be with my mother. I was also trapped in my feelings of guilty of not being a good daughter, who cannot respect her parents and show gratitude. Furthermore, I felt so much guilty that I could not blame her for what she had done to me, because she worked hard to feed me and give good education (instead of my alcoholic father).

I have not been fortunate enough to get a good therapist, but your work truly encourages me to move forward. Even some members in Alcoholics Anonymous told me to look for the good of my parents and to find out my defects to realize how selfish I had been. That really tormanted me when I was severely suffering from feelings of guilty agaist my parents. However, you allowed me to be honest to myself and then to identify what I had been trapped in. I believe that your study will help a lot of adult children in Japan too.

Sincerely yours, Y. A.

AM: Thank you for your letter and for testifying that what I am describing in my books is not only limited to the Christian culture. I don't doubt that the same mentality governs the whole world: you are allowed to abuse your child and call it education, but you are forbidden to see the crimes of your parents. Everybody is thus afraid of being beaten again, if they see and name these crimes. However, as long as you don't dare to see them, you are compelled to repeat them with your children. For that reason we must learn to KNOW what we are doing and why.

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