Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Who will want me
Monday October 30, 2006

Dear Alice
I am a 41 year old divorced South African woman with three children, two of my own and one fostered. I am almost constantly suicidal, despite being lucky enough to have a wonderful therapist who has encouraged me to read The Drama. I was not sexually abused, although I did receive the odd 'hiding', and though I don't downplay their effect, most devastating to me was the fact that my mother gave me up for adoption for the first three weeks of my life - I was kept in a nursing home (1965) - and then reclaimed me, only to allow family friends to adopt me at the age of eight.
I honestly feel that this is something I don't know how to recover from. If my own mother didn't want me, who will?
I married an abusive man, and was extremely lucky that he eventually left me to live with a younger woman. He now has no contact with the children, and I sincerely doubt that I am even remotely a 'good enough mother'. I detest that I cannot give my children the love and support they need, but it has taken 40 years to realise what my mother has done to me, and now it seems I am stuck there and selfishly cannot deal with anything else.
I do work full time, and I often use this as a further excuse to avoid my children.
I detest that I am repeating a cycle that I am aware of, but seem unable to stop. I have been hospitalised for depression twice, and although I know I am now dealing with the real issue of my mother abandoning me, I feel no closer to any kind of recovery.
I have finally allowed myself to trust my therapist, and one good friend, but this is so frightening for me that I am in constant danger of ending things, therapy, friendship and my life, because I simply cannot deal with the anxiety of waiting to be left. I am also taking 30mg of Cipralex a day, and Seroquel to sleep. I don't feel any less anxious for it.
Right now I feel as if something very bad is about to happen that I have absolutely no control over, and the fear is so intense that I would love nothing more than to gas myself in my car and end this awful feeling once and for all. 41 years is a long time to be so miserable, and I can't see that it will ever be different.
I suppose mailing you is a last ditch attempt to find an answer that will convince me that life can be worth living, when all my feelings point to the contrary. I don't know what else to do.
Many thanks for your wonderful books.
Yours sincerely. S. P.

AM: You write: "It has taken 40 years to realize what my mother has done to me, and now it seems I am stuck there and selfishly cannot deal with anything else. It is normal that realizing recently the early rejection of your mother you need time, much time. And please don't call it selfishly if you eventually decided to have compassion with the rejected child you were then. Don't take any medication, they will hinder you to understand your feelings, the deep sorrow, the rage and other strong emotions stored up in your body for 40 years !!!! Let them come to the surface and try to express them in your therapy. You will see that talking how you feel will help you more than taking pills. You CAN survive a night without sleeping, the next night you may sleep longer. Let the dreams come up. Don' t fear them. They are your friends because they will inform you about the plight of the small girl rejected by her mother. And don't think that nobody will want you if your mother didn't. There are other people in the world who are not like your mother and who may love you, once you no longer deny what has happened to you.

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