Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Freedom and mourning
Monday November 13, 2006

Thank you for your replying to my letter re. freedom. A few days later, however, I re-read the abusive letter from my mother and felt tearful and full of mourning and I was surprised at this. I know this mourning will continue a while. I suspect that this cycle of mourning and feeling free-er will continue for some time. But I know the taste of freedom is there and this is what my mind, heart and body wants more than anything.

I also wanted to thank you so much for all your writings. Each time I re-read a book or article I see something new I missed, something original but important. I cannot think what I would have missed out on without your clarity and courage.

I also read the book you recommended "Stalking the Soul" by Marie-France HIrigoyen a few weeks ago, which told me so much also that I needed to know and that I could not get even from a therapist. ( Incidentally, group therapy was perhaps the worst experience of my life for all the reasons you allude to in your work. Rather than be a saviour place for me it was utterly unsafe -as the other participants re-launched the abuse of their childhoods (on me!), as I realised after finally leaving. The self-important and deluded therapist stood by as an impartial observer and did nothing!

As a final strange point. I was re-reading an old diary of mine - a kind of free association diary I kept for part of 2004, and I wrote : "The Body Does Not Lie", with nothing else about the subject to follow, so I have no idea what I was thinking about at the time, though I have sufferred with many illnesses all through my adult life and I entirely agree with your outlook. Now I had read nothing by you at that time, and your book "The Body Never Lies" was not even published. I think that is amazing, how our unconscious speaks.

with thanks again,
k.t.

AM: It is normal that freedom can't stay forever and that we will have moments when we may be reminded of our past; but we will be better equipped to deal with the old memories as soon as we know the pain of our childhood. Once you have learned to care for your child, you will be able to let her feel the old fears and at the same time to protect her and find the solution to conflicts in the present. Then freedom will come back. But you will never again want to live without your history; thus memories will still have access to your mind if they need to find this access. As you show: you could not prevent the therapy group and the therapist from wanting to abuse you, but you were strong enough to realize what happened and to leave. The child in yourself had the freedom to feel, and the adult you have become now could protect the child by taking the action.

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