Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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The Fiercest Taboo
Friday December 01, 2006

Dear Alice,

In one of your books you wrote "There is one taboo that has withstood all recents attempts at demystification: The idealization of mother love". I read this a number of months back and I put the book down I tried to bury that sentence that was touching some deep place in my soul and my psyche were I have been storing the rage and grief I have about how my mother abused me.

Since my father was so clearly the abuser in the household, with years of raping me and torturing me and terrorizing me, I really saw him as the Devil and I really needed my mother to be God. And she projected herself as Gods right hand woman. It was the only chance I had. She had to be right. Or I was sunk. Sometimes at night when I laid in bed shaking because I was so afraid of my dad and my mom was heading off to work for the evening, even though I could not tell her what he was really doing, I did dare to tell her that I was afraid of him and that I didn't love him. She told me that God had given our family this man as our dad to love. She said God gave us a hard job to love him, but if we didn't love him, maybe nobody in the world would, and nobody deserved to not be loved. She used this and many other spiritual seductions to keep me silent and obedient and submissive to him.

When I was afraid or angry or showing any emotion that she did not allow, I was banished to my bedroom or bathroom where I was to stay until I could come out and be cheerful. The only emotion my mother allowed was cheerful gratitude. Anything else resulted in isolation and banishment. She had many stories that she told me as a child, that were her form of Catechism. She told me hundreds of times about the Little Boy Who Cried Wolf...I learned her lessons and obeyed them, Alice. I never cried "Wolf" even though I was being ravaged night after night by the Wolf in our household. I didn't dare cry Wolf because maybe the next time would be the one that I wouldn't survive and I would have already used up my one chance to cry for help.

I was told over and over the story of the Little Red Hen...by this she commanded that I earn the bread I eat. We did not have chores like other kids in the neighborhood, we had whole area's of responsibility from as soon as we could do something like wash floors or dishes and every form of cleaning and laundry and cooking. I was selfish if I did not carry my fair share of the chores of the household, which I interpreted to include the sexual chores of servicing my father in any way he wanted. To this day I can barely recieve a gift, without a dreadful feeling that I am being selfish and I immediately want to give to the giver something in return so that I have no debt. So that I am not being a Little Red Hen.

She told me hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times not to make a mountain out of a molehill. I learned to make every drastic horror into a very small black dot that I could swallow and hide from everyone. I learned to make tiny molehills out of mountains. Now, as I have begun to look at, admit and write about and tell my enlightened witness about mother...I have nearly quit. I have heard the screams inside of me, saying this can't be true...that she was doing the best she could, that she was a victim of my dad, too, etc. I am only writing the bare minimum here. The story is graphic, brainwashing and includes serious physical and emotional deprivation and manipulation. It includes a very spooky and seductive sexual abuse, unlike my father's (He was brutal, violent and it was always phsically painful)..hers was stranger than I dare say right now. And it makes me want to vomit.

Today I read part of what I have written about her to my therapist and after getting though a few pages I had to vomit and then I was so freezing cold I could barely think straight. Then I turned to cement inside and when I got home from that session all I could think was that I had finally gone over the line...I was accusing my dear mother of abuse. I wanted to take my own life rather than say what I have said. It breaks something so deep in my core to finally say what I really felt and thought about my ideal, holy, perfect and divine mother. To say how cruel my father was hard, but the evidence is so profoundly clear, and all my other siblings have acknowledged what he did to them too. (Lucky for him, he is dead). But no one in the family dares to question the holiness and perfection of our mother. I don't even dare tell anyone that I have done this.

Alice, how did you dare to speak about "Mother"? When I read what you have written, I shudder at the confrontation that your words are to society...to mothers and fathers and children. I am deeply grateful for your courage, and I am writing to you today because I am asking your support as I attempt to write and speak the truth about my mother.

Grazie Mille, LC

AM: I am very sorry that your very important letter was lost and thank you for having sent it again. It is deeply moving and shows what probably millions of children have to suffer, but never are able to put into words. You write: “She told me hundreds of times, maybe thousands of times, not to make a mountain out of a molehill. I learned to make every drastic horror into a very small black dot that I could swallow and hide from everyone. I learned to make tiny molehills out of mountains.” Yes, so many do the same, and they pay for doing so with severe illnesses and blindness, which make them hypocritical mothers too. It is so terrible that your mother wanted you to love the monster of your father, who mistreated you sexually and physicly over many years, because "who else would love him?" This is more than simple hypocrisy, it is a multiple crime because it kills the true emotions of a child and it brings to her brain a confusion that could last her whole life. Fortunately, you escaped this fate; you seem to see clearly now what your mother has done. This will save your life, I think. Congratulations!

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