Eventually the Anger
Saturday September 29, 2007
Dear Alice Miller,
I was physically, sexually and emotionally abused by the people I was born to. By the time I was 20 I was aware that that they had been abusive. A therapist suggested it, and I began mulling that idea over, eventually accepting it. I was so conditioned by the abusers to think I was the bad person that it took a while. In my early twenties I began crying every night, grieving that I had never had parents and would never be a daughter. By age 25 I decided I would never see these abusive biological ‘parents’ again, and I never have. I am 46 now.
I was in therapy during my twenties and thirties, but I had therapists who intellectualized. Their idea was for me to feel ‘neutral’ towards the abusers, and to consider what their childhoods had been like. My anger was never recognized or validated.
By the time I was 40 I realized that I had needed one of those therapists to say, “Of course you’re angry! You were horribly abused!”
I understood that I had been abused, and I understood that these biological parents were horrible abusers, however I still verbally shamed my son when he was young. Terrible shaming words came out of my mouth. I feel like falling to my knees in tears and throwing up whenever I think of it, which is often.
I want to tell you that it is not enough to know that your ‘parents’ were not parents. It is not enough to realize they abused you. It is not enough to reject them and give up the idea that they are good people. I knew all that and did that in my early twenties, and yet I still emotionally abused my little boy when I was 36.
Now I validate my own anger. I work for sympathy for myself from my self. I realize whenever I feel a ‘mean’ feeling toward a child, that this is the abusive ‘parent’s’ feeling that was directed at me when I was a child. I imagine how it felt to have been the recipient of that mean feeling. How it broke my heart. The ‘mean’ feeling diminishes.
I don’t know why, but our ‘parent’s’ cruelty gets in our brains, and it comes back out when you’re older and involved with children. It’s the most horrible tragedy I can think of.
I wish it had been enough that I understood I had been abused and had given up all hope of having parents when I was 20. It wasn’t. I still hurt my son.
I guess it wasn’t enough because my anger wasn’t expressed…..healthily, of course.
Thank you, C.
AM: Thank you for your letter, full of wisdom. Congratulations. You write: “Now I validate my own anger. I work for sympathy for myself from my self. I realize whenever I feel a ‘mean’ feeling toward a child, that this is the abusive ‘parent’s’ feeling that was directed at me when I was a child. I imagine how it felt to have been the recipient of that mean feeling. How it broke my heart. The ‘mean’ feeling diminishes.” There is nothing I can add. You are on the right path to change your life and to rescue your son, and I am sure that you will succeed. Because you have the courage to see and feel the CAUSES of your plight. You were never a bad person; you were only misled by your therapists who didn’t allow you to respect your true feelings.