January 12, 1923 – April, 14 2010
For Alice Miller sees the roots of worldwide violence in the fact that children are beaten all over the world, especially during their first years, when their brain becomes structured.. The damages caused by this practice are devastating, but unfortunately hardly noticed by society. Though the facts are easy to understand : As children are forbidden to defend themselves against the violence done to them, they must suppress the natural reactions like rage and fear, and they discharge these strong emotions later as adults against their own children or whole peoples. Alice Miller illustrates this dynamic in her 13 books by using not only her case histories but also her numerous studies on the biographies of dictators and famous artists. The avoidance of this issue in all societies known to her has the result that extremely irrational behavior, brutality, sadism and other perversions can be produced completely undisturbed in families (which reclaim their right to “discipline” their children and that the products can be regarded as “genetically conditioned.” Alice Miller thinks that only through becoming aware of this dynamic can we break the chain of violence, and she devotes thus her life-work to this enlightenment.
Over the past years, Alice Miller developed a concept of therapy that suggests us to confront ourselves with our history and to acknowledge and thus reduce the still unconscious, but highly active fear of the formerly beaten child. When we succeed to eventually feel our justified, angry indignation instead of denying it we can fully grow up and become autonomous. Because it is this childhood fear of the abusive parents which drives adults to abuse their own children, as well as to live with severe illnesses rather than to take seriously the once endured cruelties. Countless esoteric and “spiritual” offers serve to obscure the pain resulting from the torture once undergone, yet fully denied.
Alice Miller feels that her discovery, despite its tragic aspects, contains actually very optimistic options because it opens the door to consciousness, to the awareness of childhood reality and thus to the liberation of its destructive consequences. For several years now, she understands her search for the reality of childhood as a sharp opposition to psychoanalysis which, in her opinion, remains in the old tradition of blaming the child and protecting the parents For this reason, she renounced her membership to the International Psychoanalytical Association already in 1988.
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