We need time
Sunday February 28, 2010
Dear Dr. Miller,
I don’t want to sound informal, because, although I feel you are a close friend, we will never meet.
I simply want to thank you for your courage in acknowledging and addressing a notion as unpopular as “poisonous pedagogy.” I had previously read, yet not really processed your books as I went through graduate school to become a therapist.
I have recently begun rereading and discovering your more recent books.
I have lived out that pedagogy far too many years into my adulthood. After I lost someone close on 9/11, I shut down emotionally. At the time of the 5 year anniversary, I “broke.” I also began recalling my father’s truly sadistic treatment until his death when I was 16. I felt guilty I could no longer feel “grateful” that I was adopted at age 3. I began a painful soul-searching.
For the past (almost) 2 years, I have been VERY fortunate to be working with a psychoanalytic therapist whom has not only read your books, but really puts it into practice. He has, from the beginning, encouraged me not only to openly talk about my father, but has encouraged me to review how I experienced my mother. She not only helped my father to physically abuse me, but she moved back to her home (out of state), leaving me to finish school and ‘survive’ on my own at age 16. I ended up in 11 different placements, including a state mental hospital, because I “had problems,” and people wanted to ‘fix’ me, so I wouldn’t be angry any longer. I was encouraged to ‘forgive.’ Even until death, she enabled my father. In her will, she asked that his body be moved from Texas to NC to be buried next to her. I don’t visit either grave since then.
Bill, my therapist, has always expressed a belief that I can overcome my “problems.” He encourages my asking pointed questions to people I know in church and of society in general. As I do so, all I can think is “and (I) am the one that is ‘crazy?!’ I think often of the quote from Einstein, which says:
“The question that sometimes drives me hazy: is it I or others who are crazy?”
Meanwhile, I almost daily point out your work to anyone whom will listen. I feel sad that so many would prefer the unaware life, but I no longer have that luxury. And, I choose to no longer pretend to agree with that choice, even though that means I find fewer ‘real’ friends.
While Bill follows my lead in sessions, he refuses to let anyone else he has contact with, i.e., people who question if I should be hospitalized, treat me as a “mentally ill” person, and expresses the belief that I can overcome my issues, not just “manage symptoms.”
I wish your books were required reading for ALL training therapists. It was in my graduate program. I am forever thankful for your courageous work, and hope to not only pass a new legacy to my children(turning 13 and 8 next month), as I allow them to hear my questions of others, but encourage them to ask questions themselves-and also to pass on a better legacy to any future clients.
I look forward to any future books you might publish. I will not stop asking question, in the hopes it might nudge others to question themselves. I get frustrated at times, but stay hopeful that, one person at a time, we may build future generations whom live with conscious awareness and show greater compassion toward the children whom will later pass on their own legacies.
AM: Fortunately, you found a good therapist. It is now up to you how you can benefit from him. You need time.