Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Compassion for abusing parents
Tuesday April 07, 2009





Dear Dr. Miller,

I am confused about something. I was abused in my childhood by a mom who was abused herself. Her life was very difficult as a child and as an adult she suffered from mental illness and died when she was 39. I know she loved me but she was a damaged person and the events of her life were too much to overcome. She was not prepared to handle the stresses of trying to raise two children with no help,little education and her own childhood abuse.

I totally hold her responsible for what she did to me I am not making excuses for her.But I do see why it happened. She was not an evil person she was a hurt person. Hurt people hurt people.

Here is my confusion - it seems that you are saying that this understanding I have of her is wrong or could get in the way of my own healing. Have I misunderstood?

You are welcome to use my letter.

Thank you for your very important work.

J


AM: I think that only as adults, TODAY, can we understand WHY our parents made us suffer but in childhood we were unable to understand this. In THERAPY, much LATER, when we are looking for our emotions repressed since we have inprisoned them in our bodies we must accept that there was much rage because of being maltreated and betrayed. Because the healthy biological reaction to endured pain is anger and not love. If we try to cover this anger up and to feel love instead we are in danger to lie. It is not easy but it seems to me necessary that we can find in ourselves the desperate child who CAN'T understand that people whom she loves and needs so much caused her so much pain and left her alone with it, without any traces of empathy. If we remain only on the adult level, as had been done in behavioral therapies we will repeat what the parents have done to us, we will leave the child alone. All our parents were hurt and not evil. I think that even all evil were hurt before they become avil but as children we suffered fron the deeds of these hurt people - without being able to understand what was going on. We had so much compassion for them but never for us.

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