Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Matriarchy?Patriarchy?
Wednesday March 15, 2006

From: Duncan Mcdermott

Alice,
When I was alittle boy I was beaten by men and women. Teachers, parents, friends of my parents, parents of other little boys - just about any adult - would beat me or slap me around casually, sometimes raging with fury, other times just kind of happy slapping for jesus.
Generally I foiund the men easier to predict, they didn't seem so outwardly angry as the women. Women hit less often than men, but, and this is a very big but, men usually beat as a result of womens' insistence. Without this virulenmt insistenc I might have been beaten much less.
The school I attended from the age of three up to eleven when I went to the all-male high school, were matriarchies. At times they had a headmaster, but a headmistress was much more usual. They had only two or three male teachers, all the rest were women.Where I went to school in South Africa, Natal School Regulations forbade the striking of 'any girl' in any circumstances. SoI was beaten because I was a male, at the insistence of women and often in front of girls. I recall incidents where I was reported by girls for teasing, swearing or loosening my tie in the African heat; they wanted to have me beaten. When sent to the headmistress for a beating I had to return to a mixed gender class full of eyes. The boys were preofessionally interested to see how I had taken it, dispassion being the ideal, and the girls were - what? Perhaps as a woman you might have a better guess than I as to the basis of their interest. Teachewrs always addressed boys by their surname - "Come out here, McDermott!" Girls were always addressed by their first names and always kindly and respectfully.
I don't know what you will make of this information, or exactly what I make of it, either. Obviously, the gender-beating I sustained at the hands of women, some of them young and pretty, has deeply affected me. I don't think its an issue which a woman will easily understand or be able to help me with because so many women feel themselves to be victims. I'm usually uncomfortable in female company, aware of feelings from the past and battling to prevent their driving my present behaviour. I suspect much of the violent behaviour to women by men is driven by what was done to those men by women when they were small and vulnerable. You have said that fathering is responsible for creating violent adults and I agree, but I wonder if you can see how mothering has also been just as destructive. Just wait until your father gets home! There seems to be a belief that matriarchy is more natural and healtheir than the present patriarchy. I think you could be right - if patriarchy is actually more destructive than a matriarchy might be. The problem is that I know, from the matriarchical models of my own experience over years, that women are just as destructive and violent as men and I do not feel safe that you have fully examined that possibility. I'm not insisting I'm right because I have been unable to fully examine this issue as well, but I just don't feel safe with women in power any more than I do with men. Women are just as crazy, just as destructive, just as badly hurt as men. duncan.mcdermott@btinternet.com

AM: Thank you for sharing with us your experiences with women in their position as teachers or girls at school. I am very sorry that you suffered so much from their cruelty and I don't doubt even for a while that things happened in the way you describe them. But I don't think that gender makes a difference when it goes to cruelty. Active cruelty is the effect of endured violence and perversion in childhood and nothing else. Feminists dislike my statements very much when I write in many books (as the Drama, Banished Knowledge, Breaking Down and others) that the space society gives to man to rage and destroy life with impunity is the war and to women their home where they can do whatever they want to their babies and todlers to teach them to obey. What they do in this way, never controlled, never punished, is to cripple millions of people who will never accuse them of their crimes because every child loves her/ his mother and would never, never put her in troubles. Rather they would hate the whole world or all women, but the own mother must stay protected from their hatred for ever. In this way we turn in a vicious circle of blindness. A brutally beaten child will, as adult, prefer becoming a serial killer to accusing his mother of brutality. And the same is true for crazy dicators who even become "heroes" for whole nations because people learned so early to love and admire the persons who were cruel to them - no matter what they really did.

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