Monday January 22, 2007
Dear Alice Miller,
I would like to ask you if you are aware of the criticism on you by Mr.X…….(we don’t publish this quotation because it is highly confusing).
I have always been a great admirer of you and your work. I am a 45-year old man from the Netherlands and I first came into contact with your books in 1981, through my mother, who was herself badly abused, physically and psychologically, but who repeated this to some extent with me, her youngest child. I have read all your books.
Unfortunately my intelligent and wise mother is in almost complete denial of her own actions towards me during my childhood, although she fully agrees with your books and she admires you enormously (as I do).
I have been in the psychiatric system for many years in the past, but was unable to find any healing there, as I should have expected. I am very much aware that the unhealed traumas now often manifest themself pathologically. I am looking for ways to overcome my traumas, and I would like to believe I am not fighting a losing battle.
So I would like to ask you if you think Mr. X is right, namely that total exploration of my child history is possible (and therefore total healing), or if you are right, that total exploration is ‘hubris’ ?
With best wishes, J. W.
AM: Usually, I don’t respond to people who don’t really know my books and got confused by people who WANT to confuse them. But as you say you know my books and want to understand my meaning of the word hubris, I will try to respond. In your quotation, the word hubris is taken out off context. You can find the context in the DRAMA and read the whole text on your own. Around 1997, I heard of some people who became addicted to primals in the hope to eventually liberate themselves from their past and empty the “pool of pain.” They tried to do their best, they cried and cried, without any resolution. They felt not good enough if they didn’t succeed in healing. At the same time they were unable to question even the cruelest behavior of their parents. To me, this was exactly the reason why they were blocked.
I do think that you don’t need to recall every traumatic event if you deeply felt the devastating effect that your mother’s or father’s hatred for you created in your soul. It is not only a hubris, but it doesn’t make much sense to mistreat oneself. Of course, flashbacks may come again and again and will help us to understand our feelings (of the past and of today) once we are open to our feelings.
You can find my concept of effective therapy in my recent articles on this website.