Tuesday April 14, 2009
I am a 21-year-old university student in South Korea.
I have read 3 of your books that were translated into Korean: The Body Never Lies, The Drama of the Gifted Child, and The Truth Will Set You Free. I was so shocked when I first read your book. It was something I always knew but couldn’t consciously think in that way.
I have an elder brother who is autistic. My parents were too busy and tired taking care of him and I couldn’t be taken care of much. My needs and emotions were easily ignored, and oppressed. On other occasions that had nothing to do with my brother’s condition, my parents were not so understanding as well. Infering from what they told me about their childhood, that was the way they were raised. I learned not to cry as an infant after crying myself to sleep many times, without anyone to attend to me.(My mother tells this story when my relatives start taliking about my infancy. she was a bit ‘proud’ of it), and when I got beaten for not being obedient, I was not allowed to show tears because what my mother wanted was ‘I’m sorry I was bad’. I learned to lie for the first time by saying this. I had to weep in the toilet when I felt the urge. When I let the fact slip, my mother laughed at it.
I would get compliments for being so ‘nice’ ‘obedient’ and ‘mature(at an age under 10)’ from parents and other adults around me for not complaining about anything, being obedient, and sometimes heping parents look after my brother. And I was the one who should show compassion for their sacrifice. I wanted their loving, care, attention, which were so hard to get. They had goals for me which they thought that I would achieve naturally, and I can’t help myself form doubting that they consider the goals as compensation for my brother’s disability, and their lost goals. I started noticing vaguely that I was not feeling loved when I was in highschool. In highschool I apparently suffered depression from the exam hell for univ. and not having friends that I can open my heart to. I desperately needed help, but parents ignored it despite of my violent, impulsive behaviors, fatigue, tears before them and saying ‘it is too hard to bear’. I felt miserable, barely felt alive.
It was hard to be angry with them because I could see their regrets in their past, and we had the special condition of my brother. In fact, I still have ambivalent feelings though I try to see that the younger me cannot be held responsible for them. I had a gruop session for human relationship last year, and now am having my first coulseling session with a counselor for three months now. when I found your books was about the time we started talking about things that are related to my childhood. I don’t know whether she read your book, but our session went well with your books so far. The session is always tough, but I feel good that I am coming closer to myself, doing something other than the goals set by parents.
I really want to thank you for your great books, for giving me insight and courage to continue working on myself.
AM: Thank you for your letter, it shows that the situation of a South-Korean child does not differ as much from the one in other cultures, the pattern is all the same. I am glad that you found in my books the confirmation and support for the knowledge you always had in yourself but didn’t dare talking about. Now you do. Why don’t you give my books to your therapist? She will maybe become then your enlightened witnes