hope and belief
Tuesday August 12, 2008
Dear Alice Miller.
I turn to you once more for trying to get closer to some answers. Thanks to your work I have managed to come a long way on my own in trying to free myself from a very intricate personal history which holds me in a state of unhappiness and unfulfillment. I truly feel that though I have worked with several therapists throughout my life(I’m now 38), the one who has really helped me is you, through your books and the unconditional support of the child within yourself, hence the child within us all. Knowing that you have done it makes me belive that I can do it too. I also had the luck to get to know a person when I was younger that gave me support of my feelings and then I couldn’t stop believing that I would find my truth even though I didn’t know how incredible difficult it would be. It’s a kind of excavation where I have to reveal several layers of deceptions.
It has taken me a long time to get in touch with my own true feelings and I still got lots of work to do. I have noticed that it’s very difficult to break loose from my feelings of powerlessness and hatred. I’ve often been astonished by the intensity of my hatred (I some times honestly feel that I could kill my mother for what she has done to me), but now I do understand that it comes from my early experience of beeing helplessly intertwined with her serious emotional disturbances leaving me to feel responsible for her feelings and needs, basically speaking;her life. She made me feel this way with STRONG means such as serious threats and manipulations. And this has effectively stopped me from living my own life because every time I try to do so I’m subconsciently being dragged into HER needs. This is really difficult and I have litterally felt sometimes that I couldn’t leave the house or engage in my own interests, and even my education was affected by this depression and horrible anger I felt. I have not spoken with or seen my mother in ten years, but still I ‘m struggling to live my own life. These feelings of being responsible are so strong and so difficult to set aside that I do not know what do do. Intellectually I know a lot of things but still emotionally I feel like I’m a child, fearing whatever might happen if I take the stand and say to the world: “I do not support my mother anymore. She has to do without me destroying myself for her. She has to deal with her own feelings and lies.”
HELP.. I feel that I’m an awful person. And I can remember myself thinking these kinds of thoughts as a child, wanting her to get lost, leave us, explode, whatever…for me just being able to breath and live without her invading me all the time. And I remember that I felt an incredible anger and then.. GUILT.
AM: Everything in your letter makes sense to me. Above all you understand that your mother made you RESPONSIBLE FOR HER FEELINGS. Not many people recognize this and suffer thus for decades of feelings of guilt. Why do you also suffer in the same way though you already succeeded to understand? Can it be that you came to understand this mechanism thanks to my books, rather intellectually, but that emotionally you still can’t BELIEVE that your mother used you as a container? I immagine that you always tried to understand her so she would eventually liberate you from this role and care herself for her feelings? But she doesn’t. She prefers not to look at the mirror and to blame you for her chaotic state of emotions. Can it be that you still feel responsible for her chaos, her lies, and her contradictions and that you actually can’t believe that she ALWAYS tried to live at your cost? I think that if you succeed to really BELIEVE what you know you will liberate yourself from your dependency and then also from your hatered.
Norman: Why do you feel you are an awful person? Because ever since your childhood you were thinking that you want your mother to get lost, to leave, to die? But this is completely natural to have these thoughts! As a child, your mother has stolen from you the option of living YOUR OWN LIFE; the burden of being responsible for her has already ruined many years of your life. You are not guilty for feeling this hatred and for wanting your mother to die. Your THOUGHTS and FEELINGS are harmless, and they are in your case ABSOLUTELY legitimate. Maybe the article “what is Hatred” here on the website can help you to realize that wishing your mother was dead does NOT make you an awful person at all, but an authentic person, who can feel the justified rebellion of the emotionally tortured child who wanted so much to become free of the grip of his overpowering and manipulative mother.