Saturday April 28, 2007
Dear Alice Miller,
I wrote to you recently, asking what you think of my desire to confront the biological parents that abused me. I told you that I did not expect any helpful response from them. I didn’t even want a response, I wanted to say to them, “How dare you?”
The biological parents I had the misfortune to be born to live a very long plane flight away. I have no way of knowing when they are at home. I decided to call their house, and if that did not feel like enough, then I would think about traveling there.
I sat at my desk with the phone in my hand and their phone number in front of me and felt a child’s fear of terrifying abusers. I became conscious of the overwhelming power adults have over children, because I felt such heart-pounding fear that I half expected police to show up at my door. The parts of my brain that still store my childhood feelings made me feel that what I was about to do could cause me to be arrested. To confront these biological parents made me feel like a criminal everyone on earth would hunt down and kill.
That was the terror of my childhood, triggered now by the idea of calling them.
I felt very depressed when I realized that I probably was not going to do it. I hunched over in my chair, feeling like I was going to let myself down.
I thought about how by letting my fear keep me from speaking up, I am accepting and keeping the shame they flooded me with when I was a child.
I got up and watched the part of the documentary, ‘Awful Normal”, where the young woman tells her molester how he betrayed her. She was terrifed before doing it also.
I decided if I called, I would say the words “How dare you?” because those are the words I once said to my little boy when he did some minor misbehavior. I know now those words belonged to the people who abused me, not to my innocent son.
I decided to hold the phone so that the earpiece was hanging down, I have no interest in hearing the words of child abusers.
After watching a part of the movie, I decided to walk back to the phone and immediately dial, not sit there and think about it.
I did, I actually dialed. A man’s voice said hello. I said, “How dare you touch me, you pig.” And a few more sentences in the same vein. Then I hung up. I had no idea who answered the phone! I did not recognize the voice. For all I knew, I had called their plumber a pig.
Tonight my brother called and said he had heard from the male biological parent, who said that I had called, and wanting to know what was wrong with me.
I am so happy it was him who answered! I did it!! I am so, so happy. I did it. I did it. Now I am working hard to bring a lawsuit against him. I feel proud and glad.
AM: Congratulations: You dared to feel, you dared to think and you took action so that you don’t need to hate your child for what your father did. The strong feeling of rage opened the door for you to care for yourself and to know what you needed to do to feel better. You will be able to use this experience time and again when the rage comes up; the rage will show you what you need at that given moment to feel comfortable in your “skin.” This is how a good therapy works.
Since you also dared to CONSCIOUSLY feel and understand the FEAR of the child before you acted as an adult, you will know in your future actions that THIS fear doesn’t indicate a danger for you NOW. But it did THEN for the child. Now you will protect this child from abusers in all your actions.