My mother didn’t believe me

My mother didn’t believe me
Wednesday July 12, 2006

Hello. I want to say that as I studied to be a family therapist over fifteen years ago, I found your books. I read them and in them I found myself. I never underscored a book as much as I did Drama of the Gifted Child. I was in psychoanalysis all through the years of my training because I wanted to know why I was so troubled and believed that in order to help other people I had better have understanding of myself. I found myself mirrored in your work.

I realized the pain I endured as a victim to my father’s sexual abuse of me. My mother turned away and pretended not to see. When I would try to talk with her, she would deny my reality altogether. To have my truth denied was the worst of it all. My analyst concluded that my greatest heartache was not the abuse from my father but rather, the fact that my mother didn’t love me. And, so now, as a practicing family therapist and one who will always be dealing with the residual pain of my upbringing, I am finally writing my experiences in a book. I have decided to title it The Hating Mother or The Shattered Soul of a Child. I will draw from my professional experiences, and, of course my own. My hope is to educate mothers, people, about the nuances of love and hate and how that is conveyed to a child very early on. I am so grateful to you, Alice Miller.
Most sincerely yours, S. N.

AM: Thank you for your letter. You write: “My analyst concluded that my greatest heartache was not the abuse from my father but rather the fact that my mother didn’t love me.” This is indeed the most painful insight. Realizing that you were not loved is very hard. But you should not forget that being sexually used by a father also shows the lack of love for his daughter. To see both is very disturbing, of course, and you need time to work on your father’s betrayal too. Many sexually abused women avoid confronting this betrayal and want to believe that they got some “love” from their father.
I wish you good luck and good friends.