Selling the ideas of Alice Miller
Monday December 18, 2006
Dear Alice Miller,
I want to thank you for the liberating and empowering information you give in your books and on your website.
It goes straight to my soul and allows me to open my eyes.
Around 1985 I read your Drama of the gifted child and already then I felt a connection between what you were writing and my feelings of despair and meaninglessness.
But it is only now since I have access to your website and can read your more recent publications that I feel a change and a beginning of an integration of your ideas in my emotianal life.
Born in 1948, I got my degee in psychology in Holland in 1965 but after that I hesitated to start an academic careeer.
Instead of that, most of the time, I lived at night and slept in the daytime. I worked a short time as a barkeeper and I also owned a shop for a short period. After two years I was invited by a friend to join him at his job as psychologist.
Because I could not identify myself with my professional role, I quitted this job after three years.
After that, I tried a training in non-directive psychotherapy and later on a training in directive familytherapy.
But I could not believe in a real positive effect of these forms of therapy.
So I left from both courses.
Now I realise that underneath my inability to function as a psychologist (and as a human being) there was a fundamental lack in selfesteem, a feeling of inferiority and anxiety to be rejected.
The real reason why I left was becouse I could not believe that I could be of any importance for someone else.
As a child I was given the feeling never to be able to fulfill the expectation of my parents.
It seemed never good enough. So how could I have the feeling to be good enough in my job as psychological adviser of teachers and parents, when I was teached by my parents that I meant nothing.
Since then I am a kind of free floating little businessman. Financially independant, but I live and work below my possibilities and miss direction and meaning in my life.
Often I have feelings of despair and depression and otfen I feel lonely, missing the feeling of contact with others and with myself.
In my fear of being rejected by people I tend to look for situations in which I need as little other people as possible and where I can step out as soon as I want.
But my need for indepedency gives lonelyness, so at the same time I look for intimicy which again results in anxiety to lose my autonomy.
Of course this had and has a big negative impact on the way I maintain relations.
People see me as a strong and talented man but I consider my position in life now, as a result of weakness and anxiety and and not as the result of my free choice.
Allready before having knowledge of your work, I had again and again the feeling that my emotional problems had to do with my upbringing, but never I could really admit this feeling.
From a material point of vieuw I got all what I needed from my mother and father. But the way in which they showed their involvement with me was “perfect” nursing and caring without hardly any physical or verbal signs of affection
I had a upbringing without respect for my real inner needs and feelings.
There was no interest for what I thought; instead there was denial and disrespect for my opinions and wishes
A compliment was never made and an excuse was never heard.
Instead of making a compliment, the things on which I could have done better were mentioned.
I was the oldest of my brother and sisters and we were not allowed to make to make rumours. I had to be quiet and not show emotions. In fact I had to act as if I was not there.
There was allmost never a laugh and there was no joy in the family. My parents acted as if life was more a burden than a joy.
I had to act as if I was not there.
From a material point of vieuw I got what I needed but in the caring and nursing by my parents there was no overt expression of tender feelings and there was hardly any physical contact.
Instead of getting beaten up regularly, my mistreatment was that I deeply have missed the hands of my mother and father on my body.
I wish to thank you for helping me to allow the feeling that it were my parents who mis-treated me and that it is not me who is to blame for the fact that I do not feel worth to be alive, but that they were the ones who brought this feeling in me.
What I read on your website gives me a hopeful feeling and although life is still a struggle for me and I have my times of feelings of depression and worthlessness, it is as if there is a bit more light on my road and as if my life feels a bit less heavy.
I have a question which maybe you would like to answer.
It concerns the two books of Ingeborgh Bosch, a Dutch psychologist who claims to have developed a new form of psychotherapy which she calls Pastrealityintegrationtherapy (PRI).
Ingeborgh Bosch monopolises her theory and therapy and makes an exclusive business-affair out of it, complete with her own exclusive school of therapy, her self-help books and her own website.
Her latest book is also published in France.
Reading her books it is obvious that her ideas come from you Mrs. Miller.
There is a new book from her going to be published soon in Holland and also in Italy with the title “The innocent prisoner”.
This title suggests that also in this book the ideas of Alice Miller are going to be sold.
But instead of giving the credits to you, she gives the credits to herself and to Jean Jenson.
Do you think that these books can really lead to self healing?
You may publish my letter.
Kind regards, W.
AM: Thank you for your letter and your consideration. I don’t think that it is easy to sell my ideas. Where are the buyers? Who would want to buy the truth about their own cruel upbringing and once endured suffering? I don’t know the books you mention, but if you know of a book that is totally free of pedagogical and moralistic advice, please let me know its title.