Using the rage to understand
Tuesday November 28, 2006
Dear Alice Miller,
By the time I was 20 years old, (I am now 45), I knew that my parents never loved me, and only used and abused me. I’ve had no contact with them since then. They’ve never apologized for the sexual abuse and other cruelties. I wrote them a letter when I was 20 describing how horrible my childhood was, but I have never told them in person. I still feel angry, and a need to confront them about what they did to me. When I imagine doing this I feel a child’s rage and anxiety. When I confront a person in my present life who has hurt me, I suffer from rage and anxiety. I know these feelings are really a reaction to what my parents did. Sometimes I don’t speak up to people who’ve hurt me because I’m overwhemed by rage and anxiety that I know don’t belong in the present situation.
It would be gratifying to send my ‘father’ to prison for sexual abuse but the statute of limitations prevent that. It’s hard to imagine getting on a plane and showing up on their doorstep to yell at them. I could buy a couple of dolls to represent them and beat them black and blue, but I doubt that would provide long term relief.
I’d love to reduce this rage. Do you have any ideas?
Thank you, C. T.
AM: You write: Sometimes I don’t speak up to people who’ve hurt me because I’m overwhelmed by rage and anxiety that I know don’t belong in the present situation.But you say that they hurt you, and this is real. Why don’t you speak up? The rage is a source of information. If you don’t use this information and hinder yourself to understand it, you will all your life accumulate more and more rage. Try to understand what makes you angry in the present time.