Friday, July 17, 2015

Depression: Compulsive Self-Deception

"The categorical denial of the pain we suffered at the beginning of our lives is harmful in the extreme. Suppose someone setting out on a long walk sprains an ankle right at the outset. That person may decide to ignore the pain and to soldier on because he/she has been looking forward to the outing, but sooner or later others will notice that they are limping and will ask what has happened. When they hear the whole story they will understand why this person is limping and advise him/her to go for treatment. But in connection with the sufferings of childhood, which play a similar role in our lives to a sprained ankle at the beginning of a long hike, then things are different. Those sufferings cannot be "played down," they will leave their mark on the whole enterprise. The crucial difference in this case is that normally no one will take any notice. The whole of society is, as it were, in unison with the sufferer, who cannot say what has happened. It may well be that, despite the violation of their integrity, people who have been injured in this way really have no memories. If they have to spend their whole lives with people who play down the traumas of childhood, then they have no choice but to connive in this self-delusion. Their lives will progress in much the same way as the outing of the hiker who has sprained his ankle but pretends that nothing has happened. Should they, however, encounter people who know about the long-term effects of childhood traumas, then they will have the chance to abandon their denial and good prospects of healing the wounds they have been carrying around with them." -- Alice Miller
above excerpt from the article Depression: Compulsive Self-Deception
by Alice Miller