Friday, August 31, 2012

My comment on a forum about psychopaths/sociopaths

From my experience with psychopaths/sociopaths they all had trauma in childhood and even before birth while still in the womb and some also had a very traumatic childbirth. But if they had parents capable of  genuine feelings and true love, they would have been able to heal the trauma of a difficult birth. 

Even though I have compassion for the child they once were, I don’t have compassion for the adults they have become, because as adults, we all have a choice to open our eyes to see and feel. 

Alice Miller called Hitler a monster and she too could feel compassion for the child he once was, but had no compassion for the monster he became. The reason psychopaths can sometimes be hard to spot is because they have memorized good knowledge and mimic us, so we think they are like us, but without genuinely experiencing it at the personal level, they are like robots, they become perfect machines going into the world deceiving themselves and others, they are telling lies coated with disconnected truths to allure people into their trap, so they can use and exploit them, the only reason they want to educate themselves and get knowledge is not to help themselves and others, but to use what they have learned to manipulate others to help them in their schemes to fool everyone and get over others without feeling any remorse, they don’t care who they destroy in the process, as long they get what they want, it’s all about getting what they want.  

Barbara Rogers was very good at her game and that is why she was able to fool Alice Miller, but in the moment she was caught and Alice Miller confronted her, she attacked like all psychopaths do and take with them those that are not able to see through them and believe their lies.

You saying that I am projecting my emotional qualities into the psychopaths, maybe is true to some extent, we all can project ourselves unconsciously into others, but we could say that maybe you are also projecting your denied emotional qualities into the psychopaths, because people incapable of genuine feelings would make them perfect target for people that can’t bear to feel their own painful excruciating repressed feelings of the child they once were, it goes both ways, nobody is perfect, we all were once defenseless children at the mercy of ignorant adults and we all like it or not  have been affected by our own childhood to an extent, some more than others.,28551.15.html#lastPost

Monday, August 27, 2012

Daniel Mackler and Barbara Rogers came up in a very interesting conversation

P: Hi Sylvie I don't know if you already know this, it's the translation of an interview that Martin Miller gave to the German magazine Der Spiegel

Sylvie: Yes I read it... the issues between him and his mother are understandable, because his mother had not made her discoveries until he was an adult, so he was affected by his own childhood like the rest of us, but that does not take away from the discoveries Alice made later on and the great books she left for us to help us resolve our own repression. If you have read all her books, she shares her pain of not have been able to be there for her son when he was little and she apologizes to him and hopefully one day he can resolve his own repression and be free, if he has not done already.

I think he did a good job on the preface to his mother’s French edition book “L’essentiel d’Alice Miller” but I still felt a little bit residue left of unresolved feelings between him and his mother, but his unresolved feelings are between him and his mother and has nothing to do with us, but between them, our issues are with our own parents. 

Alice has never hurt us in anyway, but DM and others like him are hurting the public by creating a smoke screen to hide the truth and facts from themselves and others, like Sigmund Freud and others did with their crazy theories to protect parents and hide behind so they did not have to face and feel their own painful truths. 

DM and others like him work very hard to suppress Alice Miller's books from reaching more people because they are afraid of being exposed by her books. 

It makes me sad seeing people exploiting Alice and her son and doing personal attacks towards Alice making her their scapegoat for the wrongs done to them by their own parents. 

Our issues are with our parents not with Alice. Alice was a human being like the rest of us and made mistakes in her personal life like we all have, but she was an honest and a sincere woman that focused on facts. Have you read the Preface to the Revised Edition of 1997 of the Book “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence”
P: No, I hadn't read that. Thanks a lot for sharing it.
Sylvie: From this preface is where DM takes her words out of context and twists her words to attack Alice Miller in his critique of Alice Miller, he is a total psychopath. His limitations are so much bigger than Alice Miller’s, which I don’t think in his life time he will ever come close to the depths of Alice Miller. 

Alice Miller's behavior was not abusive at all to her daughter. But I think Daniel was being extremely abusive to Alice Miller with his character assassination of her. Her daughter was not just a gift to Alice Miller for being the trigger of her awakening, but a gift to all of us also, because without her daughter she probably would never have written her books the way she did and I would still be living in isolation or dead, I don’t think I could have lived with my feelings and perceptions all alone much longer without her books and for that I am very grateful her daughter was born. 

Alice Miller has been the most heroic pioneer person in our world, who stood for truth and facts, exposing the lies and hypocrisy of society; of course she was human and made mistakes like the rest of us, but she was always honest, authentic, genuine and when she noticed a mistake of hers she was honest and sincere and she only deserves our compassion, understanding, gratitude and not our judgments, projections and transferences; this guy is a perfectionist that lives in denial of his imperfections and limitations; projecting himself into Alice Miller and if someone is abusive is him. Enjoying a child’s affection and innocence is not abusive at all, unless we take advantage of those qualities for our own cruel and selfish reasons and Alice Miller was far from being cruel and selfish in anyway.
P: I completely share your views on Alice, she was not perfect of course, like the rest of us, and never pretended to be, simply because she was human and that is what makes her so credible and authentic to me, unlike those critics who are looking for flaws to prove her wrong and attack her...above all of them DM with his stupid perfectionism ....luckily he himself has been faithful to his own theory and does not have any children....I would feel really sorry for them!!!! I just listen to the 2nd part of his video criticizing Alice ...easily to be summed up...BS....Alice always pointed out that she did not want to be considered as an idol or a guru.....if people do that it's their problem not hers....
Sylvie: Exactly! I could not have said it better myself. Like that Barbara Rogers if she is "lost in a fog of admiration" is not Alice's fault that she lost herself admiring Alice Miller, but the reality is, she did not lose herself, because she has never found herself, once we truly find ourselves we can never lose ourselves again, the little girl she once was still lost in the fog of admiration with her own mother now transferred into a substitute figure, Alice Miller. It’s her problem if she is still a lost little girl and loses herself in admiration over others, she is another psychopath that have memorized good knowledge hijacked from Alice, but have not experienced it at personal level and now is trying to cast herself in the role of parent figure over others and misuses this good knowledge to manipulate and use others to distract herself, so she does not have to face and feel the repressed excruciating emotions of the child she once was; reenacting her childhood drama all over again with the people she is trying to help, but now she playing the role of her mother and the people she is trying to help, playing the role of the child she and they once were and they all remain lost in a maze with no way out, staying prisoners of childhood for eternity.
Me too, I would feel sorry for DM’s children if he had any, but maybe if he had his own children to use as his scapegoat or poisonous container, he would not need to make Alice and others his scapegoat or poisonous container, like Hitler, if he had his own children to use as his scapegoat, maybe he would not have to take it out on the Jews and other minority groups making them his scapegoat for the wrongs done to him by his own father.
P: Yes...that's true.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The sad tragic story of Michael Jackson

When I used to see Michael Jackson on TV, of course I admired his art work and enjoyed watching him, I could feel everyone around him was just exploiting him and I would feel his pain and I wish I could reach over the TV and could talk to him. He tried to save children around the world, but he was not able to save first the child he once was from his abusive parents that exploited him when he was a defenseless little boy, the last doctor, Dr. Conrad Murray in Michael Jackson final act, playing the role of the father figure, he was just continuing the exploitation where his parents had left off; his parents, the first people in Michael Jackson first act, were the ones that needed the most punishment, because they abused and exploited him when he was a defenseless little boy and his brain was not yet completed form, but of course society only focus and care about a person’s final act and ignore the most important act, the first act, because if they did that then they would have to question their own parents too. And because he never was not able to face and stand up to his internalized parents he did not save himself and was not able also to assist others in their liberation.  He tried to have a childhood through other children by surround himself with children, unconsciously he was using and exploiting children to fulfill his own childhood needs, but because we can never go back in time we can never fulfill a need of the child we once were through substitute figures, only by facing our internalized parents and feeling the repressed emotions of the child we once were and mourning the loss of our childhood can we liberate ourselves and stop the repetition compulsion of trying to use and exploit endless substitutes figures to fulfill our childhood needs.

 “On the basis of the foregoing, the conclusion could be drawn that neither Flaubert nor Beckett would have written these stories I have discussed had they been fully conscious that in them they were describing their own problems. This line of thinking brings some to the cruel conclusion that it is a good thing that the major writers had an unhappy childhood; otherwise we wouldn’t have their great works now. I would respond that these writers simply would have written something different that could have been just as powerful as long as it, too, emanated from the unconscious. The unconscious is endless; it resembles an ocean from which we, in analysis, can remove perhaps one glassful of water, that portion which has made the person ill. A great artist will be able to draw all more freely from the ocean the less he has to protect himself from the suspected poison in the glass. He will be free to try out different approaches and keep discovering himself anew, as can be observed in the life of Pablo Picasso, for one. In contrast to Picasso, we might mention Salvador Dali, who, although undoubtedly a great painter, has, like Samuel Beckett, been preoccupied all his life with the poison in the glass. What I am saying here is not intended as a value judgment but merely as a comment on the personal tragedy of artists. A glassful is tiny in comparison with the ocean, but if we imagine a person to be the size of an ant, then even a glassful can seem like a great ocean.

The common belief that neurosis is an asset for art may possibly be rooted in an exploitative attitude that is somehow understandable. We could, for instance, argue: what would the works of Kafka, Proust, or Joyce be without their authors’ neuroses? Aren’t these the very writers who have described our own inner perils and inner prisons, our compulsions and absurdities? Therefore, we would not want them to have been mentally sound, to have written like a Goethe, because then we would have been deprived of a significant experience and unconscious mirroring. In Kafka’s The Trial, for example, we experience our own incomprehensible guilt feelings, in The Castle our powerlessness, and in “The Metamorphosis” our loneliness and isolation; yet the portrayal of these existential situations does not cause us to despair, for they apply only to Kafka’s “fictitious” characters. Such writers fulfill an important function for us that we would not like to forgo---that of mirroring---and nothing is required of us in return. We, as these author’s posterity, take on, in a sense, the role of their parents, since we, too, profit from their artistic gifts without having to deal with their actual suffering.

This thought first struck me when I read the letters written to Mozart by his father, quoted in Florian Langegger’s fascinating study, Mozart---Vater und Sohn. The father wrote: “Above all you must devote yourself with all your soul to your parents, well-being, otherwise your soul will go to the devil… I’ll live for another few years, God willing, pay my debts---and then as far as I’m concerned you can knock your head against a stone wall if you’re quite fit the image of a loving father that history has handed down to us. But they show very plainly the narcissistic abuse of the child, which in most cases need not exclude great affection and strong encouragement (cf. my review of Langegger’s book in Psyche 23 PP. 587-88). After reading Leopold Mozart’s “loving” letters selected by Langegger, it should come as no surprise to us that the son outlived his father by only a short time, dying at the age of thirty-seven, and that before his health he suffered from fear of being poisoned. Yet how unimportant the tragic fate of this human being seems to posterity when weighed his outstanding achievement.”
From the book “Thou Shalt Not Be Aware” by Alice Miller, page 249




Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Real Life Villains and Spotting a Sociopath - You Can't Win

Real Life Villains and Spotting a Sociopath - You Can't Win
  1. Know your enemy: Sociopaths manipulate, lie and scheme against you. They think nothing of spending 10 hours a day on the phone, or in person, telling anyone and everyone lie after lie about you. Your reputation may be in tatters by the time they are done. According to therapist Martha Stout in The Sociopath Next Door , sociopaths have no remorse. They do not feel sorrow when they destroy your life.
  2. Don't play the game: Once a sociopath targets you, the situation turns into a game for him or her. Your attempts to "fix" the situation with rational conversation is seen as weakness by the sociopath. She will feel she is winning and will amp up her efforts, even twisting your words and using them against you.
  3. Escape the insanity: I can't stress enough that you simply cannot win with a sociopath. A sociopath will never stop attacking your reputation in the most ruthless manner possible. The ONLY way to win is to get away from the sociopath. I know this from personal experience. I had to cut off every avenue of possible contact to escape the craziness created by a person who came into my life by chance.
  4. Take a witness: If you are in a situation where you must deal with the sociopath, such as someone in your family, or a co-worker, refuse to speak with the person unless you have a third party present. This way, you have a witness and your words and actions cannot be twisted and misconstrued. The Abuse Recovery site offers additional tips for dealing with a sociopath that you might find helpful.
  5. Don't let it get to you: A sociopath will tear down your innermost confidence in yourself bit by bit until you wonder if all the conflict is your fault. Take a step back and really reflect on the situation. Take responsibility for your own faults (we all have them), and lay the blame where it belongs for the rest.
Read more here

While the average person spends a good portion of the day thinking about those she loves (children, husband, parents, friends), a sociopath doesn't have these emotional ties with anyone. Instead, she will spend all that time plotting to take you down and destroy you either literally or figuratively. Even removing yourself from the sphere of the sociopath's influence may only work for a while. You must remain consistent. Do not let the sociopath fool you a second time with his or her charm. Do not believe the person has changed. Most therapists agree that sociopaths cannot be treated effectively. Instead, take steps to protect yourself and your family. Consider drastic solutions like moving, changing jobs and making new friends. Remember that it is all a game to the sociopath. She or he does not care if you're hurt. The only goal they have is winning. The only way you can beat a sociopath is to get away from a sociopath. Accept the harsh realitySociopaths do not changePerhaps you've come to the conclusion that you are dealing with a sociopath. You've read the key symptoms and they describe this person perfectly. You've read the True Lovefraud stories, and you recognize the behaviors. So what do you do now?Accept the reality that a sociopath will never change. You cannot cure him with your love. You cannot change yourself and expect him to be satisfied. You cannot make him understand how you feel and how much he hurts you. He really doesn't care. (All of this applies to female sociopaths as well as male.) To a sociopath, you are just "supply." You are a source of money, sex, housing, business connections, or whatever else he is taking from you. Even though he says, "I love you," and "I'll never do it again," the words mean nothing. His sole objective is to keep the supply coming. So what do you do? Cut your losses and get out. If you're lucky, you're not married, you don't have children together, and you don't work together. You just walk away and never see the creep again. But many situations are more complicated than that. If you have to deal with divorce or child custody, expect it to be nasty. It's not that the sociopath actually cares about you or the kids. It's just that he or she wants to win, and make your life miserable in the process.Lovefraud provides more information on what to do if you're involved with a sociopath on the other pages of this section. Lovefraud also recommends the online support groups listed below. Although the members are not professional therapists, they have all been where you are—which is much more valuable than a therapist who doesn't get it. At the very least, they will help you to realize you are not alone. (Registration is required to participate.) "Psychopaths are social predators who charm, manipulate and ruthlessly plow their way through life, leaving a broad trail of broken hearts, shattered expectations and empty wallets. Completely lacking in conscience and feelings for others, they selfishly take what they want and do as they please, violating social norms and expectations without the slightest sense of guilt or regret."* Are sociopaths insane? Here's how Dr. Robert Hare, who uses the term "psychopaths," answers the question:
"Psychopaths do meet current legal and psychiatric standards for sanity. They understand the rules of society and the conventional meanings of right and wrong. They are capable of controlling their behavior, and they are aware of the potential consequences of their acts. Their problem is that this knowledge frequently fails to deter them from antisocial behavior. "In my opinion, psychopaths certainly know enough about what they are doing to be held accountable for their actions."* Why is it so critical for you to know about sociopaths? Because millions of sociopaths are living among us. Yes, many of them are criminals, locked up in jail. But far more are on the street, hurting people without breaking laws, operating in the gray areas between legal and illegal, or simply eluding the authorities. They can appear to be normal, but they pose a tremendous threat to us all.Sociopaths exhibit a range of behaviors. In fact, Dr. Hare diagnoses them according to their score on a scale. So just as you could describe someone's intelligence as ranging from smart to genius, you could describe a sociopath as somewhere between sleazy and serial killer. If you see sleazy, he or she may be on the low end of the scale, but they're still bad news.This web site is dedicated to informing you about sociopaths so you can protect yourself. Learn to spot the behaviors that might indicate someone is a sociopath. Once they are adults, sociopathic men and women do not change. They cannot be rehabilitated. The sooner you can get away from them, the better off you'll be.To really understand, up close and personal, how these predators worm their way into your life, read Love Fraud-How marriage to a sociopath fulfilled my spiritual plan. Glib and superficial Psychopaths are often witty and articulate. They can be amusing and entertaining conversationalists, ready with a quick and clever comeback, and can tell unlikely but convincing stories that cast themselves in a good light. They can be very effective in presenting themselves well and are often very likable and charming. Typically, psychopaths attempt to appear experts in sociology, psychiatry, medicine, psychology, philosophy, poetry, literature, art or law. A signpost to this trait is often a smooth lack of concern at being found out that they are not. Egocentric and grandiose Psychopaths have a narcissistic and grossly inflated view of their self-worth and importance, a truly astounding egocentricity and sense of entitlement. They see themselves as the center of the universe, as superior beings who are justified in living according to their own rules. Psychopaths are seldom embarrassed about their legal, financial or personal problems. Rather, they see them as temporary setbacks, the results of bad luck, unfaithful friends or an unfair and incompetent system. Psychopaths feel that their abilities will enable them to become anything they want to be. Given the right circumstances—opportunity, luck, willing victims—their grandiosity can pay off spectacularly. For example, the psychopathic entrepreneur "thinks big," but it's usually with someone else's money. Lack of remorse or guilt Psychopaths show a stunning lack of concern for the devastating effects their actions have on others. Often they are completely forthright about the matter, calmly stating that they have no sense of guilt, are not sorry for the pain and destruction they have caused, and that there is no reason for them to be concerned. Psychopaths' lack of remorse or guilt is associated with a remarkable ability to rationalize their behavior and to shrug off personal responsibility for actions that cause shock and disappointment to family, friends, associates and others who have played by the rules. Usually they have handy excuses for their behavior, and in some cases they deny that it happened at all. Lack of empathy The feelings of other people are of no concern to psychopaths. Psychopaths view people as little more than objects to be used for their own gratification. The weak and the vulnerable—whom they mock, rather than pity—are favorite targets.Psychopaths display a general lack of empathy. They are indifferent to the rights and suffering of family members and strangers alike. If they do maintain ties with their spouses or children it is only because they see their family members as possessions, much like their stereos or automobiles. Because of their inability to appreciate the feelings of others, some psychopaths are capable of behavior that normal people find not only horrific but baffling. For example, they can torture and mutilate their victims with about the same sense of concern that we feel when we carve a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner. However, except in movies and books, very few psychopaths commit crimes of this sort. Their callousness typically emerges in less dramatic, though still devastating, ways: parasitically bleeding other people of their possessions, savings and dignity; aggressively doing and taking what they want; shamefully neglecting the physical and emotional welfare of their families; engaging in an unending series of casual, impersonal and trivial sexual relationships; and so forth. Deceitful and manipulative Lying, deceiving and manipulation are natural talents for psychopaths. Given their glibness and the facility with which they lie, it is not surprising that psychopaths successfully cheat, bilk, defraud, con and manipulate people and have not the slightest compunction about doing so. They are often forthright in describing themselves as con men, hustlers or fraud artists. Their statements often reveal their belief that the world is made up of "givers and takers," predators and prey, and that it would be very foolish not to exploit the weaknesses of others. Some of their operations are elaborate and well thought out, whereas others are quite simple: stringing along several women at the same time, or convincing family members and friends that money is needed "to bail me out of a jam." Whatever the scheme, it is carried off in a cool, self-assured, brazen manner.
Read more

Monday, August 20, 2012

Dealing with anger/rage

Hi X,

Congratulations in making this fundamental connection. I am glad mine and Alice’s words helped you make this connection. This is a very important, because our anger/rage only starts to diminish when it is understood and felt in the context of our own childhood, otherwise it will remain in our bodies to be triggered again and again, endless by people that remind us of our childhood abusers keeping us unconsciously and compulsively reenacting our childhood drama and shackled to the chains of repetition compulsion.

The fantasies of revenge of the child you once were are very understandable, as a child you were a prisoner and could not escape your tormentors, so the child fantasied of killings his oppressors, so it could be free, but feelings and fantasies do not kill or harm anyone, only actions kill and harm others. I remember once as a teenage fantasying of killing my older sisters, so I could be free, because they were constantly in my way. Just like Alice’s said in her article What is Hatred?  : “As long as we are in such a state of dependency, or think we are, then hatred is the inevitable outcome. It is hardly conceivable that a person being tortured will not feel hatred for the torturer.”

Is completely understandable the child you once were felt the way it did, just witness his plight understand it and consciously feel the repressed justified anger of the child you once were directed at the people that deserves it, your childhood abusers, only it wants is for his plight to be seen as it really was and understood and his feelings felt, taken serious and validated, it will not harm anyone and will liberate you. 

I know the compulsion to misplace our pent up anger into scapegoats that remind us of our childhood abusers is very tempting, because society protects parents and does not permit the child's anger against them, making transference very hard to avoid and of course is never easy to handle, but we have to avoid this temptation and feel it in the context of our own childhood if we want to free ourselves. As children we could not escape our abusers, but the beauty of being a mature conscious and autonomous adult is that we can walk away from anyone that still an abuser and refuses to open his/her eyes to see.

As Alice said to me and sadly I witness it happening constantly on Facebook: “I have learned over the years of my work on the internet that there are readers who SEEM to understand SOME of what I have written, at least intellectually, but they are still so afraid of their very cruel parents and of their repressed FEELINGS of rage towards them that they are constantly looking for scapegoats. They thus live in a continual confusion pretending that they are healed and even offering help and empathy to others. But eventually they use unconsciously other people (even the ones who are quite friendly to them) as a poisonous container like their parents did to them, and if the offended people begin to defend themselves they can become very mean. I can only urge you to trust your feelings and to NOT offer your empathy and interest to everybody just because they say they read and understood everything I have written. In most of the cases it is a lie. To understand my books means to overcome the fear of one’s parents, to honestly feel the justified rage TOWARD THEM and to no longer use others to getting free from the accumulated rage.”

Also in her book “Free from Lies” page 136, she says: “Once the client has achieved the ability to cope with old feelings and productive use of the “triggers,” there is no further need of the therapist’s presence.” Now that you made this connection and productively make use of your triggers you are on the way to freedom.

Wishing you much courage and strength,


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Resolving the Effects of Child Mistreatment

"We cannot resolve the effects of mistreatment in therapies that evade the facts and confine themselves only to the analysis of the psychic realities. But we can liberate ourselves from the consequences if we are prepared to face emotionally the truth of our childhood, to give up the denial of our suffering, to develop empathy for the child that we were and to thus understand the reasons for our fears. In this way, we free ourselves from the fears and guilt feelings that were burdened upon us from the earliest age. Through the knowledge of our history and our feelings, we get to know the persons that we are, and we learn to give to them what they vitally need but never received from their parents: love and respect. This is the goal of the uncovering therapy: The wounds can be scared over if they are tended to and taken seriously; but the existence of the scars should not be denied." -- Alice Miller

above excerpt from the article Resolving the Effects of Child Mistreatment by Alice Miller

Thursday, August 9, 2012

The risks of primal therapy

Alice’s truthful words below are exactly why so many try to suppress her books, because she exposes how gurus and cult leaders use primal therapy and other regression methods to manipulate people and that is exactly what Daniel Mackler is trying to do and others like him and that is also what I witnessed happening at the cult People Unlimited and it’s obvious that is also what happens in Scientology and this is why we have to be very careful with primal therapy and any other therapy that uses methods of regression and never put our lives in someone else’s hands. The trick is to face, feel, experience and witness the repressed feelings of the child we once were as they are triggered by present events without losing adult conscious.

 “…In the last few years I have come to the conclusion that primal therapy is not always free of dangers, that it is imperative for it to be embarked upon under expert guidance and not as a form of self-therapy. This conclusion is tantamount to a retraction of my earlier ideas on this subject.
Numerous studies on cult groups have enlightened us on the latest methods of human manipulation. It transpires that these groups frequently use primal-therapy techniques to brainwash the members they have recruited into a state of regression and thus make them completely docile and malleable. Thus primal therapy runs the risk of being misused for commercial purposes and reinforcing the individual’s dependency on the group rather than encouraging his autonomy, as I had originally hoped. Today, however, therapists are using new approaches with awareness both of the advantages of primal therapy (its closeness to feelings) and of its dangers (manipulation and addictive-dependency on pain), and they attempt to use this awareness to the benefit of their patient.
In my preface to the paperback edition of Jean Jenson’s Reclaiming Your Life (Meridian, 1996) I have set out my queries and doubts in connection with primal therapy; I would refer the reader to that text for a more extensive discussion of the subject. Shortly after the publication of the way version of The Drama of the Gifted Child by Basic Books in January 1994, letters from readers and subsequent research on my part made me realize that my recommendation of primal therapy as a form of self-help had been premature. The swift initial successes were unfortunately not of lasting duration, and many correspondents reported that the anguish aroused in the process was too great to be borne alone. So it became obvious to me that it is all but impossible to live through and dissipate these anxieties without expert guidance. At the same time, the awareness was borne in upon me that in a state of regression it is not possible to judge the competence and integrity of the person one has turned to for such guidance. This opens up all kinds of opportunities for abuse. The intensive phase with which primal therapy begins is an immediate obstacle to the formation of a balanced, critical, independent assessment of the therapist’s abilities by the client. The fact that the attendant uncritical and irrational expectations of healing and “salvation” can lead to the establishment of totalitarian sects is borne out by the crass example of mass abuse at the hands of the exponents of “feeling therapy” as described in detail by Carol Lynn Mithers in her book Therapy Gone Mad: The True Story of Hundreds of Patients and a Generation Betrayed (1994). But this study was possible only after the community she describes had disbanded, something that frequently takes decades. Today we know that such groups exist and that members of sects are done irremediable harm before they become aware of the fact. And when their dilemma finally does dawn on them, it is frequently too late to do anything about it because they have lost all contact with their original social background and hence have no sources of moral support or financial assistance outside the sect, to which they are then frequently shackled by the debts they have run up.  

Despite the eloquence of Mithers’ example, I would still not have been fully alive to the danger of abuse in primal therapy without the information on the way sects operate that I derived from the publications of the Swiss journalist Hugo Stamm, who interviewed me for a weekly magazine. The literature on cult groups helped me understand the psychological mechanisms exploited by sects and similar groups the world over. Gurus bent on maximizing their commercial gains and personal power profit to a high degree from the loss of the perceptive faculties forfeited by so many people early in childhood.”

Taken from the Preface to the Revised Edition of 1997 of the Book “Breaking Down the Wall of Silence” by Alice Miller

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


Sylvie Imelda Shene: Art can help people survive their childhood traumas, but will not free them from it, unless they are able to face and feel the painful repressed emotions of the child they once were, they will unconsciously and compulsively reenact they childhood drama in the present moment and art just helps them cope with it.
June 7 at 7:52am ·

I wish the person that got mad at me for my comment above on her post about art being healing could read Alice Miller’s words below, so she could see that her art did not liberate her from her repressed hate and unconsciously and compulsively is looking for scapegoats to relieve pen up anger.
 5. It is a great mistake to imagine that one can resolve traumas in a symbolic fashion. If that were possible, poets, painters, and other artists would be able to resolve their pain through creativity. This is not the case, however. Creativity helps us channel the pain of trauma into symbolic acts; it doesn't help us resolve it. If symbolic revenge for maltreat­ment received in childhood were effective, then dictators would eventually stop humiliating and torturing their fel­low human beings. As long as they choose to deceive them­selves about who really deserves their hatred, however, and as long as they go on feeding that hatred in symbolic form instead of experiencing and resolving it within the context of their own childhood, their hunger for revenge will remain insatiable (see Miller 1990a).”

Introduction to the Revised Edition (1994)

Alice Miller - The Drama of Being a Child.

OVER the years, I have been reluctant to make any revi­sions in my first three books—The Drama of Being a Child, For Your Own Good, and Thou Shalt Not Be Aware—because I did not wish to disguise my own life history. But today this wish has taken second place to others that, in view of the enormous readership of the Drama, now seem more impor­tant. Most of my readers find themselves confronting their own life histories as they read my books, and I did not want an anachronistic language to stand in the way of that encounter. This book was written seventeen years ago in keeping with the precepts of psychoanalysis, precepts that I have long since moved beyond and today regard as mislead­ing. I therefore have had to revise the text thoroughly, sal­vaging those parts I still regard as valid and useful while clarifying certain points more than I was able to in 1978.

Since the publication of the Drama, many people have written to me saying that they can trace the moment of their own personal awakening to their reading of the book. It seems to have given them the key to long locked doors, behind which lay the path to their own life histories. Pent-up tears could finally be wept. The strength and similarity of these reactions, despite the diversity of the cultures in which they originated, made it clear to me that the Drama touched upon a universal human tragedy that could not be traced exclusively to Western civilization. I also came to see that this tragedy could not be undone in a single generation.

The tragedy is that of early psychic injuries and their inevitable repression, which allows the child to survive. In a broad sense, it is the tragedy of almost everyone: As chil­dren we strive, above all else, to accommodate our parents' demands - spoken and unspoken, reasonable and unreason­able. In the process, we blind ourselves to our true needs and feelings. In our adult lives, this is like trying to sail a ship without a compass. Not knowing who we are, what we feel, and what we need, even as grown-ups we remain sub­ject to the expectations placed upon us from the very begin­ning of our lives, expectations we fulfilled not for love but for the illusion of love. Without that illusion, we could not have survived childhood.
Sadly, the situation has changed little for today's children. The strong - indeed, growing - interest in the Drama proves as much. What has changed are the avenues available to adults to resolve their problems. Today anyone who is motivated can have access to their repressed childhood his­tory. This is new.

The original Drama expressed the hope that we would one day be able to remedy the repression of feeling and memory with the help of psychoanalysis. This hope has once and for all proved to be an illusion. Indeed, psychoanalysis was specifically created by Freud to conceal childhood injuries, and it continues to serve its purpose well.

Freud dealt with his fear of his childhood traumas by making endless unverifiable speculations, and by denying the possibility of a verifiable access to childhood reality. By doing so, he retarded progress in our knowledge of our­selves, and in effective therapeutic work, for a hundred years. Out of his renunciation of the truth he created dogma. Around the question of child abuse and its consequences, he wove a strict taboo. In psychoanalytic circles, one was obliged to accept the credo that psychic illness had its ori­gins in "instinctual conflicts." Everyone, including the most famous analysts such as Spitz, Balint, Winnicott, Kohut, and others (but not John Bowlby) complied with this taboo. As a result, they could not bring to fruition the discovery of child mistreatments they made in their work. And as they did not have the courage to move beyond the framework of psychoanalysis, they sacrificed the truth for their positions within the Psychoanalytic Association. Sandor Ferenczi, who insisted on the validity of his own experience with patients, was ostracized and branded psychotic.

C. G. Jung, though he did dare to break with Freud, took refuge from his own concrete life history in a world of sym­bols and suppositions. This decision would not have had any consequences for others if it had remained Jung's private business. But Jung disguised his fear with the help of theo­ries that are still held in high esteem by his followers. His ideas are used today to treat disturbed people in a misleading and dangerous way - people who are told, for instance, that violence is a normal part of our nature, a part of our "shadow," and that we only must learn to "deal with it." With such a theory the confused drug addict and criminal must become even more confused and violent, because he is being betrayed once again. For it is only the suppression of justified rage in childhood that makes a person violent and blind. Nothing else. But to admit this fact would mean to recognize the failures of parents who once (more or less vio­lently) suppressed this rage. If the Jungian "therapist" fears his own parents more than anything else, he uses Jung's theo­ries to sidestep the truth and feels supported in so doing by the whole Jungian community, based on its master's author­ity. I insist on disclosing the roots of this "therapeutic" indoctrination, because the damage caused by them is absolutely avoidable as soon as the truth can be faced.

Similar "solutions" to personal dilemmas at the expense of patients and students can be found among other recalci­trants, like Wilhelm Reich, who went on to found their own school of thought. I discuss them in my books (see Miller 1984,1990b,1991).

The repression of injuries endured during childhood is the root cause of psychic disorders and criminality. The price of repression and denial in childhood, however necessary to the child, is the symptoms of the adult. A difficult childhood, even the most cruel, doesn't automatically create a criminal. Taking examples like Hitler, Stalin, and others, I could prove that it was not the cruel childhood alone but rather the total denial of this suffering and the flight from murderers. We now know that and we also know how repression can be resolved, via the release of feelings that became blocked at the
time of the original trauma. During this process, the uncon­scious memories of repressed events, which often drive a per­son to destructive actions, can be transformed into conscious memories chat remain available to us in the future and allow us to fulfill our real needs in a peaceful way. The blind acting-out comes then to an end.

People undergoing these therapies not only help them­selves but are true pioneers, helping others to learn from their exploration about unnoticed, often unconscious, psy­chic and physical assaults on children—a knowledge that our "collective unconsciousness" has kept secret for thou­sands of years. These adults will no longer have to escape from something that happened a long time ago, because they no longer have to deny the fact that what is so hard to believe did actually happen.

Our true, repressed life history is stored up in our body, which attempts to recount it and to be listened to, by way of symptoms. This is in fact for our own well-being, as denial is highly destructive to the adult. Demands to forgive and other moral issues do not reach our cells. Cells can, indeed, be manipulated and betrayed by drugs over a certain period of time. In the long run, however, they can only cope with the truth. As soon as the truth can be slowly explored, thanks to the conscious experience of once-repressed feel­ings, the language of symptoms becomes superfluous. They often simply disappear.

I have described the path to my new insights in Pictures of a Childhood (1986), The Untouched Key (1990), Banished Knowledge (1990), and Breaking Dawn the Wall of Silence (1991). In 1988, I officially broke away from psychoanalysis by resigning from the Swiss and the International psychoan­alytical associations. My first three books, originally pub­lished in Germany between 1979 and 1981, mark the beginning of this development, for it was only as I was writ­ing them that I began systematically to explore childhood, including my own. Thanks to my work on those books, to my spontaneous painting, and later to the exploration of my own childhood, I could see what, despite my critical attitude toward the drive theory, had remained concealed from me during the twenty years of my analytical practice. It was not easy to escape from the labyrinth of psychoanalysis. It took me fifteen years to accomplish this liberation process: from 1973, when spontaneous painting allowed me vaguely to sense the truth, until 1988, when I was finally able to artic­ulate it completely.

For those who are reading my work for the first time, I would like briefly to address several theoretical and practical issues.

According to prehistorians, humans coexisted peacefully for five million years. Had this not been the case, they would have been unable to survive for that long. Warlike activities are said to have begun only ten thousand years ago, along with the transition, in the Neolithic period, from gathering and hunting to farming.

Since there are no warlike phenomena in nature - and, until a relatively short time ago, there were none in our his­tory - we are not genetically programmed to withstand mis­treatment as children. Animals kill their young if they don't want to care for them, but they don't torture them for years. For millions of years in the course of evolution, we have been programmed to offer loving care and protection to our new-born infants, and nature has equipped our young to receive only positive treatment. We do not have a natural mecha­nism for coping with mistreatment, nor can we erase it from our bodies, as everything that takes place in our lives remains registered in our cells as information. Nature gives us only the ability to anesthetize ourselves when the mis­treatment becomes unbearable. Our organism protects itself against the threat of death with the help of repression and denial. We forget the beatings and the disdain, or else we maintain that they did us some good - and go on to engage in the same practices with our children. The protective mechanism used by the child thus becomes fateful for the adult and for our species, for repression leads - out of pure ignorance - to the destruction of our own children and our fellow human beings and to the acceptance of abuse as a nor­mal way of life. It is the dangerous inattention to the child­hood truth stored in our cells that makes us act destructively even though we do not really want to do so.

During the early 1980s, a number of nurses working in psychiatric clinics wrote me that reading my books helped them in their work with their patients but that they had to hide this fact from their superiors for fear of losing their jobs. Child abuse was at that time still a taboo subject in psychiatry, even though so many patients had an appalling story to tell. No one wanted to hear it -psychiatrists least of all.

In recent years, numerous books on the subject of child abuse have become available, and numerous concepts have been developed toward healing the consequences of child­hood trauma. At last, even the psychiatric establishment has had to recognize that child abuse and its consequences do, indeed, exist. Sadly, however, the old blinders have been kept on, defenses against the whole truth remain almost intact, statistics and classifications are bandied about - any­thing to deny the fact that all patients suffer from the results of injuries to their psychic integrity during childhood.

In the United States, for instance, it was known in the 1970s that many Holocaust survivors - and, later, Vietnam veterans - were continuing to suffer from psychic aftereffects of the traumatic experiences they had repressed years before. This phenomenon was labeled Post-Traumatic Stress Syn­drome. When the facts about child abuse became better known in the eighties, a link was made between these patients and adult survivors of child abuse; then, in the early nineties, all these people were deemed to be suffering from "Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder." They were lumped together in a way that suggested, first, that people who manifested long-range damage from childhood mistreatment were rare, and, second, that their experience was essentially the same as that of people who suffered severe trauma as adults. This association is misleading in two ways: It sidesteps the fact that childhood mistreatment is the primary cause of every kind of psychic disorder, and it implies that the same thera­peutic methods can be applied to all trauma victims, regard­less of the age at which the injury was sustained.

Even when the number of patients who reported having been mistreated as children turned out to be very high - much to the surprise of psychiatrists, who until recently had denied such a possibility - it did not occur to members of the psychiatric profession to look for a new and more far-reaching system of therapy Such patients were placed in groups and treated in accordance with the principles used for patients suffering from post-traumatic disturbances, in the belief that empowerment by the group and the chance to recount the trauma in detail would be sufficient to free them from its consequences. Apart from the fact that only a small percentage of people can remember and articulate early childhood traumas, such therapeutic methods inevitably prove illusory for all trauma sufferers, except perhaps in the case of essentially stable people who have experienced an iso­lated trauma in their adult years. The reason such groups are ineffective is that they ignore the specific damage done to the child's whole growing system, especially to his ability to feel and remember. Without having conscious, personal experience of this damage, psychiatrists and other mental health professionals tend to see all trauma survivors as one special category of human being and to look for a method to treat "them" and their sickness.

Some recent movements in the United States have divorced treatment from psychiatry and its limitations. Because of their moralistic and religious leanings, however, which disregard natural laws, they can offer little real help. The so-called recovery movement, for instance, is based on techniques borrowed from Transactional Analysis and Neurolinguisric Programming - the latter of which is more or less an attempt to unlearn ingrained patterns of behavior via manipulatory exercises, ignoring the emotional information these patterns have to offer us. The recovery movement is also infused with spiritual and religious concepts, such as forgive­ness and a Higher Power, that seem to be necessary because, ultimately, the techniques offered are of no use and can be of no use. But whether a Higher Power helps in individual cases depends on individual belief, and in that sense what is offered is, at best, old wine in new bottles. Consequently, this move­ment does not lead to personal freedom and autonomy but rather to group-dependency and conformity, as evidenced by the similarity in the vast literature on the subject of recovery. I think that religious concepts become necessary when real procedures for self-help are lacking, either because they are unknown or just feared precisely because of their effective­ness, radical nature, and revolutionary power.

I am constantly approached by readers with doubts and queries about various "new therapies." My own reading has led me to the conclusion that many of these "new" concepts are essentially recycled old intellectual theories. What they offer are techniques of mental and physical manipulation of one's feelings and one's true history. Many also continue to move within the framework of traditional morality that pro­tects parents at any cost. These characteristics are clearly evi­denced in the Alcoholics Anonymous Twelve-Step Program, which has become a model for many others. In all of these "therapies," flight from the concrete facts of one's own per­sonal history is—despite all assurances to the contrary—an integral part of the program. This flight from the facts is further disguised and mystified by a shared "spiritual" vocabulary.

Thus the proponents of the recovery movement offer little help when it comes to repressed childhood feeling and mem­ory. Indeed, they circumvent its emergence with abstraction, preferring, for example, to talk about the "dysfunctional family" rather than confront specific instances of abuse by parents. This is probably because they still fear their own parents, without knowing that they fear them, or why. If they have never themselves experienced the terror of the defenseless child they once were, then why should they be convinced it even exists? This avoidance and denial can be seen in their fidelity to traditional morality, something that any effective therapy could, and should, be able to do with­out. The indictment of the parents by the child - the vic­tim - cannot be bypassed if the full impact of one's child­hood injuries is to be felt. Equally crucial is the retrospective condemnation by our adult selves of the abuse perpetrated by our parents. Only then can we ensure that the victim does not one day become the perpetrator, repeating the cycle of abuse with his or her own children.

A well-known musician, for instance, can assure an inter­viewer that he has forgiven his father for his brutal upbring­ing, because in spite of it - or maybe even because of it - he has become successful. The interviewer is delighted with the musician's admirable moral position. His fans are delighted, too, and his record business goes well. But all this success, even in combination with religion, doesn't help him over­come his childhood fears. Otherwise he would not be com­pelled in his shows to repeat unconsciously the traumas of his childhood; most of his gestures and body stances on Stage seem to depict scenes in which a child is being fright­ened by sexual molestation and violence. The musician seems to be trying unsuccessfully to discharge his fear, using music and body language to display what were quite possibly the actions of a molesting father. But as long as he insists in denying and not feeling the truth, this effort must be undertaken repeatedly. Alternatively, he may find a child to whom he will do what has been done to him, perhaps in a less brutal manner, and will label this behavior "love," as his father once did. As long as he believes that his father did him no harm, he is likely to remain in danger of repeating his father's deeds.

Therapies that purport to work on feelings have become fashionable today, in contrast to the more intellectually ori­ented schools of Freud, Jung, and Adier. As far as I can see, however, this "work" has as its primary goal not the experi­ence and recognition of reality but a short-term emotional discharge. It is, of course, a relief to release powerful feel­ings. But as long as that release is not accompanied by a recognition of the true situation, which makes the intensity of the feelings both comprehensible and legitimate, and as long as the truth is avoided, as is the practice in many pro­grams that preach forgiveness, then the old, self-destructive patterns of behavior cannot be resolved.

The same applies to so-called body work. The artificial reawakening of the physical memory of traumatic situations by means of special breathing techniques or massage cannot bring lasting resolution of the effects of such traumas, although it may bring short-term relief. The reawakening of traumas exclusively at the physical level is useless, and often dangerous, if they are not integrated into one's entire life his­tory. Only then can bodily sensations be understood and resolved. If we do not work on all three levels - body, feeling, mind - the symptoms of our distress will keep returning, as the body goes on repeating the story stored in its cells until it is finally listened to and understood.

Therapy brings permanent benefits only when the truth about the past is made accessible and remains accessible for the rest of our lives. Only if we remain open to our con­stantly evolving feelings - today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow - and have the tools to understand them can we claim health, clarity, and independence for ourselves. Claim them, and maintain them. Only thus can we keep our feet on firm ground, and not be dependent on drugs, gurus, groups, or theories that teach us how to change our past.

An extreme example will illustrate just how dangerous the consequences of the denial of the past can be. The New York Times reported (July 11, 1993) that over the last five years neo-Nazi groups in America, with the help of a num­ber of teachers, have succeeded in casting doubt on the real­ity of the Holocaust. As many as 22 percent of the school-children interviewed believed that eyewitness accounts of the Holocaust were lies. And this is in America, where there is not even the burden of guilt that exists in Germany. The reality of the events in Europe from 1940 to 1945 is, of course, so terrifying that today's children can be forgiven for wanting to deny it; an unscrupulous teacher would have to do little to strengthen their doubts. But such a rewriting of history will inevitably have horrendous consequences in the future, as people are forced to learn once again, from the deaths of more millions of people, what they could have learned from the past.

In a similar way, Freud did not want to believe that par­ents ever torture their children, even though his own discov­eries clearly proved that some parents do. But relativizing, glossing over, or distorting a terrible reality can lead neither to individual healing nor to successful resolution of political problems. It can succeed only in deepening darkness, per­petuating ignorance, and aggravating the symptoms of our ills, both social and individual.

Many writers try to escape the pain of their own child­hood by preaching forgiveness, discipline, goodwill, "spirituality" to themselves and others, as though these practices could extinguish the truth stored in the body. But the body can't be deceived; it knows our true story very pre­cisely. Intellectual generalizations cannot help us gain access to the secrets with which we have unconsciously lived for decades. Those secrets have first to be articulated via our feelings, because as infants who had to repress our pain and helpless rage, we were incapable of thinking: we could only feel. Using hypnosis to recall memories, without con­sciously experiencing the strong emotions and without understanding the justified outrage of the child we were, is thus of no help either.

Other approaches focus on simply discharging feelings in order to be rid of them. If we don't have the courage to face the feelings we have repressed, however, they will continue to block our development and threaten our physical health. We must experience them, integrate them in the context of our whole life history, and remain open to the emergence of new feelings; otherwise we will continue to be shut off from the information they have to give us. As children, we had no choice but to learn the skills of repression in order to sur­vive. As adults, we can - and must - welcome and assist in the breakdown of that repression if we want to live our lives more freely and meaningfully and avoid subjecting our own children to what we repressed long ago but still carry in ourselves.

Readers of Drama sometimes write to me describing actual physical reactions they have had while reading the book. I find these accounts encouraging, because they indicate that these people have not been sidetracked into intellectualizing; instead, the very process of reading the book has made their experience accessible, so that they can begin to find out what actually happened to them. One reader described how he had a sudden attack of stomach cramps while reading a particular passage and threw the book down in a rage. Only when an outburst of tears made clear to him the connection between his stomach cramps and the passage he had been reading, and when he allowed himself to experience the attendant feelings, did his cramps disappear. He could then pick up the book again.

Some physician authors who have worked with people suffering from life-threatening illnesses have tried to help them get well by talking to them about their "emotional problems." This so-called love medicine does in some cases appear to provide temporary relief. I can imagine that it would bring a measure of hope to a cancer patient, for example, to hear for the first time that her illness has something to do with her soul, with her thoughts and feelings. But just to tell a person that her emotional life is involved in her cancer is not enough. If she is not encouraged and helped to discover her own, specific history, if she does not learn to feel a full range of emotions and to give up her illusions and self-betrayal, discussing her emotions cannot help the process of healing. Hope will most likely either vanish or become a useless shield against recognizing the progress of the disease.

What very ill patients usually hear are calls for forgiveness, affirmations, and meditations. They are told to have positive thoughts" and to be loving and brave - all the traditional demands that the child once placed upon herself in order to protect her parents by concealing their abuse and that have brought on her illness. If we are not allowed to feel and express what happened to us, our lives become senseless.

Most cancer patients live - and die - upholding an idealized image against the painful truth of their past. They are proud of being resolute and altruistic, not demanding anything for themselves. It is only their illness that strives to express the almost extinguished hope of being listened to and under­stood. Nobody wants to know that history, however; it might remind the doctors, the nurses, and the hospice vol­unteers of their own painful, buried past. The patient herself is unaware of how hungry she is, how she is longing not only for affection but also for the truth; and she doesn't realize that she herself is the only person who can redeem her from her plight, from her dangerous self-denial.

Doctors would be able to help many more people regain health if they were better informed, if they knew that a per­son can recover even from serious illness if he is ready to live with his past instead of dying in opposition to it - and if he has the tools to begin to do so. I know of a man who had been brought up in an atmosphere of constant terror min­gled with hypocrisy, yet he was too afraid and too deeply indoctrinated with moralistic and religious ideas to allow himself to feel the desperate rage this mistreatment had left buried within him. Although his parents had died several years earlier, he was still so frightened of them that the only way he could express his unspoken, unconscious rage was to turn it against himself and develop lung cancer. As his par­ents had done before, he was unconsciously rejecting himself and his life, although consciously he did everything he could to recover, including adhering to a raw-food diet. The regi­men he followed brought him a total recovery from the can­cer. Unfortunately, however, the weight of his unconscious despair was stronger than his conscious wish to heal. He gave up the diet very soon after his recovery, even though he believed it had helped him almost miraculously, and developed another kind of cancer, which eventually caused his death.

This example is not intended to indicate that raw food is useless in righting cancer, but is instead meant to show that in order to decisively counteract a life-threatening disease, with whatever means, you must be determined to save your life - the only one you have - because you really want to live it, on the unconscious as well as the conscious level. To feel your legitimate rage is, in fact, a powerful and effective weapon. It is not destructive; feelings that are not repressed, that are instead consciously experienced, never kill anyone.

In fact, most illnesses are nothing other than a language permitted the abused child, as represented by the adult body. How else is the truth of a tormented, unwanted, and betrayed child to find an outlet in our society? Unfortunately, however, it still seems forbidden to understand this language. Scientists work diligently on the immune system in the hope of finding a way to fool it once and for all and in so doing keep the inner truth of the patient hidden forever.

However, an illness can be a signal, an alarm, a way of reminding us of a very early state of distress. If we are willing to face this distress, to look for its reasons, we don't need the indirect language of the immune system and we can be cured, also without medication. The medical/health authorities will hardly support us on this path, because they are yet unaware of its existence.

The drug addict takes the risk of becoming a criminal and socially discriminated only to avoid facing the truth stored up in his own body. He tries again and again to deceive his cells with increasing amounts of these substances. Because society as a whole, including most professionals, ignores or denies the reality of his suffering, he will be confronted with "solutions" that pretend to help him but don't provide any real help. Some professionals maintain that free access to heroin can reduce crime, and that the oral use of methadone, a drug substitute, can diminish the risk of AIDS because contamination by a dirty needle can then be more easily avoided. Even if these assumptions turned out to be true, the crucial problem of the addict (the physical drive to numb oneself) and the actual causes of this plight are totally over­looked in such considerations.

Every kind of addiction is a way of escaping from the memories of one's own painful life history. And every addict can overcome the addiction if she or he is really ready to confront their memories. The manipulative resources of the health care system do not help. As long as a person prefers to live in constant misery rather than face his own history, nobody can help him. But as long as someone remains unin­formed of the other options available, we cannot know what she might be able to do once society stops encouraging her blindness. It is not just the will to free oneself from addic­tion that can really liberate a person, as is maintained by Alcoholics Anonymous; it is the will and the determination to find and resolve the causes of ones addiction, which always lay hidden in childhood.

Society offers us a rich palette of respectable alternatives to letting ourselves feel or recognize the damage our con­fused, and confusing, parents did to us - the havoc they wrought in our developing and highly fragile organisms. With the help of the genetic theory or sophisticated speculation, we can try to evade these simple but painful facts. For example, we can refute the idea of causality as an old-fashioned, mechanistic way of thinking and dress up our denial a "new," "scientific" paradigm for the postmodern world, based on the "philosophy" of the Twelve-Step Program. Or we can keep our memories at bay by declaring war on logic and becoming devotees of the irrational. We can abandon the individual self (that is, abandon our own feelings and history) and strive to attain Nirvana or merge with "The Whole" as we sit in meditation. We can write volumes of prose and thereby confuse more millions of people. We can travel the world using the authority conferred upon us to prevent the faithful from practicing birth control, so that even more unwanted children will be born, children who will later be neglected and abused. We can mobilize whole nations to fight against one another; we can wage wars and raise the flag of victory. And why not? To confuse others is, after all, easier - far easier - than to feel the terrible confusion of the helpless child we once were. Flight from the past is our way of life, and millions gratefully accept its rewards. Given the choice, who of us wouldn't prefer to go on fleeing from our history? But for some, flight no longer functions. people want to find out who they are and how they became what they are.

The consequences of such flights from reality have barely begun to be investigated. Fortunately, however, the laboratories, which receive no research grants from the state, are to be found in each and every one of us. Our courage and daring in g the prosaic facts of our personal history, in which we previously been blindly enmeshed, will ultimately us with the understanding we need. Once we can see the truth for ourselves, we will no longer be misled by pseudo-knowledge.

In the years since the original Drama was written, I have come to understand many things that I either did not see at the time or, as I must concede today, covered too peripher­ally. I would like to summarize some of those points here, as well as to refer those who wish to find out more about these themes to my later works:

1. Earlier in my life I tried very hard to understand and make clear to others the motivation of parents who injure their children. As a result, I gave the impression that the effort to understand the parents' point of view should be part of any therapy. The opposite is in fact true. If we attempt to understand the feelings of those who injured us, we will lose contact with our own feelings, the very feelings that are crucial to recognizing our injuries and healing them. Feeling our own pain, and not that of our parents, is essential to the successful outcome of any therapy. Without a clear perspective on this (a perspective that was lacking in the original version of the Drama), we cannot help ourselves. Nor can we help our parents. But they can help themselves, if they are willing and ready to feel and resolve their plight on their own and not at the cost of their children.

2. My own experience has taught me that the enactment of forgiveness—which, sixteen years ago, I still believed to be right—brings the therapeutic process to a halt. It blocks the unfolding of feelings and perceptions that are impossible to experience at the early stages of therapy, but that, with an increase in inner strength and resilience, can eventually be faced. Some memories surface years after the beginning of therapy when we have finally become strong enough to face them. This fruitful surfacing of new memories must not be hindered by the closure that forgiveness would produce (see Miller, 1993).

3. Simply talking about our feelings is useless and gets us
nowhere, yet many people spend years in traditional therapy doing just that, without undergoing the slightest change. The fact that they don't even realize this is happening makes situation even more tragic. To gain access to our own truth, we must experience and articulate our feelings in the context of the inner dialogue. For those who seriously want to remedy the consequences of childhood traumatization, all traditional methods are useless, misleading, and potentially dangerous, for they strengthen our intellectual defenses against feeling and prevent the disclosure of repressed mem­ories, even when the therapist or analyst encourages the patient to "talk about the trauma" of being abused, sexually or otherwise.
In intellectual therapies, suspicions, assumptions, or suggestions given by therapists cannot be checked for accuracy or confirmed. They may be right or wrong, but even if they are right, the knowledge will be ineffective in the patient's search for healing. Only our feelings and body sensations, of which we become aware during our therapy, can make us certain of what really happened to us. Only with their answers can we retrieve repressed memories and integrate the knowledge so won, although reliable information from family members can provide additional confirmation. In some misguided therapies, people can come to false or uncertain conclusions on the basis of intellectual processes, but these conclusions are not memories. The term "false memory" is misleading and, in fact, self-contra­dictory (see Miller 1990a).

4. "New" methods that claim to work with "feelings" but actually employ traditional morality and ideology prevent us from seeing our reality. The most they can offer is short-term relief. If the therapeutic process stops short of the integration of the whole truth, then we will continue to be dependent on groups and "Higher Powers." After the initial feeling of euphoria, the return of depression can be held at bay by devoting oneself to winning over new converts, but these new converts will, in turn, need potential followers. This, incidentally, seems the most likely explanation for the expo­nential increase in devotees, irrespective of the weakness of the ideas (see Miller 1993).

5. It is a great mistake to imagine that one can resolve traumas in a symbolic fashion. If that were possible, poets, painters, and other artists would be able to resolve their pain through creativity. This is not the case, however. Creativity helps us channel the pain of trauma into symbolic acts; it doesn't help us resolve it. If symbolic revenge for maltreat­ment received in childhood were effective, then dictators would eventually stop humiliating and torturing their fel­low human beings. As long as they choose to deceive them­selves about who really deserves their hatred, however, and as long as they go on feeding that hatred in symbolic form instead of experiencing and resolving it within the context of their own childhood, their hunger for revenge will remain insatiable (see Miller 1990a).

6. The mistreatment of children is not the inevitable fate of humankind, as I believed at the time the Drama was written. It can be prevented by repairing the damage done in our own childhood, through effective therapy. Parents who have confronted the pain of their past will not mistreat their children.

7. The prevention of child abuse is possible with greater public awareness. Much unnecessary suffering could be prevented if, for example, recent discoveries about the importance of bonding between a mother and her newborn child (through eye and body contact) were more widely disseminated. Bonding gives the child greater security and safety for its later life by triggering in the mother a hormonal release that takes place only at that time and only in the presence of the newborn and that better establishes her love for the child. A woman who has bonded with her child in the first moments of becoming a mother will be in less danger mistreating him and will be better able to protect him from both her own past and that of his father. The experience of her love the child and the child's love for and helpless dependence her can help motivate her to resolve her repressed pain. If she does not do so, the destructive power of her unconscious can still continue to operate and to harm the child.

8. I am often asked why some people who were abused as children do not in turn abuse their own children. I have addressed this question in my books Banished Knowledge and Breaking Down the Wall of Silence, where I have tried to plain the crucial role of the "helping witness" in childhood and the "enlightened witness" in adulthood. I do not know of anyone, however, who, having been abused in childhood, did not then behave in a destructive (or at least a self-destructive) way in adulthood, as long as she continued to deny the abuse she had to endure.

9. I have often been confronted by readers and therapists with the problems created for survivors of abuse by propo­nents of the so-called False Memory Syndrome and by the activities of groups that support "falsely accused" parents in their attempts to suppress the reports of their adult chil­dren. I think these efforts on the part of parents, authori­ties, and lawyers are motivated not only by the desire to defend their innocence and by financial self-interest but also, and above all, by a much deeper reason: the fear of their own repressed history. The reports of survivors who have discovered the truth after a long period of denial or dissociation are seen as a threat both because they blame and accuse and because they trigger the past in others. They present a challenge to the power of repression. Par­ents, judges, and attorneys may ask themselves, con­sciously or unconsciously, "If this is true, if such terrible things happened to Ann and to Mary, and they didn't know it for decades, then how can I be certain that I am not hiding a similar story inside myself?" Only by believ­ing that these things did not happen, by believing instead in the "false memory" theory, can they continue to live as they did before.

10. Finally, I would like to make it clear that the term "the inner child," which is frequently ascribed to me, does not in fact originate with me but was taken from Transactional Analysis. I regard the term as misleading and conse­quently have employed this metaphor only in a very particu­lar context. Specifically, I spoke of the "child within me" when I described the importance of painting in my life in a book that incorporated some of my pictures (see Miller 1986 and 1995). I will cite the relevant passage here:

The child within me ... appeared … late in life, wanting to tell me her secret.
She approached very hesitantly, speaking to me in an inarticulate way, but she took me by the hand and led me into territory I had been avoiding all my life because it frightened me. Yet I had to go there; I could not keep on turning my back, for it was my territory, my very own. It was the place I had attempted to forget so many years ago, the same place where I had abandoned the child I once was. There she had to stay, alone with her knowledge, waiting until someone would come at last to listen to her and believe her. Now I was standing at an open door, ill-prepared, filled with an adult's fear of the darkness and menace of the past, but I could not bring myself to close the door and leave the child alone again until my death. Instead, I made a decision that was to change my life profoundly: to let the child lead me, to put my trust in this nearly autistic being who had survived the isolation of decades.

We are all prisoners of our childhood, whether we know it, suspect it, deny it, or have never even heard about the possibility. The realization that we can free ourselves from the consequences of old wounds will gain ground as more people prove it can be done. Inevitably, resistance to following this path is great, as we all fear our repressed past and the experience of how helpless we once were. We have had good reason to be afraid; if we did not, there would have been no need for repression. Yet the more we encounter our fear and dare to see its causes, the more it decreases.

I have no doubt that one day, thanks to new therapeutic methods, all attempts to evade the truth by means of ideology will cease to have a purpose. They will be unnecessary, as soon as the truth is accessible to every one of us. The new therapeutic concepts work when they are based on the laws of nature and do not take refuge in moralistic beliefs that ignore these laws. Men and women have the ability to process their experience, if their integrity has not been dam­aged. Even those with psychic injuries can recover that abil­ity.

If they make use of these new methods people can one day come to realize, among other things, that nationalism was a means of legitimizing their hatred. They will realize that although this hatred had very real and terrible causes, it actually had nothing to do with countries, flags, songs, or wars. They will see its real source in the cruelty with which they grew up. They will no longer find it necessary to perse­cute and destroy other nations in an effort to regain the self-confidence that was once annihilated in them. They will realize their true needs—what they rightfully long for, the needs that are our birthright. They will allow themselves neither to be consoled by vague promises of eternity nor to be talked out of their rightful needs. Instead, they will want to reclaim their lives and create in the here-and-now that which they so tragically missed in their own childhood: truthfulness, clarity, and respect for themselves and others.


Translated by Simon Worrall

( copyright fully respected - integral reproduction, italics included )

Alice Miller says it like it is, she sticks to the facts

"People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be--both in their youth and in adulthood--intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience, and because it is this knowledge (and not the experience of cruelty) that has been stored up inside them from the beginning. It will be inconceivable to such people that earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel comfortable and safe in this world. Since it will not be their unconscious drive in life to ward off intimidation experienced at a very early age, they will be able to deal with attempts at intimidation in their adult life more rationally and more creatively." -- Alice Miller

above excerpt from the Afterword to the Second Edition (1984) of the book For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence by Alice Miller

from Project NoSpank the entire book of For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence by Alice Miller