Posted in Alice Miller (psychologist), Alienation

Free From Lies | Alice Miller

Free From Lies
Discovering your true needs

Reading this book is a therapeutic encounter with one’s own life’s story. Dr. Alice Miller, author of such world-renowned books as the Drama of the Gifted Child and The Truth Will Set You Free, has devoted her life to empowering people who have severe symptoms from denying that they suffered physical and emotional abuse as children. Here, in Free from Lies, she tackles uncharted territory as she shows how former victims can finally heal the scars of their youth by finding the true history of their childhood instead of denying it.

Abandoning traditional concepts of psychoanalysis that often – like society on the whole – protect the parents and accuse the child, Dr. Miller explains why a therapist should become a partial, empathic witness to the survivor of obvious cruelty rather than a neutral analyst. She further provides a guide to help patients find the right therapist who will always and unconditionally stay on the side of the wounded child. Dr. Miller explains as well how to identify the causes of the unconscious pain that manifests itself later as depression, self-mutilation, primal inadequacy, and loneliness.

The journey “from victims to destroyer” explores the dynamic that turns once-abused children into abusive parents. Dr. Miller’s revolutionary analysis of this cycle of destruction helps us understand what occurs when the abusive behavior reaches beyond the family unit to threaten the whole society. Abusers are able to deny the most obvious and absolutely undeniable facts without the slightest hesitation. They imitate their parents, who were teaching them to lie by telling their children that they were beaten “out of love.” As Free from Lies makes clear, this cycle of suppression and repression of truth originates in a cultural mindset that accepts, and even condones, child abuse by calling it “the right upbringing.” Excerpts from Dr. Miller’s answers to the startling readers’ letters sent to her Web site show that a wide variety of abuse is inflicted daily on children throughout the world.

The media’s attention is only captured by extreme cases, but the plight of children who are regularly subjected to ordinary abuse in their “upbringing,” like spanking, kicking, and others forms of humiliation, remains silenced or even highly encouraged by many.

Held hostage by anger, guilt, and denial, survivors of child abuse will find in Free from Lies the tools necessary to break the cycle, because Dr. Miller’s compassion, experience, and guidance provide a much-needed liberation from the crippling lies transferred to us for millennia.

https://www.alice-miller.com/en/free-from-lies/

Posted in Alice Miller (psychologist), Alienation

The Truth Will Set You Free | Alice Miller en

The Truth Will Set You Free
Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self

Drawing on the latest research on brain development, Miller speaks out against the increasing popularity of childhood corporal punishment and demonstrates how spanking and other disciplinary traumas are encoded in the brain, stunting our ability to overcome them. Our bodies retain memories of humiliation, causing panoply of physical ills and dangerous levels of denial. This denial, necessary for the child’s survival, leads to emotional blindness and finally to mental barriers that cut off awareness and the ability to learn new ways of acting. If this cycle repeats itself, the grown child will perpetrate the same abuse on later generations, warns Miller.

In this stunning new contribution to her life’s work, Miller not only invites us to confront our own pasts, but reveals how each of us can liberate our present as adults and as parents.

https://www.alice-miller.com/en/the-truth-will-set-you-free/

Posted in Alice Miller (psychologist), Alienation

Self-Hatred and Unfulfilled Love (Arthur Rimbaud)

Rimbaud’s mother maintained total control over her children and called this control motherly love. Her acutely perceptive son saw through this lie. He realized that her constant concern for outward appearances had nothing to do with love. But he was unable to admit to this observation without reserve, because as a child he needed love, or at least the illusion of it. He could not hate his mother, particularly as she was so obviously concerned for him. So he hated himself instead, unconsciously convinced that in some obscure way he must have deserved such mendacity and coldness. Plagued by an ill-defined sense of disgust, he projected it onto the provincial town where he lived, onto the hypocrisy of the system of morality he grew up in (much like Nietzsche in this respect), and onto himself. All his life he strove to escape these feelings, resorting in the process to alcohol, hashish, absinth, opium, and extensive travels to faraway places. In his youth he made two attempts to run away from home but was caught and restored to his mother’s “care” on both occasions.

His poetry reflects not only his self-hatred but also his quest for the love so completely denied him in the early stages of his life. Later, at school, he was fortunate enough to encounter a kindly teacher who gave him the companionship and support he so desperately needed in the decisive years of puberty. His teacher’s affection and confidence enabled him to write and to develop his philosophical ideas. But his childhood retained its stifling grip on him. He attempted to combat his despair at the absence of love in his life by transforming it into philosophical observations on the nature of true love. But these ideas were no more than abstractions because despite his intellectual rejection of conventional morality, his emotional allegiance to the code of conduct it prescribed was unswerving. Self-disgust was legitimate, but detestation for his mother was unthinkable. He could not pay heed to the painful messages of his childhood memories without destroying the hopes that had helped him to survive as a child. Time and again, Rimbaud tells us that he had no one to rely on except himself. This was surely the fruit of his experience with a mother who had nothing to offer him but her own derangement and hypocrisy, rather than true love. His entire life was a magnificent but vain attempt to save himself from destruction at the hands of his mother, with all the means at his disposal.

https://www.alice-miller.com/en/excerpt/

Posted in Alice Miller (psychologist), Alienation

The Body Never Lies | Alice Miller en

While examining everything from parental spanking to sexual abuse and emotional blackmail, Miller exposes the societal pressures that converge to harm children. She explains that we have so many societal mechanisms to prevent us from feeling anger or rage against our parents that we tend never to confront our own feelings. To combat the debilitating effects of such jarring and often contradictory emotions, Miller explores the benefits of using a therapist as an “Enlightened Witness” to reaffirm the patient’s repressed reactions to a forgotten childhood experience.

Miller also discusses how institutionalized religion itself can contribute to the crushing guilt that prevents us from being healthy and conscious adults. She urges society to realize that the Fourth Commandment -“Honor thy father and thy mother”- offers immunity to abusive parents. Indeed, she argues, it is healthier not to extend forgiveness to parents whose tyrannical childrearing methods have resulted in unhappy, and often ruined, adult lives.

In a stirring rejection of the “Poisonous Pedagogy” that pardons even the most brutal parenting, Miller examines the cyclical nature of violence and abuse. Parents and guardians who abuse their children, both physically and mentally, leave them embarrassed and hurt. The inability of most children to properly express such feelings causes them to perpetuate the cycle by lashing out at their family, friends, and, above al1, their own children, who will inevitably do the same.

Throughout The Body Never Lies, Miller offers a calm and encouraging voice. Indeed, The Body Never Lies, through its illuminating and provocative insight, affords us a unique understanding of the immense healing powers of the adult self and the body.

https://www.alice-miller.com/en/the-body-never-lies-2/

Posted in Alice Miller (psychologist), Alienation, Experts

Alice Miller (psychologist)

Miller extended the trauma model to include all forms of child abuse, including those that were commonly accepted (such as spanking), which she called poisonous pedagogy, a non-literal translation of Katharina Rutschky‘s Schwarze Pädagogik (black or dark pedagogy/imprinting).[5][23]

Drawing upon the work of psychohistory, Miller analyzed writers Virginia WoolfFranz Kafka and others to find links between their childhood traumas and the course and outcome of their lives.[24]

The introduction of Miller’s first book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, first published in 1979, contains a line that summarizes her core views:

In the 1990s, Miller strongly supported a new method developed by Konrad Stettbacher, who himself was later charged with incidents of sexual abuse.[26] Miller came to know about Stettbacher and his method from a book by Mariella Mehr titled Steinzeit (Stone Age). Having been strongly impressed by the book, Miller contacted Mehr in order to get the name of the therapist. From that time forward, Miller refused to make therapist or method recommendations. In open letters, Miller explained her decision and how she originally became Stettbacher’s disciple, but in the end she distanced herself from him and his regressive therapies.[27][28]

In her writings, Miller is careful to clarify that by “abuse” she does not only mean physical violence or sexual abuse, she is also concerned with psychological abuse perpetrated by one or both parents on their child; this is difficult to identify and deal with because the abused person is likely to conceal it from themselves and may not be aware of it until some event, or the onset of depression, requires it to be treated. Miller blamed psychologically abusive parents for the majority of neuroses and psychoses. She maintained that all instances of mental illnessaddictioncrime and cultism were ultimately caused by suppressed rage and pain as a result of subconscious childhood trauma that was not resolved emotionally, assisted by a helper, which she came to term an “enlightened witness.” In all cultures, “sparing the parents is our supreme law,” wrote Miller. Even psychiatrists, psychoanalysts and clinical psychologists were unconsciously afraid to blame parents for the mental disorders of their clients, she contended. According to Miller, mental health professionals were also creatures of the poisonous pedagogy internalized in their own childhood. This explained why the Commandment “Honor thy parents” was one of the main targets in Miller’s school of psychology.[29]

Miller called electroconvulsive therapy “a campaign against the act of remembering.” In her book Abbruch der Schweigemauer (The Demolition of Silence), she also criticized psychotherapists‘ advice to clients to forgive their abusive parents, arguing that this could only hinder recovery through remembering and feeling childhood pain. It was her contention that the majority of therapists fear this truth and that they work under the influence of interpretations culled from both Western and Oriental religions, which preach forgiveness by the once-mistreated child. She believed that forgiveness did not resolve hatred, but covered it in a dangerous way in the grown adult: displacement on scapegoats, as she discussed in her psycho-biographies of Adolf Hitler and Jürgen Bartsch, both of whom she described as having suffered severe parental abuse.[30]

A common denominator in Miller’s writings is her explanation of why human beings prefer not to know about their own victimization during childhood: to avoid unbearable pain. She believed that the unconscious command of the individual, not to be aware of how he or she was treated in childhood, led to displacement: the irresistible drive to repeat abusive parenting in the next generation of children or direct unconsciously the unresolved trauma against others (warterrorismdelinquency).,[31][32] or against him or herself (eating disordersdrug addictiondepression). Continue reading “Alice Miller (psychologist)”