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More Alice Miller

January 9, 2006

This interview of Alice Miller is from 1987 but I have only just discovered it now so here’s some more quotes that really hit home for me

“In 1979 Miller’s first book, The Drama of the Gifted Child, was published in Germany. First titled Prisoners of Childhood, its three short essays described how parents project their feelings, ideas, and dreams upon their children. To survive and be loved, a child learns to obey. In repressing his or her feelings, the child stifles attempts to be herself or himself. The result, said Miller, is all too often depression, ebbing of vitality, the loss of self.”

I hate to turn this blog into a personal therapy session but that last sentence really hit home. I thought I had a sunny happy childhood and compared to most in our culture I still think I did. I was certainly never beaten but I was well controlled. The ‘ebbing of vitality’ part espeically hit home – I have always thought I felt more tired than I really should. Other people downplay the idea if I bring it up in conversation but now I’m thinking I should keep listening to that inner voice to see where it takes me.

More:

” The therapist must not say the parents were disturbed but well meaning, because he is then siding with the grown-ups. If the child thinks that the parents who behaved so strangely and humiliated him were well meaning, he cannot feel his pain, and he sympathizes instead with his parents”

Yes. I definitely don’t want to make my parents feel bad about anything they did – especially as they are the products of a parental generation that was scarred by WWII – they were just continuing a pattern.

The thing is, I really have had it pretty easy compared to most people I know but Alice Miller’s writings are still connecting with me. I think I’m incapable of fully appreciating what this means for our society but clearly it’s not good

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