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Thread: Alice Miller

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    Jul 2010
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    Default Alice Miller

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    Someone thought she VI'd as an Fi-dominant type: H-ESI? or H-EII?

    The Truth Will Set You Free by Alice Miller; pp. 13-18: Ever since civilization began, people have debated how evil came into the world and what they can do to combat it. The prevailing view has held that evil results when a child’s innate destructive instincts are not redirected into goodness, decency, and nobility of character by a liberal dose of corporal punishment.

    Today, no one seriously believes in the old wives’ tale that the devil smuggles a changeling into the cradle, forcing us to inflict a strict upbringing on the diabolical offspring to bend it toward submission. But from some quarters we do hear the serious contention that there are such things as genes that predispose certain individuals to delinquency. The quest for these rogue genes has inspired many a research project, even though the hypotheses behind it fly in the face of the facts. No advocate of the “congenital evil” theory has ever, for example, explained why suddenly, at the turn of the twentieth century, a spate of children with “bad genes” was born who would later be utterly willing to do Hitl*r’s bidding.

    Sufficient scientific evidence has been marshaled to refute the notion that some people are just born bad. This absurd myth, encountered in almost all cultures, has been effectively exploded. It is dead, but it refuses to lie down. We know today that the brain we are born with is not the finished product, as once thought. The structuring of the brain depends very much on events experienced in the first hours, days, and weeks of a person’s life. And there is mounting evidence that the brain is capable of being modified throughout life, and certainly in the early years. The capacity for empathy, for example, cannot develop in the absence of loving care. The child who grows up neglected, emotionally starved, or subjected to physical cruelty will forfeit this capacity.

    Of course, we do not arrive in this world as a clean slate. Every new baby comes with a history of its own, the history of the nine months between conception and birth. In addition, children have the genetic blueprint they inherit from their parents. These factors may determine what kind of temperament a child will have, what inclinations, gifts, predispositions. But character depends crucially upon whether a person is given love, protection, tenderness, and understanding in the formative years or exposed to rejection, coldness, indifference, and cruelty. Many very young murderers, barely more than children, were born to adolescent, drug-dependent mothers—conditions that we know often go along with extreme neglect, lack of attachment, and traumatization.

    In recent years, neurobiologists have further established that traumatized and neglected children display severe lesions affecting up to 30 percent of those areas of the brain that control emotions. The explanation is that severe traumas inflicted on infants lead to an increase in the release of stress hormones that destroy the newly formed neurons and their interconnections.

    In the scientific literature there is still next to no discussion of the implications of these discoveries for our understanding of child development and the delayed consequences of traumas and neglect. But this research confirms what I described almost twenty years ago in For Your Own Good, based not on experiment but on analytic work with my patients and a close reading of historical educational literature. In that work I quoted extensively from the manuals of the so-called schwarze Padogogik (“poisonous pedagogy”), which insisted on the importance of drumming the principles of obedience and cleanliness into babies in the very first days and weeks of life. Studying this literature helped me understand what made it possible for individuals such as Adolf Eichmann to function like killer robots: they had accounts to settle dating back to their earliest days. They had never been given the opportunity to respond to the violence done to them in their youth. Their destructive potential was the product not of Freudian death drives but of the early suppression of their natural emotional reactions.
    Books containing monstrous advice about “good” parenting to drill the baby into obedience, disseminated by educators like Daniel Gottlieb Moritz Schreber in Germany in the second half of the nineteenth century, went into as many as forty editions, so we can conclude that most parents read them and acted—in good faith—on their recommendations. They beat their children from the outset because they had been told this was the way to make them into decent members of society. The children thus treated did the same with their children.
    They didn’t know any different. Among that generation of traumatized children, some would become ******’s adherents, adulators, and henchmen. In my view, it was the direct result of their early drilling. The cruelty they experienced turned them into emotional cripples, incapable of developing any empathy for the suffering of others. They had time bombs ticking away in their minds: they were unconsciously awaiting an opportunity to vent on others the pent-up rage inside them. H*tler gave them the scapegoats they needed.

    The latest discoveries about the human brain might have been expected to bring about a radical change in our thinking about children and the way we treat them. But old habits die hard. It will take unequivocal legislation and large-scale informational campaigns before young parents will be able to free themselves of the burden of inherited “wisdom” and stop beating their children. Only then will it be all but impossible to give one’s child a slap “inadvertently.” Only then will the power of newly acquired knowledge get in the way of the hand raised to deal the “unthinking” blow.

    These thoughts, which I have set out in much greater detail in my book Paths of Life, will perhaps suffice to suggest the immense significance I ascribe to the experiences undergone by infants in the first days, weeks, and months of their lives. To be sure, later influences can undo some of this damage, particularly for a traumatized or neglected child who encounters a helping or an enlightened witness. But such empathic individuals can be of real help only if they do not downplay the consequences of early deprivations. Unfortunately, such sensitivity is rare, even among so-called experts in the helping professions.

    For a long time, the significance of the first few months of life for the later adult was a neglected subject even among psychologists. In several of my books I have tried to cast light on this area by discussing the lives of dictators such as ******, Stalin, Ceausescu, and Mao and demonstrating how they unconsciously reenacted their childhood situation on the political stage. Here, however, I want to turn my attention away from history and gaze instead at the present.

    Are we so loath to tap the rich source of childhood because we know that frightening spirits lurk there? The reluctance is understandable, for as soon as we attempt to empathize with the situation a child is in, we are certain to encounter the ghosts that haunted our own childhoods. Many people would do anything to avoid confronting those spirits and having to experience themselves once again as small, helpless children. And yet an encounter of this kind can give them back the vitality and sensitivity that have been lost to them for a lifetime.

    Thou Shalt Not Be Aware by Alice Miller; pp. 79-83: What if a person has never had the good fortune to experience his early dependence on his parents and the accompanying separation anxiety, so that he is later unable to dissociate himself from their introjected demands? Let us assume that this person has never been in therapy or, if he has, that his therapist was not able to supply him with this missing experience, not being fortunate enough to have had it himself. What happens to such people? Usually they resort to a passive or an active reenactment of their dependency and obedience in early childhood. This is a tragic situation that we are all too ready to judge in moral terms, and we are very likely to accuse them of lacking the courage of their convictions or even of being cowards. Judgments like this do not take into account that the source of this “cowardice” can often be traced back to the very first weeks or even days of life. This can be illustrated by the figure of the seducer and his problematic nature.

    Poets, composers, and painters have shown a great fascination with Don Juan, and this may be because they see aspects of their own lives in his. They feel drawn to the story and psychology of this seducer, who always needs a new woman in order to arouse hopes in her, which he must then disappoint. This man can be seen and portrayed from the moralizing perspective of his victim, the disappointed woman, or subjectively from his own perspective, providing the artist has overcome his reluctance to identify with the figure. Fellini’s film Casanova serves as an example of the first case and his City of Women of the second. An author doesn’t necessarily have to write in the first person in order to display his identification with the character of Don Juan. Although Kierkegaard’s Diary of a Seducer is obviously written in this form, the titular hero is still seen from a moralizing distance. On the other hand, the story of Frederic Moreau, presented in Flaubert’s novel Sentimental Education, is narrated in the third person, and yet the reader senses that Flaubert is to some extent describing here, as in Madame Bovary, the torments of his own soul.

    The seducer is loved, admired, and sought after by many women because his attitude awakens their hopes and expectations. They hope that their need for mirroring, echoing, respect, attention, and mutual understanding, which has been stored up inside them since early childhood, will finally be fulfilled by this man. But these women not only love the seducer, they also hate him, for he turns out to be unable to fulfill their needs and soon abandons them. They feel hurt by the demeaning way he treats them because they cannot understand him. Indeed, he does not understand himself. If he could, he would not have to keep on reenacting the same drama.

    I shall use Flaubert’s novel to give an indication of what I have learned from the perspective of my patients about the early history of the seducer. In every case, the threatening factor in the patient’s early childhood was the mother’s inner sense of insecurity and resultant inflexibility; i.e., the son felt certain that if he went against his mother’s wishes in any way he would be totally rejected—in other words, he would lose her. With his later female partners, he tries to nullify this childhood dependency and, by abandoning each of them in turn, to erase his early fears of being abandoned by his mother if he said no to her. The seducer bestows on women the admiration and affection he once received himself and then suddenly leaves them.

    But this replacement of what has been passively suffered with a form of active behavior is not the whole picture. What is so striking in Flaubert—and he is the only writer in whom I have found this—is his probably unconscious insight that behind what pretends to be freedom lies hidden a deep and very early dependency. It is the dependency of someone who was not permitted to say no because his mother could not bear it, and who therefore refuses all his life to commit himself to his partners in the hope of making up for what was never possible with his mother—namely, to say, “I am your child but you have no right to my whole being and my whole life.” Since the seducer is able to assume this attitude toward women only as an adult but not in the early relationship with his mother, his conquests cannot undo his original defeat, and since the pain of early childhood is merely concealed, not cured, by these conquests, the old wounds cannot heal. The repetition compulsion is perpetuated.

    With Frederic Moreau, Flaubert created a character who could well be described as cowardly—a man who cannot bring himself to deny women’s desires and therefore must resort to lies. Frederic’s mother appears only on the periphery of the plot, but her character is developed sufficiently to make it clear that the various women in the novel represent different sides of her. Madame Arnoux symbolizes the idealized but inaccessible mother, Rosanette the naïve and demanding one, and Madame Dambreuse the cruel, humiliating mother who is at the same time seductive and love-struck. Moreau’s cowardice is the tragic result of having been a narcissistically abused child. He cannot defend himself except when he is treated with obvious sadism. In every other case, especially if the woman is weak and dependent, he is completely at her mercy. He cannot escape her; he gives her the money she needs; he makes the promises she wants to hear even though he is not going to keep them. The woman’s interests always take precedence over his needs. This inevitably leads to his living a lie, for someone who cannot say no at the decisive moments of his life loses his authenticity.

    It may be that Moreau’s situation reflects that of many men who are called seducers. The longing for love and sympathy, for giving and receiving understanding, leads the seducer, the classical Don Juan figure, to a series of women to whom he cannot openly express his disappointments because he had a mother who could not tolerate openness and he therefore had no opportunity to learn it. He is compelled to tell lies in order to spare women’s feelings as he once did his mother’s, and he flees from the arms of one conquest to the next. Since he cannot maintain any distance as long as a woman is helpless, he must provoke her to be cruel to him so that he can leave her in good conscience and thereby regain a measure of freedom. Yet this provocation cannot occur openly either; it comes about against his will and is painful even to him, appearing the very moment the woman discovers his insincerity. If she reacts in a loving way, he will be full of remorse and guilt feelings but will have to deceive her again at the next opportunity in order to create some semblance of freedom, i.e., of distance from the mother. He is given this opportunity if the woman reacts vengefully and cruelly to his dishonorable ways. Then he is able to abandon her, sometimes forever, and will turn to another woman, who at first responds to him like all the others, is so enchanted by his sensitivity, empathy, adaptability, and kindness that she is willing to overlook the beginning signs of insincerity at any price. But the price keeps going up, insofar as the beloved is an unconscious surrogate for the mother, who once demanded unconditional adaptation from her little boy. For no amount of even the most subtle understanding from his partner can undo the past, and the next partner will be driven to use every unconscious means she can to be cruel and unsympathetic, for she really can’t understand what is happening and why he keeps lying to her.

    Frederic Moreau’s cowardice is a tragedy, which is probably the case with all cowardice. Whether a person grows up to be honest seems to depend on how much truth the parents were able to bear and on what penalties they exacted from their child for being truthful. It was the story of Frederic Moreau that made me realize how useless the moral categories of cowardice and bravery are and the extent to which courage really has to do with the nature of the individual’s childhood.

    When it was a question of expressing his political skepticism, even if he diverged sharply from prevailing views, Flaubert was able to show great courage. The keenness of his observations is virtually unmatched, and his analysis of the political, cultural, and social conformity of his day reflects his scorn for every form of lying. But it is possible that hidden behind his scorn lies the unconscious pain of the little child who had to disown his keen observations for the sake of the conformity required of him and for whom the ultimate honesty—openness toward the person closest to him—was always to remain his highest but unattainable ideal. For in order to realize his ideal he would have had to be able to be honest with his mother and be allowed to leave her when the time was ripe (whereas he in fact continued to live with her until her death). It would also have meant not always having to think first of her needs and her depressions and not having to pay for his freedom to write by becoming ill. In order to understand why Flaubert was unable to do all this, we have only to read Jean-Paul Sartre’s characterization of Flaubert’s mother in The Family Idiot or think of Moreau’s ambitious, materialistic, bigoted mother. The reader of Sentimental Education will not be surprised to find that the son keeps his feelings from his mother and is unable to either love or to hate her. He can recapture the intense feelings of his early childhood only by transferring them to his later partners, whom he both loves and hates. Frederic Moreau’s sad fate is shared not only by Gustave Flaubert but by a great many other men.

    In the final pages of the novel, Moreau tells about picking a big bouquet of flowers from his mother’s garden as a boy. He intended to take the flowers to “other women,” women who “sold their love for money,” but at the last moment he fled from them in fear “because he thought they would make fun of him.” If we consider this boyhood memory in terms of its symbolic content, we will find the key both to the psychological interpretation of Sentimental Education and to Flaubert’s life. The flowers from his mother’s garden represent the totality of feelings binding him to her: love and hatred, his longing for affection and his rebelliousness, the intensity of his inner world and his rage at being misused, his attachment to her and his need for freedom—all this had to be suppressed, could come to life only in his fictional characters, and led as well to his great wariness with women, to painful physical symptoms, and to a lifelong if unemotional attachment to his mother.

    BANISHED KNOWLEDGE by Alice Miller; pp. 25-31: I cannot imagine that any murderers or criminals do not act out of an inner compulsion. Nevertheless they are guilty when they destroy or mutilate human life. Although the law acknowledges “mitigating circumstances” when it can be proved that the criminal is not responsible for his actions, his motivation and personal plight do not alter the fact that one or more human lives had to be sacrificed for his situation. In contrast to court practice, I believe that every murder committed not directly in self-defense but on innocent surrogate objects is the expression of an inner compulsion, a compulsion to avenge the gross abuse, neglect, and confusion suffered during childhood and to leave the accompanying feelings in a state of repression.

    Such compulsions lie behind even the cold calculations of a murderer. This can be illustrated by an example:

    In 1984 I was asked for an interview by National Public Radio in Washington. Wendy Blair, the interviewer, read my books in advance, came well prepared, and seemed to have understood everything I had written. Her only problem was with my statement that no one will commit a murder when he can feel what was done to him in his childhood. Yet it was those very people in jail, I said, who were never allowed to experience the history of their childhood because it was so terrifying and because they found no one to help them. The telling of the life story of Jurgen Bartsch, from which I quote in For Your Own Good, was possible only because the journalist Paul Moor approached Bartsch, gained his confidence, and reawakened in him the emotions of the injured child. It is true that, in all similar cases, the murderer can recall the facts, even describe them and publish books about the abuse he suffered in his childhood, but he does so without feeling, without inner involvement, as if he were discussing the life of a stranger. Because he cannot feel, he remains under the compulsion to seek out a new victim for his suppressed, latent, and unaltered rage. Even the longest prison sentence does nothing to change this inner dynamic because the compulsion originates in childhood and can easily last sixty years or more if the murderer does not encounter someone who breathes life into his frozen emotions and thus helps at least partially to resolve the long-lasting compulsion.
    I told my American interviewer that it was possible to check out my thesis by talking to prison inmates and asking them about their childhood. I was sure that they would all, without exception, report that their fathers were strict and often had to punish them, needless to say with beatings, but only because they had been bad and deserved it. I was equally sure that they would describe their mothers as loving and would cite external circumstances, such as poverty, as reasons for the cruelties they suffered.

    Although my interviewer had difficulty accepting the mechanism of denial as an explanation for crime, she told me that statistics confirmed my statements. Those statistics showed that ninety percent of inmates in American prisons had been abused as children. I told her I was convinced that it was not ninety but a full one hundred percent. It was simply that the remaining ten percent were not yet able to admit it: They were not merely repressing their feelings but also denying the facts.

    It is possible, of course, that the first abuses were inflicted not by the parents but by the inhuman child-delivery practices in our hospitals. This cause is hard to pinpoint in individual cases, and a baby seriously traumatized during birth or isolated from human contact in an incubator may at a very early stage become a “difficult child” who hardly can get the love he will need to overcome the trauma. But it is absolutely unthinkable that a human being who, from the start, is given love, tenderness, closeness, orientation, respect, honesty, and protection by adults should later become a murderer.

    “Can the explanation really be so simple?” asked my interviewer. It is very simple, yet most people seem to have a problem with it because access to this simple truth remains blocked by the pain experienced in their own childhood. They prefer to believe in theories that sound very complicated but have the advantage of sparing them pain. As a result, millions of prison inmates are deprived of help. They serve their time senselessly: Nothing in them is changed, and a machinery is kept in motion that ensures, among other things, that the guilt of the prisoners’ parents remains undiscovered.

    “But what happens,” my interviewer wanted to know, “when a person in therapy finds out what his parents have done to him? Isn’t it possible that he might want to kill his parents? I mean, that the reawakened feeling is no protection against murder?” No, I told her, it is possible that this person might wish to do it, but he won’t, for two reasons. First, through reawakened feelings, he will sense the awakening of life within him and won’t want to jeopardize that life. Second, feelings that can be associated with childhood experiences can change over time and make way for new feelings. The anger directed at parents remains unchanged as long as we cannot feel it, because we fear this anger, feel guilty about it, and are afraid of the parents’ revenge. Once this fear has been experienced with all its attendant circumstances, and its ramifications have been understood, we are no longer compelled to feel guilty about something done by others. This liberation reduces the anger.

    I wasn’t quite sure when we parted whether my interviewer had found in my explanations the answers she was looking for, but the completed cassette she sent me showed that she had understood me correctly. Into our conversation she had woven interviews with victims of abuse and one interview, which had been stored for years in the archives of her radio station, with a man who had killed three hundred and sixty women. The journalist who interviewed the murderer had initially been struck by the fact that the man talked about his murders quite unemotionally, but the significance of this absence of emotion became clear to the journalist only through the strength of my arguments. In reply to questions, the murderer states that his mother had been a prostitute and had hit him “whenever [he] didn’t stay out of her way.” On a few occasions she had almost killed him. When he was born she had wanted a girl, not a boy, and until he was seven years old he was forced to wear girl’s clothes and to keep his hair long. When a teacher cut his hair, his mother was so furious she almost beat the teacher to death. What had he felt while committing the murders? Nothing, said the prisoner. He set out from his house each morning with the purpose of killing a woman, as if he were going out to do a day’s work. Could it be that his harsh childhood had something to do with these murders? the journalist wanted to know. “Oh no,” replied the prisoner with total conviction, and for the first time with a trace of emotion. “I cannot blame my mother for what happened to me.”

    This man had repressed his past so thoroughly that he had never in his life had a dream. He was fourteen when he first murdered a girl, one his own age. Presumably he wished to destroy the girl whom his mother had wanted instead of him. He murdered out of the simple and understandable despair resulting from his realization that he could never win his mother’s love because he was a boy and not a girl. Had his mother expected something else of him—something attainable—he might have managed to live up to her wishes, but this was a chance that life had not given him. A child will do anything to win his mother’s love because he cannot live without that love. So this child, who received only hatred from a mother who might, he believed, have so much love to offer, sought a way to obtain her love. Perhaps the boy felt compelled to kill the girl merely to gain attention. We know nothing of that. Only he could have told us, provided he had had the possibility of feeling, of weeping, of dreaming. But he hadn’t. His soul was immured. Murder was its only language.

    Who, then, is guilty of the death of those three hundred and sixty women? The adult murderer, of course. But not only he. Once we are prepared to look at the surrounding circumstances we can no longer say that his mother is without guilt. The murderer says that his mother cannot be blamed for what happened to him, and society agrees with him. In my opinion this mother made her son a murderer, even if the son doesn’t know it, even if society and the mother herself don’t know it or don’t want to know it. It is this very lack of awareness that is so dangerous. To prevent future crimes, the danger of this ignorance must be clearly recognized.

    Free from Lies by Alice Miller; pp. 16-19: When parents display empathy for their children’s feelings and own up to their mistakes without saying “your behavior drove us to it,” then a great deal will change. The children then have something they can model themselves on. There is no attempt to evade realities, no attempt to “repair” them in line with the parents’ ideas. They have been shown that truth can be put into words and, once expressed, has the power to heal. Above all, when parents admit their failings, their children no longer need to feel guilty for the mistakes their parents have made. Such feelings of guilt are the breeding ground for countless attacks of depression in later life.

    Children who have sensed in such exchanges that their injuries and their feelings are taken seriously by their parents and that their dignity is respected are also more immune to the detrimental effects of television than those who harbor unconscious, suppressed desires for revenge on their parents and for that reason identify with scenes of violence on the screen. Politicians may envisage the prohibition of violence on television as a remedy, but this is unlikely to have much effect.

    By contrast, children who have been informed about the early injuries inflicted on them will be much more critical of brutal movies or quickly lose interest in them altogether. They may even find it easier to see through the dissociated sadism of the moviemakers than do the many adults who are unwilling to face up to the sufferings of the maltreated children they once were. Such adults may be fascinated by scenes of violence without suspecting that they are being forced to consume the emotional trash peddled as “art” by filmmakers who are unaware that they are in fact parading their own histories.

    This was forcibly brought home to me by an interview with a respected American film director fond of including repulsive monsters and sadistic sex scenes in his movies. He said that modern film technology had made it possible for him to demonstrate that love has many faces and that sadistic sex is one of them. He appeared completely oblivious of where, when, and from whom he was forced to adopt this confusing philosophy as a small child, and this ignorance is quite likely to accompany him to the end of his days. His self-styled “art” enables him both to tell his own story and to erase it from his memory at the same time. Naturally, such blindness has severe social consequences.

    Breaking Down the Wall of Silence by Alice Miller; pp. 7-8: To recognize and integrate something monstrous from our collective past as a society requires considerable time, just as it does on the individual level, in therapy. To rush the process may mean that the mechanisms of denial are further strengthened. We still need our illusions, our “crutches,” as we confront a new and painful aspect of the truth on our journey toward a complete perception of the child’s situation.

    As a result, the women’s movement clung to a number of illusions as it broached the subject of the sexual abuse of girls. Above all, its members needed to believe that mothers could not be party to this crime. Because I refused to lay responsibility for female child abuse solely at the doorstep of the men and insisted that both parents owed a debt of love and protection to the abused child—and that a caring mother would have prevented such abuses from occurring—it became clear to me that feminists found my books problematic...

    But in the years since, the women’s movement has also arrived at the point where it can begin to live without the illusion that only men commit acts of violence against children. One feminist sociologist sent me the results of her study of youths serving prison terms for attacking and raping women on the street. As it transpired, the rape and debasement of anonymous women had nothing to do with sexuality, although these men are referred to as “sex offenders.” Rather, they were motivated by revenge for the helplessness and defencelessness that they themselves had once suffered—a reality they had subsequently completely repressed, and continued to repress, to the detriment of others. What became clear was that all these men had been sexually abused by their mothers in early childhood, by way of either direct sexual practices, the misuse of enemas, or both. Various perverse practices were used to keep the child in check without its having the slightest chance of defending itself.

    Thirty years ago the use of enemas was still regarded as accepted medical practice. In truth, it was never anything but an act of violence against the child, intended to keep its bowel functions under adult control. To see this clearly and to be able to expose this form of destructive behavior required considerable openmindedness on the part of the sociologist concerned. That she did not have to protect the mothers in this case meant that she did not have to mask the truth in any way.

    The last thing I wish to do, of course, is relativize these rapists’ crimes by drawing attention to this aspect of their past. The criminal acting-out of repressed injuries can never be thought of as a compulsive necessity. Had these men been prepared to give up their repression, such acts would never have occurred. Sadly, they are not prepared to do so; and as soon as they themselves become fathers they are in a position to take revenge on their mothers with impunity—under their own roofs, on their wives and children, beyond the reach of the law.
    Their deeds must be shown in their true light, just as those of their parents and grandparents and the millions of other child abusers in previous generations, who have produced the rapists of today. Their perverted mothers were also the products of this disastrous chain of events.

    pp. 130-131: There are many programs going by the name of "therapy," whose basis consists of first learning to express one's feelings in order to see what happened in childhood. Then, however, comes "the work of forgiveness," which is apparently necessary if one is to heal. Many young people who have AIDS or are drug-addicted die in the wake of their effort to forgive so much. What they do not realize is that they are dying in order to keep the repression of their childhood intact.

    The majority of therapists fear this truth. They work under the influence of destructive interpretations culled from both Western and Oriental religions, which preach forgiveness to the once-mistreated child. Thereby, they create a new vicious circle for people who from their earliest years have been caught in the vicious circle of pedagogy. This, they refer to as "therapy." In so doing, they lead them into a trap from which there is no escape, the same trap that once rendered their natural protests impossible, thus causing the illness in the first place. Because such therapists, caught as they are in the pedagogic system, cannot help patients to resolve the consequences of the traumatization they have suffered, they offer them traditional morality instead.

    pp. 142-143: Today, we know that AIDS and cancer involve a drastic collapse of the body's immune system, and that this physical "resignation" precedes the sick person's loss of hope. Incredibly, hardly anyone has taken the step that these discoveries suggest: that we can regain our hope, if our distress signals are finally heard. If our repressed, hidden story is at last perceived with full consciousness, even our immune system can regenerate itself. But who is there to help, when all the "helpers" fear their own personal history? And so we play the game of blindman's buff with each other--patients, doctors, medical authorities--because until now only a few people have experienced the fact that emotional access to the truth is the indispensable precondition of healing. In the long run, we can only function with consciousness of the truth. This also holds for our physical well-being. Bogus traditional morality, destructive religious interpretations, and confusion in our methods of childrearing all make this experience harder and hinder our initiative. Without a doubt, the pharmaceutical industry also profits from our blindness and despondency. However, each of us has been given only one life and only one body. It refuses to be fooled, insisting with all means at its disposal that we do not deceive it.

    BANISHED KNOWLEDGE by Alice Miller; pp. 51-53: Reactions to new insights reflect not only training but also the tragedy of unequal chances: A loved child receives the gift of love and with it that of knowledge and innocence. It is a gift that will provide him with orientation for his whole life. An injured child lacks everything because he lacks love. He doesn’t know what love is, constantly confuses crime with good deeds and mendacity with truth, and hence will continue to be subject to new confusions.

    This confusion also became apparent to me in a discussion of an actual case among experts: A woman who had not been subject to achievement pressure in her childhood and had been much loved took into her home a nine-year-old autistic boy, whom she later adopted. She was able to give him plenty of warmth and physical contact, react to him positively, confirm his feelings, sense his needs, pick up his signals, and eventually understand them too. In her arms the boy learned to show emotions, to experience the anger at what had been done to him in the past, and to discover love. He developed into a healthy, intelligent, very lively, and candid youth.

    I recounted this history to a group of experts in the field of autism. The doctors among them said that autism was an incurable neurophysiological disease and that the history in this case showed that the boy had not been suffering from autism; in other words, there had been a wrong diagnosis. The psychologists, family therapists, and analysts said that this history was probably a crude simplification, for they knew many cases in which years of psychotherapy had brought about no change in autistic patients (which, incidentally, I am perfectly willing to believe). They went on to say that such a history could be of no help to parents of autistic children; on the contrary, it would give them guilt feelings because not all parents were in a position to devote that much love and time to their child. The parents usually had several children, had to earn a living, and, after all, they were only human. I said it seemed to me irrelevant whether a parent acquired guilt feelings when it was a matter of uncovering such an important truth.

    The history of the nine-year-old boy confirmed something I had long suspected: A child’s autism is a response to his environment, sometimes the last possible response open to a child. Whether autism is curable depends on the extent to which the people in a new environment can become aware of the truth of the child’s past. The reaction of those experts showed how difficult it is to find such people. Their resistance prevented them from realizing how greatly this boy’s history could help us in our dealings with children.

    Later, after many years, I heard of similar though still rare cases of autistic children being cured. A technique was developed, the “holding” technique, aimed at the need of the lost, lonely, alienated child to be held. Unfortunately this technique was once again coupled with pedagogy, and that is where I see its great danger. If the mother has gained the child’s trust by holding him and proceeds to place pedagogic demands on him, the child will do anything in his power not to lose his mother’s affection again. It has actually been shown that children treated with this technique do brilliantly in school. But since I wrote my first book, in 1979, I have known that this is not necessarily a genuine cure. The mother’s complete physical and psychic devotion to the autistic child can no doubt work miracles, provided she refrains from making pedagogic demands; otherwise she will create the drama of the gifted child—the very thing the child was warding off with his autism.

    THOU SHALT NOT BE AWARE by Alice Miller; pp. 154-156: Until recently, there was scarcely a pedagogue to be found who did not believe it was his or her task to teach children morality. Among the few exceptions was Janusz Korczak, a pioneering nonconformist who in 1928 wrote these words, which even today still strike us as unorthodox:

    Children are forbidden to criticize, they are not permitted to notice our mistakes, passions, or absurdities. We appear before them in the garb of perfection. Under threat of our wrath, we protect the secrets of the ruling clan, the caste of initiates called to higher tasks. Only a child can be stripped naked and pilloried without a second thought.

    The game we play with children is a game with a marked deck of cards; we win against the low cards of childhood with the aces of adulthood. Cheaters that we are, we shuffle the cards in such a way that we deal ourselves everything good and valuable in order to take advantage of their weaknesses. What about our ne’er-do-wells and happy-go-lucky types, the pleasure-seeking gourmets, the dumbbells, lazy-bones, scoundrels, adventurers, those with no conscience, the swindlers, drunkards, and thieves; what about our acts of violence and our crimes, those that are public knowledge and those that go undetected; how many quarrels, underhanded deeds, and scenes of jealousy are we responsible for, how much slander and black mail, how many wounding words and dishonorable actions; how many family tragedies, whose victims are the children, are enacted in secret? And we dare to make accusations?
    Are we so biased that we mistake the displays of affection we force on children for genuine love? Don’t we understand that it is we who are seeking children’s affection when we draw them to us, we who run to them when we are at a loss, that in moments of impotent pain and boundless loneliness we seek protection and shelter with them and burden them with our suffering and our yearning? [Das Recht des Kindes auf Achtung (The Child’s Right to Be Respected), pp. 21-23]

    Thou Shalt Not Be Aware by Alice Miller; p. 198: The family therapist observes the interaction between adults or between adolescents and their parents. In these relationships the manifest power structure may be different or even entirely opposite from what it was in the original setting of early childhood. It often looks as though parents are being victimized by their adolescent offspring and not the other way around. Yet the key to understanding the present situation lies in the past, which does not always become visible in a group. Only in the intrapsychic world of the individual does the past go on running its unwavering course and keep on being enacted anew in his or her present surroundings. The psychoanalytic method makes use of free association, transference, and countertransference in its attempt to decode the meaning of these intrapsychic, often tortured reenactments and can thereby free the patient from his tormenting repetition compulsions.

    pp. 109-110:There is a striking divergence in the ways the public reacts to news and information. In a single evening readers can find all manner of shocking events reported in the newspaper without being shaken out of their accustomed tranquility. There may be an account of a father who stabbed his wife and three children to death and then took his own life. This man was considered a conscientious employee, and there had been nothing unusual about his previous behavior. Depending on their level of education and orientation, our newspaper readers may think, “The man was simply a born psychopath, even though he was able to cover it up until now.” Or, “The housing shortage and the stress of his job drove the man to murder his wife and children.” The same newspaper may carry a report about the trial of a terrorist, during which the young man, accused of multiple homicide, delivered an hour-long ideological speech. There is also an interview with his mother, who claims convincingly that her son had never caused any trouble all through his childhood and adolescence, until he went to college. Then readers come to the “obvious” conclusion that the “bad influence” of the other students, who were raised too permissively, made this man become a terrorist. Continuing to leaf through the paper, they may now find another item about the rising suicide rate in a “luxury” prison, where each prisoner is isolated in his own cell. This might cause them to exclaim: “That goes to show you how spoiled people are nowadays! Their high standard of living makes them even more dissatisfied, and it may be that a permissive upbringing is responsible for all the acts of violence being committed by today’s young people.” Explanations such as these comfort readers and reinforce their value system. The events in question have no personal significance for them. They would basically rather not know how it is possible for a loving father suddenly to murder his three children, how an obedient son can so easily turn into a terrorist, why a prisoner in isolation commits suicide. For who can guarantee that their form of adjustment, successful thus far, does not have its dangerous shadow side, too, and that they will always manage to keep it at a distance? Understanding for someone else’s unconscious presupposes a familiarity with our own. How can we understand drug addiction, delinquency, or the outbreak of mental illness if the unconscious portion of our own and the other person’s psyche is ignored?

    pp. 248-249: 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 the 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 to 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.

    pp. 242-243: Psychoanalysis, like pedagogy, can very easily be destructive of the soul if it is used to indoctrinate the patient. But if it is not manipulative, instead allowing the patient full freedom to discover his past, then it cannot help but encourage his creative potential. Furthermore, if we understand art as a creative expression of what a person has experienced and stored in the unconscious and not as “the sublimation of instinctual drives,” every kind of therapy that has the goal of paving the way to self-expression will promote, not impede, creativity. The fear that the infinite riches of the unconscious might be exhausted by bringing a small but tormenting portion of it to consciousness will not be shared by anyone who has been moved by the paintings of Picasso, Miro, Paul Klee, or Chagall. Their brushes were guided by the unconscious, not by neurosis.

    When we hear that a writer had an unhappy childhood, we frequently attribute his or her artistic achievement to early traumatization. This view seems particularly applicable to Kafka, in whose works an exploitative society takes over the role of the parents, with the philosophy common to both being summed up in the words: “The beating was good for you [us].” Unquestionably, it is scarcely conceivable that someone who is not capable of suffering can produce a great creative work, but the capacity for suffering is not a result of traumatization; rather, both are the result of a very high degree of sensitivity.*

    The same event may have a devastating effect on a sensitive child and elicit scarcely any visible response (at least for the moment) in another, who has perhaps already become apathetic. For this reason, the view cited above could just as well be turned around to read: There was much suffering in the childhood of all great writers because they experienced the wounds, humiliations, fears, and feelings of abandonment that are an inevitable part of that period of life much more strongly and intensely than others. By storing up the pain they suffered, by making it an essential part of themselves and of their later imaginative life and then expressing it in transfigured form, they guarantee the survival of their painful feelings. But the dissociation of these feelings from the first attachment figures, toward whom they were directed, and their association with new, unreal fictitious figures guarantees the “survival” of the neurosis.

    * I use this term for lack of a better one, for I cannot say what causes one child to react more sensitively at a very early age than another, an undeniable phenomenon we can observe every day. There certainly must be good reasons for this, but I have not pursued the question in enough depth to discover them; possibly the key lies in a study of the prenatal period. It strikes me as quite likely that fear on the pregnant mother’s part, for example, could lead to great alertness (sensitivity) in the fetus.

    Free from Lies by Alice Miller; pp. 52-56: We tend to associate the word “hatred” with the notion of a dangerous curse we need to free ourselves of as quickly as we can. An opinion also frequently voiced is that hatred poisons our very being and makes it all but impossible to heal the injuries stemming from our childhood. I too believe that hatred can poison the organism, but only as long as it is unconscious and directed vicariously at substitute figures or scapegoats. [...] latent, displaced hatred is indeed dangerous and difficult to resolve because it is not directed at the person who has caused it but at substitute figures...

    Conscious, reactive hatred is different. Like any other feeling, this can recede and fade away once we have lived it through. If our parents have treated us badly, possibly even sadistically, and we are able to face up to the fact, then of course we will experience feelings of hatred. As I have said, such feelings may weaken or fade away altogether in the course of time, though this never happens from one day to the next. The full extent of the mistreatment inflicted upon a child cannot be dealt with all at once. Coming to terms with it is an extended process in which aspects of the mistreatment are allowed into our consciousness one after the other, thus rekindling the feeling of hatred. But in such cases hatred is not dangerous. It is a logical consequence of what happened to us, a consequence only fully perceived by the adult, whereas the child was forced to tolerate it in silence for years.

    Alongside reactive hatred of the parents and latent hatred deflected onto scapegoats, there is also the justified hatred for a person tormenting us in the present, either physically or mentally, a person we are at the mercy of and either cannot free ourselves of, or at least believe that we cannot. 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. If we deny ourselves this feeling we will suffer from physical symptoms. The biographies of Christian martyrs are full of descriptions of the dreadful ailments they suffered from, and a significant portion of them are skin diseases. This is how the body defends itself against self-betrayal. These “saints” were enjoined to forgive their tormentors, to “turn the other cheek,” but their inflamed skin was a clear indication of the extreme anger and resentment they were suppressing.

    Once such victims have managed to free themselves from the power of their tormentors, they will not have to live with this hatred day in, day out. Of course, the memories of their impotence and the horrors they went through may well up again on occasion. But it is probable that the intensity of their hatred will be tempered as time goes on.

    Hatred is a very strong and assertive feeling, a sign of our vitality. So if we try to suppress it, there will be a price to pay. Hatred tries to tell us something about the injuries we have been subjected to, and also about ourselves, our values, our specific sensitivity. We must learn to pay heed to it and understand the message it conveys. If we can do that, we no longer need to fear hatred. If we hate hypocrisy, insincerity, and mendacity, then we grant ourselves the right to fight them wherever we can, or to withdraw from people who only trust in lies. But if we pretend that we are impervious to these things, then we are betraying ourselves.

    The almost universal, but in fact highly destructive, injunction to forgive our “trespassers” encourages such self-betrayal. [...] it is easy to demonstrate that neither prayer nor autosuggestive exercises in “positive thinking” are able to counteract the body’s justified and vital responses to humiliations and other injuries to our integrity inflicted on us in early childhood. The martyrs’ crippling ailments are a clear indication of the price they had to pay for the denial of their feelings. So would it not be simpler to ask whom this hatred is directed at, and to recognize why it is in fact justified? Then we have a chance of living responsibly with our feelings, without denying them and paying for this “virtue” with illnesses.

    I would be suspicious if a therapist promised me that after treatment (and possibly thanks to forgiveness) I would be free of undesirable feelings like rage, anger, or hatred. What kind of person would I be if I could not react, temporarily at least, to injustice, presumption, evil, or arrogant idiocy with feelings of anger or rage? Would that not be an amputation of my emotional life? If therapy really has helped me, then I should have access to all my feelings for the rest of my life, as well as conscious access to my own history as an explanation for the intensity of my responses. This would quickly temper that intensity without having serious physical consequences of the kind caused by the suppression of emotions that have remained unconscious.

    In therapy I can learn to understand my feelings rather than condemn them, to regard them as friends and protectors instead of fearing them as something alien that needs to be fought against...

    It is not our feelings that make us a danger to ourselves and our environment; it is the dissociation of those feelings caused by our fear of them. It is here that we must seek the reasons for amok killers, for suicide bombers, and for the countless court judges who close their eyes to the real causes of crime, so as to spare the parents of the delinquents and to keep their own histories in the dark.

    The Untouched Key by Alice Miller; pp. 167-170 [APPENDIX (The Newly Recognized, Shattering Effects of Child Abuse)]: For some years now there has been proof that the devastating effects of the traumatization of children take their inevitable toll on society. This knowledge concerns every single one of us, and—if disseminated widely enough—should lead to fundamental changes in society, above all to a halt in the blind escalation of violence. The following points are intended to amplify my meaning:

    1. All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection.

    2. For their development children need the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world.

    3. When these vital needs are frustrated and children are instead abused for the sake of adults’ needs by being exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated, neglected, or deceived without the intervention of any witness, then their integrity will be lastingly impaired.

    4. The normal reactions to such injury should be anger and pain; since children in this hurtful kind of environment, however, are forbidden to express their anger and since it would be unbearable to experience their pain all alone, they are compelled to suppress their feelings, repress all memory of the trauma, and idealize those guilty of the abuse. Later they will have no memory of what was done to them.

    5. Disassociated from the original cause, their feelings of anger, helplessness, despair, longing, anxiety, and pain will find expression in destructive acts against others (criminal behavior, mass murder) or against themselves (drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, psychic disorders, suicide).

    6. If these people become parents, they will then often direct acts of revenge for their mistreatment in childhood against their own children, whom they use as scapegoats. Child abuse is still sanctioned—indeed, held in high regard—in our society as long as it is defined as childrearing. It is a tragic fact that parents beat their children in order to escape the emotions stemming from how they were treated by their own parents.

    7. If mistreated children are not to become criminals or mentally ill, it is essential that at least once in their life they come in contact with a person who knows without any doubt that the environment, not the helpless, battered child, is at fault. In this regard, knowledge or ignorance on the part of society can be instrumental in either saving or destroying a life. Here lies the great opportunity for relatives, social workers, therapists, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, officials, and nurses to support the child and to believe her or him.

    8. Till now, society has protected the adult and blamed the victim. It has been abetted in its blindness by theories, still in keeping with the pedagogical principles of our great-grandparents, according to which children are viewed as crafty creatures, dominated by wicked drives, who invent stories and attack their innocent parents or desire them sexually. In reality, children tend to blame themselves for their parents’ cruelty and to absolve the parents, whom they invariably love, of all responsibility.

    9. For some years now, it has been possible to prove, thanks to the use of new therapeutic methods, that repressed traumatic experiences in childhood are stored up in the body and, although remaining unconscious, exert their influence even in adulthood. In addition, electronic testing of the fetus has revealed a fact previously unknown to most adults: a child responds to and learns both tenderness and cruelty from the very beginning.

    10. In the light of this new knowledge, even the most absurd behavior reveals its formerly hidden logic once the traumatic experiences of childhood no longer must remain shrouded in darkness.

    11. Our sensitization to the cruelty with which children are treated, until now commonly denied, and to the consequences of such treatment will as a matter of course bring to an end the perpetuation of violence from generation to generation.

    12. 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 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 but not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than to 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. Such people will be incapable of understanding why earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel at ease and safe in this world. Since it will not have to be their unconscious life-task 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.
    Last edited by HERO; 07-24-2014 at 12:02 PM.

  2. #2
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    Women are just as cruel, unkind and sociopathic as men are. It's just a physical thing you know. Women are physically weaker than men, they aren't as strong. Get in a fight with a woman and then a man, the man is usually at least 10 times as strong. (maybe that's an exaggeration but I don't think so....maybe 5 though) My uncle could lift cars over his head in his prime, I think.

    And yes, I read the book 'the frailty myth' but it's also a load of shit, written by a lesbian with good ideals and a heart but it's not realistic at all.

    Am I going to worry about emotional abuse that I can get over by just aligning myself to people who are more compassionate (or getting over it myself) or am I going to worry about actual physical danger? Insecure men have also emotionally bullied me before- but once I got physical with them and kicked their ass, it stopped.

    Female athletes can do some pretty brutal, non-feminine things to their bodies to compete- but men can also lower their testosterone levels to be more nurturing and caregiver-ish. But naturally and innately speaking, we're wired for different things.

    Sticks and stones. Women can emotionally abuse me (and lord knows they have. Women can be straight up evil bitches), but I can always physically overpower them. I'm still not in any real danger. Men on the other hand...

    That's why women predators go after young boys who can't fight back. But it also explains why the obese, out of shape 'pedosmile' dudes target young children. Then there is more of the hot straight male rapist in ski masks that have strong fit bodies, but rape women in parks and hold them down and rape them. I'm more afraid of being physically overpowered. Because there isn't anything that can't just be 'blown up.' Women and fat out of shape pedophiles have to rely on emotional blackmail to get what they want. They can only go after you when you're weak. But a man can go after you when you're weak OR strong. Therein lies the difference.

    It's not meant as a political or personal or psychological insult against women. It's just a fact of our natures. (I say our because I'm a gay male, which I consider to be a different species of 'regular male' and I consider all gay males to be half-women and half-men but that's why I like them so much.)

    And it explains why sexual dominance and BDSM is so powerful with women. How can you be a big strong man and hurt a female. You can't. It doesn't make sense to be a 'real man' and punch a woman in the stomach. It's so wrong and vulgar, that it's erotic. You can only be a shameful, crying man in pain that needs love. It's almost impossible for it not to be erotic. It's erotic, not a power imbalance/conflict. It may sicken other men that women want asshole guys, or if not assholes- they at least deeply understand when men do horrible things to other people. Because I kinda get it myself.

    I realized in life how too many people are intimidated of the physical world, we make everything about mental and social control (human beings) But at what cost?

  3. #3
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    How else can you explain why people are afraid of men but aren't afraid of women?

    Women are just as intelligent as men. (And just as politically combative) They've proven that again and again. But that's just brains. Women are also more socially advanced then men are. They can read subtle social cues much better. But yet most people feel a lot more comfortable going into a group of gals than a group of dudes. Both guys and girls.

    Why is that? Because a man can ignore all social codes, all ethical codes of conduct, really anything they bloody hell want to - and bulldoze his way in physically. So he can only be stopped by another physical, corporeal agent. It's so awful when a man does wrong, it hurts society and civilization. And we always want a guy to feel guilty when he uses his strength improperly. Because everybody is afraid of it. And well, you should be. You should be afraid of a male that can lift up a car. That is some pretty bad-ass, deadly stuff.

    Your hurt feelings you can get over. So Jessica, Vero, or Dolphin was a bitch to you. So fucking what. Yawn. I'm over it already. But oh look, Ashton and Gilly are pissed off and they lifted a fucking truck over my head and they're about to smash my faggot little brains in. The're really mad. I can try to be passive and calm then down but they can actually do it. Shit. I can either be soft and faggy and weak like a woman so they won't be mad and do that to me OR I can be just as strong as them. Really either way works.

    What am I going to be worried more about. My hurt fweeings or my smashed in brain pieces.

    A group of males, that only intensifies the real corporeal, physical danger. Men can be sexy, helpless and erotic- they can get rid of their power to make themselves sexier. But naturally, they can snap your neck in an instant with a brute whipping force. And instinctively, nobody ever, ever forgets that.

    It's very ideal in popular culture to give women 'super strength.' The perfect hero would have the heart of a woman, but the strength of a man. But in the end this is a fantasy. There are no such thing as magic like that in real life.
    Last edited by bnd; 01-12-2011 at 02:20 PM.

  4. #4
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    A lot of people think boosting women's self-esteem is the answer to everything. Even men. But this is condescending. Women don't have problems with self-esteem. *Men do.* Men struggle with social self-esteem.... women don't. They say they do but it isn't really like men's.

    It's just the nature of the beast. It doesn't matter how self-confident a woman is. Or how much you train her to be a stronger. A man still has the physical upper hand. And the physical world is really all that matters. It's the core. Everybody likes to say how they hate surface things, but the physical surface is the bedrock for everything in this world. There can be no depth without surface. Without the rough and gritty masculine hands that can really kill you. For really reals. And that's well ,scary and dangerous. But also a little exciting- if the man uses his strength the right way. Even incredibly erotic. I mean this big strong man could kill and rape me but he's being a good guy and making love to me instead. Wow. That's courageous.

    He just cuts through all that mental psychomumbohubbajubba and makes me sweat. Please be a real man and try to FIGHT me. Not mentally but PHYSICALLY. The visceral-ness. Your mind is a worthless feminine cunthole. But your physical, real man strong hands.....realer than the dirt that holds all of us up. Being afraid to be made fun of in gym class. Don't run away from that fear. Fight it. Embrace the real macho man within and be physical , damnit. Magic might be real. But it's just this silly thing underneath the curtain. It controls nothing. Your real warrior hands are what controls it all. Because you can make destiny into what you want. You will try to be stopped by others. But that's the price of being male.

    (i'm a chanter/bard/shaman so I'm half-melee and half-magic naturally) I understand both worlds very well.

    The only way to rein men in from doing socially inappropriate things is by meeting them up with their physical match. It's to really let them know what it feels like by having an even stronger male rape them. Or put them in line. A lot of men will listen to a very dominant strong black male. And this is why a lot of women find that really sexually attractive.

    I've always wondered why so many men retreat in their minds, and have these amazing big minds when really, their strength lies in their raw physicality???

    You're not just a rock. Not just a nothing brute rock. But the rock is the only thing that creates a pathway and makes anything happen. The raw feeling of rock. I WANT TO BE PUNCHED IN THE FACE AND THEN FUCKED REALLY HARD. BE A REAL MAN DAMNIT AND FUCK THE SHIT OUT OF ME. STOP TALKING ABOUT SOCIONICS AND PSYCHOLOGY AND START FUCKING ME. ARGHGHGHGHGGHGHAGHAGHAGHAGHAGH

    (okay after three long-winded ranty posts I think I'm much better!)

    Shit just be a real man and fuck us. In the locker room.

  5. #5
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    BulletsAndDoves has a lot of interesting things to say, and I respect his opinions, although I frankly don't agree with all of them. My stepdad's ex-wife (perhaps they're back together now, I don't know) was once able to save her children who were in the car that was about to fall from the edge of a cliff or something (similar) by lifting the car or moving it back by herself.
    . . . in my opinion, some women are actually even physically stronger than some men. That the majority of men may be physically stronger than women may be true, yet so what. Does physical strength really matter in politics for example. I guess people (generally) prefer that the top people in power not be fat for example, yet they don't demand that they be bodybuilders (or mixed martial artists).

    Here are some more Alice Miller quotes [I'm surprised no one else has stated an opinion on her type. I'd say Ni-INFp, she's not Si-PoLR, and she likes Picasso (Se-ESTp in Socionix)]:

    - from Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries by Alice Miller; pp. 38-41: In the American weekly Newsday Magazine a few years ago, the writer Ann Jones devoted several pages to examining the question of what can induce a woman to kill her child. A recent murder of an eight-month-old infant had prompted general speculations. The author starts by describing the situation: A young woman is alone at home with her three-year-old son and eight-month-old daughter. She has just had an unpleasant telephone conversation with her father and now wants to tell her sister about it, but the baby constantly interferes with the conversation and never stops screaming. Unable to hear her sister’s voice, the mother becomes more and more desperate and suddenly starts hitting the baby with the receiver until the infant is silent. Thus she becomes a child murderer, although she did not deliberately kill the baby. She merely wanted to get rid of the intolerable screaming.
    The author describes the sufferings of this woman in childhood. Her father was an alcoholic and would often run around the apartment brandishing a knife and threatening to kill his two young daughters. He beat them regularly and abused them sexually when they were quite small. Once he dragged the girl from her sleep and hung her by her nightgown from a nail in the wall, leaving her there for three hours. The parents were having a quarrel, and the mother deserted the father at the very time the girl was hanging on the wall.
    These examples are enough to show what tortures the present child murderer was herself exposed to as a child. Moreover, in later life she was never allowed to do what she really wanted: she had many unwanted pregnancies and was never allowed to have an abortion. The role of mother was forced on her, by her immature partners as well as by medical authorities, and eventually she killed her baby. It is significant that she committed murder while trying vainly to articulate her terrible distress. She was hoping to obtain relief on the telephone, presumably trying to tell her sister about their father’s outrageous remarks over the phone, but the baby’s screaming made this impossible. It forced on her the mother role for which at that moment she was least prepared, once again stifling the articulation of distress, as other situations had so often done before. But here, with the weakest creature at hand, she could “defend” herself.
    Later, in prison, she gave birth to another child, and again there was no one within reach who might have searched with her for the roots of this senseless cycle of birth and destruction. Even the magazine article fails to do this. The initially described childhood is quickly forgotten, and a whole series of circumstances from her adult life is put forward as cause for this murder: partners, men, poverty—all these factors are to blame when a mother kills her baby, the article finally concludes. Various experts are quoted, various theories advanced, various suggestions made, and research projects are called for that will at last get down to the question of how society causes certain women to kill their children.
    What was so obvious at the beginning of the article has by its end been virtually obscured. Why? For a very simple reason, the reason that was presumably also the determining factor in Freud’s suppression of the truth in 1897 . . . Let us try to imagine that as a child, hanging from the wall for three hours by our nightgown, we are abandoned by our mother and left totally at the mercy of a rampaging father, and let us go on to imagine what emotions this would arouse in us. We balk at imagining this, for such an attempt recalls similar situations of which we don’t wish to be reminded at any price. What can a child do when she is left so utterly alone with her panic, her impotent fury, her despair and anguish? The child must not even cry, much less scream, if she doesn’t want to be killed. The only way she can get rid of these emotions is to repress them. But repression is a perfidious fairy who will supply help at the moment but will eventually exact a price for this help. The impotent fury comes to life again when the girl’s own child is born, and at last the anger can be discharged—once again at the expense of a defenseless creature.
    When such a child must consume all her capability and energy for the required labor of repression; when, in addition, she has never known what it is to be loved and protected by someone, this child will eventually also be incapable of protecting herself and organizing her life in a meaningful and productive manner. This child will continue to torment herself in destructive relationships, taking up with irresponsible partners and suffering from them; but she is unlikely to be able to grasp that the origin of all this suffering is to be found in her own parents and others involved in her upbringing. That former labor of repression to ensure survival renders such an insight impossible, contrary now to the interests of the adult who was once that child. If, to survive, a child is required to ignore certain things, the chances are that she will be required to continue to ignore those things for the rest of her life.
    The life-saving function of repression in childhood is transformed in adulthood into a life-destroying force. If the mother who ended up as a child murderer could have consciously experienced her hatred for her father, she would not have had to repress her childhood feelings and would not have become a murderer. She would have known at whom her hatred was directed when she became so desperate on the phone, and she would not have made her own child pay the price for it. The blindness that was once essential turned her into a murderer, and the blindness of society contributes to this woman’s inability to find help. For even after many years in prison or many years of educationally oriented therapy, she is still not rid of her latent hatred for her father and of her fear of being a screaming child who must be punished. She is in danger of repeating her crime, of having repeatedly to eliminate the screaming child she was never allowed to be, as long as society—including therapists—is governed by the fear of questioning the actions of parents.

    - from Paths of Life by Alice Miller; pp. 152-154 (What is Hatred?): Why has research into the subject of "childhood" been so rigorously avoided? Many possible reasons suggest themselves. One of them is surely that, like Freud and Reich, we somehow fear that the things it brings to light might cost us the love we have for our parents and cast a shadow on cherished memories.
    But the risk of that is slight. That first, unquestioning love of our parents is so deeply rooted that hardly anything can destroy it, and certainly not insight into the truth. It is grounded in the natural need to love and be loved. Understandably we treasure these positive, life-giving feelings. And yet the fear of losing them can prevent us from facing up to the truth. That fear can sustain the delusion that we owe it to our parents to practice denial.
    And it really is a delusion. Of course, in childhood there are frequently irreconcilable conflicts between loyalty to our parents and being true to our own selves. Many people would not have survived an unswerving allegiance to the truth when they were small; they had no choice but to seek refuge in denial. But as adults we can learn to identify and get closer to what is true for us and thus free ourselves of the symptoms and consequences of self-deception. This will not involve giving up the good feelings we have for our parents: as adults we understand the position they were in and can find out for ourselves why they did us harm without realizing it or admitting it to themselves.
    If adults can find someone to assist them in this process of learning, then -- like Anika and Sandra -- they will ultimately be able to do both: to be loving and understanding on the one hand, and true to themselves on the other. Sandra and Anika were not merely searching for facts; they were concerned with the meaning those facts had for them as children. They had no conscious memories of those early experiences, but they both displayed physical symptoms and were engaged in a permanent attempt to protect themselves from pain by forgetting. Today, they have learned to be assertive and affirmative about the truth as they see it, and they no longer need permission from their parents to do so. This newly gained autonomy has liberated them from the compulsion to attack their parents, a form of confrontation that in most cases has negative effects. And their liberty in turn makes it possible for the parents to go in search of their own truth.
    Children cannot understand why they should have injuries inflicted on them by the people they love and admire. They therefore reinterpret that behavior and believe it to be right. Cruelty is thus given a positive valuation in the child's cognitive system, and that valuation will be retained for life. Unless, that is, the child submits the whole process to a re-evaluation when he or she grows up.
    Many people succeed in doing precisely that, either relatively early on in life or later. Like Sandra or Anika, they realize that forsaking their childhood status and all its limitations and restrictions does not mean giving up the love they have for their parents. With this understanding, they will be able to leave the valuations of infancy behind and as adults acknowledge what was wrong, harmful, maybe even actively dangerous about the way their parents treated them. To do that, they first have to grow out of the state of childlike ignorance and helplessness. This will enable them in retrospect to understand both themselves and the pressures to which their parents were exposed.
    They no longer need to pretend that the beatings they were given did them good although precisely the opposite is the case. Nor do they need to hurl accusations at their parents like a toddler unable to understand why he has been wronged. Today they are able to put a name to the things they went through and to empathize with the situation their parents were in, in cases where their parents are communicative enough to describe it to them. The result is understanding--something fundamentally different from the religious act of forgiveness, which avoids or indeed actively shuns precise insights.

    But what happens if adults continue to steadfastly deny the harm they suffered, maintaining the infant position and glorifying the mistakes made by their parents? They may then end up condoning that violence as such, because they were given no opportunity of experiencing any alternatives and because the reasons for their parents' actions remain hidden from them. The destructive consequences may manifest themselves in adolescence in tyrannical treatment of younger siblings, in acts of violence, and possibly even murder.
    Unfortunately, adults have some more methods at their disposal for denying the violence done to them in youth and taking that violence out on others. With sophisticated ideological justifications they can even contrive to pass it off as a good thing. The less inclination they show to recognize and revise this ingenious self-delusion, the more likely it is that others will be made to suffer the consequences.

    - p. 77 (Helga): The idealization of my father was not the only thing that kept me shackled to that man. I was now in a state of dependency on someone who made me believe he was willing and able to help me and who didn’t have the slightest scruples about maneuvering me into a psychotic state to cover up what he had done. It was something my mother used to do as well, telling me I hadn’t really experienced what I thought I’d experienced, and plunging me into a state of profound uncertainty and insecurity. I was so used to it that there was no chance of my realizing that my therapist was doing exactly the same. Except that he did it much more systematically and skillfully.

    - p. 74: You know my father died when I was four. I was left alone with my mother, who had all kinds of problems herself and wasn’t able to give me any feeling of security or protection. She kept me on a pretty tight leash, but at the same time she was clinging and possessive because she needed someone, and there was no one there except me. In her presence, how could I have felt, let alone shown, the sorrow and despair I felt at the loss of my father?...From one day to the next, I had to accept that my father, who had always loved me, was gone forever, and that I was expected to live with that fact, not doing, saying, or feeling a thing. And when you went away, it was the same pattern. I couldn’t cry. It was as if someone had told me not to, and in a sense I consigned you to the grave, there and then. The worst thing was that I was still searching for my father, like a little child.

    - from Breaking Down the Wall of Silence; pp. 145-148 [Appendix D (Ten Reasons Not to Hit Your Kids by Jan Hunt)]:

    1. The practice of hitting children teaches them to become hitters themselves. Extensive research data is now available to support the direct correlation between corporal punishment in childhood and violent behavior in the teenage and adult years. Virtually all of the most dangerous criminals were regularly threatened and punished in childhood.

    2. Punishment gives the message that “might makes right”, that it is okay to hurt someone smaller and less powerful than you are. The child then feels it is appropriate to mistreat younger or smaller children, and when he becomes an adult, feels little compassion for those less fortunate or powerful than he is, and fears those who are more so. Thus it is difficult for him to find meaningful friendships.

    3. Children learn best through parental modelling. Punishment gives the message that hitting is an appropriate way to express one’s feelings and to solve problems. If the child rarely sees the parent handle anger and solve problems in a creative and positive way, he can never learn how to do that himself. Thus inadequate parenting continues into the next generation.

    4. The oft-quoted “spare the rod and spoil the child” is in fact a misinterpretation of biblical teaching. Although the rod is mentioned many times in the Bible, it is only in the Book of Proverbs (the words of King Solomon) that it is used in connection with child rearing. Solomon’s methods worked very badly for his own son, Prince Rehoboam. In the Bible, there is no support for hitting children outside of Solomon’s Proverbs. Jesus saw children as being close to God and urged love, not punishment.

    5. Punishment greatly interferes with the bond between parent and child, as no human being feels loving toward someone who deliberately hurts him. The true cooperative behaviour the parent desires can only be accomplished through a strong bond based on loving feelings, and through many examples of kindness and cooperative skills. Punishment, even when it appears to work, can produce only superficially “good” behaviour based on fear.

    6. Anger which cannot be safely expressed becomes stored inside; angry teenagers do not fall from the sky. Anger that has accumulated for many years can come as a shock to parents whose child now feels strong enough to express this rage. Thus punishment may produce “good behaviour” in the eary years, but at a high price, paid by the parent and society, during adolescence and adulthood.

    7. Spanking on the buttocks, an erogenous zone, during early childhood can lead to an association of pain and erotic pleasure, causing sexual difficulties in adulthood.

    8. Spanking can be physically damaging. Blows to the lower end of the spinal column send shock waves the length of the column, and may cause subdural hematoma. The prevalence of lower back pain among adults may have its origins in early corporal punishment. Paralysis has occurred through nerve damage, and children have died after relatively mild paddlings, due to undiagnosed medical problems. Many parents are unaware of alternative approaches to try, so that when punishment doesn’t accomplish the parent’s goals, it escalates, easily crossing the line into child abuse.

    9. In many, if not most cases of “bad behaviour,” the child is responding to neglect of basic needs: proper sleep and nutrition, treatment of hidden allergies, fresh air, exercise, freedom to explore the world around him, etc. But his greatest need is for his parents’ undivided attention. In these busy times, few children receive sufficient time and attention from their parents, who are often too tired and distracted to treat their children with patience and understanding. Punishing a child for responding in a natural way to having had important needs neglected, is really unfair.

    10. Perhaps the most important problem with punishment is that it distracts the child from the problem at hand, as he becomes preoccupied with feelings of anger and revenge. In this way the child is deprived of the best opportunities for learning creative problem-solving, and the parent is deprived of the best opportunities for letting the child learn moral values as they relate to real situations. Thus punishment teaches a child nothing about how to handle similar situations in the future.

    Loving support is the only way to learn true moral behaviour based on strong inner values rather than superficially “good” behaviour based only on fear.
    Strong inner values can only grow in freedom, never under fear...

    --Reprinted by Permission of EPPOCH (End Physical Punishment of Children) by Jan Hunt

    - pp. 56-60: The young people who demonstrated in Central and Eastern Europe against the lies of their governments and for more freedom had certainly grown up to something other than obedience and hypocrisy. The change in their upbringing was proved by the fact that they were capable of standing up for their rights without damaging their cause by blind, uncontrolled destructiveness, as had been the case with the terrorists in the sixties. The upbringing of those terrorists was steeped in cruel educational theories. To achieve their supposedly humanitarian ends, they, like their parents before them, chose brutal violence as their means. The young people demonstrating in 1989 were capable of exposing the emptiness, terror, mendacity, and destructiveness of Stalinism—all the things with which their parents and grandparents came to terms—because as children they were allowed more freedom than the older generation. To be conscious of unfreedom one must have a concept of what freedom and respect for life are.
    A person who has never experienced this as a child, who has only known and been exposed to extreme violence, brutality, and hypocrisy, without ever having come across a single helping witness, does not demonstrate for freedom. Such a person demands order and uses violence to achieve it, just as he or she learned as a child: order and cleanliness at any price is the motto, even if it is at the price of life. The victims of such an upbringing ache to do to others what was once done to them. If they don’t have children, or their children refuse to make themselves available for their revenge, they line up to support new forms of fascism. Ultimately, fascism always has the same goal: the annihilation of truth and freedom. People who have been mistreated as children, but totally deny their suffering, use the mottoes and labels of the day. They thereby meet the approval of others like them because they are also helping to conceal their truth. They are consumed by the perverse pleasure in the destruction of life that they observed in their parents when young. They long to at last be on the other side of the fence, to hold power themselves, passing it off, as Stalin, ******, or Ceausescu have done, as “redemption” for others. This old childhood longing determines their political “opinions” and speeches, which are therefore impervious to counterarguments. As long as they continue to ignore or distort the roots of the problem, which lie in the very real threats experienced in their childhood, reason must remain impotent against this kind of persecution complex. The unconscious compulsion to revenge repressed injuries is more powerful than all reason. That is the lesson that all tyrants teach us. One should not expect judiciousness from a mad person motivated by compulsive panic. One should, however, protect oneself from such a person.
    It is our access to the truth that can enable us to prevent such people, who yearn for the “order” spawned by violence, from realizing their destructive plans. Fascism will have had its day once society ceases to deny the knowledge we already possess about the production of brutality, violence, and dehumanization in childhood and minimize its dangers. Once this has happened, it won’t have a chance in this society. It is not enough to unmask Stalinism and Nazism as mere lies. As long as we do not recognize the circumstances to which they owe their success, these and similar lies can continue to exist, dressed up in forms in keeping with the “Zeitgeist.” Fascism is a psychic attitude that floats the latent history of destruction to the surface.
    The nature of fascism is not determined by political or economic circumstances. For a long time, people sought to “explain” ******’s success by pointing to the catastrophic economic situation of the Weimar Republic, and in doing so they sought to collectively deny the origins of ******’s urge toward revenge, destruction, and power. But we eventually desperately need the truth.
    It is not enough to see the surface and describe that. We have to recognize, and defuse, the production of paranoid confusion, which takes place in childhood. Clear, firm legislation, which would unequivocally condemn the mistreatment of children as a crime, would be a first, decisive step in the right direction...
    Access to the truth of our own history would enable us to clearly see that what a few destructive and confused people wish to realize—however attractive and reasonable it might sound to all those who have shared the same fate—is nothing less than hell, the hell that they themselves escaped, a hell of cynicism, arrogance, brutality, destructive rage, and stupidity. Denial is the ladder out of this hell, enabling them to emerge with the burning desire to finally revenge themselves for it.
    Can one have a dialogue with such people? I believe we must keep trying because this may, indeed it very likely will, be their first opportunity of encountering an enlightened witness. How they make use of this encounter is something over which we have no influence. But we should at least make use of the occasion. Life failed them—something that is, I suspect, true of all prison inmates. One should try to show them that they had the right to respect, love, and encouragement in their childhood and that this right was denied them, but that this does not give them the right to destroy the lives of others. We must also show them that destruction is a dead end. Even millions of corpses could not sate ******’s hunger for revenge or dispel his hatred. We have to show them that what was passed off on them in childhood as “a good upbringing” was a base, mendacious, and idiotic ideology in which they had to believe in order to survive, and that they now wish to recirculate at the political level. And we have to show them that the people who cheated them, who engendered their misery, their hunger for power and destruction, were not Jews or Turks or Arabs or Gypsies, but their very own parents—clean, orderly citizens, God-fearing, respectable churchgoers.
    We cannot know how many of these sons and daughters, how many young neo-fascists or violent criminals are open to dialogue. But if we bear in mind that in our society they hardly ever come across someone who enlightens them about this horrendous truth, then it is conceivable that one or the other of them might pause to listen. It may be that the evidence of facts that they know from their own childhood, but were never allowed to see in context, will immediately become clear to them, especially if they have not spent years at a university learning how to deny and disguise such facts.
    The danger does not lie with individuals, however criminal they may be. Far more, it lies in the ignorance of our entire society, which confirms these people in the lies that they were obliged to believe in their childhood. Teachers, attorneys, doctors, social workers, priests, and other respected representatives of society protect parents from the mistreated child’s every accusation and see to it that the truth about child abuse remains concealed. Even the child protection agencies insist that this crime, and this crime alone, should go unpunished...
    But it is precisely the correct information about the mistreatment of children, which brings in its wake further abuse, that could help us to avert the dangers that threaten us. Among other things, we could ensure that children who have been seriously mistreated and have as a result, turned into paranoid criminals, never become leaders of entire nations or gain the power to control and destroy millions of people. In Nero’s time, it was a person’s inevitable fate to live under the tyranny of one individual, but in the age of democracy, however imperfect it may be, it is in the hands of the voter to abrogate such a fate. We can choose blindness or the truth of facts. Whoever opts for the truth will not deliver himself to people who promise redemption by the destruction of others. He or she will know that this hunger for destruction is not an inherent, primal need that can at some point be stilled. Rather, it is a permanent, perverted search for revenge, which would ultimately affect those who voted for such tyrants, should they not find the necessary courage to reinstate the truth.

    - pp. 110-111: Elena and Nicolae Ceausescu were deeply grateful to their parents for all the mistreatment they received. They expected the same gratitude from the people for their torture.
    If the psychodynamics of child abuse were universally acknowledged today, a man like Nicolae Ceausescu could not succeed in plundering and humiliating an entire nation for twenty years in the guise of national salvation, with the goal of raising a whole nation as his applauding slaves. But his regime is a blueprint of the generally accepted tyranny imposed throughout the world with impunity on children in the name of "childrearing" and redemption "for your own good" -- dispossession, exploitation, total control, torture, humiliation, disrespect, mistreatment, misuse, persecution, seduction, lies, terror, the deformation of the truth, and pitiless psychic cruelty. All carried out, thank you very much, with a smile and the promise of salvation.
    The little girls, for instance, who were to cheer on the dictator at parades, had to stand shivering in their white shirts for many hours because the illustrious "father of the nation" believed that "effeminacy is bad for character." As part of the pedagogic vocabulary of our fathers, such a pronouncement would have been perfectly normal. Only today can one see how it glorified heartless, sadistic chicanery.

    - Free From Lies: Discovering Your True Needs by Alice Miller; pp. 272-276 (From the Diary of a Mother): Today, Nina, I have the impression that I have been doomed for the rest of my life to try to find out who my father was. When I was sixteen, I did nothing to stop one of my teachers at school from abusing me sexually. I denied this violation to myself, persuaded myself that I loved him, never confessed to myself that I had sought protection from him in the hope that he would not ask for anything in return. I never noticed how high the price was that I paid at the time. I did my best not to feel the protest, the disappointment, the anger, and the pain caused by the silence imposed on me. I wanted to get over all that very quickly so as to be a worthy partner for him. Had I not made the same attempt with my father? In vain. With all these efforts I was denying my own self, forsaking my feelings, running roughshod over myself. It was a price I paid more than once. I had to foot the same bill over and over again. And every time my anger welled up, but I was unable to identify its true origins. Only now I am getting nearer those origins. They lie with you, Daddy. You took the secret with you to the grave. You denied me the explanation I now have to find all on my own. Why was I always at pains to do what people expected of me and never disappoint them? Because I hoped it would release me from the loneliness that I always experienced as a mortal danger. But I remained lonely and disappointed. I suffered from tormenting feelings of guilt that made me feel responsible for everything. The voice of those guilt feelings asked me again and again: "Why did you trust that teacher? You should have recognized all the signals telling you that he wouldn't help you. How could you believe him and throw away your body on someone who didn't love you and never even saw the person you really are?" I tried to defend myself. I had believed and hoped that he loved me. He told me so often enough, and I needed that faith in his love. But the voice of guilt knows no mercy. It speaks in the tone of my mother, for whom nothing that I did was ever good enough because I was unable to free her of her misery. So the voice drones on inexorably: "When you were sixteen, you wrote intelligent essays. How could you be so stupid as to believe that this married teacher with two children would ever leave his family for your sake? Where was your common sense? You were always so critical, not least of yourself, you read all those books, and you still fell foul of a seducer like some clueless, unenlightened girl in the nineteenth century." And that voice was right. I should have seen that he had other girls, that at my age I could never be a genuine partner for him. At school he only helped me as long as he needed me, and he soon lost interest in me after I had slept with him. All he wanted was another proof of his prowess as a seducer.
    I sense now that I am imperceptibly siding with my mother's voice, accusing myself and feeling once again as if I were in court. But I also hear a still, small voice trying to defend me: "It wasn't your fault; he alone is responsible for what happened. How could you have seen through his lies and perversions, if such lies and perversions were all you knew? How could you have known what love really is, that you have a right to respect, to ask questions and be heard? That you are not forced to be silent? That you have a right to rebel, to protest, to look things in the face, to unmask lies, and to keep your secrets to yourself? You didn't know you had any rights because your parents never let you have them. They didn't give you the key with which you could have opened your prison cell; they even hid it from you."
    And that is precisely how it was. From the outset I had to learn from my mother not to use my feelings as signals, to suppress my needs and fears. I had to learn that I was not allowed to help myself. That was why I was completely dependent on help from my father, who could have saved me and given me back my integrity and made up for those mutilations. Just because I survived, I always thought of him as my savior. Maybe he did save my life, but not for my sake, only because he was interested in that little girl's body. He needed me defenseless. I was sent out into the world without rights, unarmed, with only my fear as a companion. I defended myself as best I could, but the pattern was always the same: I sought help from men who exploited me, and then I blamed myself for my naivete and blindness. Basically, that's how it was with my marriage too. But how could I have seen what was really going on? I had been programmed to be blind at such an early stage, and I never had any chance to make comparisons. I would never have fallen for that teacher if my father had supported, respected, and seen me for what I am instead of treating me like a doll. I would immediately have seen the difference between my father's behavior and the behavior of the teacher, who would probably never have tried to approach me.
    That still, small voice inside me is gradually developing into the strong, firm, convincing voice of an adult, and it gives me strength. I see so much more now. How it made me suffer that I could never ask Hans, my teacher, any questions, just as I could never ask my father anything or later my husband. I wanted to know what Hans felt about his marriage, the relationship he had with his children. But such questions were taboo, and I accepted that. I wanted nothing more dearly than a genuine exchange, but in the end I agreed to a mute sexual relationship. Once again I see that I am in danger of accusing myself and asking: How could you put up with it? But that voice inside is starting to defend me from self-blame. I had no choice. Right at the beginning of our affair Hans told me one or two things about himself, the disappointments in his life, and his difficult childhood. He even broke down in tears. I hoped that I could help him, that I could free him from his misery by offering him understanding and attention. After what I had been through, I was unable to gauge how much of this was calculated, part of a plan to seduce me. At sixteen I was starved of love and affection, and there was nothing I wanted more than to give someone my love in the way that only I could. I wanted to offer Hans all the gifts of my heart and my understanding because I sensed that he too was suffering. But it was beyond my power to see him as he really was. He could neither understand himself nor me, all he could do was get girls into bed and then cast them aside, whatever the reasons for his behavior may have been. But I was accustomed not to feel my distress, I wanted to help him, and I hoped he would save me. As with my father, I probably wanted to make him into someone who was able to save me. I see now that this never works. But I must stop blaming myself; otherwise I shall end up being loyal and faithful both to him and to my father. And that loyalty will keep me locked up in the old prison cell that no one can free me from because I have taken the guilt of others on myself. Like Joan of Arc, who squandered herself on an imbecile king, I will end up killing myself rather than betraying my father. Is that what I want? No. I shall not let myself be destroyed by feelings of guilt. I shall not be the keeper of other people's secrets. I refuse to save the culprits by destroying myself.

    - from THOU SHALT NOT BE AWARE: Society’s Betrayal of the Child by Alice Miller; pp. 115-116 [WHY IS THE TRUTH SO SCANDALOUS? (10 – The Loneliness of the Explorer)]: In spite of the high price he paid, Freud still could not prevent those people who have applied his psychoanalytic methods over the past eighty-some years from seeing connections (in such areas as family therapy, analysis of children, treatment of schizophrenia, and psychohistory) that confirm at least partially the validity of his original insights – even if, or perhaps because, no theory has yet been developed to explain them. Freud wrote in 1896:

    If we have the perseverance to press on with the analysis into early childhood, as far back as a human memory is capable of reaching, we invariably bring the patient to reproduce experiences which, on account both of their peculiar features and of their relations to the symptoms of his later illness, must be regarded as the aetiology of his neurosis for which we have been looking. These infantile experiences are once more sexual in content, but they are of a far more uniform kind than the scenes at puberty that had been discovered earlier. It is now no longer a question of sexual topics having been aroused by some sense impression or other, but of sexual experiences affecting the subject’s own body – of sexual intercourse (in the wider sense). You will admit that the importance of such scenes needs no further proof; to this may now be added that, in every instance, you will be able to discover in the details of the scenes the determining factors which you may have found lacking in the other scenes – the scenes which occurred later and were reproduced earlier.
    I therefore put forward the thesis that at the bottom of every case of hysteria there are one or more occurrences of premature sexual experience, occurrences which belong to the earliest years of childhood but which can be reproduced through the work of psycho-analysis in spite of the intervening decades. I believe that this is an important finding, the discovery of a caput Nili in neuropathology . . . [S.E. (The Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works), III, pp. 202-3]

    And several pages later we read:

    Lastly, the findings of my analysis are in a position to speak for themselves. In all eighteen cases (cases of pure hysteria and hysteria combined with obsessions, and comprising six men and twelve women) I have, as I have said, come to learn of sexual experiences of this kind in childhood. I can divide my cases into three groups, according to the origin of the sexual stimulation. In the first group it is a question of assaults – of single, or at any rate isolated, instances of abuse, mostly practised on female children, by adults who were strangers, and who, incidentally, knew how to avoid inflicting gross, mechanical injury. In these assaults there was no question of the child’s consent, and the first effect of the experience was preponderantly one of fright. The second group consists of the much more numerous cases in which some adult looking after the child – a nursery maid or governess or tutor, or, unhappily all too often, a close relative – has initiated the child into sexual intercourse and has maintained a regular love relationship with it – a love relationship, moreover, with its mental side developed – which has often lasted for years. The third group, finally, contains child-relationships proper – sexual relationships between two children of different sexes, mostly a brother and sister, which are often prolonged beyond puberty and which have the most far-reaching consequences for the pair. In most of my cases I found that two or more of these aetiologies were in operation together; in a few instances the accumulation of sexual experiences coming from different quarters was truly amazing. You will easily understand this peculiar feature of my observations, however, when you consider that the patients I was treating were all cases of severe neurotic illness which threatened to make life impossible.
    Where there had been a relation between two children I was sometimes able to prove that the boy—who here too, played the part of the aggressor—had previously been seduced by an adult of the female sex, and that afterwards, under the pressure of his prematurely awakened libido and compelled by his memory, he tried to repeat with the little girl exactly the same practices that he had learned from the adult woman, without making any modification of his own in the character of the sexual activity.
    In view of this, I am inclined to suppose that children cannot find their way to acts of sexual aggression unless they have been seduced previously. The foundation for a neurosis would accordingly always be laid in childhood by adults, and the children themselves would transfer to one another the disposition to fall ill of hysteria later.
    [pp. 207-9]

    - pp. 190-192 (Facets of the False Self): The more one-sided a society’s observance of strict moral principles such as orderliness, cleanliness, and hostility toward instinctual drives, and the more deep-seated its fear of the other side of human nature—vitality, spontaneity, sensuality, critical judgment, and inner independence—the more strenuous will be its efforts to isolate this hidden territory, to surround it with silence or institutionalize it. Prostitution, the pornography trade, and the almost obligatory obscenity typical of traditionally all-male groups such as the military are part of the legalized, even requisite reverse side of this cleanliness and order. Splitting of the human being into two parts, one that is good, meek, conforming, and obedient and the other that is the diametrical opposite is perhaps as old as the human race, and one could simply say that it is part of “human nature.” Yet it has been my experience that when people have had the opportunity to seek and live out their true self in analysis, this split disappears of itself. They perceive both sides, the conforming as well as the so-called obscene, as two extremes of the false self, which they now no longer need. I knew one woman who had been avid about attending wild Fastnacht masquerades because this had been her only chance to be free and creative. Later, however, when she was able to show her other side through her creativity rather than by wearing a mask, her interest in Fastnacht restricted itself to making decorations and costumes. She no longer wanted to disguise herself, because it would remind her of the unhappiness of her former secret life. This case and similar ones make me wonder if it will not one day be possible to let children grow up in such a way that they can later have more respect for all sides of their nature and not be forced to suppress the forbidden sides to the point where they must be lived out in violent and obscene ways.
    Obscenity and cruelty are not a true liberation from compulsive behavior but are its by-products. Free sexuality is never obscene, nor does violence ever result if a person is able to deal openly with his or her aggressive impulses, to acknowledge feelings such as anger and rage as responses to real frustration, hurt, and humiliation.
    How can it have come about that the split I have just described is attributed to human nature as a matter of course even though there is evidence that it can be overcome without any great effort of will and without legislating morality? The only explanation I can find is that these two sides are perpetuated in the way children are raised and treated at a very early age, and the accompanying split between them is therefore regarded as “human nature.” The “good” false self is the result of what is called socialization, of adapting to society’s norms, consciously and intentionally passed on by the parents; the “bad,” equally false self is rooted in the child’s earliest observations of parental behavior, visible only to the child, who is used as an outlet. Perceived sympathetically by the child’s devoted, unsuspecting eyes and stored up in his or her unconscious, this behavior is what comes to be regarded automatically, generation after generation, as “human nature.”
    It is without doubt offensive and disquieting for people to discover that the escape valves they believed they had found in raising their children—so well concealed until now (and so necessary because of their upbringing)—are proving to have a poisonous effect on the next generation. What is one to do without these outlets? Isn’t Freud’s discovery of the unconscious to blame for everything? But Freud would not have made his discovery if there had not been countless patients in his day whom he found to be suffering from the double standard to such a degree that they could no longer be cared for by their families and thus began to fill the psychiatric wards. The situation is no better today than it was then; indeed, with the increase in population it is even more serious. Therefore, as a psychoanalyst one is faced with the difficult task of calling attention to the poison we have been storing up inside from the very beginning and then inflicting on our children. Further, it is our task to recognize that it is not a matter of assigning blame to individual parents, who, after all, are themselves victims of this system, but of identifying a hidden societal structure that determines our lives, like practically no other. Once recognized, it can be found in a wide variety of society’s forms. To take this step will necessarily cause us anxiety if we have been raised according to pedagogical principles, which is no doubt the case for most of us. It is understandable, then, if fear of our introjected parents’ anger, the child’s fear of losing their love, compels us to overlook striking societal patterns for the sake of sparing our parents.

    -from Free From Lies: Discovering Your True Needs by Alice Miller; pp. 230-231: You describe the emotional life of quite a few of the most highly regarded writers of the modern age. Who would you cite as someone who has successfully overcome the traumatic conflict with his or her parents?

    This is a very interesting question that nobody has asked me before. I have been looking around for a long time, but I cannot find even one well-known writer who doesn't believe that we must eventually forgive our parents. Even if they see the cruelty of their upbringing, they feel guilty about seeing it. Franz Kafka was one of the bravest writers on this subject, but at that time nobody could endorse his knowledge. So he felt guilty and died as a very young man, like Proust, Rimbaud, Schiller, Chekhov, Nietzsche, and so many others who began to grasp the truth of having been abused in childhood. Why do we prefer to blame ourselves? Because blaming ourselves protects us from the pain. I think that the worst pain we have to go through in order to become emotionally honest is to admit that we were never loved when we needed it most. It is easy to say this, but it is very, very hard to feel it. And to accept it, to root out the expectation that one day my parents will change and love me. But unlike children, adults can rid themselves of this illusion, for the benefit of their health and their offspring. People who absolutely want to know their truth are capable of doing just that. And I believe that these individuals will change the world. They will not be "heroes"; they may be quite unassuming people, but there is no doubt that their emotional honesty will at some point be able to break down the wall of ignorance, denial, and violence. The pain of not being loved is only a feeling; a feeling is never destructive when it is directed at the person who caused the pain involved. Then even hatred is not destructive, as long as it is conscious and not acted out. But it can be very destructive, indeed highly dangerous for oneself and others, if it is denied and directed at scapegoats.

    - pp. 218-220: Some critics of the so-called "inner-child movement" have suggested that the concentration on childhood is a form of self-pity and even narcissism. How would you respond to this common criticism?

    I do not represent any movement, so I do not know to whom exactly you are referring. Nor can I take responsibility for all that is, unfortunately, propounded in my name. I can only say in response to your question: Allowing the child inside us, whose integrity has been seriously damaged, to at last feel and speak, allowing it to discover its rights and needs is nothing other than enabling it both to grow and to grow up. Making feelings available to our consciousness means setting in motion a process of growth, assuming responsibility, and initiating a process of awareness. This process can only take place once we question parents and society as a whole, and once a person who has been blind to cruelty begins to see. I have never come across anyone in whom this process is not accompanied by genuine sympathy for, and interest in, others, nor anyone who does not wish to help others by communicating the knowledge they have gained. Of course, one can only help those who want to help themselves.
    To my knowledge, all this is precisely the opposite of narcissism. The narcissist is trapped in his or her self-admiration and will not dare to venture on such a journey of self-discovery. The awakening of our own sensitivity to the things done to us as children enables us, for the first time, to notice what has been, and is being, done to others. This sensitivity to one's own fate is a condition -- an absolutely essential condition -- of our ability to love. People who make light of the mistreatment they received, who are proud of their imperviousness to feeling, will inevitably pass on their experience to their children or to others, regardless of what they say, write, or believe. People who can feel what happened to them, on the other hand, do not run the risk of mistreating others.
    In the criticism that you mention I hear the voice of the submissive child, the child who was not allowed to see, feel, or grieve over its parents' unjust behavior and, instead, had to learn early on to regard all this as "self-pity" and despise it. But why should we not suffer from the suffering inflicted on us? What purpose would that serve? Is this not a shocking and extremely dangerous perversion of natural human impulses? We are born into the world as feeling beings. Feelings and compassion for ourselves are essential for us to find our bearings in the world. Isn't it bad enough to have been robbed of our capacity to feel, our compass for life, by blows and humiliation? When so-called specialists champion this perversion as a solution and preach "the courage for discipline," they should be unmasked for what they are: the blind leading the blind. ****** was proud that he could count the thirty-two strokes his father once gave him without feeling a thing. Rudolf Hoss and Adolf Eichmann made similar proud assertions. What that led to is common knowledge, though the connections have never been properly understood.

    - pp. 214-216: Do you believe there is such a thing as "human nature"? If so, what do you think the quality of this nature is?

    As I already said, I regard all talk of death wishes, destructive drives, or genetically programmed evil as nothing but a flight from the facts -- facts that have already been proven -- and hence as self-inflicted ignorance. People who delegate their own responsibility to higher powers are willfully ignoring what the facts tell them. They don't care about the truth. They want to be left in peace. Goodness they attribute to God, evil to the devil or their children's innate wickedness. They also think that what they believe to be preordained can be transformed by discipline and violence. How could this possibly be the case? Has anyone ever come across one single human being whose "inborn" destructiveness has been transformed by beatings and other forms of mistreatment into good, positive character traits? Nonetheless, "scientists" still cling to their belief in the myth of "inherent evil," and millions of parents still go on mistreating their children in the belief that they can beat goodness into them. What they create instead is a submissive child, a child that may not reveal his justified anger today, but will later remorselessly act out his rage on others. The only ones who will not be forced to pass on this legacy of destruction are those who encounter, either in childhood or later, an "enlightened witness," someone who can help them feel the cruelty they suffered, recognize it for what it is and categorically condemn it.
    . . . In an attempt to transfigure the brutality he had been exposed to, Calvin, the reformer and spiritual father of the city of Geneva, wrote: "The only salvation is to know nothing and to want nothing . . . man should not only be convinced of his worthlessness. He should do everything he can to humiliate himself."

    - p. 9 (Preface: Telling Children the Truth): There is still a widespread belief that children are incapable of feeling: either the things done to them will have no consequences at all, or those consequences will be different from what they would be in an adult. The simple reason advanced for this belief is that they are "still children." Only a short while ago it was permissible to operate on children without giving them an anesthetic. Above all, the custom of circumcising boys and girls and subjecting them to sadistic initiation rituals is still quite normal practice in many countries. Blows inflicted on adults count as grievous bodily harm or torture; those inflicted on children go by the name of upbringing. Is this not in itself sufficient and incontrovertible proof that most people have suffered serious brain damage, a "lesion" or a gaping void where we would expect to find empathy, particularly for children? Effectively, this observation is evidence in favor of the theory that all those beaten in childhood must have sustained subsequent damage to the brain, as almost all adults are more or less impervious to the violence done to children! In my quest for an explanation of this fact, I decided in 2002 to find out at what age parents thought they might begin impressing the necessity of good behavior on their children by giving them "little" smacks and slaps. As there were no statistics available on this point, I instructed a survey institute to ask one hundred mothers from different strata of society how old their children were when they first decided it was necessary to make them behave better by administering slaps to their hands or bottoms. The responses were extremely enlightening. Eighty-nine of the women were almost unanimous in saying that their children were about eighteen months old when they first inflicted physical "correction" on them.

    - from Pictures Of A Childhood by Alice Miller, pg. 26: In legal language, many of these wrongs would without any question qualify as crimes if they had been committed against adults instead of children.

    - from Banished Knowledge: Facing Childhood Injuries by Alice Miller, p. 7: If but a single person had understood at that time what was going on and had come to my defense, my entire life would have taken a different course.

    - p. 19: But is it true that it didn’t do them any harm, that every tradition, simply because it is dressed up in bright colors and lights, is something beautiful, good, and harmless? Through such ceremonies and through their own attitudes, the parents induce in their children the frightened certainty of being wicked, a certainty that will remain forever in their unconscious.

    - p. 23: She didn’t know how I suffered because, as a result of her own history, she couldn’t possibly have any sensors for a child’s soul and because society bolstered her opinion that a child must be raised as an obedient robot, at the expense of its soul.

    - p. 80: For nobody achieves freedom by blaming people who in reality never harmed him. By directing diffuse, nonspecific, and unsubstantiated accusations at surrogate persons, the patient will achieve no improvement of his condition but will often remain in a state of disastrous confusion.

    - back cover: The Jungian doctrine of the shadow and the notion that evil is the reverse of good are aimed at denying the reality of evil. But evil is real. It is not innate but acquired, and it is never the reverse of good but rather its destroyer...It is not true that evil, destructiveness, and perversion inevitably form part of human existence, no matter how often this is maintained. But it is true that evil is always engaged in producing more evil and, with it, an ocean of suffering for millions that is similarly avoidable. When one day the ignorance arising from childhood repression is eliminated and humanity has awakened, an end can be put to this production of evil.
    Last edited by HERO; 07-07-2014 at 12:07 PM.

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    Alice Miller: Ni-INFp (Harmonizing subtype)

    For Your Own Good by Alice Miller; pp. 97-100: When children are trained, they learn how to train others in turn. Children who are lectured to, learn how to lecture; if they are admonished, they learn how to admonish; if scolded, they learn how to scold; if ridiculed, they learn how to ridicule; if humiliated, they learn how to humiliate; if their psyche is killed, they will learn how to kill—the only question is who will be killed: oneself, others, or both.

    All this does not mean that children should be raised without any restraints. Crucial for healthy development is the respect of their care givers, tolerance for their feelings, awareness of their needs and grievances, and authenticity on the part of their parents, whose own freedom—and not pedagogical considerations—sets natural limits for children.
    It is this last point that causes great difficulty for parents and pedagogues, for the following reasons:
    1. If parents have had to learn very early in life to ignore their feelings, not to take them seriously, to scorn or ridicule them, then they will lack the sensitivity required to deal successfully with their children. As a result, they will try to substitute pedagogical principles as prostheses. Thus, under certain circumstances they may be reluctant to show tenderness for fear of spoiling the child, or, in other cases, they will hide their hurt feelings behind the Fourth Commandment.
    2. Parents who never learned as children to be aware of their own needs or to defend their own interests because this right was never granted them will be uncertain in this regard for the rest of their life and consequently will become dependent on firm pedagogical rules. This uncertainty, regardless of whether it appears in sadistic or masochistic guise, leads to great insecurity in the child in spite of these rules. An example of this: a father who was trained to be obedient at a very early age may on occasion take cruel and violent measures to force his child to be obedient in order to satisfy his own need to be respected for the first time in his life. But this behavior does not exclude intervening periods of masochistic behavior when the same father will put up with anything the child does, because he never learned to define the limits of his tolerance. Thus, his guilt feelings over the preceding unjust punishment will suddenly lead him to be unusually permissive, thereby awakening anxiety in the child, who cannot tolerate uncertainty about the father’s true face. The child’s increasingly aggressive behavior will finally provoke the father into losing his temper. In the end, the child then takes on the role of the sadistic opponent in place of the grandparents, but with the difference that the father can now gain the upper hand. Such situations, in which the child “goes too far,” prove to the pedagogue that disciplining and punishment are necessary.
    3. Since a child is often used as a substitute for one’s own parents, he or she can become the object of an endless number of contradictory wishes and expectations that cannot possibly be fulfilled. In extreme cases, psychosis, drug addiction, or suicide may be the only solution. But often the child’s feeling of helplessness leads to increasingly aggressive behavior, which in turn convinces parents and educators of the need for strict countermeasures.
    4. A similar situation arises when it is drilled into children, as it was in the anti-authoritarian upbringing of the sixties, to adopt certain ways of behavior that their parents wished had once been allowed them and that they therefore consider to be universally desirable. In the process, the child’s real needs can be totally overlooked. In one case I know, for example, a child who was feeling sad was encouraged to shatter a glass when what she most wanted to do was to climb up onto her mother’s lap. If children go on feeling misunderstood and manipulated like this, they will become genuinely confused and justifiably aggressive.

    - pp. 105-128:


    It is difficult to write about child abuse without taking on a moralizing tone. It is so natural to feel outrage at the adult who beats a child and pity for the helpless child that, even with a great deal of understanding of human nature, one is tempted to condemn the adult for being cruel and brutal. But where will you find human beings who are only good or only cruel? The reason why parents mistreat their children has less to do with character and temperament than with the fact that they were mistreated themselves and were not permitted to defend themselves. There are countless people...who are kind, gentle, and highly sensitive and yet inflict cruelty on their children every day, calling it childrearing. As long as child beating was considered necessary and useful, they could justify this form of cruelty. Today such people suffer when their “hand slips,” when an incomprehensible compulsion or despair induces them to shout at, humiliate, or beat their children and see their tears, yet they cannot help themselves and will do the same thing again next time. This will inevitably continue to happen as long as they persist in idealizing their own childhood.
    Cruelty can take a thousand forms, and it goes undetected even today, because the damage it does to the child and the ensuing consequences are still so little known . . .
    The individual psychological stages in the lives of most people are:
    1. To be hurt as a small child without anyone recognizing the situation as such
    2. To fail to react to the resulting suffering with anger
    3. To show gratitude for what are supposed to be good intentions
    4. To forget everything
    5. To discharge the stored-up anger onto others in adulthood or to direct it against oneself

    The greatest cruelty that can be inflicted on children is to refuse to let them express their anger and suffering except at the risk of losing their parents’ love and affection. The anger stemming from early childhood is stored up in the unconscious, and since it basically represents a healthy, vital source of energy, an equal amount of energy must be expended in order to repress it. An upbringing that succeeds in sparing the parents at the expense of the child’s vitality sometimes leads to suicide or extreme drug addiction, which is a form of suicide. If drugs succeed in covering up the emptiness caused by repressed feelings and self-alienation, then the process of withdrawal brings this void back into view. When withdrawal is not accompanied by restoration of vitality, then the cure is sure to be temporary. Christiane F., subject of an international bestseller and film, paints a devastatingly vivid picture of a tragedy of this nature.

    The War of Annihilation against the Self

    The Lost Opportunity of Puberty

    Parents often have such success with the numerous methods they use to subdue their children that they don’t encounter any problems until the children reach puberty. The “cooling off” of feelings and drives during the latency period abets parents in their desire to have model children. In the book The Golden Cage by Hilda Bruch, parents of anorexic daughters describe how gifted, well-mannered, successful, well-adjusted, and considerate these children had been. The parents cannot understand the sudden change; they are left helpless and uncomprehending by an adolescent who seems to be rejecting all norms and whose self-destructive behavior cannot be modified by logical arguments or by the subtle devices of “poisonous pedagogy.”
    At puberty, adolescents are often taken totally by surprise by the intensity of their true feelings, after having succeeded in keeping them at a distance during the latency period. With the spurt of biological growth, these feelings (rage, anger, rebelliousness, falling in love, sexual desire, enthusiasm, joy, enchantment, sadness) seek full expression, but in many cases this would endanger the parents’ psychic balance. If adolescents were to show their true feelings openly, they would run the risk of being sent to prison as dangerous terrorists or put in mental institutions as insane. Our society would no doubt have nothing but a psychiatric clinic to offer Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Goethe’s Werther, and Schiller’s Karl Moor would probably face the same fate. This is why drug addicts attempt to adapt to society by struggling against their authentic feelings, but since they cannot live entirely without them in the storm of puberty, they try to regain access to them with the help of drugs, which seem to do the trick, at least in the beginning. But society’s views, which are represented by the parents and which the adolescent has long ago internalized, must prevail: the consequences of having strong, intense feelings are rejection, isolation, ostracism, and threat of death, i.e., self-destruction.

    The drug addict punishes himself for seeking his true self—certainly a justifiable and essential goal—by destroying his own spontaneous feelings, repeating the punishment that was inflicted on him in early childhood when he showed the first signs of vitality. Almost every heroin addict describes having initially experienced feelings of hitherto unknown intensity, with the result that he becomes even more conscious of the vapidity and emptiness of his usual emotional life.
    He simply can’t imagine that this experience is possible without heroin, and he understandably begins to long for it to be repeated. For, in these out-of-the-ordinary moments, the younger person discovers how he might have been; he has made contact with his self, and as might be expected, once this has happened, he can find no rest. He can no longer act as though his true self had never existed. Now he knows that it does exist, but he also knows that ever since early childhood this true self has not had a chance. And so he strikes a compromise with his fate: he will encounter his self from time to time without anyone finding out. Not even he will realize what is involved here, for it is the “stuff” that produces the experience; the effect comes “from outside” and is difficult to bring about. It will never become an integrated part of his self, and he will never have to or be able to assume responsibility for these feelings. The intervals between one fix and the next—characterized by total apathy, lethargy, emptiness, or uneasiness and anxiety—bear this out: the fix is over like a dream that one can’t remember and that can have no effect on one’s life as a whole.

    The Search for the Self and Self-destruction through Drugs


    For the first six years of her life, Christiane lived in the country on a farm, where she spent the whole day with the farmer, fed the animals, and “romped in the hay with the others.” Then her family moved to Berlin, and she, her sister, who was a year younger, and her parents lived in a two-and-a-half-room apartment on the twelfth floor in Gropius City, a high-rise housing development. The sudden loss of a rural setting, of familiar playmates, and of all the free space that goes with living in the country is in itself hard enough for a child, but it is all the more tragic if the child must come to terms with this loss all by herself and if she is constantly faced with unpredictable punishment and beatings.

    I would have been quite happy with my animals if things with my father hadn’t kept getting worse. While my mother was at work, he sat around at home. Nothing had come of the marriage agency they wanted to open. Now he was waiting for a job to turn up that was to his liking. He sat on our worn-out sofa and waited. And his insane fits of rage became more frequent.
    My mother helped me with my homework when she came home from work. For a while I had trouble telling the letters H and K apart. One evening my mother was taking great pains to explain the difference to me. I could scarcely pay attention to what she was saying because I noticed my father getting more and more furious. I always knew exactly when it was going to happen: he went and got the hand broom from the kitchen and gave me a trouncing. Now I was supposed to tell him the difference between H and K. Of course, by that time I didn’t know anything anymore so I got another licking and was sent to bed.
    That was his way of helping me with my homework. He wanted me to be smart and make something of myself. After all, his grandfather had had loads of money. He’d owned a printing company and a newspaper in East Germany, and more besides. After the war, it had all been expropriated by the GDR. Now my father flipped out whenever he got the idea I wouldn’t make it in school.
    There were some evenings I can still remember down to the last detail. One time I was assigned to draw houses in my arithmetic notebook. They were supposed to be six squares wide and four squares high. I had one house finished and was doing just fine when my father suddenly came and sat beside me. He asked me where the next house should go. I was so scared I stopped counting the squares and started guessing. Every time I pointed to the wrong square, he pasted me one. All I could do was bawl and couldn’t answer at all anymore, so he went over to the rubber plant. I knew very well what that meant. He pulled the bamboo stick supporting the plant out of the flowerpot. Then he thrashed my behind with the stick until you could literally peel off the skin.
    I was even scared at mealtimes. If I spilled anything, I got smacked for it. If I knocked something over, he tanned my behind. I hardly dared to touch my glass of milk. I was so scared that I did something wrong at almost every meal.
    After supper I’d ask my father quite sweetly if he wasn’t going out. He went out quite often, and then we three females could finally breathe deep sighs of relief. Those evenings were marvelously peaceful. Of course, then when he came home late at night, there could always be another catastrophe. Usually he had had something to drink. Then any little thing sent him off on a rampage. It might be toys or clothes we had left lying around. My father always said the most important thing in life was to be neat and tidy. And if he found any untidiness when he came home, he’d drag me out of bed in the middle of the night and give me a beating. My little sister got the tail end of it, too. Then my father threw our things on the floor and ordered us to put them all away again neatly in five minutes. We usually didn’t manage it in that short a time and so we got another licking.
    My mother usually stood at the door crying while this was going on. She hardly ever dared to stand up for us, because then he would hit her, too. Only Ajax, my dog, often tried to intervene. He whined shrilly and had very sad eyes whenever one of us was being given a beating. He was the most likely one to bring my father to his senses, because he loved dogs, as we all did. He yelled at Ajax once in a while, but he never hit him.
    I somehow loved and respected my father in spite of it all. He towered above other fathers in my eyes. But more than anything else I was afraid of him. At the same time I found it quite normal that he was always hitting us. It was no different at home for other children in Gropius City. Sometimes they even had a black eye, and so did their mothers. Some fathers would lie on the street or the playground in a drunken stupor. My father never got that drunk. And sometimes on our street, furniture would come flying out of the high-rise windows, women would cry for help and the police would come. So we didn’t have it all that bad. . . .
    Of course, in those days I didn’t have any idea of what was wrong with my father and why he was always going on a regular rampage. It only dawned on me later when I used to have talks with my mother about my father. I gradually figured out a thing or two. He simply wasn’t making it. He kept trying to get ahead and was always falling flat on his face. His father despised him for it...
    [Christiane F.: Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets and Heroin Addict]

    Christiane, who is beaten often by her father for reasons she does not understand, finally begins to act in ways that give her father “good reason to beat her.” By so doing, she improves his character by making an unjust and unpredictable father into one who at least punishes justly. This is the only way she has to rescue the image of a father she loves and idealizes. She also begins to provoke other men and turn them into punitive fathers—first the building superintendent, then her teachers, and finally, during her drug addiction, the police. In this way she can shift the conflict with her father onto other people. Because Christiane cannot talk with her father about their conflicts or settle them with him, she relegates her fundamental hatred for him to her unconscious, directing her hostility against surrogate male authority figures. Eventually, all the child’s bottled-up rage at being humiliated, deprived of respect, misunderstood, and left alone is turned against herself in the form of addiction. As time goes by, Christiane does to herself what her father had done to her earlier: she systematically destroys her self-respect, manipulates her feelings with the use of drugs, condemns herself to speechlessness (this highly articulate child!) and isolation, and in the end ruins body as well as soul.

    When I read Christiane’s account of her childhood, I sometimes was reminded of descriptions of life in a concentration camp . . .

    One time one of my [pet] mice ran into the grass, which we weren’t allowed to walk on. We couldn’t find it again. I was a little sad, but I was comforted by the thought that the mouse would like it much better outside than in the cage.
    My father picked that evening to come into my room and look into the mouse cage. He asked in a funny voice: “How come there are only two? Where’s the third one?” I didn’t even notice there was anything wrong when he asked in such a funny way. My father never did like the mice and he kept telling me I should give them away. I told him the mouse had run away outside on the playground.
    My father looked at me as though he had gone crazy. Then I knew he was going to go on one of his wild rampages. He shouted and started right in hitting me. He kept on hitting me, and I was trapped on my bed and couldn’t get away. He had never hit me like that before, and I thought he was going to kill me. Then, when he started letting my sister have it too, I had a few seconds to get free and I instinctively tried to get to the window. I think I really would have jumped from the twelfth floor.
    But my father grabbed me and threw me back on the bed. My mother was probably crying in the doorway again, but I didn’t even see her. I didn’t see her until she threw herself between me and my father and started pummeling him.
    He was beside himself. He knocked my mother down onto the floor. All of a sudden I was more afraid for her than for myself. I went over to them. She tried to escape into the bathroom and bolt the door. But my father was holding her by the hair. As usual, there was wash soaking in the bathtub, because so far we hadn’t been able to afford a washing machine. My father stuck my mother’s head into the tub full of water. Somehow or other, she managed to get loose. I don’t know whether he let her go or whether she got herself free.
    My father disappeared into the living room. He was white as a sheet. My mother went and got her coat. She left the apartment without saying a word.
    That was without a doubt one of the most awful moments of my life when my mother simply walked out of the apartment without a word and left us alone. My first thought was, Now he’s going to come back and start hitting me again. But everything was quiet in the living room except for the television, which was on.

    No one seriously doubts that the inmates of a concentration camp underwent terrible suffering. But when we hear about the physical abuse of children, we react with astonishing equanimity. Depending on our ideology, we say, “That’s quite normal,” or “Children have to be disciplined, after all,” or “That was the custom in those days,” or “Someone who won’t listen has to be made to feel it,” etc...Such lack of empathy for the suffering of one’s own childhood can result in an astonishing lack of sensitivity to other children’s suffering. When what was done to me was done for my own good, then I am expected to accept this treatment as an essential part of life and not question it.
    This kind of insensitivity thus has its roots in the abuse a person suffered as a child. He or she may be able to remember what happened, but in most cases the emotional content of the whole experience of being beaten and humiliated has been completely repressed. may well be that the plight of a little child who is abused is even worse and has more serious consequences for society than the plight of an adult in a concentration camp. The former camp inmate may sometimes find himself in a situation where he feels that he can never adequately communicate the horror of what he has gone through and that others approach him without understanding, with cold and callous indifference, even with disbelief, [William G. Niederland’s book Folgen der Verfolgung (The Results of Persecution) (1980) presents a penetrating analysis of the uncomprehending reception given former inmates as reflected in psychiatric diagnoses.] but with few exceptions he himself will not doubt the tragic nature of his experiences. He will never attempt to convince himself that the cruelty he was subjected to was for his own good or interpret the absurdity of the camp as a necessary pedagogical measure; he will usually not attempt to empathize with the motives of his persecutors. He will find people who have had similar experiences and share with them his feelings of outrage, hatred, and despair over the cruelty he has suffered.
    The abused child does not have any of these options. As I have tried to show in the example of Christiane F., she is alone with her suffering, not only within the family but also within her self. And because she cannot share her pain with anyone, she is also unable to create a place in her own soul where she could “cry her heart out.” No arms of a “kind aunt” exist there; “Keep a stiff upper lip and be brave” is the watchword. Defenselessness and helplessness find no haven in the self of the child, who later, identifying with the aggressor, persecutes these qualities wherever they appear.
    A person who from the beginning was forced, whether subjected to corporal punishment or not, to stifle, i.e., to condemn, split off, and persecute, the vital child within himself will spend his whole life preventing this inner danger that he associates with spontaneous feelings from recurring. But psychological forces are so tenacious that they can rarely be thoroughly suppressed. They are constantly seeking outlets that will enable them to survive, often in very distorted forms that are not without danger to society. For example, one person suffering from grandiosity will project his own childish qualities onto the external world, whereas another will struggle against the “evil” within himself. “Poisonous pedagogy” shows how these two mechanisms are related to each other and how they are combined in a traditional religious upbringing.
    In addition to the degree of maturity and those elements of loyalty and of isolation involved in the case of a child, there is another fundamental difference between abuse of children and of adults. The abused inmates of a concentration camp cannot of course offer any resistance, cannot defend themselves against humiliation, but they are inwardly free to hate their persecutors. The opportunity to experience their feelings, even to share them with other inmates, prevents them from having to surrender their self. This opportunity does not exist for children. They must not hate their father—this, the message of the Fourth Commandment, has been drummed into them from early childhood; they cannot hate him either, if they must fear losing his love as a result; finally, they do not even want to hate him, because they love him. Thus, children, unlike concentration-camp inmates, are confronted by a tormenter they love, not one they hate, and this tragic complication will have a devastating influence on their entire subsequent life. Christiane F. writes:

    I never hated him but was just afraid of him. I was always proud of him, too. Because he loved animals and because he had such a terrific car, his ’62 Porsche.

    These remarks are so moving because they are true: this is just the way a child feels. Her tolerance has no limits; she is always faithful and even proud that her father, who beats her brutally, never would do anything to hurt an animal; she is prepared to forgive him everything, always to take all the blame herself, not to hate him, to forget quickly everything that happens, not to bear a grudge, not to tell anyone about it, to try by her behavior to prevent another beating, to find out why her father is dissatisfied, to understand him, etc. It is rare for an adult to have this attitude toward a child unless the adult happens to be the psychotherapist, but for a dependent, sensitive child, what I have just described is almost the rule. And what happens to all this repressed affect? It cannot simply disappear from the face of the earth. It must be directed toward substitute objects in order to spare the father...The displacement of “bad” affect onto people she is indifferent to enables her to preserve a “good” relationship with her father on a conscious level. Once Christiane could have her fights with Klaus, her father seemed “like a different person.” “He acted awfully nice. And he really was, too. He gave me another dog. A female.” And somewhat later she writes:

    My father was terrific. I could tell that he loved me, too, in his way. Now he treated me almost like a grown-up. I was even allowed to go out at night with him and his girl friend.
    He had become really reasonable. Now he had friends his own age and he told them he’d been married before. I didn’t have to call him Uncle Richard anymore. I was his daughter and he seemed to be really proud of having me for a daughter. Of course, typical for him—he arranged his vacation to suit himself and his friends. At the tail end of my vacation. And I got back to my new school two weeks late. So I started skipping school from the beginning.

    The resistance she never showed when her father beat her now emerges in the struggle with her teachers.

    I felt I wasn’t accepted in school. The rest of them had that two weeks’ head start. In a new school, that makes a big difference. I tried my routine from elementary school here, too. I interrupted my teachers and contradicted them. Sometimes because I was right, and sometimes just for the hell of it. I was back in the fray. Against the teachers and against the school. I wanted to be accepted.

    Later the struggle extends to the police as well. This way Christiane can forget her father’s rage—to the extent that she even writes:

    Building superintendents were really the only [!] authoritarian types I knew. You had to hate them because they were always bugging you when you were having fun. The police still represented an authority you didn’t question, as far as I was concerned. Then I learned that the superintendents in Gropius City were really the same as cops. Only, the cops were much more dangerous. Whatever Piet and Kathi [Here, a boy’s nickname] said was the last word for me anyway.

    The others offered her hashish, and she realized that she “couldn’t say no.”

    Kathi began to fondle me. I didn’t know what I ought to think of it.

    A child conditioned to be well-behaved must not notice what she is feeling, but asks herself what she ought to feel.

    I didn’t resist. It was like I was paralyzed. I was scared as hell of something. At one point I wanted to split. Then I thought, “Christiane, this is the price you have to pay for being one of the crowd now.” I just let it all happen and didn’t say anything. Somehow I had terrific respect for this guy.

    Christiane was forced to learn at an early age that love and acceptance can be bought only be denying one’s own needs, impulses, and feelings (such as hate, disgust, and aversion)—at the high price of surrender of self. She now directs all her efforts toward attaining this loss of self, i.e., to being cool. That is why the word cool occurs on nearly every page of the book. In order to reach this state and be free of unwanted feelings, she starts using hashish.

    The guys in our crowd weren’t like the alchies, who were aggressive and tense even when they were at the club. Our guys could turn off completely. After work they changed into wild clothes, smoked dope, listened to cool music, and it was all perfectly peaceful. Then we forgot all the shit we had to put up with out there the rest of the day.
    I still didn’t feel quite like the others. For that, I thought, I was still too young. But the others were my models. I wanted to be—or to become—as much like them as possible. I wanted to learn from them because I thought they knew how to be cool and not let all the assholes and all the shit get to you.

    With great effort, Christiane is consciously developing and perfecting her false self, as illustrated by these sentences:

    I thought the guys [at the Disco] must be incredibly cool. . . . Somehow [Micha] was even cooler than the guys in our crowd.

    There wasn’t any contact at all among the people.

    I met a guy on the stairs . . . he was unbelievably relaxed. . . .

    Yet the ideal of being completely relaxed is least likely to be attained by someone in puberty. This is the very period when a person experiences feelings most intensely, and the use of a pill to aid the struggle against these feelings verges on psychic murder. In order to preserve something of her vitality and her capacity to feel, Christiane has to take another drug, not a tranquilizer this time, but just the opposite, one that arouses her, peps her up, and restores the feeling of being alive. The main thing, however, is that she can regulate, control, and manipulate everything herself. Just as her father previously succeeded in bringing the child’s feelings under control, in keeping with his needs, by beating her, the thirteen-year-old girl now attempts to manipulate her mood by taking drugs:

    At “The Sound” disco scene there was every kind of drug. I took everything except H[eroin]. Valium, Mandrax, Ephedrine, Cappis—that’s Captagon—of course lots of shit and a trip at least twice a week. We took uppers and downers by the handful. The different pills tore your body apart, and that gave you a crazy feeling. You could give yourself whatever mood you felt like having. When I felt like dancing my head off at “The Sound,” I swallowed more Cappis and Ephedrine; when I just wanted to sit quietly in a corner or in the Sound Cinema, I took a lot of Valium and Mandrax. Then I was happy again for a few weeks.

    How does it continue?

    In the days that followed, I tried to deaden any feeling I had for others. I didn’t take any pills or do a single trip. I drank tea with hashish in it all day and rolled one joint after another. After a few days I went back to being real cool again. I had gotten to the point where, except for myself, I didn’t love or like anyone or anything. I thought, Now I have my feelings under control.

    I became very placid. That was because I was always taking downers, and uppers only once in a while. I wasn’t wired anymore. I hardly ever went out on the dance floor anymore. I really only danced like crazy when I couldn’t dig up any Valium.
    At home, I must have been a pleasure to have around for my mother and her boyfriend. I didn’t talk back and I didn’t fight with them anymore. I didn’t complain about anything anymore either because I had given up trying to change things at home. And I realized that this made the situation easier. . . .
    I kept taking more pills.
    One Saturday when I had some money and the scene had all kinds of pills to offer, I OD’d. For some reason I was very low, so I washed down two Captagons, three Ephedrines and then a few caffies, that’s caffeine pills, with a beer. Then, when I got totally high, I didn’t like that either. So I took some Mandrax and a whole bunch of Valium.

    Christiane goes to a David Bowie concert, but she doesn’t allow herself to get excited about it, and before going she has to take a large amount of Valium, “not to turn on but to stay cool at the David Bowie concert.”

    When David Bowie began to sing, it was almost as fantastic as I had expected. It was terrific. But when he got to the song “It’s Too Late,” I came down with a thud. All of a sudden I was really out of it. Over the past few weeks, when I didn’t know what life was all about anymore, “It’s Too Late” had been getting to me. I thought the song described my situation exactly. Now “It’s Too Late” really killed me. I sure could have used some Valium.

    When the drugs Christiane has been using no longer give her the desired control over her emotions, she switches to heroin at the age of thirteen, and at first everything goes as she had hoped.

    I was feeling too good to think about it. There aren’t any withdrawal symptoms when you’re just beginning. With me, the cool feeling lasted all week. Everything was going great. At home there were no more fights at all. I was completely relaxed about school, studied sometimes, and got good grades. In the weeks that followed, I raised my grades in a lot of subjects from D to B. I suddenly had the feeling that I could handle everybody and everything. I was floating through life in a really cool way.

    Children who were unable to learn to recognize their authentic feelings and to be comfortable with them will have a particularly difficult time in puberty.

    I was always carrying my problems around with me but didn’t really know what problems they were. I snorted H and the problems were gone. But it had been a long time since one snort lasted for a whole week.

    I didn’t have any connection with reality anymore. Reality was unreal for me. I didn’t care about yesterday or tomorrow. I had no plans, all I had were dreams. What I liked best was to talk with Detlef about how it would be if we had a lot of money. We would buy a big house and a big car and some really cool furniture. The one thing that never appeared in these pipe dreams was heroin.

    The first time she goes cold turkey, that ability she had coveted to manipulate her feelings and be free of them collapses. We witness complete regression to the infantile stage:

    Now I was dependent on H and on Detlef. It upset me more to be dependent on Detlef. What kind of love is that if you are totally dependent? What if Detlef made me ask and beg for dope? I knew how junkies begged when they went cold turkey. How they demeaned themselves and allowed themselves to be humiliated. How they went to pieces. I didn’t want to have to ask for it. Especially not Detlef. If he was going to make me beg, then it was all over between us. I had never been able to ask anyone for anything.

    I remembered the way I had demolished junkies when they went cold turkey. I had never really figured out what was the matter with them. I only noticed that they were terribly sensitive, easily hurt, and completely powerless. A junkie gone cold turkey hardly dares to talk back, he’s such a nothing. Sometimes I had made them the brunt of my power trips. If you really went about it the right way, you could tear them to pieces, scare the hell out of them. You just had to keep hammering away at their weakness, keep rubbing salt into their wounds, and they fell apart. When they were cold turkey, they were able to see what miserable meatheads they were. Then their whole cool junkie act was all over; then they didn’t feel superior to everything and everyone anymore.
    I said to myself, Now they’ll demolish you when you go cold turkey. They’ll find out how lousy you really are.

    There is no one Christiane can talk to about her panic at the thought of going cold turkey. Her mother “would simply flip out if you tell her that.” “I couldn’t do that to her,” Christiane says, and she perpetuates the tragic loneliness of her childhood in order to spare the adult, in this case her mother.
    She doesn’t think of her father again until the first time she goes out to “hustle” and tries to keep this a secret.

    Me hustle? Before I do anything like that I’d stop shooting up. Honestly. No, my father finally remembered he has a daughter and gave me some pocket money.

    Whereas hashish had still offered her hope of being free and “coolly” independent, it soon becomes clear that in the case of heroin she has to contend with total dependence. The “stuff,” the hard drug, eventually takes over the function of the unpredictable, hot-tempered father of her childhood, who had her completely at his mercy just the way heroin does now. And just as her true self had to remain hidden from her parents in those days, now too her real life is lived secretly, underground, kept secret from her school and from her mother.

    When Christiane describes her first meeting with Max the Stutterer, the return of the father in the psychological dynamics of the situation may not be obvious to Christiane, but it is to the outsider. Her simple and forthright report gives the reader a better understanding of the tragic nature of a perversion than do many theoretical psychoanalytical treatises.

    I had heard the sad story of Max the Stutterer from Detlef. Max was an unskilled laborer in his late thirties and came from Hamburg. His mother was a prostitute. He had been beaten terribly as a child. By his mother and her pimps and in the homes where he had been put. They beat him to such a pulp that he was so scared he never learned to talk right, and he had to be beaten even now to get off sexually.
    The first time I went to his place I asked for the money in advance, although he was a regular customer and you didn’t need to be careful with him. He actually gave me 150 marks, and I was kind of proud that I was cool enough to take so much money from him.
    I took off my T-shirt, and he handed me a whip. It was just like in the movies. It wasn’t really me. At first I didn’t hit him hard. But he whimpered that he wanted me to hurt him. Then at some point I really let him have it. He cried out, “Mommy,” and I don’t know what-all. I didn’t listen, and I tried not to look. But then I saw how the welts on his body kept swelling, and then the skin actually burst in some places. It was simply disgusting and it lasted nearly an hour.
    When he was finally finished, I put my T-shirt back on and ran. I ran out the door, down the stairs, and barely made it. In front of the building I lost control of my goddamn stomach and had to throw up. After I vomited, that was it. I didn’t cry, and I didn’t feel the least bit sorry for myself either. Somehow I realized that I had brought this situation on myself, that I sure had screwed up. I went to the station. Detlef was there. I didn’t tell him much. Just that I had done the job with Max alone.

    Max the Stutterer was now a regular customer for both Detlef and me. Sometimes we both went to his place, sometimes just one of us. Max was really O.K. And he loved us both. Of course, with what he earned as a laborer he couldn’t keep on paying 150 marks. But he always managed somehow to scrape together 40 marks, the cost of a fix. Once he even broke open his piggy bank and took some change from a bowl, then counted out exactly 40 marks. When I needed money in a hurry, I could always stop by his place and collect 20 marks. I’d tell him I would be back the next day at such and such a time and do it for him then for a twenty. If he still had twenty, he’d agree to it.
    Max was always waiting for us. He always had peach juice, my favorite drink, for me. Detlef’s favorite pudding was always in the refrigerator for him. Max made the pudding himself. In addition, he always offered me a choice of yogurt flavors and chocolate because he knew I liked to eat after the job. The whippings I gave him had become strictly routine for me, and afterwards I ate and drank and rapped with Max for a while.
    He kept getting thinner. He was really spending his last cent on us and didn’t have enough to buy food for himself. He had gotten so used to us and was so happy that he hardly stuttered anymore when he was with us.
    Soon after that, he lost his job. He was completely down and out, even without ever having been on dope. Junkies had demolished him. Meaning us. He begged us to at least stop by once in a while. But friendly visits aren’t part of the deal where junkies are concerned. Partly because they are incapable of that much feeling for someone else. But then mainly because they are on the go all day to hustle money for dope and honestly don’t have time for anything like that. Detlef explained this to Max when Max promised to give us a lot of money as soon as he got some. “A junkie is like a businessman. Every day you have to see to it that you make ends meet. You just can’t give credit out of friendship or sympathy.”

    Christiane and her boyfriend Detlef are behaving here like working parents who profit from their child’s (in this case, their customer’s) love and dependence and ultimately destroy him. Max the Stutterer’s touching selection of yogurt flavors for Christiane, on the other hand, was probably a reenactment of his “happy childhood.” It is easy to imagine that his mother was still concerned about what he ate even after she had given him a beating. As for Christiane, without her previous history with her father she might never have been able to “cope” with her first encounter with Max as well as she did. Now she had her father in her, and she whipped her customer not only because he told her to but also as an expression of all the pent-up misery of a battered child. In addition, this identification with the aggressor helps her to split off her weakness, to feel strong at someone else’s expense, and to survive, whereas Christiane the human being, the alert, sensitive, intelligent, vital, but still dependent child, is being increasingly suffocated.

    - pp. 129-130: Christiane’s story awakens such feelings of despair and helplessness in sympathetic readers that they probably would like most of all to forget about it as quickly as possible by passing it all off as a fabrication. But they are unable to, because they sense that she has told the unvarnished truth. If they go beyond the outer trappings of the story and permit themselves, as they read, to consider why it happened, they will find an accurate description of the nature not only of addiction but of other forms of human behavior as well that are conspicuous at times for their absurdity and that our logic is unable to explain. When we are confronted with adolescent heroin addicts who are ruining their lives, we are all too readily inclined to try to reach them with rational arguments or, still worse, with efforts to “educate” them. In fact, many therapeutic groups work in this direction. They substitute one evil for another instead of trying to help these young people see what function addiction actually has in their lives and how they are unconsciously using it to communicate something to the outside world.
    . . . In spite of its enormous resources, classical psychiatry is essentially powerless to help as long as it attempts to replace the harmful effects of early childhood training with new kinds of training. The whole penal setup in psychiatric wards, the ingenious methods of humiliating patients, have the ultimate goal—as does the disciplining of children—of silencing the patient’s coded language.

    - pp. 201-220 [Jurgen Bartsch: A Life Seen in Retrospect]: A patient’s father, who himself had had a very difficult childhood that he never talked about, often treated his son, in whom he kept seeing himself, in an extremely cruel way. Neither he nor his son was conscious of this cruelty; they both regarded it as a “disciplinary measure.” When the son, who had severe symptoms, began his analysis, he was, as he said, “very grateful” to his father for the strict upbringing and “severe punishment” he had received. While in analysis, my patient, who had at one point been studying education at the university, discovered Ekkehard von Braunmuhl and his anti-pedagogical writings and was strongly impressed by them. During this period he went home for a visit and for the first time experienced with great clarity the way his father continually hurt his feelings, either by not listening at all to what he was saying or by ridiculing everything he said. When his son pointed this out to him, the father, who was a professor of education, said in all seriousness: “You ought to thank me for that. You’ll have to put up with people all your life who won’t pay any attention to you or won’t take what you say seriously. This way you’re already used to it, having learned it from me. What you learn when you’re young, you know for the rest of your life.” The twenty-four-year-old son was taken aback by this reply at first. How often he had heard his father make similar statements without ever questioning their validity! This time, however, he became indignant, and on the basis of something he had read in Braunmuhl, he said: “If you intend to continue treating me according to these principles, to be consistent you would then actually have to kill me, for someday I will have to die too. That would be the best way you could prepare me for it.” His father accused him of being impertinent and acting as though he knew all the answers, but this was a very decisive experience for the son. From that point on, his studies took an entirely different direction.
    It is difficult to decide whether this story serves as an example of “poisonous” or so-called harmless pedagogy. It occurred to me here because it provides a transition to the case of Jurgen Bartsch. My gifted twenty-four-year-old patient was so tormented in his analysis by cruel and sadistic fantasies that he sometimes thought in his panic that he might become a child murderer. But as a result of working through his fantasies in therapy and experiencing his early relationship with his father and mother, these fears disappeared along with his other symptoms, and he could begin to develop in a free and healthy way. His recurrent fantasies of revenge, in which he wanted to murder a child, were in my interpretation a compressed expression of hatred for his father, who was repressing his vitality, and of identification with this aggressor who was murdering a child (i.e., the patient himself). I have given this example before presenting Bartsch’s case because I am struck by a similarity in the psychodynamics of the two men even though the outcome of their stories is so different.

    “Out of the Clear Blue Sky?”

    In the late 1960s the trial of a so-called sex offender by the name of Jurgen Bartsch caused a great stir in West Germany. Between the ages of sixteen and twenty this young man had murdered a number of children in an indescribably cruel manner. In Das Selbstportrat des Jurgen Bartsch (The Self-Portrait of Jurgen Bartsch), which appeared in 1972 and is now unfortunately out of print, Paul Moor presents the following facts.

    Born November 6, 1946, the illegitimate son of a tubercular war widow and a Dutch seasonal worker, Karl-Heinz Sadrozinsky—later Jurgen Bartsch—was abandoned by his mother in the hospital, which she surreptitiously left ahead of schedule; she died a few weeks later. Several months thereafter, Gertrud Bartsch, the wife of a well-to-do butcher in Essen, entered the same hospital to have major surgery. She and her husband decided to take the abandoned baby, in spite of the reservations voiced by the adoption officials in the welfare office on account of the child’s dubious background—such strong reservations that the actual adoption did not take place until seven years later. The new parents raised the child very strictly and isolated him completely from other children because they didn’t want him to find out that he was adopted. When the father opened a second butcher shop (with the idea of setting Jurgen up with a business of his own as soon as possible) and Frau Bartsch had to work there, the child was taken care of first by his grandmother and then by a series of maids.
    When Jurgen was ten, his parents put him in a Children’s Home in Rheinbach, where approximately twenty children were living. At the age of twelve he was taken out of this relatively pleasant atmosphere and put in a Catholic school in which three hundred boys, problem children among them, were subjected to strict military discipline.
    Between 1962 and 1966 Jurgen Bartsch murdered four boys, and he estimated that in addition he made more than a hundred unsuccessful attempts. There were minor deviations in each murder, but the basic procedure was the same: after he had lured a boy into a former air-raid shelter, now empty, on Heeger Street, not far from the Bartsch home in Langenberg, he beat the child into submission, tied him up with butcher’s string...killed the child either by strangulation or by blows, cut open the body, completely emptied out the stomach and breast cavities, and buried the remains. The variations included: cutting the corpse up into little pieces, cutting off the limbs, decapitation, castration, putting out the eyes, slicing sections of flesh... With the fourth and last murder he finally attained what he had always had in mind as his ultimate goal: he tied his victim to a post and butchered the screaming child without killing him first.

    When deeds such as these are brought to light, they understandably elicit a wave of outrage, indignation, even horror. People are also amazed that such cruelty is possible at all, especially in the case of a youth who was friendly, likable, intelligent, and sensitive and who did not show any signs of being a vicious criminal. In addition, his entire background and childhood did not at first glance reveal any special indications of cruelty. He grew up in a conventional middle-class home like many others, with his share of stuffed animals, in a family it is easy to identify with. People could well say, “Things were not all that different for us; that’s all very normal. Everyone would become a criminal if a childhood like his is supposed to be responsible for what he became.” There scarcely seemed to be any other explanation than that this youth had been born “abnormal.” Even the neurological experts stressed again and again that Bartsch had not been neglected as a child but came from a “sheltered background,” from a family that had taken good care of him, and he therefore bore full responsibility for his actions.
    . . . Paul Moor, who grew up in the United States and then lived in West Germany for thirty years, was very surprised at the view of human nature held by the officials participating in Bartsch’s first trial. He could not understand why the people involved were not aware of all those aspects of Bartsch’s case that immediately struck him, a foreigner. Naturally, the norms and taboos of a given society are reflected in every courtroom. What a society is not supposed to see will not be seen by its judges or prosecutors either. But it would be too easy to speak only of “society” here, for the experts and judges are, after all, human beings as well. Perhaps their upbringing was similar to Jurgen’s; they idealized this system from the time they were little and found appropriate methods of discharge. How could they be expected to notice the cruelty of this upbringing without having the whole edifice of their beliefs come tumbling down? It is one of “poisonous pedagogy’s” main goals to make it impossible from the very beginning to see, perceive, and evaluate what one has suffered as a child. Over and over in the testimony of the experts we find the characteristic statement that, after all, “other people” were brought up similarly without becoming sex criminals. In this way the existing system of child-rearing is justified if it can be shown that only a few “abnormal” people who are its product become criminals.
    There are no objective criteria that would permit us to designate one childhood as “especially bad” and another as “not so bad.” The way children experience their situation depends in part on their sensitivity, and this varies from person to person. Furthermore, in every childhood there are tiny saving as well as shattering circumstances that can be overlooked by an outside observer. Little can be done to alter these fateful factors.
    What can and must be changed, however, is our state of awareness of the consequences of our actions. Protecting the environment is no longer a matter of altruism or “do-goodism” now that we know that air and water pollution affect our very survival. Only as a result of this knowledge can laws be implemented that will put a stop to the reckless polluting of our environment. This has nothing to do with morality; it is a matter of self-preservation.
    The same can be said for the findings about psychic development. As long as the child is regarded as a container into which we can safely throw all our “emotional garbage,” little will be done to bring about any change in the practice of “poisonous pedagogy.” At the same time we will be struck by the rapid increase in psychosis, neurosis, and drug addiction among adolescents; we will be outraged and indignant at acts of sexual perversion and violence and will become accustomed to regard mass murders as an unavoidable aspect of our present world.
    . . . with increasing public understanding of the relationship between criminality and the experiences of early childhood, it is no longer a secret known only to the experts that every crime contains a concealed story, which can then be deciphered from the way the misdeed is enacted and from its specific details. The more closely we study this relationship, the more quickly we will break down the protective walls behind which future criminals have heretofore been bred with impunity. The ensuing acts of revenge can be traced back to the fact that the adult can freely take out his or her aggressions on the child, whereas the child’s emotional reactions, which are even more intense than the adult’s, must be suppressed by force and by the strongest sanctions.
    Once we realize how many pent-up feelings and aggressions people who function well and who behave unobtrusively must live with and the toll this takes on their health, we might well regard it as fortunate—and by no means a matter of course—that everyone does not become a sex offender. There are, to be sure, other ways of learning to live with these pent-up feelings, such as psychosis, addiction, or a perfect adjustment that still enables parents to pass on their bottled-up feelings to their child, but behind every sexual offense there are specific factors that occur much more frequently than we are usually ready to admit. They often come to the surface in analysis in the form of fantasies that do not have to be translated into actions for the simple reason that experiencing these impulses permits their integration and maturation.

    What Does a Murder Tell Us about the Childhood of the Murderer?

    Through a lengthy correspondence, Paul Moor made an effort to understand Jurgen Bartsch as a human being; he also spoke with many people who knew something about Bartsch and were willing to talk about him. Moor’s inquiries about the boy’s first year of life brought the following to light.

    Jurgen Bartsch found himself in pathogenic surroundings the very day he was born: November 6, 1946. Immediately after the delivery, he was taken away from his tubercular mother, who died a few weeks later. There was no ersatz mother for the baby. In Essen I found a nurse named Anni, still working in the same maternity ward, who remembers Jurgen very clearly: “It was so unusual to keep children in the hospital longer than two months. But Jurgen stayed with us for eleven months.” Modern psychology knows that the first year in the life of a human being is the most important one. Maternal warmth and body contact are of irreplaceable value for the child’s later development.
    While the baby was still in the hospital nursery, the economic and social attitudes of his future adoptive parents were already beginning to influence his life. Nurse Anni: “Frau Bartsch paid extra so he could stay here with us. She and her husband wanted to adopt him, but the authorities were hesitant because they had reservations on account of the baby’s background. His mother was illegitimate like him. She had also been raised by the state for a time. No one was sure who the father was. Normally, we sent children without parents to another ward after a certain amount of time, but Frau Bartsch didn’t want that to happen. In the other ward there were all sorts of children, including some from lower-class parents. I still remember today how the baby’s eyes shone. He smiled at a very early age, followed objects with his eyes, raised his head, all at a very, very early age. At one point he discovered that the nurse would come when he pushed a button, and that amused him greatly. He didn’t have any problems eating then. He was a thoroughly normal, well-developed baby who related well to those around him.”
    On the other hand there were some early pathological developments. The nurses on the ward had to devise special methods for caring for him, since it was an exception to have such a big baby there. To my astonishment I learned that the nurses had toilet trained him before he was eleven months old. Anni obviously found my astonishment strange. “Please don’t forget the way things were then, just one year after a lost war. We didn’t even have shifts.” With some impatience, she answered my questions about how she and the other nurses had managed that. “We simply put him on the potty, beginning at six or seven months. We had children here in the hospital who were already walking at eleven months, and they were nearly toilet trained too.” Under the circumstances, a German nurse of her generation, even as kind a one as she . . . could hardly be expected to use more enlightened methods of child training.
    After eleven long months of this pathogenic existence the child, now called Jurgen, was taken by his adoptive parents. Everyone who knows Frau Bartsch more than slightly says that she is a “demon for cleanliness.” Shortly after being released from the hospital, the baby regressed in the matter of his abnormally early toilet training. This disgusted Frau Bartsch.
    Acquaintances of the Bartsch family noticed around that time that the baby was always black and blue. Frau Bartsch had a different explanation for the bruises each time, but it was never very convincing. At least once during this period the downcast father, Gerhard Bartsch, confessed to a friend that he was considering divorce: “She beats the baby so badly I simply can’t stand it anymore.” Another time, when he was taking his leave, Herr Bartsch excused himself for being in such a hurry: “I have to get home or she will beat the child to death.”

    Jurgen, of course, is unable to report about this period, but we can assume that the frequent anxiety attacks he tells of are the result of these beatings. “When I was very little, I was always terribly afraid of my father’s lumbering way. And I have hardly ever seen him laugh, which I noticed even way back then.”

    “Why this fear I wrote about? It was not so much of confession as it was of the other children. You don’t know that I was the scapegoat in the early grades or all the things they did to me. Defend myself? Just try it if you are the smallest one in the class! I was too afraid even to sing in school or to do gymnastics! A few reasons why: classmates who aren’t seen outside of school aren’t accepted, in line with the idea, ‘He doesn’t want to bother with us!’ Children don’t make a distinction between whether he doesn’t want to or he can’t. I couldn’t. A couple of afternoons with my teacher Herr Hunnemeier, a couple of days in Werden at my grandma’s, where I slept on the floor, the rest of the afternoons in Katernberg in the shop. The end result: at home everywhere and nowhere, no pals, no friends, because I didn’t know anyone. Those are the main reasons, but there’s something else that’s very important. Until I started going to school I was locked up, most of the time, in the old underground prison [his grandmother’s cellar] with barred windows and artificial light. Walls ten feet high. All that. I was allowed out only if my grandma had me by the hand; wasn’t allowed to play with another child. For six years. I might get dirty, ‘and anyway so-and-so is no one for you!’ So I resign myself to it, but I’m only in the way there and pushed from one corner to another, get a beating when I don’t deserve it and get away with it when I deserve one. My parents don’t have any time. I’m afraid of my father because he starts yelling right away, and my mother was hysterical even then. But more than anything else: no contact with others of the same age because, as I said, it’s forbidden? So how do you fit in? Get rid of my shyness, which sometimes happens when I’m playing? After six years it’s too late!”

    Being locked up is an important factor. Later, Bartsch will lure little boys into an underground shelter and murder them there. Because he had no one as a child who understood his unhappiness, he was unable to experience it and had to repress his pain, “not letting anyone see [his] misery.”

    “I wasn’t a coward about everything, but I would have been one if I had let anyone notice how I suffered. Maybe that was wrong, but that’s what I thought anyway. Because every boy has his pride, you surely know that. No, I didn’t cry every time I got a licking—I thought that was being a ‘sissy’—and so at least I was brave about one thing, not letting anyone see my misery. But in all seriousness now, whom should I have gone to, whom should I have poured my heart out to? My parents? As fond as I am of them, I am sorry to say that they never, but really never, could come up with even a tiny fraction of an ounce of understanding in this regard...”

    Not until he is in prison does Jurgen reproach his parents for the first time:

    “You never should have kept me apart from other children, then I wouldn’t have been so chicken in school. You never should have sent me to those sadists in their black cassocks, and after I ran away because the priest mistreated me, you shouldn’t have brought me back to that school. But you didn’t know that. Mama shouldn’t have thrown into the stove the book about reproduction that I was supposed to get from Aunt Martha when I was eleven or twelve. Why didn’t you play with me one single time in twenty years? But maybe other parents would have been the same way. At least I was a wanted child. Even though I didn’t know it for twenty years, only today when it’s too damned late.
    “Whenever my mother flung the curtain in the doorway to one side and came charging out of the shop like an amazon and I was in the way, then slap! slap! slap! I got it in the face. Simply because I was in the way, often enough that was the only reason. A few minutes later I was suddenly the dear boy you put your arm around and kissed. Then she was surprised that I resisted and was afraid of her. I was already afraid of that woman when I was very little, just the same as I was of my father, except that I saw less of him. Today I ask myself how he ever stood it. Sometimes he was at work from four in the morning till ten or eleven at night without a break, usually in the kitchen where he made his sausages. For days at a time I didn’t see him at all, and if I did hear or see him it was only when he went rushing around shouting. But when I was a baby and made a mess in my diapers, he was the one who tended to me. He would say himself: ‘I was the one who always had to wash and change the diapers. My wife never did it. She couldn’t; she couldn’t bring herself to do it.’
    “I don’t mean to run my mother down. I’m fond of my mother, I love my mother, but I don’t believe she is a person who is capable of the slightest understanding. My mother must love me very much. I find it really astonishing, otherwise she wouldn’t be doing everything for me that she is. I used to get it in the neck a lot. She’s broken coat hangers on me, like when I didn’t get my homework right or didn’t do it fast enough.
    “It got to be a routine with my bath. My mother always bathed me. She never stopped doing it, and I never griped about it, although sometimes I would have liked to say, ‘Now, for heaven’s sake . . .’ But I don’t know, it’s also possible that I accepted it as a matter of course till the very end. In any case, my father wasn’t allowed to come in. If he had, I would have yelled.
    “Until I was arrested when I was nineteen, it went like this: I washed my hands and feet myself. My mother washed my head, neck, and back. That might have been normal, but she also went over my stomach, all the way down, and my thighs too, practically everything from top to bottom. You can certainly say that she did much more than I did. Usually I didn’t do anything at all, even though she said, ‘Wash your hands and feet.’ But usually I was pretty lazy. Neither my mother nor my father ever told me I should keep my penis clean under the foreskin. My mother didn’t do that when she washed me either.
    “Did I find the whole thing peculiar? It was the kind of feeling that wells up periodically for seconds or minutes and perhaps is close to breaking through, but it doesn’t quite come to the surface. I felt it, but never directly. I felt it only indirectly, if it’s even possible to feel something indirectly.
    “I can’t remember ever being affectionate with my mother in a spontaneous way, ever putting my arm around her and trying to hug her. I can vaguely remember her doing that when I was lying in bed between my parents, watching television in the evening, but that may have happened twice in four years, and I resisted it. My mother was never especially happy about that, but I always had a sort of horror of her. I don’t know what to call it, perhaps an ironic twist of fate, or even sadder than that. When I dreamed about my mother when I was a little boy, either she was selling me or she was coming at me with a knife. Unfortunately, the latter really came true later on.
    “It was in 1964 or 1965. I think it was a Tuesday; at that time my mother was in the shop in Katernberg only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. At noontime the meat was removed so the counters could be washed off. My mother washed one half and I the other. The knives, which were kept in a pail, were also washed off. I said I was finished, but she was having a bad day and she said, ‘You’re not finished by a long shot!’ ‘Yes, I am,’ I said. ‘Take a look.’ She said, ‘You take a look at the mirrors, you’ll have to do all of them over again.’ I said, ‘I won’t do them over again because they’re already nice and shiny.’ She was standing in the back by the mirror. I was standing three or four yards away from her. She bent over to the pail. I thought to myself, what’s going on? Then she took a nice long butcher knife out and threw it at me, at about shoulder height. I don’t remember whether it bounced off a scale or what, but it landed on a shelf in any case. If I hadn’t ducked at the last moment, she would have hit me with it.
    “I just stood there stiff as a board. I didn’t even know where I was. It was so unreal somehow. That was something you simply couldn’t believe. Then she came up to me, spit in my face, and began yelling that I was a piece of shit. Then she yelled, ‘I’m going to call up Herr Bitter’—the head of the Essen Welfare Office—‘and have him come right over and get you so you can go back where you came from, because that’s where you belong!’ I ran into the kitchen to Frau Ohskopp, who worked in the shop. She was washing the things from lunch. I stood next to the cupboard and held on to it. I said, ‘She threw a knife at me.’ ‘You’re crazy,’ she said, ‘you don’t know what you’re talking about.’ I ran downstairs to the toilet and sat down and cried like a baby. When I went back upstairs, my mother was running around in the kitchen and had the telephone book open. Probably she really was looking for Herr Bitter’s number. For a long time she didn’t speak to me. I guess she thought, ‘He’s a bad fellow who lets someone throw a knife at him and simply jumps aside,’ I don’t know.
    “You should hear my father sometime! He has a pretty extraordinary pair of lungs, a regular drill sergeant’s voice. Awful! There can be different reasons for it—his wife or some little thing that displeases him. Sometimes the shouting was something awful, but I’m sure he didn’t think of it that way at all. He can’t help it, but it was horrible for me as a child. I remember a lot of things like that.
    “He was always one for issuing military commands and blaming me for something. He simply can’t help it, I’ve often said that. But he has a hell of a lot on his mind, and so we won’t hold it against him.
    “In the first trial the lawyer said, ‘Herr Bartsch, what was it like in the school in Marienhausen? Your son is supposed to have been given so many beatings. Conditions are supposed to have been so brutal there.’ My father answered, in these very words, ‘Well, after all, he wasn’t beaten to death.’ That was a straightforward answer.
    “As a rule my parents were never available during the day. Of course my mother rushed past me from time to time like greased lightning, but it was understandable that she had no time for a child. I hardly dared open my mouth because wherever I was, I was in the way, and what’s called patience is something my mother never had any of. I often got hit for the simple reason that I got in her way because I wanted to ask her something.
    “I never was able to understand what was going on inside her. I know how much she loved me and still loves me, but a child, I always thought, should be able to sense that as well. Just one example (this is by no means an isolated case; it happened often): my mother thought absolutely nothing of it to put her arm around me and kiss me one minute and the next minute, if she saw that I had left my shoes on by mistake, she took a coat hanger from the closet and hit me with it till it broke. Things like that happened often, and every time something inside me broke too . . .
    “I feel the saddest when I’m at home, where everything is so antiseptic you think you have to walk around on tiptoe. On Christmas Eve everything is sooo clean. I go down to the living room, and there are lots of presents there for me. It’s really fantastic, and at least on this evening my mother somewhat controls her temper that otherwise blows hot and cold, so you think maybe tonight you can forget a little your (I mean my) own wickedness for once, but somehow there’s tension crackling in the air so you know there’ll be hell to pay again. If we could at least sing a Christmas carol. My mother says, ‘Now go ahead and sing a Christmas carol,’ and I say, ‘Oh, go on, I can’t, I’m much too big for that,’ but I think, ‘A child murderer singing Christmas carols, that’s enough to drive you crazy.’ I unwrap my presents and am ‘pleased,’ at least I act that way. Mother unwraps her presents, the ones from me, and really is pleased. In the meantime, supper is ready, chicken soup with the chicken in it, and Father comes home, two hours after me. He’s been working till now. He tosses some kind of household appliance at Mother, and she’s so touched she has tears in her eyes. He mutters something that sounds like ‘Merry Christmas’; then he sits down at the dining table: ‘Well, what is it, are you coming or not?’ The soup is eaten in silence. We don’t even touch the chicken.
    “Not a word is spoken the whole time, there’s just the radio playing softly as it has been for hours. ‘Hope and steadfastness bring strength and consolation in these times. . . .’ We’re finished eating. Father straightens up and bellows at us, ‘Excellent! And what are we going to do now?’ as loud as he can. It sounds really awful. ‘We’re not going to do anything now!’ my mother screams and runs crying into the kitchen. I think, ‘Who’s punishing me, fate or the good Lord?’ but I know immediately that that can’t be it, and I’m reminded of a scene I saw on television: ‘The same as last year, Madame?’ — ‘The same as every year, James!’
    “I ask softly, ‘Don’t you at least want to look at your presents?’ – ‘No!’ – He just sits there staring at the tablecloth with an empty gaze. It’s not even eight o’clock yet. There’s nothing to keep me down here anymore, so I head up to my room. I pace up and down and I seriously ask myself, ‘Are you going to jump out the window now or not?’ Why am I living in hell, why would I be better off dead instead of going through something like this? Because I’m a murderer? That can’t be all there is to it because today was no different from every other year. This day was always the worst, mostly of course in recent years when I was still at home. Then everything, but really everything, came together all at once on one day.
    “Of course my father (and of course my mother too) is one of those people who are convinced that the Nazis’ ways of ‘educating’ had their good side too. ‘No doubt about it,’ I would almost say. I even heard my father say (in conversation with other older people, who almost all think that way!): ‘Then we still had discipline, we had order; they didn’t get stupid ideas when they were harassed,’ etc. I think most young people feel the same way I do and would rather not look into their family history under the Third Reich because every one of us is afraid something or other might come out in the process that we would rather not have to know about.
    “ . . . She always got furious when I warded off the blows. I was supposed to stand more or less at attention and accept the blows. From about sixteen and a half to nineteen, when she was about to hit me with something she had in her hand, I simply took it away from her. That was just about the worst thing for her. She took that as rebelliousness, although it was only self-defense, because she’s by no means weak. And at such moments she had no qualms about injuring me. You can just tell about something like that.
    “Those were always times when I had either offended her love of order (‘The front room has been cleaned, I don’t want anyone going in there today!’) or talked back to her.” [Moor]

    I have let Jurgen Bartsch tell his story for a while without interrupting him, in order to give the reader an idea of the atmosphere of a therapeutic session. You sit there, you listen, and if you believe the patient and don’t tell him what to think or offer him any theories, sometimes a hell will open up right in the midst of a sheltered home, a hell whose existence neither parents nor patient suspected till now.
    . . . Everything that Jurgen tells about Marienhausen in his letters to Paul Moor, everything that came to light in the testimony of witnesses during the trial shows the degree to which “poisonous pedagogy” still prevails today. A few examples:

    “In comparison, Marienhausen was a hell—even though a Catholic one; that doesn’t make it any better—and not just on [Pater Pulitz’s] account. I only have to think of the constant beatings given by the priests in their cassocks when we were in school, at choir, or—and they didn’t think twice about it—in church. Of the sadistic punishments (having to stand in a circle in the courtyard in our pajamas for hours at a time until the first one collapsed), of the illegal child labor in the fields every afternoon for weeks in extreme heat (pitching hay, harvesting potatoes, pulling turnips, a thrashing for children who were slow), the merciless way they demonized the oh so wicked ‘nastiness’ among the boys (necessary for one’s development!), the unnatural ‘silentium’ during meals and after a certain time of day, etc., and the confusing, unnatural things they said to children, such as, ‘Anyone who so much as looks at one of the girls working in the kitchen will be given a thrashing!’

    “One evening Deacon Hamacher gave me such a wallop in our sleeping quarters (I had said something, and in the evening there was a rule of strict silence) that it sent me sliding under the length of several beds. Just before that, ‘Pater Catechist’ had broken a yardstick on my behind and said in all seriousness that I would have to pay for it."

    Here we see how a child must learn to accept the absurdities and whims of the educators without any opposition and without any feelings of hatred and at the same time condemn and stifle any desire for the physical or emotional closeness of another human being, which would have eased the burden. This is a superhuman accomplishment that is demanded only of children, never expected of adults.

    “First PaPu [Pater Pulitz] said, ‘If we ever catch two of you together!’ And when that did happen, then first came the usual thrashing, only probably even worse than usual, and that’s really saying something. Then of course, first thing the next day, expulsion. God, we were less afraid of being expelled than of those thrashings. And then the usual clichés about how you could tell boys like that, etc.; something like—anyone who has damp hands is homosexual and does nasty things, and whoever does those nasty things is a criminal. That’s pretty much what they told us and, above all, that these criminal offenses were second only to murder—yes, in those very words: second only to murder.
    “PaPu talked about it almost every day, as though he couldn’t possibly have the temptation himself sometimes. He said that it was actually natural for ‘the blood to back up,’ as he put it. I always thought that was a terrible expression. . . . He said he had never given in to Satan, and he was proud of the fact. We heard that practically every day, not in class, but always in-between times.
    “Personal contact, friendships as such were forbidden. It was forbidden to play with another boy too frequently. To a certain extent you could get around that because they couldn’t have their eyes everywhere at once, but it was still forbidden. They thought friendship was suspicious because someone who made a real friend would be sure to reach inside his pants. They immediately sensed something sexual behind every glance.

    “When PaPu wanted to find something out, like who had done something, he herded us down into the school courtyard and made us keep running until some of us got completely out of breath and collapsed.
    “He told us very often (actually even more often than that) in great detail about the horrible mass murders of the Jews in the Third Reich and also showed us a lot of pictures of it. He seemed to enjoy doing this.

    “In choir PaPu liked to strike indiscriminately at anyone he could reach and at the same time he would foam at the mouth. His stick would often break when he hit us, and then too this incomprehensible frenzy and foaming at the mouth.”

    The same man who always warns the boys against sexuality and threatens them with punishment for it lures Jurgen into his bed when the boy is ill:

    “He wanted to have his radio back. The beds were quite far apart. I got out of bed with my fever and took the radio over to him. And all of a sudden he said, ‘As long as you’re here, you might as well get into bed with me!’
    “I still didn’t realize what was going on. First we just lay next to each other for a while, and then he pulled me up against him and put his hand down inside the back of my pants...I don’t remember how often it happened, it may have been four times, it can also have been seven times, mornings when we were sitting side by side in the choir, he kept making certain movements so he could reach my shorts.
    “There in bed he pushed his hand down inside the back of my pajamas and ‘stroked’ me. He did the same thing in front and tried to masturbate me, but it didn’t work, probably because I had a fever.

    “I don’t remember the words he used but he told me he would finish me off if I opened my trap.”

    How difficult it is for a child to extricate himself from a situation like this without help. And yet Jurgen summons the courage to run away, which makes him sense even more clearly than before how hopeless his situation is, how altogether lonely he is.

    “In Marienhausen, before the thing with Papu, I really never felt homesick, but when my parents brought me back to Marienhausen, all of a sudden I got terribly homesick. I was around PaPu a lot, and I couldn’t imagine having to stay there. Now I was gone from Marienhausen and couldn’t imagine going back there again. On the other hand, I figured, if you go home now you’ll get a terrible beating. That’s why I was afraid. I couldn’t move in either direction.
    “Near the grounds there’s a big woods, and I went in there. I wandered around there practically all afternoon. Then at dusk, all of a sudden my mother was in the woods. Someone had probably seen me. I saw her from behind a tree. She was calling, ‘Jurgen? Jurgen? Where are you?’ And so I went with her. Of course she started right in scolding and yelling in a big way.
    “My parents telephoned Marienhausen immediately. I didn’t tell them anything. They kept telephoning Marienhausen for days. Then they came to me and said: ‘Well, they’ve given you another chance! You’re going back again!’ Naturally, I yammered and wailed, ‘Please, please, I don’t want to go back.’ But anyone who knew my parents would know it was no use.

    - pp. 222-229: . . . Jurgen was already toilet trained at eleven months. He must have been an especially gifted child to have accomplished this so early, especially in a hospital where there was not a regular care giver. Jurgen proved by this that he was capable of “controlling his drives” to a very great degree. But that was his undoing. If he had not controlled himself so well and for such a long time, then his foster parents might not have adopted him at all or might have given him to someone else who had more understanding for him.

    Jurgen’s gifts helped him primarily to adapt to his situation in order to survive: to suffer everything in silence, not to rebel against being locked up in the cellar, and even to do well in school. But the eruption of feelings in puberty proved too much for his defense mechanisms . . . It would be tempting to say “fortunately,” if the consequences of this eruption had not led to a continuation of the tragedy.

    “Naturally, I often said to my mother, ‘Just wait till I’m twenty-one!’ That much I dared to say. Then of course my mother would say: ‘Yes, yes, I can just imagine. In the first place you’re too stupid to get by anywhere except with us. And then, if you really did go out into the world, you’d see, after two days you’d be back here again.’ The minute she said it, I knew it was true. I wouldn’t have trusted myself to get by alone out there for more than two days. Why I don’t know. And I knew for sure that when I turned twenty-one I would not go away. That was crystal clear to me, but I had to let off a little steam once in a while. But to think that I might have had any really serious intentions about it is completely absurd. I never would have done it.
    “When I started my job I didn’t say, ‘I like it’; I didn’t say, ‘It’s horrible’ either. I didn’t actually think that much about it.”

    Thus, any hope for a life of his own was nipped in the bud. How else can this be described but as soul murder? So far, criminology has never concerned itself with this kind of murder, has never even been able to acknowledge it, because as a part of child-rearing it is perfectly legal. Only the last link in a long chain of actions is punishable by the court. Often this link reveals in minute detail the crime’s entire sorrowful prehistory without the perpetrator being aware of it.
    The exact descriptions of his “deeds” that Bartsch gives Paul Moor show how little these crimes actually had to do with the “sex drive,” although Bartsch was convinced of the opposite and eventually decided for this reason to have himself castrated. From Bartsch’s letters, the analyst can learn something about the narcissistic origins of a sexual perversion, something that has not yet been adequately treated in the professional literature.
    Bartsch didn’t actually understand this himself and wonders repeatedly why his sex drive was separate from what he did. There were boys his age whom he was attracted to, whom he loved, and whom he would have liked to have as close friends, but he distinctly separated all that from what he did to the little boys. He hardly even masturbated in front of them, he writes. He was acting out here the deep humiliation, intimidation, destruction of dignity, loss of power, and torment of the little boy in lederhosen he had once been. It particularly excited him to look into his victim’s frightened, submissive, helpless eyes, in which he saw himself reflected. With great excitement he repeatedly went through the motions of destroying his self in his victims—now he is no longer the helpless victim but the mighty persecutor!

    Since Paul Moor’s shattering book is out of print, I shall quote here some longer passages from Bartsch’s descriptions of his deeds. His first attempts were with Axel, a boy in the neighborhood:

    “Then, a few weeks later, it was exactly the same. ‘Come to the woods with me,’ I said, and Axel replied, ‘No, then you’ll start acting crazy again!’ But I took him with me anyway because I promised not to do anything to him. But then I did act crazy again. Again I stripped the boy naked by force, and then sudden as a flash I had a devilish idea. I yelled at him again: ‘Just the way you are now, lie down on my lap, with your behind facing up! It’s all right to kick your legs if it hurts, but your arms and everything else must stay perfectly still! Now I’m going to hit your behind thirteen times, and each time harder than the last! If you don’t want to go along with it, I’ll kill you! ‘Killing’ was still an empty threat then, at least that’s what I believed myself. ‘Do you want to?’
    “He wanted to—what choice did he have? After he had lain down on my lap with his behind facing up, I did exactly as I had said. I kept on hitting him, harder and harder, and the boy kicked his legs like mad but otherwise didn’t resist. I didn’t stop at thirteen but only when my hand hurt so much that I couldn’t go on hitting him anymore.
    “Afterwards the same thing: I calmed down completely and felt incredibly humiliated for myself and for someone I liked so much, abject misery personified, so to speak. Axel didn’t cry and afterwards he wasn’t even overly upset. He was only very, very quiet for a long time.
    “I offered to let him hit me. He could have beaten me to death, I wouldn’t have tried to stop him, but he didn’t want to. In the end I was the one who bawled. ‘Now you’re sure not to want to have anything more to do with me.’ I said to him on the way home. No answer.
    “The next afternoon he came to my door again after all, but somehow more quietly, more cautiously than before. ‘Please—no more,’ was all he said. You won’t believe it, I didn’t believe it myself at first, but he didn’t even bear me a grudge! For some time after that, we often played together, until he moved away, but as far as I can tell, this incident I’ve just told you about made me so afraid of myself that I had some peace for a while. ‘A short while,’ as it says in the Bible.”

    It is important to note what Jurgen says in passing:

    “If I love a certain person, the way a boy would love a girl, then he doesn’t correspond at all to my ideal of a victim. It’s not as though I would have to make an effort to hold myself back somehow, that’s ridiculous. In a case like that, the drive simply disappeared automatically.”

    It was an entirely different matter with the little boys:

    “At the crucial moment I would have liked it if the boy had offered some resistance, even though the children’s helplessness generally excited me. But I was honestly convinced that the boy wouldn’t have had a chance against me.
    “I tried kissing Frese, but that didn’t belong to any plan. That somehow emerged from the situation. I don’t know why, from one moment to the next the desire was there. I thought doing that between times would be terrific. That was something new for me . . . If I said today that he wanted to be kissed, everyone would say, ‘You pig, who do you expect to believe that?’—but it was actually true. In my opinion, it can be explained only by the fact that I had beaten him so terribly before that. If I try putting myself in his place, I can imagine that the only thing he cared about was which was worse, which hurt more. I mean, being kissed by somebody I detest is still preferable to having that person kick me in the balls from behind. In that sense it’s understandable. But at the time I was pretty amazed. He said, ‘More! More!' So finally I kept on. That must be it, that the only thing he cared about was which was easier to bear.”

    It is striking that Bartsch, who describes what he did to his victims so openly and in such detail—even though he knows what revulsion this will arouse in others—is very reluctant to divulge his memories of when he was the helpless victim. He has to force himself to tell these things, which he does in a terse and imprecise way. At the age of eight he was seduced by his thirteen-year-old cousin, and later, at thirteen, by his teacher. Here we can observe the pronounced discrepancy between subjective and social reality. Within the framework of a little boy’s value system, Bartsch sees himself in the murder scenes as a powerful person with a strong feeling of self-confidence, although he knows everyone will condemn him for these actions and attitudes. In the other scenes, however, the warded-off pain of the humiliated victim comes to the surface and causes him unbearable feelings of shame. This is one of the reasons why so many people either can’t remember being beaten as children at all or only remember it without the appropriate feelings, i.e., quite indifferently and “coolly.”

    I am not telling the story of Jurgen Bartsch’s childhood in his own words in order to “exonerate” him, something which the legal profession accuses psychotherapists of doing, or to place the blame on his parents, but to show that every one of his actions had a meaning that can be discovered only if we free ourselves from the compulsion to overlook the context. I was appalled by the newspaper accounts about Jurgen Bartsch, to be sure, but I was not morally outraged, because I know that acts similar to Bartsch’s often appear in patients’ fantasies when they are able to bring to consciousness the repressed desire for revenge stemming from their early childhood . . . But for the very reason that they are able to talk about and confide these feelings of hatred, rage, and desire for revenge to another person, they do not need to translate their fantasies into deeds. Jurgen had not had the slightest opportunity to articulate his feelings. In his first year of life he did not have a regular care giver, then he was not allowed to play with other children until the time he started school, nor did his parents ever play with him. In school he soon became a scapegoat for the other boys; it is understandable that such an isolated child, who is beaten into obedience at home, could not hold his own in the company of his peers. He had terrible fears, and this caused the other children to persecute him even more. The scene after he ran away from Marienhausen shows the boundless loneliness of this adolescent caught between his “sheltered,” middle-class home and the Catholic boarding school. The need to tell his parents everything and the certainty that they would not believe him; his fear of going back home but also his longing to cry his heart out there—isn’t this the situation of thousands of adolescents?
    . . . The combination of violence and sexual arousal that the very small child whose parents treat him as their property is frequently exposed to often finds later expression in perversions and delinquent behavior. Likewise, in the murders committed by Bartsch many features of his childhood are reflected with horrifying exactitude:

    1. The underground hiding place where he murdered the children is reminiscent of the cellar, with its barred windows and walls ten feet high, that Bartsch describes as the place where he was locked up.
    2. Bartsch selected his victims carefully. He walked through arcades for hours looking for the right boy. His parents had also selected him, before adopting him.
    3. Later (not all at once—like his victims—but slowly) he was prevented from living.
    4. He sliced the children up with a butcher knife, “with our knife,” as he writes. The daily beatings his parents gave him and the sight of the animal carcasses they had butchered combined in Jurgen’s imagination to produce an ominous feeling that hung over his life like a sword of Damocles. By finally taking a butcher knife into his hands himself, he tried actively to avert his own destruction.
    5. He was aroused when he looked into the children’s terrified and helpless eyes. In their eyes he saw himself, along with the feelings he had had to suppress. At the same time he experienced himself in the role of the seductive, aroused adult at whose mercy he once had been.
    6. The close connection between kisses and beatings was something Bartsch knew from his mother’s way of treating him.

    - p. 278: It is the tragedy of well-raised people that they are unaware as adults of what was done to them and what they do [to] themselves if they were not allowed to be aware as children. Countless institutions in our society profit from this fact, and not least among them are totalitarian regimes. In this age when almost anything is possible, psychology can provide devastating support for the conditioning of the individual, the family, and whole nations. Conditioning and manipulation of others are always weapons and instruments in the hands of those in power even if these weapons are disguised with the terms education and therapeutic treatment. Since one’s use and abuse of power over others usually have the function of holding one’s own feelings of helplessness in check—which means the exercise of power is often unconsciously motivated—rational arguments can do nothing to impede this process.
    In the same way that technology was used to help carry out mass murders in the Third Reich in a very short space of time, so too the more precise kind of knowledge of human behavior based on computer data and cybernetics can contribute to the more rapid, comprehensive, and effective soul murder of the human being than could the earlier intuitive psychology. There are no measures available to halt these developments. Psychoanalysis cannot do it; indeed, it is itself in danger of being used as an instrument of power in the training institutes. All that we can do, as I see it, is to affirm and lend our support to the human objects of manipulation in their attempts to become aware and help them become conscious of their malleability and articulate their feelings so that they will be able to use their own resources to defend themselves against the soul murder that threatens them.

    - pp. 279-280: In the same decade in which writers are discovering the emotional importance of childhood and are unmasking the devastating consequences of the way power is secretly exercised under the disguise of child-rearing, students of psychology are spending four years at the universities learning to regard human beings as machines in order to gain a better understanding of how they function. When we consider how much time and energy is devoted during these best years to wasting the last opportunities of adolescence and to suppressing, by means of the intellectual disciplines, the feelings that emerge with particular force at this age, then it is no wonder that the people who have made this sacrifice victimize their patients and clients in turn, treating them as mere objects of knowledge instead of as autonomous, creative beings. There are some authors of so-called objective, scientific publications in the field of psychology who remind me of the officer in Kafka’s Penal Colony in their zeal and their consistent self-destructiveness. In the unsuspecting, trusting attitude of Kafka’s convicted prisoner, on the other hand, we can see the students of today who are so eager to believe that the only thing that counts in their four years of study is their academic performance and that human commitment is not required.
    The expressionistic painters and poets active at the beginning of [the 20th] century demonstrated more understanding of the neuroses of their day (or at any rate unconsciously imparted more imformation about them) than did the contemporary professors of psychiatry. During the same period, Freud’s female patients with their hysterical symptoms were unconsciously reenacting their childhood traumata. He succeeded in deciphering their language, which their conventional doctors had failed to understand. In return, he reaped not only gratitude but also hostility, because he had dared to touch upon the taboos of his time.
    Children who become too aware of things are punished for it and internalize the coercion to such an extent that as adults they give up the search for awareness. But because some people cannot renounce this search in spite of coercion, there is justifiable hope that regardless of the ever-increasing application of technology to the field of psychological knowledge, Kafka’s vision of the penal colony with its efficient, scientifically minded persecutors and their passive victims is valid only for certain areas of our life and perhaps not forever. For the human soul is virtually indestructible, and its ability to rise from the ashes remains as long as the body draws breath.
    Last edited by HERO; 11-22-2011 at 01:38 AM.

  7. #7
    Haikus Beautiful sky's Avatar
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    Looks like SEE

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    In her photos she clearly looks IEI>EIE.

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    killer wolf lemontrees's Avatar
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    May I ask what your investment in the subject matter is, agape?

    ps--Am strangely heartened to know that Proust suffered abuse as a child. He's my favorite author (probably IEI, I think.)

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    Part of my investment in the subject matter probably started with my Aunt introducing me to Alice Miller's work (namely/specifically the book The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness which my Aunt gave me when she visited around January, 2005).
    Yet I think discovering the truth about my biological father (and my origins) about a year and a half later probably propelled me to want to read more of Alice Miller's work/books. I do believe/agree that childhood (and birth traumas, the pre-birth experience, the first several years of life, etc.) serve as a foundation for different issues people deal with later in life (especially starting around adolescence and continuing in adulthood). Whether it's rigidity, a lack of vitality, the deadening/repression/fear of one's (genuine) emotions; or if it's co-dependence, an insecure identity, low self-esteem, (self-)destructiveness, etc.

    I guess one of my problems (around adolescence) was becoming increasingly isolated and too dependent on my Mom... or like my stepdad may have characterized it as my being 'spoiled and over-protected...' Yet for me, I'd say having parents who at times could be kind of neglectful, indifferent, insensitive, self-absorbed, prejudiced, narcissistic, angry, mean, etc. (which of course can be fairly common), and I never really had many friends, and I moved a lot, so I never maintained a friendship long-term... I guess a lot of different things kind of warped the way I saw the world. Catastrophic thinking, anxiety, not trusting people much . . . I think my Mom has often said that I've been quite vulnerable and often a target for people. A lot of other things happened to me (and my family) that shook my trust/faith in people (in general), such as people stealing from me and stuff, one of my female cousins getting raped and severely injured due to being thrown from a window/balcony, etc.
    Plus I never had a (strong) father figure, or like an acquaintance/friend I once had who said that my 'lacking a father figure' probably had a bigger effect on me than the death of my grandfather when I was 5. Yet my Aunt always thought that his death affected me a lot, and I think I repressed a lot of the grief, etc. as well as the memories.
    I never knew my biological father and he never wrote to me or anything. And my stepdad was in my life from about the ages of 8-18 or so. Yet he was never very supportive, and never really did much with me, and our relationship was often quite turbulent or just rather limited and superficial, although he seemed to care for me at times he was never quite understanding... Once again a lot of this is fairly common. I don't think my childhood was worse than the average. I'd say there was quite a bit of isolation and being alone... Yet I'm not going to go into all of the details of the things that happened, the things I remember, etc. right now.
    Perhaps since early childhood I (unconsciously) felt that I was unwelcome or in the way or that I was "undervalued". I obviously wasn't "conceived in an environment of love, caring, and planning." I was the illegitimate child of my biological father who was a doctor and professor in medical school (in Romania) and my Mom who at the time was his (student and) mistress. My biological father was about 32 years older than my Mom. My Mom completed medical school before or around the time I was conceived. My biological father who was married, and had a son and grandson, was even at times skeptical as to whether my Mom was really pregnant with his child. At first he suggested that she should get an illegal abortion, yet my Mom didn't want to, and her parents didn't want her to either.
    My biological father who possessed a fairly prominent stature (in the medical community, etc.) didn't want any of this to be exposed or for there to be a scandal or anything. And of course my Mom never took any measures to hold him accountable or reveal the truth, etc. So my biological father helped her to escape the country (which was still Communist at the time) and my Mom went to Yugoslavia, where at the time my Aunt was living with her (Serbian) husband and her infant son. I was born in Belgrade, and then about seven months after, my Mom immigrated to Canada with me. My Aunt wasn't too happy with my Mom living with her in Belgrade, and even when my Mom was pregnant, my Aunt complained about her eating food and stuff.
    So although my Mom could've been a doctor, she never actually became one. She was a single mother for the first eight years of my life, and she didn't get very good jobs, especially with what was happening with Ralph Klein and nurses and stuff in that time period. [Later on when my Mom would start gambling due to my stepdad's influence she would actually see Ralph Klein at a casino playing poker or something.] Anyway, my Mom did take some tests in the United States for being a doctor, yet she didn't go to take the last ones or whatever. So she's had the challenge of being a registered nurse, which although she's very good at, and of course she doesn't tell anyone that she was a doctor (in Romania), that she has a medical degree, because she fears that a lot of nurses, etc. would only hate her more. It can be challenging for her at times to deal with people who talk too much/socialize too much at work (while sacrificing the quality of the work), make big mistakes, waste a lot of money... and they are hostile with her, and yet the managers, etc. sympathize with them as opposed to her. So I guess, because of the sacrifices my Mom made from the beginning, and my not really being aware of it, perhaps that also made me unconsciously internalize a lot of guilt, sadness, loneliness, shame, etc.
    For the first seventeen years of my life my Mom never told me the truth about my father. She told me that she was married to him (and I assumed he was of a normal age) and that he died in a car accident in Romania a few months after I was born. So that's what I believed -- that they were married, that he died... I never really asked any questions and no one told me anything. I never saw pictures of him, I didn't even know his name. Yet I believed my Mom 100%.
    My Mom was also often quite anxious, especially when she was younger. At times she was even scared that I might be molested (by a pedophile) or something. Perhaps that's partially due to stories about (major/real/serious) pedophiles, etc. being more publicized on the news and stuff (and this heightened awareness, of course, is a good thing); where as in Romania (in the past anyway), I'd imagine that stories/news about pedophiles, rapists, etc. wouldn't receive as much coverage (in the news, etc.). Anyway, my Mom was in a new environment, she didn't have any family in Canada, and then she went to work in Miami once for about a year, and took me, yet I was kind of stressed out and anxious there I guess (which also effected my stomach at times), so I went to live in Romania (with my grandparents) for a few months or less until she went back to Canada. For the most part she worked jobs of a fairly low wage (in Alberta), compared to what she's making now. I guess when she met my stepdad she became kind of dependent, and didn't really work for a few years.
    Ultimately I can see where some of my fears may have come from, since for the most part I've been too trusting with people, and my fears often expressed themselves in the form of nightmares, anxieties, phobias and perhaps also being unconsciously drawn to potentially dangerous situations. I guess for me it's seeing how lonely I am, and how I'm afraid of compromising just so I don't have to be alone, so I can belong, fit in. In high school I remember that I wanted to be someone else, to live someone else's life -- perhaps even everyday or so to experience a different person's life instead of mine. I guess I didn't really like or value myself that much. So I think a lot of these conflicting desires probably stem in part from childhood. The desire to have one's own identity, sense of self, to be different, to stay true to oneself combined with the desire to adapt (to others), to be 'socialized', to accept anything, to have a shaky/fragile sense of identity/self and a lack of (personal) will(power)... I guess I can be anxious about new people, even if I think I like them, and wonder what's going to happen, can I trust them, how will this end... I guess it's more difficult when there's 'dating' involved as opposed to just friendship. At least I think I'm making better choices now than I used to. Or at least that's what I hope.

    About Proust, I think Alice Miller wrote a bit about him in her book The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting. I've never really read his work/writing, yet I'd like to one day. I agree that he was IEI.
    Last edited by HERO; 12-07-2011 at 05:50 AM.

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    killer wolf lemontrees's Avatar
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    Agape, I'm really deeply sorry to hear about all of that. I can't imagine it not having an effect on the way one thinks about oneself or relates to others or go about life.

    I grew up a well-meaning but unhealthy and very physically violent mother and a well-meaning but controlling father and can empathize with a lot of the feelings that you have described. I read the excerpts from Alice Miller and found it both haunting and liberating. I suppose I can't speak for everyone, but my biggest hope is simply to fight against the vicious cycle of guilt/shame/worthlessness/helplessness/lack of agency and attempt to make my own way in the world, accomplish the things I want to accomplish, and not have allowed it to defeat me. But it feels awfully hard sometimes. I feel as if I'm generally a pretty strong-willed (albeit mild-mannered) person, but there are moments when I feel that I don't have a will at all, like I've been completely emptied, and it's those moments that utterly terrify me because, well, to subvert the adage, "without a will there is no way." To me, the scariest feeling is "this will affect me for life." And I think the best answer I've come up with is, "yes, this will affect me for life, but it doesn't mean I can't still do the the things I want to do if I want them badly enough."

    On a related note, I have always thought of literature and art as a space for freedom--a separate space in which one can create and engage with a world--a space related to, but not directly casually affected by, this one. One can change language into power, although of course there's always the possibility that language too, fails us--there is no direct system of representation for the things we experience in an internal world. The best possibility, perhaps, is to use a medium that is fluid and malleable enough to create a metaphorical counterpart for our emotions and begin to arrange these emotions after making them physical through indirect articulation (I have always thought of language as "physical"--to me, it's the physical material of poetry. Whether or not that is because of Si I do not know.) And so I place all my hope in "poetry," this hopelessly useless thing.

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    Sorry I took so long to respond. I've had a somewhat overwhelming last couple of weeks or so, although that's no excuse. Plus I sort of had a stomach flu or something.

    I'm sorry to hear about your own childhood experiences. My parents could be sort of violent at times, yet for the most part they weren't with me. My Mom also has her own problems with anger and whatnot, although she has a lot more self-control and rationality in the real world than I do. If I become sleep-deprived, become overwhelmed by the world and a lot of people and social stuff, then I can suddenly react to something in a strange way, sort of semi-autistic, crazy, 'dramatic', passive-aggressive, cowardly. I'm not sure how to call it or describe it. Perhaps it's just the Shakespearian Beta NF thing, yet fragmented, unsocialized, animalistic, immature, childish, emotionally volatile, selfish, self-centred, angry, etc.

    I think you're a lot more advanced than I am in terms of being a mature healthy person. I'm glad you liked the excerpts from Alice Miller. It can be difficult without a helping witness. I don't think I ever really had one in my childhood. Yet at the same time, they broke it, I have to fix it. So it's my responsibility now to try to make better choices and help myself too. Plus I'll be going back to school in January, and I have to start getting really serious about that, and waste less time going out to karaoke/bars and stuff like that. It's not like I go out looking to date or for people to hit on me, yet it happens. Now it's just that I have to start not going to certain places at all (in real life and on the Internet), and that way I don't have to worry about getting entangled in that romantic and/or sexual realm that tends to completely overwhelm and confuse me every time. I have to focus on school and stuff. I can't afford to go crazy anymore.

    I relate to those feelings of emptiness and lack of willpower, and it seems that you're doing a much better job than I am of not giving in to the entropy, chaos, inertia, or whatever. I have to recognize and respect my limits and boundaries, and realize that there are certain things that aren't really important, and there are priorities that I have to focus on. True, there are things that can cause one to be scarred for life, or at times it can seem that way. Yet it's not impossible to heal. Yet I have be dedicated and committed to that endeavor. There is always a way out. And no one is an island. And in a sense, we are all bridges...

    It's true that literature and the arts serve as a bridge from one's inner world to the external world. Of course this could also include music or painting. Often times writing and art can be a form of therapy, although at times it can also serve as validation/affirmation for neurosis/repression (if misused or distorted)... I think also writing down and analyzing one's dreams is also an interesting way to develop one's awareness of the significance of the unconscious/subconscious.

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    함부로 애틋하게 Kierva's Avatar
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    Default Alice Miller: IEI [Poll]

    - from Breaking Down the Wall of Silence: The Liberating Experience of Facing Painful Truth (Translation by Simon Worrall); pp. vii-x (Foreword): The truth about childhood, as many of us have had to endure it, is inconceivable, scandalous, painful. Not uncommonly, it is monstrous. Invariably, it is repressed. To be confronted with this truth all at once and to try to integrate it into our consciousness, however ardently we may wish it, is clearly impossible. The capacity of the human organism to bear pain is, for our own protection, limited. All attempts to overstep this natural threshold by resolving repression in a violent manner will, as with every other form of violation, have negative and often dangerous consequences. The results of any traumatic experience, such as abuse, can only be resolved by experiencing, articulating, and judging every facet of the original experience within a process of careful therapeutic disclosure.
    In recent decades, there have been a number of dangerous attempts to resolve the consequences of childhood traumas by violent means. Inevitably, they have all failed. Methods involving the use of LSD, hypnosis, or “rebirthing,” to name but a few, have not only failed to lead to the integration of a person’s individual truth. They have, in many cases, resulted in even greater flight from the truth by way of new forms of defense such as addiction and other forms of denial, for example through political or religious ideologies.
    Many young people who, driven by desperation and curiosity, have experimented with psychedelic drugs found themselves having experiences that were terrifying, discouraging, and totally misleading—experiences that would later bar the way to insightful and effective therapy. Often, they found themselves suddenly confronted by the full horrors of their childhood—without any kind of preparation—and were overwhelmed by symbolic images that rather obscured the reality. Not surprisingly, they would later do everything they could to avoid having to confront these experiences anew. What they didn’t know is that what they had experienced and what was sometimes sold to them as “therapy” was in fact just its opposite: a traumatization that served to cement the confusion of childhood with symbolic contents, leaving in its wake a rigid sense of their histories that would later prove hard to resolve.
    The consequences of such experiences are regrettable in the extreme. From then on, those involved placed their trust not in the truth, but in a chimera of addictions, specious theories, or medication. The possibility of facing the truth by means of a slow therapeutic procedure seemed inconceivable to them.
    We build high walls to screen ourselves from painful facts because we have never learned whether or how we can live with this knowledge. “And why should we?” some people might say. “What’s done is done. Why should we go over all that again?” The answer to that question is extremely complex. In this book, I will endeavor to show, by way of various examples, why the truth about childhood is something we cannot, and should not, forgo, either as individuals or as a society. One of the reasons is that behind the wall we erect to protect ourselves from the history of our childhood still stands the neglected child we once were, the child that was once abandoned and betrayed. She waits for us to summon the courage to hear her voice. She wants to be protected and understood, and she wants us to free her from her isolation, loneliness, and speechlessness. But this child who has waited so long for our attention not only has needs to be fulfilled. She also has a gift for us, a gift that cannot be purchased and that the child in us alone can bestow. It is the gift of the truth, which can free us from the prison of destructive opinions and conventional lies. Ultimately, it is the gift of security, which our rediscovered integrity will give us. The child only waits for us to be ready to approach her, and then, together, we will tear down the walls.
    Many people do not know this. They suffer from anguishing symptoms. They go to doctors who fend off the necessary knowledge just as they themselves do. They follow the advice that these doctors offer, subjecting themselves, for example, to completely unnecessary operations or other damaging treatments. Or they down sleeping pills to erase the dreams that could remind them of the child waiting behind the wall. But as long as we condemn her to silence, the child’s own recourse is to express herself in another language—that of sleeplessness, depression, or physical symptoms. And against these reactions, drugs and tablets are of no help. They simply confuse the adult even more.
    Many people are unaware of this, though some have long since sensed this truth and can nonetheless not help themselves. Some sense that to repress feelings of their childhood is to poison the very well-springs of life; they know that though repression may have been necessary for the child’s survival—otherwise she might literally have died from the pain—maintaining repression in adult life inevitably has destructive consequences. But in the absence of any other alternative, they regard such consequences as a necessary evil. They don’t know that it is indeed possible to resolve childhood repression safely and without danger, and learn to live with the truth. Not all at once. Not by recourse to violent interventions. But slowly, step by step, and with respect for their own system’s defense mechanisms, recovery is possible.

    - from The Drama of the Gifted Child: The Search for the True Self (Translated by Ruth Ward); pp. 1-3 (The Drama of the Gifted Child and How We Became Psychotherapists): Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery of the truth about the unique history of our childhood. Is it possible, then, to free ourselves altogether from illusions? History demonstrates that they sneak in everywhere, that every life is full of them—perhaps because the truth often seems unbearable to us. And yet the truth is so essential that its loss exacts a heavy toll, in the form of grave illness. In order to become whole we must try, in a long process, to discover our own personal truth, a truth that may cause pain before giving us a new sphere of freedom. If we choose instead to content ourselves with intellectual “wisdom,” we will remain in the sphere of illusion and self-deception.
    The damage done to us during our childhood cannot be undone, since we cannot change anything in our past. We can, however, change ourselves. We can repair ourselves and gain our lost integrity by choosing to look more closely at the knowledge that is stored inside our bodies and bringing this knowledge closer to our awareness. This path, although certainly not easy, is the only route by which we can at last leave behind the cruel, invisible prison of our childhood. We become free by transforming ourselves from unaware victims of the past into responsible individuals in the present, who are aware of our past and are thus able to live with it.
    Most people do exactly the opposite. Without realizing that the past is constantly determining their present actions, they avoid learning anything about their history. They continue to live in their repressed childhood situation, ignoring the fact that it no longer exists. They are continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time. They are driven by unconscious memories and by repressed feelings and needs that determine nearly everything they do or fail to do.
    The repression of brutal abuse experienced during childhood drives many people to destroy their lives and the lives of others. In an unconscious thirst for revenge, they may engage in acts of violence, burning homes and businesses and physically attacking other people, using this destruction to hide the truth from themselves and avoid feeling the despair of the tormented child they once were. Such acts are often done in the name of “patriotism” or religious beliefs.
    Other people actively continue the torture once inflicted upon them in self-scourging clubs of every sort and in sadomasochistic practices. They think of such activities as “liberation.” Women who allow their nipples to be pierced in order to hand rings from them can then pose for newspaper photographs, proudly saying that they felt no pain when having it done and that it was even fun for them. One need not doubt the truth of their statements; they had to learn very early in life not to feel pain, and today they would go to any lengths not to feel the pain of the little girl who was once sexually exploited by her father and had to imagine that it was fun for her.
    Repressed pain may reveal itself more privately, as in a woman, sexually exploited as a child, who has denied her childhood reality and in order not to feel the pain is perpetually fleeing her past with the help of men, alcohol, drugs, or achievement. She needs a constant thrill to keep boredom at bay; not even one moment of quiet can be permitted during which the burning loneliness of her childhood experience might be felt, for she fears that feeling more than death. She will continue in her flight unless she learns that the awareness of old feelings is not deadly but liberating.
    The repression of childhood pain influences not only the life of an individual but also the taboos of the whole society.

    - pp. 4-7 (The Poor Rich Child): I sometimes ask myself whether it will ever be possible for us to grasp the extent of the loneliness and desertion to which we were exposed as children. Here I do not mean to speak, primarily, of children who were obviously uncared for or totally neglected, and who were always aware of this or at least grew up with the knowledge that it was so. Apart from these extreme cases, there are large numbers of people who enter therapy in the belief (with which they grew up) that their childhood was happy and protected.
    Quite often I have been faced with people who were praised and admired for their talents and their achievements, who were toilet-trained in the first year of their lives, and who may even, at the age of one and a half to five, have capably helped to take care of their younger siblings. According to prevailing attitudes, these people—the pride of their parents—should have had a strong and stable sense of self-assurance. But the case is exactly the opposite. They do well, even excellently, in everything they undertake; they are admired and envied; they are successful whenever they care to be—but behind all this lurks depression, a feeling of emptiness and self-alienation, and a sense that their life has no meaning. These dark feelings will come to the fore as soon as the drug of grandiosity fails, as soon as they are not “on top,” not definitely the “superstar,” or whenever they suddenly get the feeling they have failed to live up to some ideal image or have not measured up to some standard. Then they are plagued by anxiety or deep feelings of guilt and shame. What are the reasons for such disturbances in these competent, accomplished people?
    In the very first interview they will let the listener know that they have had understanding parents, or at least one such, and if they are aware of having been misunderstood as children, they feel that the fault lay with them and with their inability to express themselves appropriately. They recount their earliest memories without any sympathy for the child they once were, and this is the more striking as these patients not only have a pronounced introspective ability but seem, to some degree, to be able to empathize with other people. Their access to the emotional world of their own childhood, however, is impaired—characterized by a lack of respect, a compulsion to control and manipulate, and a demand for achievement. Very often they show disdain and irony, even derision and cynicism, for the child they were. In general, there is a complete absence of real emotional understanding or serious appreciation of their own childhood vicissitudes, and no conception of their true needs—beyond the desire for achievement. The repression of their real history has been so complete that their illusion of a good childhood can be maintained with ease.
    As a basis for a description of the psychic climate of these persons, some general assumptions should be made clear:

    • The child has a primary need from the very beginning of her life to be regarded and respected as the person she really is at any given time.
    • When we speak here of “the person she really is at any given time,” we mean emotions, sensations, and their expression from the first day onward.
    • In an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for her feelings, the child, in the phase of separation, will be able to give up symbiosis with the mother and accomplish the steps toward individuation and autonomy.
    • If they are to furnish these prerequisites for the healthy development of their child, the parents themselves ought to have grown up in such an atmosphere. If they did, they will be able to assure the child the protection and well-being she needs to develop trust.
    • Parents who did not experience this climate as children are themselves deprived; throughout their lives they will continue to look for what their own parents could not give them at the appropriate time—the presence of a person who is completely aware of them and takes them seriously.
    • This search, of course, can never fully succeed, since it relates to a situation that belongs irrevocably to the past, namely to the time right after birth and during early childhood.
    • A person with this unsatisfied and unconscious (because repressed) need will nevertheless be compelled to attempt its gratification through substitute means, as long as she ignores her repressed life history.
    • The most efficacious objects for substitute gratification are a parent’s own children. The newborn baby or small child is completely dependent on his parents, and since their caring is essential for his existence, he does all he can to avoid losing them. From the very first day onward, he will muster all his resources to this end, like a small plant that turns toward the sun in order to survive.

    - from The Body Never Lies: The Lingering Effects of Cruel Parenting by Alice Miller (Translated from the German by Andrew Jenkins); pp. 14-15 (Preface): My main concern in this present book is with the effects the denial of our true and strong emotions have on our bodies. Such denial is demanded of us not least by morality and religion. On the basis of what I know about psychotherapy, both from personal experience and from accounts I have been given by very many people, I have come to the conclusion that individuals abused in childhood can attempt to obey the Fourth Commandment* only by recourse to a massive repression and detachment of their true emotions. They cannot love and honor their parents because unconsciously they still fear them. However much they may want to, they cannot build up a relaxed and trusting relationship.
    Instead, what usually materializes is a pathological attachment, a mixture of fear and dutiful obedience that hardly deserves the name of love in the genuine sense of the word. I call this a sham, a facade. In addition, people abused in childhood frequently hope all their lives that someday they will experience the love they have been denied. These expectations reinforce their attachment to their parents, an attachment that religious creeds refer to as love and praise as a virtue. Unfortunately, the same thing happens in most therapies, as most people are still dominated by traditional morality. There is a price to be paid for this morality, a price paid by the body.
    Individuals who believe that they feel what they ought to feel and constantly do their best not to feel what they forbid themselves to feel will ultimately fall ill—unless, that is, they leave it to their children to pick up the check by projecting onto them the emotions they cannot admit to themselves.
    This book reveals a psychobiological law that has been concealed for a very long time by the claims of religion and morality.

    * “Honor thy father and thy mother,” as in the Roman Catholic and Lutheran tradition. In the Eastern Orthodox faith and in most Protestant denominations, as well as in the Jewish tradition, this is numbered as the Fifth Commandment.

    - pp. 19-21 [Introduction (Morality and the Body)]: Frequently, physical illnesses are the body’s response to permanent disregard of its vital functions. One of our most vital functions is an ability to listen to the true story of our own lives. Accordingly, the central issue in this book is the conflict between the things we feel—the things our bodies register—and the things we think we ought to feel so as to comply with moral norms and standards we have internalized at a very early age. It is my firm and considered opinion that one specific and extremely well-established behavior norm—the Fourth Commandment—frequently prevents us from admitting to our true feelings, and that we pay for this compromise with various forms of physical illness. The Body Never Lies contains many examples that substantiate this theory. My focus, however, is not on entire biographies, but rather on the relationship between individuals and the parents who were responsible for the kind of cruelty and abuse outlined.
    Experience has taught me that my own body is the source of all the vital information that has enabled me to achieve greater autonomy and self-confidence. Only when I allowed myself to feel the emotions pent up for so long inside me did I start extricating myself from my own past. Genuine feelings are never the product of conscious effort. They are quite simply there, and they are there for a very good reason, even if that reason is not always apparent. I cannot force myself to love or honor my parents if my body rebels against such an endeavor for reasons that are well-known to it. But if I still attempt to obey the Fourth Commandment, then the upshot will be the kind of stress that is invariably involved when I demand the impossible of myself. This kind of stress has accompanied me almost all my life. Anxious to stay in line with the system of moral values I had accepted, I did my best to imagine good feelings I did not possess while ignoring the bad feelings I did have. My aim was to be loved as a daughter. But the effort was all in vain. In the end I had to realize that I cannot force love to come if it is not there in the first place. On the other hand, I learned that a feeling of love will establish itself automatically (for example, love for my children or love for my friends) once I stop demanding that I feel such love and stop obeying the moral injunctions imposed on me. But such a sensation can happen only when I feel free and remain open and receptive to all my feelings, including the negative ones.
    The realization that I cannot manipulate my feelings, that I can delude neither myself nor others, brought me immense relief and liberation. Only then was I fully struck by the large number of people who (like myself) literally almost kill themselves in the attempt to obey the Fourth Commandment, without any consideration of the price this exacts both from their own bodies and from their children. As long as the children allow themselves to be used in this way, it is entirely possible to live to be one hundred without any awareness of one’s own personal truth and without any illness ensuing from this protracted form of self-deception.
    A mother who is forced to realize that the deprivations imposed on her in her youth make it impossible for her to love a child of her own, however hard she may try, can certainly expect to be accused of immorality if she has the courage to put that truth into words. But I believe that it is precisely this explicit acceptance of her true feelings, independent of the claims of morality, that will enable her to give both herself and her children the honest and sincere kind of support they need most, and at the same time will allow her to free herself from the shackles of self-deception.

    - pp. 29-32: A research team in San Diego in the 1990s asked a total of 17,000 people, with an average age of fifty-seven, what their childhood was like and what illnesses they had suffered in the course of their lives. The study revealed that the incidence of severe illnesses was many times higher in people who had been abused in their childhood than in people who had grown up free of such abuse and had never been exposed to beatings meted out to them “for their own good.” The latter had had no illnesses to speak of in their later lives. The title of this brief article was “Turning Gold into Lead.” [The Adverse Childhood Experiences study is an ongoing project. See, for example, Vincent J. Felitti, “The Relationship of Adverse Childhood Experience to Adult Health: Turning Gold into Lead,” available online at The author, who sent me this article, commented that these findings are unambiguous and highly eloquent, but at the same time covert and hidden.
    Why hidden? The reason is that they cannot be published without leveling accusations at the parents. And that is something that is still prohibited in our society, in fact to an increasing degree. In the meantime, more and more experts are of the opinion that the psychic sufferings of adults can be traced to genetic heredity, rather than to concrete injuries and parental deprivations in childhood. Also, the enlightened studies on the childhood of schizophrenics that were published in medical journals in the 1970s have never been made known to a wider public. The fundamentalist faith in genetics continues to triumph.
    This state of affairs is the subject of the book They F*** You Up by Oliver James, a clinical psychologist with a major reputation in the United Kingdom. Although the impression left by the book, published in 2003, is ambivalent (because the author shies away from the consequences of his insights and expressly warns against assigning parents the responsibility for the sufferings of their children), this study draws upon numerous research results to prove beyond doubt that genetic factors, in fact, play a very minor role in the development of psychic disorders.
    Accordingly, many present-day therapies are careful to avoid the subject of childhood. True, patients are initially encouraged to admit to the strong emotions they have. But when emotions are aroused in this way they are normally accompanied by repressed memories of childhood, memories of abuse, exploitation, humiliation, and hurt suffered in the first few years of life. This is something a therapist can deal with only if he has explored these avenues himself. Therapists of this kind are still rare. So what most of them offer their clients is a rehash of poisonous pedagogy, precisely the same brand of morality that made them ill in the first place.
    The body cannot understand this kind of morality; it will have no truck with the Fourth Commandment, and it cannot be fooled by words in the way the mind can. The body is the guardian of the truth, our truth, because it carries the experience of a lifetime and ensures that we can live with the truth of our organism. With the aid of physical symptoms it forces us to engage cognitively with this truth so that we can communicate harmoniously with the child within, the child who lives on inside us, the child who was once spurned, abused, and humiliated.

    I myself experienced physical “correction” in the first few months of my life. Of course I lived for decades in total ignorance of this fact. My mother told me that I was such a good girl that she never had any trouble with me. She also attributed my “goodness” to the consistent application of her upbringing methods from earliest infancy. This also explains why I had absolutely no memories of that period for such a long time. They started coming back only as a result of the strong emotions uncovered by the last course of therapy I underwent. While those emotions initially expressed themselves in connection with persons other than my parents, I gradually managed to locate their true origins, to integrate them as understandable feelings and thus to reconstruct the history of my early childhood. In this way I lost my old, hitherto incomprehensible fears and was able, thanks to the partial companionship of my therapist, finally to let new tissue grow over the old wounds.
    Those fears were bound up primarily with my need for communication, a need that my mother not only did not respond to, but also, consistent with her stringent upbringing methods, actively punished as if it were something reprehensible. The quest for contact and exchange expressed itself initially in the form of crying, then in a desire to ask questions, and finally in the communication of my own thoughts and feelings. But my crying was punished with slaps, my questions were answered with lies, and the expression of my thoughts and feelings was quite simply forbidden. My mother’s withdrawal into a silence that sometimes lasted for days was a constantly impending threat. As she never wanted me to be the way I really was, I had to actively conceal my authentic feelings from her.
    My mother was prone to fits of towering rage, but she was completely incapable of reflection and never sought to investigate the reasons for her emotions. Because, ever since childhood, she had lived a life marred by frustration and dissatisfaction, she was constantly accusing me of something or other. Whenever I defended myself against this unjust treatment, sometimes going so far as to actually prove my innocence to her, she interpreted this as a systematic attack on her person and frequently retaliated with ferocious punishments. She confused emotions with facts. As she felt attacked by my explanations, she took it for granted that I was actually attacking her. A capacity for reflection would have been necessary for her to realize that the real reasons for her feelings had nothing to do with my behavior. But remorse was completely foreign to her. Not once did she apologize to me or express any kind of regret. She was always “in the right.” It was this attitude that made my childhood feel like a totalitarian regime.

    - from THE UNTOUCHED KEY: Tracing Childhood Trauma in Creativity and Destructiveness by Alice Miller (Translated from the German by Hildegarde and Hunter Hannum); pp. vii-viii (Preface): Whenever I leaf through a biography of a creative person, I find information on the first pages of the book that is especially helpful in my work. The information has to do with one or more childhood events whose traces are always apparent in the person’s creative work, usually running through it like a continuous thread. In spite of this, the individual childhood events usually are not given any prominence by the biographer. The facts surrounding them could be likened to a key ring we have found but have no use for. We don’t know who the owner is, and we suspect the person has long since moved to another house and therefore will no longer have the slightest interest in the lost keys.
    Is it permissible, then, for me to take these keys and try to match them to the doors of old houses to discover a life that has long been waiting to be recognized? It may be considered indiscreet to open the doors of someone else’s house and rummage around in other people’s family histories. Since so many of us still have the tendency to idealize our parents, my undertaking may even be regarded as improper. And yet it is something that I think must be done, for the amazing knowledge that comes to light from behind those previously locked doors contributes substantially toward helping people rescue themselves from their dangerous sleep and all its grave consequences.

    - pp. 41-43: . . . he had to repeat the trauma countless times without ever feeling it, for the early lesson that his feelings were forbidden and were to be ignored retained its hold on him.
    I have observed young people in the cafes and bars of a small city who also must have learned this lesson. They stare dully into space, cigarette in hand, sipping a glass of something alcoholic if they can afford it, and biting their fingernails. Alcohol, cigarettes, nail biting—all serve the same purpose: to prevent feelings from coming to the surface at any cost; as children these people never learned to experience their feelings, to feel comfortable with them, to understand them. They fear feelings like the plague and yet can’t live entirely without them; so they pretend to themselves that getting high on drugs in a disco can make up for all they have lost. But it doesn’t work. Cheated of their feelings, they begin to steal, to destroy property, and to ignore the feelings and rights of others. They don’t know that all this was once done to them: they were robbed of their soul, their feelings were destroyed, their rights disregarded. Others were using them, innocent victims, to compensate for the humiliation they had once suffered themselves. For there is no way for mistreated children to defend their rights.
    Society shares their ignorance. It puts these young people in reform schools, where they can perfect their destructive behavior at the expense of others while continuing to destroy themselves. We often hear people say that vandalism is on the increase nowadays, that young people were not always as violent, inconsiderate, and brutal as they are today. It’s hard to say whether this is indeed the case, because now certain forms of state-organized brutality such as war have disappeared—at least in Europe. But if it is actually true that today’s youth are becoming increasingly unstable, then I wonder if it might not have something to do with the advancing technology surrounding childbirth and the manipulation of babies through medication, which make it impossible for newborns to experience their feelings and to orient themselves in terms of those feelings. I see a direct connection between infants tranquilized with drugs who can find no better alternatives in later life, and the adolescents in the bars whom I have just described.
    What are young people to do with feelings that have been totally repressed but are still strongly active in the unconscious if the whole society ignores these feelings or denies that they are caused by child abuse? The only legal way to act out rage openly and violently in peacetime is in disciplining one’s children. Since this outlet is not available to young people who have no children, they must look for another one. Suicide, addiction, criminal behavior, terrorism, and participation in organizations that sexually exploit children all can provide this kind of outlet—unless . . . one can find it in creativity. Although creativity permits survival and helps a person to live with psychic damage, it still conceals rather than reveals the truth. Thus, it cannot protect the person from being self-destructive.

    - pp. 73-74: . . . I wanted to demonstrate that the works of writers, poets, and painters tell the encoded story of childhood traumas no longer consciously remembered in adulthood. After having made this discovery in my own painting and in the writings of Franz Kafka, I was able to test it against other life histories. I wanted to share what I had found with biographers and psychoanalysts, but I soon learned that I was dealing with forbidden knowledge, by no means easy to share with “the experts.”
    And so I decided not to publish my study but to keep the knowledge I had gained to myself, devoting myself to other pursuits such as painting and confronting my own early childhood. Through these activities I gradually realized that my disappointment at the blindness of society and of the experts had something to do with my own blindness and that I really felt compelled to try to prove something to myself that a part of me refused to believe. Of course, I had long been aware of my parents’ weaknesses, of the injury they had inflicted on me without knowing it, but my early idealization of my parents was still unresolved. I recognized it in my naive belief and confidence that the biographers of Hitler, Kafka, and Nietzsche must be capable of seeing and affirming what I had found.
    That they were not capable of recognizing such forbidden knowledge finally became clear to me when I realized how strongly I was clinging to my childhood idealization of my parents. For a long time I couldn’t stop hoping that my parents would someday be ready to share my questions with me, to stop evading them, react to them, and not be afraid to join me in seeing where they led. This never happened when I was a child, and I thought I had long since gotten over my deprivation. But my astonishment at the reactions of people whom I had expected to be more knowledgeable than I revealed that I still had not given up the image of clever and courageous parents who could be convinced by the facts.

    - pp. 137-145 [PART THREE—The No Longer Avoidable Confrontation with Facts (1—When Isaac Arises from the Sacrificial Altar)]: I had been searching for an illustration for the jacket of the British edition of Thou Shalt Not Be Aware; I didn’t want to leave the selection to chance but thought it important that I myself find an appropriate visual representation of the work’s underlying theme. Two Rembrandt depictions of the sacrifice of Isaac—one in Leningrad, the other in Munich—came to mind. In both, the father’s hand completely covers the son’s face, obstructing his sight, his speech, even his breathing. The main concerns expressed in my book (victimization of the child, the Fourth Commandment admonishing us to honor our parents, and the blindness imposed on children by parents) seemed to find a central focus in Abraham’s gesture. Although I was resolved to recommend this detail of Rembrandt’s printings to my publisher for the cover, I went to an archive to look at other portrayals of Abraham and Isaac as well. I found thirty in all, done by very dissimilar artists, and with growing astonishment I looked through them one by one.
    I had been struck by the fact that in both of the Rembrandt versions I already knew, Abraham is grasping his son’s head with his left hand and raising a knife with his right; his eyes, however, are not resting on his son but are turned upward, as though he is asking God if he is carrying out His will correctly. At first I thought that this was Rembrandt’s own interpretation and that there must be others, but I was unable to find any. In all the portrayals of this scene that I found, Abraham’s face or entire torso is turned away from his son and directed upward. Only his hands are occupied with the sacrifice. As I looked at the pictures, I thought to myself, “The son, an adult at the peak of his manhood, is simply lying there, quietly waiting to be murdered by his father. In some of the versions he is calm and obedient; in only one is he in tears, but not in a single one is he rebellious.” In none of the paintings can we detect any questioning in Isaac’s eyes, questions such as “Father, why do you want to kill me, why is my life worth nothing to you? Why won’t you look at me, why won’t you explain what is happening? How can you do this to me? I love you, I trusted in you. Why won’t you speak to me? What crime have I committed? What have I done to deserve this?”
    Such questions can’t even be formulated in Isaac’s mind. They can be asked only by someone who feels himself on equal footing with the person being questioned, only if a dialogue is possible, only if one can look the other in the eye. How can a person lying on a sacrificial altar with hands bound, about to be slaughtered, ask questions when his father’s hand keeps him from seeing or speaking and hinders his breathing? Such a person has been turned into an object. He has been dehumanized by being made a sacrifice; he no longer has a right to ask questions and will scarcely even be able to articulate them to himself, for there is no room in him for anything besides fear.
    As I sat in the archive looking at the pictures, I suddenly saw in them the symbolic representation of our present situation. Inexorably, weapons are being produced for the obvious purpose of destroying the next generation. Yet those who are profiting from the production of these weapons, while enhancing their prestige and power, somehow manage not to think of this ultimate result. Like Abraham, they do not see what their hands are doing, and they devote their entire attention to fulfilling expectations from “above,” at the same time ignoring their feelings. They learned to deny their feelings as children; how should they be able to regain the ability to feel now that they are fathers? It’s too late for that. Their souls have become rigid, they have learned to adapt. They have also forgotten how to ask questions and how to listen to them. All their efforts are now directed toward creating a situation—war—in which their sons too will be unable to see and hear.
    In the face of mobilization for war—even a conventional one, a nonnuclear war—the questions of the younger generation are silenced. To doubt the wisdom of the state is regarded as treason. Any discussion or consideration of alternative possibilities is eliminated at a single stroke. Only practical questions remain: How do we win the war? How do we survive it? Once the point of asking these questions has been reached, the young forget that prosperous and prominent old men have been preparing for war for a long time. The younger generation will march, sing songs, kill and be killed, and they will be under the impression that they are carrying out an extremely important mission. The state will indeed regard highly what they are doing and will reward them with medals of honor, but their souls—the childlike, living, feeling part of their personality—will be condemned to the utmost passivity. They will resemble Isaac as he is always depicted in the sacrificial scene: hands tied, eyes bound, as if it were the most natural thing in the world to wait unquestioningly in this position to be slaughtered by one’s father. (In my German translation of the Bible the verb used in this passage is schlachten, which refers to the butchering of animals.)
    Neither does the father ask any questions. He submits to the divine command as a matter of course, the same way his son submits to him. He must—and wants to—prove that his obedience is stronger than what he calls his love for his child, and as he prepares to carry out the deed his questions vanish. He doesn’t ask God for mercy or look for a way out, and if the angel didn’t intervene at the last moment, Abraham would become the murderer of his son simply because God’s voice demanded it of him. In the pictures I examined, there is no pain to be seen in Abraham’s face, no hesitation, no searching, no questioning, no sign that he is conscious of the tragic nature of his situation. All the artists, even Rembrandt, portray him as God’s obedient instrument, whose sole concern is to function properly.
    It is astonishing at first glance that not one of the artists, each with his own distinct and independent personality, was tempted to give this dramatic scene an individual, personal stamp. Of course the dress, the colors, the surroundings, and the positions of the bodies vary, but the numerous depictions of the scene reveal a remarkably uniform psychological content. An obvious explanation is that all the artists were following the Old Testament text, but we are still justified in asking why. Why wasn’t there room in the psyche of these artists for doubt? Why did they all take it for granted that the Bible passage could not be questioned? Why did all of these artists accept the story as valid? The only answer I can think of is that the situation involves a fundamental fact of our existence, with which many of us become familiar during the first years of life and which is so painful that knowledge of it can survive only in the depths of the unconscious. Our awareness of the child’s victimization is so deeply rooted in us that we scarcely seem to have reacted at all to the monstrousness of the story of Abraham and Isaac. The moral expressed in the story has almost been accorded the legitimacy of natural law, yet if the result of this legitimacy is something as horrifying as the outbreak of nuclear war, then the moral should not be passively accepted like a natural law but must be questioned. If we love life more than obedience and are not prepared to die in the name of obedience and our fathers’ lack of critical judgment, then we can no longer wait like Isaac, with our eyes bound and our hands tied, for our fathers to carry out the will of their fathers.
    How, then, can a condition that has endured for millennia be changed? Would it change if the young were to kill off the old so as not to have to go to war? Wouldn’t that simply be a forerunner to the horrible war we are trying to prevent, and wouldn’t the old situation then be reinforced, the difference being that Abraham’s knife would now be in Isaac’s hands and the old man would become the victim of the young man? Wouldn’t the same cruelty be perpetuated?
    But what would happen if Isaac, instead of reaching for the knife, were to use every ounce of his strength to free his hands so that he could remove Abraham’s hand from his face? That would change his situation altogether. He would no longer lie there like a sacrificial lamb but would stand up; he would dare to use his eyes and see his father as he really is: uncertain and hesitant yet intent on carrying out a command he does not comprehend. Now Isaac’s nose and mouth would be free too, and he could finally draw a deep breath and make use of his voice. He would be able to speak and ask questions, and Abraham, whose left hand could no longer keep his son from seeing and speaking, would have to enter into a dialogue with his son, at the end of which he might possibly encounter the young man he had once been himself, who was never allowed to ask questions.
    And now that the scenario has changed and Isaac can no longer be counted on to be a victim, there will have to be a confrontation between the two, a confrontation that has no conventional precedent but that nevertheless, or perhaps for this very reason, offers a golden opportunity. Isaac will ask, “Father, why do you want to kill me?” and will be given the answer “It is God’s will.” “Who is God?” the son will ask. “The great and benevolent Father of us all, Whom we must obey,” Abraham will answer. “Doesn’t it grieve you,” the son will want to know, “to have to carry out this command?” “It is not for me to take my feelings into account when God orders me to do something.” “Then who are you,” Isaac will ask, “if you carry out His orders without any feelings, and Who is this God, Who can demand such a thing of you?”
    It may be that Abraham is too old, that it is too late for him to perceive the message of life his son is bringing him, that he will say, “Keep quiet! You understand nothing of all this.” But it may be that he is open to Isaac’s questions because they are his own questions as well, which he has had to suppress for decades. Even in the former case, however, the encounter is not doomed to failure as long as Isaac is unwilling to shut his eyes again but is determined to endure the sight of his father as he really is. If Isaac refused to allow himself to be bound and blinded again for the sake of preserving the illusion of a strong and wise and benevolent father but instead finds the courage to look his fallible father in the eye and hear his “Keep quiet” without letting himself be silenced, the confrontation will continue. Then young people will not have to die in wars to preserve the image of their wise fathers. Once young men see what is actually happening, once they become aware that their fathers are steadfastly, unwaveringly, and unthinkingly developing a gigantic weapons system that they hope will not destroy them, although it may their children, then the children will refuse to lie down voluntarily like lambs on the sacrificial altar. But for this to be possible, the children first must be willing to stop obeying the commandment “Thou shalt not be aware.”
    The commandment itself provides the explanation of why it is so difficult to take that step to awareness. Yet the decision to take it is the first requirement for change. We can still avert our probable fate, provided we do not wait to be rescued by the angel who rewarded Abraham for his obedience. More and more people are refusing to go on playing Isaac’s sacrificial role with all its consequences for the future. And perhaps there are also people who reject Abraham’s role, who refuse to obey orders that strike them as absurd because they are directed against life. Their ability to ask questions and their refusal to accept senseless answers may signal the beginning of a long overdue reorientation that will help reinforce our Yes to life and No to death. The new Isaac—with his questions, with his awareness, with his refusal to let himself be killed—not only saves his own life but also saves his father from the fate of becoming the unthinking murderer of his child.

    - pp. 147-149 (The Emperor’s New Clothes): In the preceding chapter, I chose the depictions in art of the sacrifice of Isaac to suggest that it is possible for grown children to have a creative confrontation with their parents. But I do not see the symbolic content of that scene as being limited to the relationship between father and son. Everything I said about Abraham’s attitude is equally valid for mothers, and of course Isaac also symbolizes the daughter who can be hindered by both father and mother not only in her movements but also in her ability to see, speak, and breathe.
    The assertion that men are solely responsible for conditions in today’s world does just as little to expose and combat the presence of evil, destructive rage, violence, and perversion as does the demonization of women. Both sexes have always contributed to the genesis of the forces of evil. Mothers as well as fathers have considered it their duty to punish their children and have used their children to satisfy their own ambitions and other needs. Every aggressive reaction on the child’s part to this abuse was suppressed, and this suppression laid the foundation for destructive behavior in adulthood. And yet there must always have been individual parents who were capable of giving love and who provided their children with a counterbalance for the cruelty they suffered. Above all, however, there must have been helping witnesses present—in the person of nannies, household staff, aunts, uncles, siblings, or grandparents—who did not feel responsible for raising the child and who were not camouflaging cruelty as love because they had experienced love in their own childhoods. If this were not the case, the human race would have died out long ago. On the other hand, if there had been more mothers and fathers capable of love, our world would be different today; it would be more humane. People would also have a clear understanding of what love is because they would have experienced it in childhood, and it would be inconceivable for biographers to call something an expression of maternal love that in its essence was a prison, concentration camp, refrigerator, or brainwashing institute. Yet according to most of today’s biographers, Stalin and Hitler had “loving mothers.”
    When punishment is held up as proof of love, children are filled with confusion, which bears bitter fruit later in life. If these children become involved in politics, they continue the work of destruction initiated with them in childhood, and they camouflage it by taking on the role of savior just as their parents did before them. Both Stalin and Hitler claimed that they wanted only to do good. Murder was simply the necessary means to good. This ideology was passed on to them by both parents. If this had not been so, if one parent had served as a helping witness and shielded the child from the other parent’s brutality and coldness, the children would not have become criminals in later life.
    Although it is men who make preparations for war, the confusion in their heads is the end product of childrearing practices and ways of treating children that are attributable to men and women of past generations. The absolute power a mother has over her little child knows no limits, and yet no qualifications are required of her. It is therefore of the utmost urgency to examine more closely the effects of such unchecked power, to recognize parental power for what it is, and, through this awareness, to reduce its danger for the future.
    While reflecting on these ideas, I was reminded of the fairy tale “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” Here a man, the emperor, symbolized the seemingly mighty but actually helpless parents who are at the same time dangerous because of their total blindness and their great power over their children.

    - pp. 155-158: The belief that older people understand more about life because they supposedly have had more experience was instilled in us at such an early age that we continue to adhere to it even though we know better. Naturally, older craftsmen have more experience in their trades, and older scientists have more facts in their heads, but in both cases their knowledge has precious little to do with wisdom. Nevertheless, most people never give up hoping that they can learn something about life from their elders, whose advanced years must imply richer experience. Even people whose parents have long been dead will seek out parental substitutes such as priests, psychotherapists, gurus, philosophers, or writers, convinced that those who are older must know better, especially if they are famous. They wouldn’t have gained recognition, the thinking goes, without some inherent justification for their fame—if the doctrines they proclaim, the values they represent, and the morality they preach didn’t have significance for many others too.
    And they actually do have significance. Even if the gurus and their disciples are not from the same culture, the repression of childhood experiences is common to all of them, for full awareness of early experiences is taboo in every culture, religion, and system of child-rearing. This situation was not noticed until after World War II, when the first scientifically substantiated reports about childhood appeared, calling into question many of the ideas that had been accepted as right and good for thousands of years. I am thinking here of Rene Spitz’s discovery of hospitalism, John Bowlby’s writings about infant abandonment and its consequences, Lloyd De Mause’s new look at the history of childhood, Frederick Leboyer’s revolutionary discovery that infants already have feelings at birth, and the corroboration provided by primal therapists that feelings repressed in childhood retain their potency and influence our body and mind, often for the rest of our life.
    The fact that so many obstetricians still warn today against the dangers of gentle homebirth is attributable not only to their outdated training and the requirements of the hospital system but also to the stunting of their perceptive faculties. They lack the capacity to recognize that a newborn has feelings because such recognition has been blocked for them, possibly as early as the moment of their own birth or perhaps later when their own traumatic experiences are repressed. They examine the newborn infant, and even though they hear its heart-rending cries, they smile at the new mother and tell her that everything is just fine because now the baby’s lungs have started to work. These physicians seem to be unaffected by the existing body of knowledge about the role of feelings in the human organism.
    The above example of ignorant obstetricians attending childbirth makes clear why advanced age has nothing to do with the value of a person’s experiences . . .
    Now computers are being used to help in the care of the newborn, and it has been determined that the child already begins to learn in the first hours of life. Scientists seem to be fascinated by this idea and are busily investigating various achievements of the newborn. But infants also experience feelings and hurt, even prenatally, that set the course for later life, yet these facts haven’t attracted the attention of many scientists. It is true that the different functions of the newborn’s body can be measured, its behavior observed, the correlates evaluated by the computer. However, as long as the adults involved have not gained access to their own childhood feelings, the infant’s feelings, the cause of so many troubles in later life, go totally unnoticed.

    - pp. 162-165: . . . we can no longer afford to deny our perceptions and evade the truth, even if it is painful, for only the truth can save us. It is frightening and painful not to have a strong father when we need his strength. Yet if holding fast to illusion should mean Isaac’s death and our destruction today, then the first, imperative step toward turning things around is to relinquish the illusion. Even if this step is fraught with fear, is not even conceivable without fear.
    For only a little child can uninhibitedly cry out, “But he doesn’t have anything on!” and then only if that child cannot yet assess the consequences of these words. Moreover, the child in Andersen’s fairy tale is taken seriously by the father and therefore feels secure. But for adults who never had such a father, the liberation of their senses also endangers or even destroys a vital hope: the hope of being protected. We are horrified at the sight of the deceived emperor without his clothes when we consider that he has the power to issue orders that determine our fate. Of course it would be more conducive to our momentary well-being to deny what we see and to go on believing that the affairs of state are in good hands. But this would be no solution for our future or the future of our children. The Isaac of today can’t afford to close his eyes again once he has opened them. Now he knows that his father is not protecting him, and he is determined to protect himself. He is determined not to look away but to examine his situation.
    Abraham’s upward gaze and his childlike submissiveness are a symbol for numerous experiences Isaac had had earlier without being able to understand them. Likewise, the naive and vain emperor is transformed into a little child who wants to show his father his wonderful new clothes so that the father will finally notice the son. This child, this emperor, could have said, “Father, now that I appear in all my imperial splendor, surrounded by these throngs, you can’t overlook me. Now at last you will admire and love me.” And the politician who tries to make us believe he has our freedom at heart (even if we should be incinerated by a nuclear bomb), raises his eyes—like Abraham—to his father, who died long ago, and asks like a child: “Haven’t I done splendidly? See how well I am representing your values? See how hard I am trying to keep the world the way you described it to me sixty years ago and to keep sacred the values you held dear? See how careful I am not to let anything change, just the way you always wanted? Now are you pleased with me? Now can you love me?” There are many varieties of politicians like this. Perhaps one had a father who always felt he was being persecuted. His son will say to him: “I won’t rest until I have destroyed all your enemies. Now are you pleased with me?”
    “But what does all that have to do with my fate?” Isaac asks himself. “I can well understand the dealings old men have with their fathers, but I don’t want my life to be determined by my forefathers. For what I now have to lose is not real protection but only the illusion of it.”
    A great many politicians claim they are doing something for us, and we want to believe what they say because we are dependent on them and because the world has become so complicated that we need experts for everything: technical experts, computer experts, and above all safeguards, more and more safeguards so that the world won’t fall victim to the bomb. But what is to be done if our fear of the danger that makes such vigilance necessary unceasingly produces new dangers for the simple reason that people who are blocked by their repressed past do not want to look to the future? “What I can try to do now,” thinks Isaac, “is direct my father’s eyes to me, away from his forebears and to me lying here on the sacrificial altar he has prepared for me. Perhaps that will bring him to his senses, perhaps it won’t. But turning my eyes to that altar and to my father has brought me to my senses. I am not willing to die, not willing to march and sing war songs. I am not willing to forget that all this has always preceded a war. I have awakened from my millennia-long sleep.”
    Last edited by HERO; 01-12-2012 at 01:08 PM.

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    I like her eyes. They are compassionate, understanding and loving.

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    I can see a NF type , EII or IEI more likely...
    "The final delusion is the belief that one has lost all delusion."

    -- Maurice Chapelain

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