Alice Miller – Child Abuse and Mistreatment

Alice Miller – Child Abuse and Mistreatment.

Wow. In coming back to this some two years after I had identified that Miller was spot on with the late and prevailing outcomes of my early history, I am shocked to find that a) I have not found a good therapist to help me sufficiently with this and b) that I’ve relapsed into denial and – almost inevitably so – major depression. In addition to that, I c) have had catastrophic results with resumed contact with bio family and some therapy “experiments” that backfired in the worst possible way.

I have lost another two going on three years of a total of now 48 years of silent suffering and majorly reduced life quality, the outcomes of which have now fully manifested on the outside as well: Disabled and unemployed since 2008, bankrupt, depending on welfare and thus technically being impoverished with only one or two items left from my former middle class-“ish” life (I’m no longer sure of that, but that’s a different topic altogether). I guess the unresolved inner conflicts have been – most brutally by now – demanding attention following my divorce in 2003 and some additional and major career and personal setbacks in its aftermath. I assume that my so-far fiercely exercised and maintained resilience collapsed in 2007 after a cancelled migration endeavour with Canada as its destination. I seem to have internalized a feeling of helplessness and also being down on myself following that experience. After returning, I left my position with a software startup company and accepted a job offer to become full time editor with a tech publication. I lasted for three weeks until panic attacks and generalized anxiety ultimately had me dysfunctional. We agreed I’d continue to work for them from my home office, but I lost a substantial part of my salary. I initially made up for revenue loss by contracting with additional employers, but soon felt the overall exhaustion of hunting job after job, which I began to give in. Not too long after that, someone diagnosed me with what’s commonly known as a burn-out (I resent this term and I don’t think I burnt out on my career or lost edge in supporting myself. I rather find that the unresolved matters of the past had been festering away at me and eating into the energy needed to uphold a successful career…). After filing for partial disability and struggling with technicalities of the process, I gave myself permission to focus on my health and also to sort of take a break from stressing myself out or allowing others to exploit me in the ways they had before. This, coupled with medical expenses I had to cover out of my own pocket ultimately led to the burning of all my savings – and very quickly so. Needless to say that the 2008 banking crisis didn’t exactly help, when I sold a packaged life insurance/401k plan in order to regain some liquidity and balance out my banking account…

I’ve been on a journey of recovery since 2005 and with increased intensity so again since 2008. I made some progress on the physical “plane”, which seems to have made me even more painfully aware of my emotional conflicts and unresolved accounts. I was not prepared for this and I have been largely unaware of this – heightened awareness of unresolved emotional pain – until not too long ago. I don’t think, I’ve made much progress with the non-physical aspects of my problems. And I feel completely stuck. Not only do I feel stuck – I seem to be stuck with regard to certain aspects and limitations to the overall situation. But the latter doesn’t bother me as much as the feeling of being stuck in my personal recovery and not getting past a certain roadblock. I can be very tenacious and plain stubborn, which is probably a quality that saved me from giving up earlier or simply ending my life prematurely. But in this very context, my being hard-headed seems to have been counterproductive with regard to my progress. And it hit me like a ton of bricks, when I read this sentence in one of Kimberly’s replies in her latest blog the other day:

Sociopaths are completely devoid of feelings for others and incapable of developing them. They are never healed, ever.

Wow. How had I relapsed into denial over this previously identified experience with one of the perpetrators? (I can’t bring myself to saying their name or role… I need to keep the distance at this point). They may not be a sociopath today, but sure enough when they had parental authority. But their being sociopathic wasn’t reserved for me exclusively. Other family, co-workers, their spouse – no one got spared. Only – I didn’t know how to set boundaries let alone defend them and protect myself from the severe verbal, emotional and also mild, but noticeable and programmatic physical abuse like e.g. beating and hitting me on the back of my head so hard I literally saw stars before my eyes. Humiliation in private and public, berating, getting grounded on account of minor things – the whole nine of textbook abuse.

I had given myself permission to let feelings of rage and despair come forth after reading Miller’s The Drama of the Gifted Child in 2009 for the first time, often facilitated by slightly excessive alcohol consumption and a movie that would steer me towards repressed feelings. The combined effects of feeling less inhibited from the alcohol as well as the expressed movie scenes somehow striking an emotional chord in me resulted in those repressed feelings over childhood neglect, humiliation and overall inattention as described above become accessible and eventually fully manifest – often in devastating ways and resulting in a complete nervous breakdown that would last for hours. I’d go to bed exhausted, desperate and with a feeling of infinite solitude over having to carry this burden all by myself and with noone available to talk right after these very intense feelings. With every fibre of my being I wished for something or someone to acknowledge my pain for what it was, regardless of the fact that it might express itsself decades after the original cause for them.

I guess, I am still looking for someone to be my helping witness, as Miller coins them… I seem to realize very clearly that I will make no further progress, if I can’t find someone to “walk me” through the experience and processing of these very, very intense repressed emotions. So I guess, the search for a qualified therapist as well as the struggle of creatively bridging gaps in my health insurance plan is for me to be resumed yet another time…. Can I get a collective “Ugh” from the audience….?

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