About Adoptee Rage

Statistics Identify large populations of Adoptees in prisons, mental hospitals and committed suicide.
Fifty years of scientific studies on child adoption resulting in psychological harm to the child and
poor outcomes for a child's future.
Medical and psychological attempts to heal the broken bonds of adoption, promote reunions of biological parents and adult children. The other half of attempting to repair a severed Identity is counselling therapy to rebuild the self.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Alice Miller's Books Exploring and Explaining Parental Cruelty

Books By Alice Miller Explaining Parental Cruelty

The short explanation of parental behaviors explained by Miller.

The Drama of the Gifted Child (Das Drama des begabten Kindes, 1979) 

In her first book (also published under the titles Prisoners of Childhood and The Drama of the Gifted Child), Miller defined and elaborated the personality manifestations of childhood trauma. She addressed the two reactions to the loss of love in childhood, depression and grandiosity; the inner prison, the vicious circle of contempt, repressed memories the etiology of depression, and how childhood trauma manifests itself in the adult.
Miller writes: "Quite often we are face here with patients who have been praised and admired for their talents and their achievements. According to prevailing, general attitudes these people--the pride of their parents--should have had a strong stable sense of self-assurance. But exactly the opposite is the case... In my work with these people, I found that every one of them has a childhood history that seems significant to me:
  • There was a mother who at the core was emotionally insecure, and who depended for her narcississtic equilibrium on the child behaving, or acting, in a particular way. This mother was able to hide her insecurity from the child and from everyone else behind a hard, authoritarian and even totalitarian facade.
  • This child had an amazing ability to perceive and respond intuitively, that is, unconsciously, to this need of the mother or of both parents, for him to take on the role that had unconsciously been assigned to him.
  • This role secured "love" for the child--that is, his parents narcissistic cathexis. He could sense that he was needed and theis, he felt, guaranteed him a measure of existential security.
This ability is then extended and parefected. Later, these children not only become mothers (confidantes, advisers, supporters) of their own mothers, but also take over the responsibility for their siblings and eventually develop a special sensitivity to unconscious signals manifesting the needs of others.

For Your Own Good (Am Anfang war Erziehung, 1980) 

Miller proposed here that German traumatic childrearing produced heroin addict Christine F.., serial killer of children Jurgen  Bartsh and dictator Adolph Hitler. Children learn to accept their parents' often abusive behaviour against themselves as being "for their own good." In the case of Hitler, it led to displacement against the Jews and other minority groups. For Miller, the traditional pedagogic process was manipulative, resulting in grown-up adults deferring excessively to authorities, even to tyrannical leaders or dictators, like Hitler. Miller even argued for abandoning the term "pedagogy" in favor of the word "support," something akin to what psycho-historians call the helping mode of parenting.
In the Poisonous Pedagogy section of the book, Miller does a thorough survey of 19th century child-rearing literature in the book, citing texts which recommend practices such as exposing children to dead bodies in order to teach them about the sexual functions of human anatomy (45–46), resisting the temptation to comfort screaming infants (41–43), and beating children who haven't committed any specific offense as a kind of conditioning would help them to understand their own evil and fallen nature.
The key element that Miller elucidated in this book was the understanding of why the German nation, the "good Germans," were compliant with Hitler's abusive regime, which Miller asserted was a direct result of how the society in general treated its children. She raised fundamental questions about current, worldwide child-rearing practices and issued a stern warning.


Thou Shalt Not Be Aware (Du sollst nicht merken, 1981) 

Unlike Miller's later books, this one is written in a semi-academic style. It was her first critique of psychoanalysis, charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies, which she described in For Your Own Good. Miller was critical of both Freud and Carl Jung. She scrutinized Freud's drive theory, a device that, according to her and Jeffrey Masson, blames the child for the abusive sexual behavior of adults. Miller also theorized about Franz Koffka, who was abused by his father but fulfilled the politically correct function of mirroring abuse in metaphorical novels, instead of exposing it.
In the chapter entitled "The Pain of Separation and Autonomy," Miller examined the authoratarian (e.g.: Old Testament, Papist, Calvinist) interpretation of Judeo Christian deism and its parallels to modern parenting practice, asserting that it was Jesus's father Joseph who should be credited with Jesus's departure from the dogmatic Judiasm of his time. Miller's views were similar to those in Jack Miles's 1996 Pultizer Prize winner, God A Biography, questioning man's representations and character of God rather than the existence or deity of God.


The Untouched Key (Der gemiedene Schlüssel, 1988) 

This book was partly a psychobiography of Neitzniche, Picasso, Kollowitz and Buster Keaton; (in Miller's later book, The Body Never Lies, published in 2005, she included similar analyses of Dostoyevsky, Chekov, Schiller, Rimbauld, Mishima, Proust and James Joyce).
According to Miller, Nietzsche did not experience a loving family and his philosophical output was a metaphor of an unconscious drive against his family's oppressive theological tradition. She believed that the philosophical system was flawed because Nietzsche was unable to make emotional contact with the abused child inside him. Though Nietzsche was severely punished by a father who lost his mind when Nietzsche was a little boy, Miller did not accept the genetic theory of madness. She interpreted Nietzsche's psychotic breakdown as the result of a family tradition of Prussian modes of child-rearing.

Banished Knowledge (Das verbannte Wissen, 1988) 

In this more personal book Miller shared that she herself was abused as a child. She also introduced the fundamental concept of "enlightened witness": a person who was willing to support a harmed individual, empathize with her and help her to gain understanding of her own biographical past.
Banished Knowledge is autobiographical in another sense. It is a pointer in Miller's thoroughgoing apostasy from her own profession—psychoanalysis. She believed society was colluding with Freud's theories in order to not know the truth about our childhood, a truth that human cultures have "banished." She concluded that the feelings of guilt instilled in our minds since our most tender years reinforce our repression even in the psychoanalytic profession.

Breaking Down the Wall of Silence (Abbruch der Schweigemauer, 1990) 

Written in the aftermath of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Miller took to task the entirety of human culture. What she called the "wall of silence" is the metaphorical wall behind which society — academia, psychiatrists, clergy, politicians and members of the media — has sought to protect itself: denying the mind-destroying effects of child abuse. She also continued the autobiographical confession initiated in Banished Knowledge about her abusive mother. In Pictures of a Childhood: Sixty-six Watercolors and an Essay, Miller said that painting helped her to ponder deeply into her memories. In some of her paintings, Miller depicted baby Alice as swaddled, sometimes by an evil mother.
I betrayed that little girl [...]. Only in recent years, with the help of therapy, which enabled me to lift the veil on this repression bit by bit, could I allow myself to experience the pain and desperation, the powerlessness and justified fury of that abused child. Only then did the dimensions of this crime against the child I once was, become clear to me.
In a The New York Times obituary of April 26, 2010 British psychologist Oliver James is quoted saying that Alice Miller "is almost as influential as R.D. Laing.