Top Quotes & Sayings by Alice MillerShow picture quotes only
In the short term, corporal punishment may produce obedience. But it is a fact documented by research that in the long term the results are inability to learn, violence and rage, bullying, cruelty, inability to feel another's pain, especially that of one's own children, even drug addiction and suicide, unless there are enlightened or at least helping witnesses on hand to prevent that development.
The abused child goes on living within those who have survived such torture, a torture that ended with total repression. They live with the darkness of fear, oppression, and threats. When all its attempts to move the adult to heed its story have failed, it resorts to the language of symptoms to make itself heard. Enter addiction, psychosis, criminality.
Every life and every childhood is filled with frustrations; we cannot imagine it otherwise, for even the best mother cannot satisfy all her child's wishes and needs. It is not the suffering caused by frustration, however, that leads to emotional illness, but rather the fact that the child is forbidden by the parents to experience and articulate this suffering, the pain felt at being wounded.
For some years now, there has been proof that the devastating effects of the traumatization of children take their inevitable tollon society--a fact that we are still forbidden to recognize. 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 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.
Anyone who has ever been a mother or father and is at all honest knows from experience how difficult it can be for parents to accept certain aspects of their children. It is especially painful to have to admit this if we really love our child and want to respect his or her individuality yet are unable to do so.
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