Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive

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Kizzie

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Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« on: January 20, 2016, 12:46:48 AM »
This absolutely blew me away - http://www.contemporarypsychotherapy.org/volume-7-no-1-summer-2015/interview-martin-miller/

I found myself saying "This could not be, it's Alice Miller for heaven's sake!"  I realized then how invalidated her son must have felt throughout his life if I as someone who experienced a similar situation had trouble with the notion his well known mother was abusive.  I hope his book comes out in English at some point.

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tesscaline

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #1 on: January 20, 2016, 01:36:48 AM »

I found myself saying "This could not be, it's Alice Miller for heaven's sake!"  I realized then how invalidated her son must have felt throughout his life if I as someone who experienced a similar situation had trouble with the notion his well known mother was abusive.  I hope his book comes out in English at some point.

I understand, very much that invalidation. My M was highly respected by the parents of my friends, as well as her coworkers, and my father was (and still is) a groundbreaking leader in his field and a mentor to more than I can count. The few times I tried to seek out assistance, I was not believed at all. I got incredulous looks. I got shakes of heads and turning away. It added to the trauma I was already experiencing.

My own experience is why I'm a strong advocate for believing, and acting to protect, anyone claiming to be a victim of any sort of abuse. Doing otherwise risks far too much harm, in my opinion.

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Trees

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #2 on: January 20, 2016, 02:14:36 AM »
Riveting stuff.  Reminds me quite a lot of my own childhood.

"We are not really creatures of free will."

"Re-enactment happens."

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #3 on: January 20, 2016, 04:55:32 AM »
I had to look up Alice Miller…
Another TherapistMom.  :pissed:

edit: Good grief. What a sad story. The abuse the son suffered.  :sadno:
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 05:16:26 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2016, 06:05:09 AM »
I thought of you and your mom when I read it Dutch.   :hug:

It really resonated with me too as my FOO looked good, My F although alcoholic was high functioning and did really well career wise, my NPDM looked like the best darn mother in the world, and my B was a handsome jock who went on to be a pilot in the military.  I was the chubby, emotional kid who had her nose stuck in a book until I got mouthy in my teens. 

Anyway, I know the feeling of being invalidated and so was really surprised at my first reaction when I read the interview.  This is what so many of us are up against - lack of awareness about covert emotional abuse because it's not as apparent as more overt abuse, but has the same effect of beating down the soul.   

 :hug: to Martin Miller and all of us.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 06:07:56 AM by Kizzie »

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #5 on: January 20, 2016, 09:44:03 AM »
I thought of you and your mom when I read it Dutch.   :hug:
Thanks, that made me smile.  :)

Martin's father was also [understatement] quite a character [/understatement]. Good grief.  :pissed:  And this Stettbacher guy.  :doh:
I skimmed a bit through the article. It was too much to take it all in at once. The therapy sessions that were passed on! Arrgghh…
Perhaps I'll read the book at some point. At least the parts that are specifically about the TherapistMom. I think that'll be quite enough for me, I can do without the war-traumas/history. To read the story that is so close to my own might purge some of my old unresolved mess. Luckily I can read German, so when I feel up to it I can. It will probably cause a parade of EF's though.

Quote
It really resonated with me too as my FOO looked good, My F although alcoholic was high functioning and did really well career wise, my NPDM looked like the best darn mother in the world, and my B was a handsome jock who went on to be a pilot in the military.  I was the chubby, emotional kid who had her nose stuck in a book until I got mouthy in my teens. 

Anyway, I know the feeling of being invalidated and so was really surprised at my first reaction when I read the interview.  This is what so many of us are up against - lack of awareness about covert emotional abuse because it's not as apparent as more overt abuse, but has the same effect of beating down the soul.
Yeah, this horrible abuse is not beholden to just TherapistMoms.  :thumbdown:  This awful pretense that is so essential to the covert abuse, and it's even worse when the abuse is mental. ("worse" as in: even more difficult to spot, for both the victim him/herself, as for the 'outside world'.) "Beating down the soul", indeed.
I'm so grateful for this community where the former pretense can finally be acknowledged. And our spirits be lifted and shine.  :sunny:

 :hug: to Martin and all of us indeed. Those known and unknown.
« Last Edit: January 20, 2016, 10:10:28 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #6 on: January 20, 2016, 06:21:44 PM »
 :yeahthat:   :thumbup:

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snailspace

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2016, 08:14:58 PM »
"Another TherapistMom."  Poor chap.  It's his time to speak out.  I wonder if he would ever have been believed whilst his mother was still alive.  My late N mother was a great fan of Alice Miller's work and 25 years ago I recall seeing her books around the FOO home.  If I remember what appealed to mum was that Alice Miller had joined the "recovered memory" movement (others may know this as False Memory Syndrome) and along with thousands of other women at the time accused her father of lifelong abuse.  Obviously I have no idea if this was true but I became very cynical - I had read 1 or 2 of her books and found them fascinating but failed to recognise myself or mother in them.  The best was yet to come as my TherapistMom falsely accused her husband (my dad) et al of abuse and destroyed my FOO.  One day I'll get round to writing more about this but it takes me back.  Does anyone know anymore about this?  I hope Martin finds peace in his life.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #8 on: January 22, 2016, 09:18:02 AM »
(this quote originates from snailspace's introduction-thread)
I'm not sure what to think hearing now that you also had a T Mom who was (is?) an N.  It's more than a little concerning that those who profess to help are really feeding the N need.
I did read some articles where it is acknowledged that N's (and other PD's) do find their way to jobs in the mental health field.

But more telling in my personal experiences has been that after I had the SCID-II taken, and the question was :"Now what?" my psychologist mentioned that it was not uncommon for her and her team to have 'patients'/'clients' who were suffering from negative effects by being raised by psychologists/psychiatrists/therapists. (This was mentioned somewhat in passing, we didn't delve in it very deep as the issue at hand was what, if any, treatment she and her team could provide now that no diagnosis 'on me' had been possible.)
This has stuck with me, and I still think that if I will see a therapist (I'm not really looking forward to seeing a therapist, as you may be able to imagine…  ;) ) the very first thing would be to tackle my TherapistMom issue, with the emphasis on "Therapist" rather than "Mom". I think it's paramount for any therapist-assisted recovery I first de-enmesh "therapist" and my FOO, and get to learn how to deal 'decently' with a therapist in a proper therapeutic setting.
 :stars:

Already then I had great difficulty bringing therapistMom up, in front of these therapists: I had thoughts racing like "They are therapists too, I can't tell them this! They might start to doubt their own parenting of their kids! I can't do that to them!"
Then I nowadays imagine myself asking possible therapists: 'Howdy, can you help me working through a deep seated hate towards Therapists? I've been abused by one for most of my life. Therapists suck. Thanks."  ;D

I have one article sitting on my hard-drive that addresses in a way Therapists as partners/parents. I did read it with reversed roles though (as in: "what if your TherapistPartner expects you to be the patient.") I do hope that nowadays this is part of the compulsory curriculum for mental-health workers.
http://www.yourtango.com/experts/dr-margaret-paul/what-do-when-he-expects-you-be-his-therapist#.VME6Vktja0o

Another note on my personal situation: My TherapsitMom started out as a Gestalt-therapist. When I did look that up sometime in the last month or so, these lines caught my eye:
Quote
Because Gestalt therapy relies on the contact between therapist and client, and because a relationship can be considered to be contact over time, Gestalt therapy can be considered a relational or interpersonal approach.
[…]
To create the conditions under which a dialogic moment might occur, the therapist attends to his or her own presence, creates the space for the client to enter in and become present as well (called inclusion)*, and commits him or herself to the dialogic process, surrendering to what takes place, as opposed to attempting to control it. With presence, the therapist judiciously “shows up” as a whole and authentic person, instead of assuming a role, false self or persona.
source: wiki
*) inclusion? Enmeshment seems a real threat here.

I can easily see (though this might be confirmation bias  ;D ) how the very approach in Gestalt-therapy can be instrumental in blurring the lines of "Health-care professional" and "partner" (or any other patient/client for that matter).

edit. One last thing I realized just in the month or so back: My psychologist also asked me a couple of times what I expected of therapy, and when I told her, she has said a couple of times: "How is that different from talking to a good and dear friend?" So it took half a year or so for the penny to drop, but nowadays I see that this reflect quite well how I have 'learned' to equate 'friendship' (perhaps "love" even) for a therapeutic relationship. I really hardly know the difference. (Well, I think I do, but I often confuse the two I guess, and revert to a therapeutic 'setting' as soon as the friendship gets some 'depth'.)

By the way: This month is the 1st anniversary of me going to these therapists. One of the best things I have ever done.  :phoot:
« Last Edit: January 22, 2016, 10:16:08 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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snailspace

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #9 on: January 22, 2016, 10:10:10 PM »
Interesting Dutch Uncle.  I hadn't really considered how the roles might coincide between therapist/mother although it took me a lot of courage even to consider visiting one due to my history - my GP suggested it.  I became aware immediately in session how the terminology triggered me.  This is where my mother had blurred the boundaries with me constantly using inappropriate therapy-lingo in everyday usage, and taking the pseudo professional approach with me.  She didn't just know what was wrong with me - she knew it as a therapist - and my problem was I had been abused by my father doncha know.  She used Jung's theories of The Shadow to explain my father, when in reality she was talking about her projected split self.
I think I carried this deference over to my therapist who took on the expert role similar to my mother and I resorted to the invisible role that I had been conditioned into from birth.  It's complicated!
I managed to move away when things got bad with my mother but my dear GC sister was completely enmeshed in my mother's own theraping and she treats everyone now as a potential therapist.                                                                                       I read an article by Andrew Vachs where he says "The most damaging mistake an emotional abuse victim can make is to invest in the "rehabilitation" of the abuser.  Too often this becomes still another wish that didn't come true - and emotionally abused children will conclude that they deserve no better result"  We were both involved in my mother's personal journey and looked on bewildered as she talked non stop about her father's abuses of her, when it most likely was her own mother, the person she refused to mention, who had abused her.  There was no space to let mother know how she had treated us because we could see the "pain" caused by her own suffering.  Grrr it's mindblowing but good to talk and making sense of what happened.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #10 on: January 23, 2016, 04:22:50 PM »
I've been reading other articles about Martin and his M and apparently later in life she was able to admit some of what she had done.
Fauxpologies at best, I gather. If even that.
Quote from: Martin Miller in the interview
And on top of that I had a therapist, a student of Stettbacher. She recorded the sessions. I listened to them as well but I was not aware she made two copies. Everyday after a session she sent the sessions to Stettbacher. Stettbacher listened to the tapes and sent them on to my mother. My mother listened to them as well. That’s how they controlled me.
[…]
My mother broke with me all the rules you must adhere to as therapist. I almost killed myself.
[…]
My mother refused to get engaged in any kind of discussion. She never really apologised. She never understood the mistake. She lied to me when she said to me, “I am sorry.” Later on I learned through other people that my mother bad-mouthed me fifteen years after the incident with Stettbacher.
That part did hit hard with me. First of all, what TherapistMom did there is a criminal offense. It's a breach of doctor-patient confidentially. And she knew it.
My 'mom' has done something similar, but then with my brother and her 'Nature GP' (some sort of homeopathic guy), to which she had sent my brother. Him being an ex-pat, she got the results of tests on bro at her house. She had opened the letter (no doubt addressed to bro) and asked me what the content meant. Only after I complied to explain the stuff, I realized that what she (and by extension: I) had done: a breach of doctor-patient confidentiality. (I'm curious if I told 'mom' this. I should check my journals. If I only knew when this exactly was. I do remember telling myself: "Never again, this.")
It does show how far the need for control is seeded in persons like this.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 04:26:15 PM by Dutch Uncle »

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Kizzie

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #11 on: January 23, 2016, 08:01:13 PM »
I've been pondering about Alice Miller and her behaviour as her son describes it is very N like so perhaps you're correct Dutch that they were faux apologies.  I know how deeply and how long I wished for that from my parents and if there were a hint of it, I might have jumped at it and still been stuck in the trap of being unable to see/accept the truth.  Perhaps part of Martin wanted that even though he clearly saw the abuse, it's such a tough one to let go of.
« Last Edit: January 23, 2016, 08:09:57 PM by Kizzie »

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snailspace

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #12 on: January 23, 2016, 08:23:23 PM »
Yes I have been bothered all day!   Thank you for putting my gut feelings into words.  Alice Miller's behaviour sounds extreme,  yet some aspects sound so familiar.

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Dutch Uncle

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #13 on: February 16, 2016, 06:47:03 AM »
When going through my (internet) recourses this article resurfaced again: Psychotherapists and their Families: The Effect of Clinical Practice on Individual and Family Dynamics And How to Prevent Therapists' Burnout and Impairment
About 2/5 down there's a chapter "Impact Of The Profession On The Therapist's Family", which might be a part that resonates with you snailspace. In particular "Negative Impacts on the Family".
It did resonate with me. It may be triggering I guess. For me it was more a relief though: unpleasant experiences validated.

 :hug:
« Last Edit: February 16, 2016, 06:56:46 AM by Dutch Uncle »

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snailspace

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Re: Alice Miller's Son Martin Says His M was Abusive
« Reply #14 on: February 17, 2016, 06:15:03 PM »
Phew that was quite a read Dutch Uncle.  Many thanks for posting this interesting article and the section you highlighted for me was indeed extremely validating!  I don't think my mother knew what a therapist's code of ethics meant regarding her own family.  My best wishes to you.