Psychologist Therapist Alice Miller on Child Abuse

What is it?

Humiliations, spankings and beatings, slaps in the face, betrayal, sexual exploitation, derision, neglect, etc. are all forms of mistreatment, because they injure the integrity and dignity of a child, even if their consequences are not visible right away. However, as adults, most abused children will suffer, and let others suffer, from these injuries. This dynamic of violence can deform some victims into hangmen who take revenge even on whole nations and become willing executors to dictators as unutterably appalling as Hitler and other cruel leaders.

Beaten children very early on assimilate the violence they endured, which they may glorify and apply later as parents, in believing that they deserved the punishment and were beaten out of love. They don’t know that the only reason for the punishments they have (or in retrospect, had) to endure is the fact that their parents themselves endured and learned violence without being able to question it. Later, the adults, once abused children, beat their own children and often feel grateful to their parents who mistreated them when they were small and defenseless.

This is why society’s ignorance remains so immovable and parents continue to produce severe pain and destructivity – in all “good will”, in every generation. Most people tolerate this blindly because the origins of human violence in childhood have been and are still being ignored worldwide. Almost all small children are smacked during the first three years of life when they begin to walk and to touch objects which may not be touched. This happens at exactly the time when the human brain builds up its structure and should thus learn kindness, truthfulness, and love but never, never cruelty and lies. Fortunately, there are many mistreated children who find “helping witnesses” and can feel loved by them.

Alice Miller

Taken From Alice Miller’s Official Site:  Alice Miller

Illustration by: Michael Jackson

Post Script : If Michael Jackson had a helpful enlightened witness as a child, perhaps he would still be with us today. But had this witness been available for him as a child to protect him from harms way,  perhaps he would not have been the Michael Jackson we grew to know so well.

Also Read:Evolutions End by Joseph Chilton Pearce.

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About Benjamin Kanarek
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Fashion and Beauty Photographer. Some of the magazines I have shot for include: VOGUE (China, Portugal, Brazil, Italia, Paris and South America & Mexico editions), RG VOGUE Brazil, Harper’s BAZAAR (China, en Español & Latin America, Hong Kong, Italy editions), L’Officiel Paris, ELLE (Spain, Portugal and Greece editions), Madame Figaro (France), Cosmopolitan (France and Italy editions), Glamour (France), Votre Beauté, Jardin des Modes, Dépêche Mode, New York Daily News, Fashion District News, New York Times Magazine, W (British edition), WWD, Fashion Magazine (Canada), Flare (Canada), Oyster, Tank, WestEast…
  • Joan Fournier

    Your website is extremely interesting,I wish to communicate with u,could i sent e-mail to you?

  • Benjamin Kanarek

    Yes the drawing is by Michael Jackson. I am so saddened by the lose of Alice Miller. I just found out now…She has been and always will be one of the greatest influences in my life.

  • diana

    hi benjamin,
    I would like to know if the drawing you posted was actually drawn by Jackson. Also, thanks for your Alice Miller postings. I was rather put down by the unrespctful, belittling obituaries published when she died, a few days ago. And I am looking for more enlightened witnesses of her lifetime work
    thanks
    diana
    italy

  • Wendy bothma

    The fact that other abused children don’t all grow up to be hitlers is irrelevant. Some of the abused make a conscious decision not to continue the cycle of abuse. Others luckily live relatively harmless lives.among the fortunate are the ones who maintain ‘we turned out ok’
    but child abuse of any form is never justified or wise.There are many societal human abuses in Asian countries aimed at children in particular.The world at large continues to ignore the plight of the child. People like Alice Miller try to change this.it is necessary

  • SaveUs

    I’ve been reading ‘reader mail’ at AM’s website, and have read only one of her books. I absolutely agree with her position on physical and emotional abuse and neglect. However, she does seem to be trying to understand the actions of Hitler while at the same time finding parents, including her own, culpable. Where is the compassion for parents who were also beaten?

    Also, I was beaten as a child, but would never be violent towards anyone. These were standard operating procedures for raising children, in the past. The evil and horror of it was lost on people, somehow. But Open hatred toward ignorance is itself a form of ignorance. There must be a better way.

  • Eugenia Berdali

    The only thing that physical or psychological violence teaches is to understand, be persuaded, and negotiate life only on the basis of violence. Whether abused children will identify with the violator or not, they will always be vulnerable to violence as effectors or as recipients of violence.

    This is among the essential factors in recycling human “miserability” like a sickness induced to children by their own progenitors “out of love”. We should call it the “love bug’! Parents that choose to hide their “problem” may call abusing their children whatever they want. However, any adult claiming that raising his/her hand over a terrified little thing is an act of love (one wonders how obscure a love) is really in need of serious therapy!

  • http://www.benjaminkanarek.com Benjamin Kanarek

    I had no preconceived intent prior to posting my comments. I am shooting from the hip. No more, no less.

    But thanks none the less for your opinion.

  • michael piestrzynski

    Ben, I think you are trying to get a reaction here. Don’t confuse the two issues.

  • http://www.benjaminkanarek.com Benjamin Kanarek

    Childhood violence will eventually become aggression amongst adults and eventual wars by those who were not exposed to another possibility of dialog that is based on mutual respect and understanding.

  • http://www.modelmayhem.com/andylin Andy Lin

    By the way, physical punishment is a pretty common thing in Asian cultures. My parents did it, and so did my the parents of my Indian friend. We turned out just fine, if not better than kids who were never punished that way.

    If the research were always true, then China and India would have already consumed themselves in violence.

  • http://www.modelmayhem.com/andylin Andy Lin

    I certainly think there are ways to teach children without having to resort to physical punishment, but I really do not believe that physical punishment, when used properly of course, is itself a bad thing. It is too easy to generalize. Bad parenting can manifest itself in various forms: a parent could never physically punish their children, yet their children could just as easily grow up into “monsters”.

  • http://www.benjaminkanarek.com Benjamin Kanarek

    Hitler was only one example of so many tyrants that tortured their people as an outcrop of their own childhood horrors.

  • michael piestrzynski

    While I do agree with you 100% that we should not beat our children I don’t know if Hitler is the best example of a beaten child. There are plenty of children that were beaten that did not grow up to be a ‘hitler’.

    I also agree with you 100% that it is not out of love that people snack children. When my kids are pushing me to the limit of tolerance and I feel the urge give them a smack it is not love i am feeling. It is usually anger and frustration. I do not smack them and try to use my brain instead. Surely I, as an adult, can use my brain better than a small child to get them to stop bad or dangerous behavior.

    I’m not 100% sure though that those that were smacked go on to be smackers. I was smacked and and I have never smacked my kids. I believe people smack because it is easy for them and they are lazy.

    Kids are hard work but WE all HAVE to get it right in bringing them up.

  • http://www.benjaminkanarek.com Benjamin Kanarek

    There is no physical or verbal punishment out of love! There are parents whom were beaten by there parents and their grand parents and their great grand parents etc. But this was NOT out of love. Just watch children being scolded for opening and closing a cupboard too frequently or dropping a ball frequently. Children are often screamed at for doing so. If parent s knew that the reason children are doing so, they would stop. Up until the age of around fourteen. The neural connector in the brain have not been hard wired. There is a lubricant called myelin that acts as a lubricant and protects the neural connectors called dendrites. Once the child has opened and closed the cupboard (as each movement adds a layer of myelin to that dendrite and is sufficiently protected from future oxidation) the child stops doing so and has learned that movement, the child goes on to another exercise. (Source: “Evolutions End” by: Joseph Chilton Pearce). Hitler was beaten to a pulp by his drunken father Alois and could have bled to death. He was beaten in the genitalia. He tried to run away, was caught and was beaten again. If Hitler had an illuminated witness to explain that this kind of treatment was not normal, perhaps he would not have recycled his childhood experience on the people of Germany, the Jews, Gypsies, Homosexuals and political prisoners. NO, beating is NOT done out of love and I have been very militant in stopping any parent from doing so when ever I witness these acts of cruelty. They often break down in tears when they see I am protecting their child from them, as they usually wish they knew a witness that could have done the same for them. I highly suggest you purchase, “Banished Knowledge”,“Breaking Down the Walls of Silence” and perhaps “For Your Own Good”, all by Alice Miller. I highly recommend reading these wonderful books in the order I prescribed as there were some revelations in the later that were not realized in the former by the author.

    One more thing, there is no excuse for being reprimanded physically or with verbal cruelty. That is NOT proper punishment and is illegal as stated in the UN convention.

    Good Luck
    Ben

  • http://www.modelmayhem.com/andylin Andy Lin

    While I understand the general idea, there’s a fine line between abuse and punishment. I was severely punished as a child, but don’t have any sort of violent tendencies. It truly was punishment out of love. However, abuse is much more prevalent than proper punishment, and that’s why this researcher and many others attribute it as the source of many problems.

    Parenting really is one of the biggest issues that will most likely never be remedied.