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Childhood trauma and its consequences
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 07, 2010 2:50 pm 
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Alice Miller used to be a campaigner against corporal punishment of children, but she hasn't said anything new on the subject for at least ten years.... although it's true that she often repeats what she's said before. She has been overtaken by all the various international human rights organizations that are campaigning to end corporal punishment of children and grant them legal rights.

We should make allowances, of course. Alice is over 80 years old and it's very hard to teach an old dog new tricks, so I'm not holding my breath for her to start acknowledging the changing landscape of children's legal rights. Nearly all the biographical sketches in her books are about childhoods that were endured more than 100 years ago.

Rant finished.... and now to the topic of the subject line....

The Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children has three charts for children's legal rights in Africa and the Middle East:

Links: Chart-MidEast-NorthAfrica.pdf | Chart-West-CentralAfrica.pdf | Chart-East-SouthernAfrica.pdf

All these countries have banned corporal punishment in schools....

1. Algeria
2. Bahrain
3. Egypt
4. Iran
5. Iraq
6. Israel
7. Jordan
8. Kuwait
9. Libya
10. Oman
11. Sudan (Southern)
12. United Arab Emirates
13. Yemen

14. Burkina Faso
15. Cameroon
16. Chad
17. Congo, Republic of
18. DR Congo
19. Gabon
20. Guinea
21. Guinea-Bissau
22. Mali
23. Sao Tome & Principe
24. Senegal
25. Togo

26. Angola
27. Ethiopia
28. Kenya
29. Malawi
30. Mauritius
31. Namibia
32. South Africa
33. Zambia

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 09, 2010 12:35 am 
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Alice Miller could have made a stronger case if she used her position as an established writer and worked together with like-minded writers/researchers to target media outlets. Even if people don't want to listen, good arguments linger in people's heads and do eventually make a difference. But, like you said, she's at an age where you can't expect too much anymore. It's up to others to write about the links between people's childhoods and their adult life. It seems that at first Alice Miller seems very enthusiastic about a person, website or forum, and then suddenly she turns radically away from it, often even opposing and condemning them. Even though she probably denies it, but she's still stuck in psycho-analytical thinking, believing that insights about one's childhood will rid you of your fears, neuroses and violent behaviour. I don't know a single person who has fully stopped their own repetitive destructive behaviour by reading her books. I also noticed her books, and especially her first books are often mentioned by mothers who have mistreated their child and use it as an excuse to themselves and their children that it wasn't their fault. I can't help thinking that maybe it's the reason behind it why Alice Miller wrote her books.

It's an impressive list of new countries that are banning corporal punishment in schools. Makes you wonder why the US still refuses to join.

Dennis

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 10, 2010 6:34 pm 
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Dennis wrote:
Makes you wonder why the US still refuses to join.


Oh hell that's easy. We're morons. "Well why are you such morons?" Oh hell that's easy: we are the wretched, the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. We're the scum of the earth. The scapegoats. The bullied. We're the respectable world's tossed garbage, its banished criminals, its madmen. We're its chopped onion and s├╝rstromming thinbread sandwiches pitched out the window when it thought no one would see. That's right. We're unclean. Insane. We're f'ing absalootly nuts. And damned proud of it! So thhbbpppp!

Steve

(We're working on it though.)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 13, 2010 1:57 pm 
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Dennis wrote:
It seems that at first Alice Miller seems very enthusiastic about a person, website or forum, and then suddenly she turns radically away from it, often even opposing and condemning them.

I've wondered about her behavior. Alice Miller has not said a great deal about how she was treated as a child.... harsh toilet training, corporal punishment and this....

"My mother's withdrawal into silence that sometimes lasted for days was a constantly impending threat." (The Body Never Lies, Introduction)

Did you know that when Jeffrey Masson was under attack for exposing Freud's denial of child abuse, Alice Miller travelled to the United States (in 1982) to offer him her support? His book, The Assault on Truth, was first published by Alice Miller's German publisher. Big question.... Why has she never mentioned him, apart from listing one of his later books in a bibliography? She could have strengthened her case against Freudian psychoanalytic orthodoxies by discussing Jeffrey Masson's discoveries in the Freud Archives. But instead.... silence.

I think I have found the probable answer. Alice Miller was in Berkeley at the time Jeffrey Masson was being interviewed for a lengthy two-part article in The New Yorker magazine. In the article both he, and the interviewer, Janet Malcolm, made unflattering remarks about Miller. One example....

"Alice Miller said in an aggrieved tone that she had gone swimming in one of the pools and was having trouble with the chlorine in her eyes; the goggles sold at the hotel hadn't worked properly [she wanted him to find her a better pair]. .... As he and I walked through the lobby, he sighed and said, 'Goggles, yet. God, she's kvetchy! She's like my mother.'"

The article was eventually published as a book: "In The Freud Archives". I think Alice Miller read it and bears him a grudge.... hence the Silent Treatment. So.... not only like Jeffrey's mother, but like her own mother too.

Dennis wrote:
It's an impressive list of new countries that are banning corporal punishment in schools.

According to the Global Initiative, since India banned corporal punishment in schools in 2009, 61% of the world's children are now protected from corporal punishment by teachers.

http://www.endcorporalpunishment.org/pa ... india.html

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 14, 2010 2:14 am 
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Interesting anecdote from Masson's encounter with Miller. I hadn't heard it before. Why would a woman who wrote books with great insights about the connection of childhood hurt and adult repetition not be able to see that in her own behaviour? The slightest disagreement she encounters in people and she panics and rejects the whole person. You would expect that she can examine her own feelings and see the link and feel what she had to endure as a child. If she's afraid of such feelings, she would be also afraid of such feelings in other, more conscious people. I often notice in people who have read the books of Miller that after the initial joy and recognition, eventually more defences are raised and new forms of denial show up.

I know Masson wrote in an afterword to a later edition of Against Therapy a few words about Miller (see: http://pillsworld.blogspot.com/2008/08/ ... iller.html). I reckon if a person is really committed to see child abuse getting less or gone, he or she would be more open to co-operate with others. I know Ellie van Winkle was very disappointed when she met with Alice Miller in New York and Miller told her she didn't have time to listen to her.

Dennis

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PostPosted: Sat Mar 27, 2010 1:08 pm 
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In "Breaking Down the Wall of Silence" Alice Miller mentions that Peter Newell founded EPPOCH in 1989. But that's not all he's done.

Peter Newell:
From a bio on the Child Rights Information Network website....
http://www.crin.org/ ... ID=16567
"In the 1990s he was Research Coordinator for the Commission on Children and Violence in the UK. Internationally, he is Coordinator of the Global Initiative to End All Corporal Punishment of Children. He helped prepare UNICEF's Implementation Handbook on the Convention on the Rights of the Child, and has worked frequently as a consultant for UNICEF."

Alice Miller:
Apart from writing from a psychotherapist's perspective, what has Alice Miller done to improve the situation of children in the world? A few public lectures (the last in 1998), a few open letters and flyers, and some interviews.

First book:
1972
"A last Resort? Corporal punishment in schools" by Peter Newell.
1979
"Das Drama des begabten Kindes" (The Drama of the Gifted Child) by Alice Miller.

Here's an example of the work that's being done to change social attitudes. It's not so difficult after all....
http://www.nospank.net/n-s56.htm

PS. Alice Miller has abandoned her forums.... the page linking to the "ourchildhood" forums has disappeared from her site.

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