Alice Miller quotes

  • The victimization of children is nowhere forbidden; what is forbidden is to write about it.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Writing #Forbidden

  • Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one's parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Umpires #Parent

  • What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Addiction #Plight #Language

  • I have never known a patient to portray his parents more negatively than he actually experienced them in childhood but always more positively--because idealization of his parents was essential for his survival.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Childhood #Parent #Survival

  • The art of not experiencing feelings. A child can experience her feelings only when there is somebody there who accepts her fully, understands her, and supports her. If that person is missing, if the child must risk losing the mother's love of her substitute in order to feel, then she will repress emotions.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Mother #Art #Children

  • Many people suffer all their lives from this oppressive feeling of guilt, the sense of not having lived up to their parents' expectations. This feeling is stronger than any intellectual insight they might have, that it is not a child's task or duty to satisfy his parents needs. No argument can overcome these guilt feelings, for they have their beginnings in life's earliest periods, and from that they derive their intensity and obduracy.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #People #Expectations

  • All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Self #Feelings

  • 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.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Suicide #Bullying #Pain

  • Child abuse is still sanctioned — indeed, held in high regard — in our society as long as it is defined as child-rearing. It is a tragic fact that parents beat their children in order to escape the emotions from how they were treated by their own parents.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Order #Long

  • People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be-both in their youth and in adulthood-intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Hurt #Children #Honesty

  • The more we idealize the past and refuse to acknowledge our childhood sufferings, the more we pass them on unconsciously to the next generation.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Past #Childhood #Suffering

  • We don't yet know, above all, what the world might be like if children were to grow up without being subjected to humiliation, if parents would respect them and take them seriously as people.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Growing Up #Learning

  • The reason why parents mistreat their children has less to do with character and temperament than with the fact that they were mistreated themselves and were not permitted to defend themselves.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Character #Parent

  • Genuine feelings cannot be produced, nor can they be eradicated. We can only repress them, delude ourselves, and deceive our bodies. The body sticks to the facts.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Feelings #Body #Facts

  • Child abuse damages a person for life and that damage is in no way diminished by the ignorance of the perpetrator. It is only with the uncovering of the complete truth as it affects all those involved that a genuinely viable solution can be found to the dangers of child abuse.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Ignorance #Abuse

  • Without realizing that the past is constantly determining their present actions, they avoid learning anything about their history. They continue to live in their repressed childhood situation, ignoring the fact that is no longer exists, continuing to fear and avoid dangers that, although once real, have not been real for a long time.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Real #Past #Long

  • Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and unique history of our childhood.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Struggle #Acceptance #Emotional

  • The only possible recourse a baby has when his screams are ignored is to repress his distress, which is tantamount to mutilating his soul, for the result is an interference with his ability to feel, to be aware, and to remember.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Baby #Soul #Ignored

  • Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Education #Children #Learning

  • 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.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Childhood #Trying #Wish

  • We produce destructive people by the way we are treating them in childhood.
    -- Alice Miller

    #People #Childhood #Way

  • If we do not work on all three levels -- body, feeling, mind -- the symptoms of our distress will keep returning, as the body goes on repeating the story stored in its cells until it is finally listened to and understood.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Cells #Feelings #Mind

  • It is not true that evil, destructiveness , and perversion inevitably form part of human existence, no matter how often this is maintained. But it is true that we are daily producing more evil and, with it, an ocean of suffering for millions that is absolutely avoidable. When one day the ignorance arising from childhood repression is eliminated and humanity has awakened, an end can be put to this production of evil.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Ocean #Ignorance #Evil

  • Courage can be just as infectious as fear.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Grief

  • The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child, who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Confused #Childhood

  • Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Forgiveness #Anger #Doe

  • Those children who are beaten will in turn give beatings, those who are intimidated will be intimidating, those who are humiliated will impose humiliation, and those whose souls are murdered will murder.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Giving #Soul

  • If a mother respects both herself and her child from his very first day onward, she will never need to teach him respect for others.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Mother #Children #Needs

  • Ultimately the body will rebel. Even if it can be temporarily pacified with the help of drugs, cigarettes or medicine, it usually has the last word because it is quicker to see through self-deception than the mind. We may ignore or deride the messages of the body, but its rebellion demands to be heeded because its language is the authentic expression of our true selves and of the strength of our vitality.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Philosophy #Medicine #Self

  • Disrespect is the weapon of the weak
    -- Alice Miller

    #Disrespect #Weapons #Weak

  • Where there had been only fearful emptiness or equally frightening grandiose fan­tasies, an unexpected wealth of vitality is now discovered. This is not a homecoming, since this home has never before existed. It is the creation of home.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Home #Fans #Vitality

  • An unacknowledged trauma is like a wound that never heals over and may start to bleed again at any time.
    -- Alice Miller

    #May #Trauma #Heal

  • For the human soul is virtually indestructible, and its ability to rise from the ashes remains as long as the body draws breath.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Long #Soul #Ashes

  • Genuine feelings are never the product of conscious effort. They are quite simply there, and they are there for a very good reason, even if that reason is not always apparent.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Effort #Feelings #Reason

  • Today I should not be identified with any kind of regressive therapy.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Today #Kind #Should

  • Children who are respected learn respect. Children who are cared for learn to care for those weaker than themselves. Children who are loved for what they are cannot learn intolerance. In an environment such as this, they will develop their own ideals, which can be nothing other than humane, since they grew out of the experience of love.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Care #Environment

  • 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.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Moving #Psychosis

  • If it's very painful for you to criticize your friends - you're safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that's the time to hold your tongue.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Friendship #Real Friends #Gossip

  • The results of any traumatic experience, such as abuse, can only be resolved by experiencing, articulating, and judging every facet of the original experience within a process of careful therapeutic disclosure.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Judging #Abuse #Process

  • Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one's own despised and unwanted feelings.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Warrior #Feelings #Defense

  • There are people who have benefited from therapy without being confronted with the past at all.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Past #People #Therapy

  • It is very difficult for people to believe the simple fact that every persecutor was once a victim. Yet it should be very obvious that someone who was allowed to feel free and strong from childhood does not have the need to humiliate another person.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Strong #Believe #Simple

  • Regression to the stage of early infancy is not a suitable method in and of itself. Such a regression can only be effective if it happens in the natural course of therapy and if the client is able to maintain adult consciousness at the same time.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Adults #Able #Regression

  • The grandiose person is never really free; first because he is excessively dependent on admiration from others, and second, because his self-respect is dependent on qualities, functions, and achievements that can suddenly fail.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Self #Achievement #Quality

  • One can only remember what has been consciously experienced.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Remember

  • One of the best ways of keeping your temper in an argument, as most of us know only too well, is not to listen to anything the other person has to say.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Anger #Way #Argument

  • The commandment to refrain from placing blame on our parents, deeply imprinted in us by our upbringing, skillfully performs the function of hiding essential truths from us.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Truth #Parent #Essentials

  • Discipline is ... life-inhibiting, is at the very least curtailment of vital activity insofar as the latter cannot develop as it wishes but is confined within specific limits and subjected to specific rules.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Discipline #Wish #Limits

  • Empathy grows as we learn.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Empathy #Grows

  • People who, as children, were intellectually far beyond their parents and therefore admired by them, but who also therefore had to solve their own problems alone. These people, who give us a feeling of their intellectual strength and will power, also seem to demand that we, too, ought to fight off any feeling of weakness with intellectual means. In their presence one feels one cannot be recognized as a person with problems just as they and their problems were unrecognized by their parents, for whom he always had to be strong.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Strong #Children #Mean

  • Don't ever dare to take your college as a matter of course - because, like democracy and freedom, many people you'll never know have broken their hearts to get it for you.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Heart #College #People

  • Quite often I have been faced with people who were praised and admired for their talents and their achievements... According to prevailing attitudes, these people-the pride and joy of their parents-should have had a strong and stable sense of self-assurance. But the case is exactly the opposite... Whenever they suddenly get the feeling they have failed to live up to some ideal image or have not measured up to some standard, then they are plagued by anxiety or deep feelings of guilt and shame. What are the reasons for such disturbances in these competent, accomplished people?
    -- Alice Miller

    #Strong #Attitude #Pride

  • We can never do the right thing as long as we are out to please someone else.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Self Esteem #Long #Please

  • Society chooses to disregard the mistreatment of children, judging it to be altogether normal because it is so commonplace.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Judging #Normal

  • It is precisely because a child's feelings are so strong that they cannot be repressed without serious consequences. The stronger a prisoner is, the thicker the prison walls have to be, which impede or completely prevent later emotional growth.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Strong #Children #Wall

  • someday we will regard our children not as creatures to manipulate or to change but rather as messengers from a world we once deeply knew, but which we have long since forgotten, who can reveal to us more about the true secrets of life, and also our own lives, than our parents were ever able to.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Long #Parent

  • Every child has a legitimate narcissistic need to be noticed, understood, taken seriously, and respected by his mother. In the first weeks and months of life he needs to have the mother at his disposal, must be able to use her and to be mirrored by her.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Mother #Children #Taken

  • The true opposite of depression is not gaiety or absence of pain, but vitality: the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Depression #Pain #Opposites

  • problems cannot be solved with words, but only through experience ...
    -- Alice Miller

    #Experience #Problem

  • The free expression of resentment against one's parents represents a great opportunity. It provides access to one's true self, reactivates numbed feelings, opens the way for mourning and - with luck - reconciliation.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Family #Opportunity #Self

  • I sincerely believe that we not only have the right to know what is good and what is evil; we have the duty to acquire that knowledge if we hope to assume responsibility for our own lives and those of our children. Only by knowing the truth can we be set free.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Truth #Believe

  • Emotional access to the truth is the indispensable precondition of healing.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Truth #Healing #Emotional

  • It is possible to resolve childhood repression safely and without confusion - something that has always been disputed by the most respected schools of thought.
    -- Alice Miller

    #School #Confusion #Childhood

  • Sadism is not an infectious disease that strikes a person all of a sudden. It has a long prehistory in childhood and always originates in the desperate fantasies of a child who is searching for a way out of a hopeless situation.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Long #Childhood

  • The achievement of freedom is hardly possible without the felt mourning. This ability to mourn, i.e, to give up the illusion of a happy childhood, can restore vitality and creativity if a person is able to experience that he was never loved as a child for what he was, but for his achievements, success and good qualities. And that he sacrificed his childhood for this love, this will shake him very deeply.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Giving Up #Self Esteem

  • The abused children are alone with their suffering, not only within the family, but also within themselves. They cannot crate a place in their own soul where they could cry their beart out.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Self Esteem #Soul

  • You gotta keep that in check - you got to.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Checks

  • He has given ample evidence of qualities hardly any other living statesman has demonstrated to the same degree: the courage to look facts in the face and to seek flexible solutions, respect for others, give-and-take in dialog situations, absence of hypocrisy, a complete absence of grandeur in the conduct of his personal life. He has never been driven by blind self-assertion to make absurd decisions.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Self #Hypocrisy #Giving

  • Only the mourning for what one has missed at the crucial time can lead to real healing.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Real #Grief #Healing

  • Clinging uncritically to traditional ideas and beliefs often serves to obscure or deny real facts of our life history.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Real #Ideas #Facts

  • Parents are indeed capable of routinely torturing their children without anyone interceding.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Parent #Capable

  • That probably greatest of narcissistic wounds -- not to have been loved just as one truly was -- cannot heal without the work of mourning.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Mourning #Narcissistic #Heal

  • The child has a primary need to be regarded and respected as the person he really is at any given time, and as the center - the central actor - in his own activity.
    -- Alice Miller

    #Children #Needs #Actors