Thursday, February 09, 2006
Discipline—One-Sided Sword to Exert Unlimited Parental Power
"Pull yourself together!" was my mother's constant demand, with which she lashed out at me with her voice raised and full of anger and reproach. I could not cry, not contradict, not show anger or fear. Her angry outbursts spread fear and forced me into unconditional submission. But no one ever asked my mother to pull herself together or my father to stop sarcastically ridiculing me and to not sexually abuse me.
Discipline was demanded of and preached to children only. Parents were, like dictators and absolute monarchs, beyond any accountability. They did not have to behave according to the norms that they forced upon their children. No one ever held them responsible. There was no court, no ombudsman, no counselor, not a single human being I could have ever turned to in order to say: "Help me. Tell my mother to stop hitting me, humiliating me, yelling at me. Stop my father from making fun of me and idealizing and preferring his sons like gods."
The same abuse of power has been and still is true for children all over the world. Once in therapy, I told my therapist: "I wish I could make a fire under your chair and under the chairs of all psychiatrists and therapists so that you all would get up, be upset, and inform society about the horrors you learn in your offices about the monstrous abuses children have to suffer. You, like no one else knows what the terrible, life-long consequences of unconscionable cruelty against children are. But you don't do anything."
The full article can be found here: http://www.alice-miller.com/sujet/art55.htm
by Barbara Rogers
Screams from Childhood