Book review: The Truth Will Set You Free - Overcoming Emotional Blindness and Finding Your True Adult Self (2001) by Alice Miller
"... 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)
Alice Miller was a Swiss psychoanalyst, who after 20 years of analytical practice, decided it would be more helpful to write about the parent-child relationship. She wanted to show how parents, teachers (and others in authority, like the church) unintentionally damage children, even when they believe they are acting in the best interest of the child. She wanted people to see how the belief that 'hurting children is good for them' has been perpetuated from one generation to the next.
Up until her death in 2010 she was one of the most articulate childrens advocates in the world. She has written over ten books and countless articles confronting and explaining the long term effects of child abuse, for as she states repeatedly, physical cruelty and emotional humiliation not only leave their marks on children, they also inflict a disasterous imprint on the future of our society.
She explains clearly that far too many of us had to learn as children to hide our own feelings, needs and memories skillfully in order to meet our parents' expectations and win their 'love'. This book, The Truth Will Set You Free, together with her many other books, have left a deep imprint on my life. She has helped open up my understanding of my childhood and why I am the person I am today. Her books reveal so many secrets that have been kept from us and which go a long way to explaining the increased levels of violence we see in the world today.
What we needed as a child was unconditional acceptance, love, respect and security. These were our rights, not something to be earnt. To understand our parents failings is the first step in healing the child within.
Alice Miller's books are windows to our past, creating feelings ranging from discomfort to extreme sadness and sense of loss. One cannot avoid be touched by her writings. More than that, she leaves lessons that we must learn in order to heal our childhood traumas and become healthy responsible adults.
If you would like to learn more about Alice Miller, her work and books, you can visit her website here. You can also watch Alice Miller's The Roots of Violence in the video below.