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Alice Miller

  • Swiss psychologist
  • Born January 12, 1923
  • Died April 14, 2010

Alice Miller, born as Alicija Englard (12 January 1923 – 14 April 2010), was a Swiss psychologist, psychoanalyst and philosopher of Polish-Jewish origin, who is noted for her books on parental child abuse, translated into several languages. She was also a noted public intellectual. Her book The Drama of the Gifted Child caused a sensation and became an international bestseller upon the English publication in 1981. Her views on the consequences of child abuse became highly influential. In her books she departed from psychoanalysis, charging it with being similar to the poisonous pedagogies.


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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




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.




Today I should not be identified with any kind of regressive therapy.




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




A child too, can never grasp the fact that the same mother who cooks so well, is so concerned about his cough, and helps so kindly with his homework, in some circumstance has no more feeling than a wall of his hidden inner world.




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.




We produce destructive people by the way we are treating them in childhood.




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




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.




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.




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




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




Nobody is born evil.



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