Some thoughts on Alice Miller/psychopathy

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I woke up early this morning with Alice Miller on my mind and decided to dedicate a post to her. I think of her regularly, especially since her death more than two years ago and I always end up feeling inadequate and ashamed. I know these are old programs, but until now I have not been able to deal with them. While laying in bed and thinking about her I realised with a shock that what had happened to her one year before her death was the work of a psychopath.

For years AM had a forum and later on mailing lists where people would gather and talk and work through their childhood. I was a member for about two years.
When our trusted and sensitive moderator became overwhelmed they looked for another solution. A member of our forum who had been quite active, responsive and seemingly empathic stepped up (or so it seemed) and took over the role of moderator. What happened was that the flow that you find on forums and on lists where all kinds of people contribute to a post dried up and only dialogues between she and a poster would develop (isolating victims?).

All kinds of people left the list because of her, including some internet friends of mine and myself. I wrote to the old moderator to explain why I was leaving, but he did not wish to hear.
We were contemplating whether we should write AM and explain how this new moderator really was, but we could also see that AM was still somewhat awe-struck by this woman, so we left it at that. At least this is how I remember it.

I kept visiting AM's website reading letters from readers and in 2009 AM had a fall-out with this moderator. I read about it on her website and visited Barbara Rogers' site to see what she had to say.
http://www.screamsfromchildhood.com/escape_admiration.html
However, it is such a sickening and lengthy post that I still find it hard to read everything. Isn't this also one of the characteristics of a psychopath? To produce lengthy discourses, playing the victim? BR also seems to have learnt all the tricks in the book about therapy, the impact of childhood and psychology. It seems to me that she is quite cunning. She is IMO using everything that she has learnt from AM. She used her to promote her book 'Screams from childhood' (I actually bought a copy), to further her aims in becoming a therapist, so she could claim that she had worked with AM and she seems to promote a certain therapy (IFS).

I responded to Alice's message about the issue and wrote to her about BR. She rung me afterwards and we had a long talk about the subject.
I told Alice how Barbara was always going on about the positive role of her nanny in her life, but the nanny turned out to be a physically abusive character (according to BR's own book, page 24, where she recounts the fact that her nanny used to beat her with a dresshanger). She didn't know. She couldn't see the truth?
I am mourning the fact that at the time that I spoke to AM in person I wasn't able to assist her. I did not have the knowledge about psychopathy. I knew something was really off, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I still think that I let her down that day. :( :cry:

In AM's 'Paths of Life' she writes about this middle-aged widow (the scenario is called 'Gloria') that has been swindled out of her inheritance, because of her love for her daughter with Down. In that book the lady states that she will never again be taken over by wishful thinking. She can now recognize a predator (in this case it was a teacher of disabled kids that promised to look after the daughter after the mother's death). But AM was mistaken, just like I was mistaken, thinking that because I had already dealt with psychopaths before I would be able to spot them straight away. But that is not how it works.

Barbara Rogers viciously attacked a lady in her late eighties. She continues her attacks on AM even after her death. How utterly ... (I cannot find the words.)
And I know that I am speculating here, but I think that these vicious attacks contributed to her decline and ultimately to her death. She was dead within the year after our phone conversation. Her muscles gave up.
 

Sylvieshene

A Disturbance in the Force
Thanks for writing these words. I never was a member of the forum I visited a few times, but because of my difficulty of expressing myself in writing I never participated and I just focused on Alice Miller’s books, site and reading the letters written to her. When the incident with BR happened I could see that this woman was very sick projecting and attacking Alice Miller for the wrongs done to her when she was a defenseless little girl. I just recently had a sociopath cross my path; this article in the link below is quite accurate of what a sociopath is. She did deceive me for a little while! I too thought was not possible for anyone to deceive me anymore! She was good! But it’s sad, because if was not for their sad tragic childhood, they would never become sociopaths.
“Sociopaths are masters at influence and deception. Very little of what they say actually checks out in terms of facts or reality, but they're extremely skillful at making the things they say sound believable”
Sociopaths never answer facts; they always attack the messenger

http://www.naturalnews.com/036112_sociopaths_cults_influence.html#ixzz1z1jOyjML
Totally they play the victim card! “She explains that sociopaths can be very difficult to identify, but notes that if she had to pick one consistent warning sign, it would be that they play the victim card very early, hoping to stir up sympathy and compassion. The author also advises us not to engage sociopaths or to think that we can beat them at their own game. By definition, they lack the conscience that may inhibit the behavior of non-sociopaths.”
http://www.amazon.com/review/R343GNFY8QZ39Z/ref=cm_cr_pr_viewpnt#R343GNFY8QZ39Z
Sociopaths are masters at deceiving and anyone can be fool by them. I had the honor to exchange e-mails with Alice Miller in the last two years of her life. Reading your post it brought tears to my eyes because it reminded me that this incident might have shortened her life. It pains me when I see people being fool by sociopaths like her. I was so glad to read your post that I had to join the forum to thank you for shining light on what took place. I think you might like reading the letters I wrote to Alice at the time and her response.
Again thank you for this post,
Sylvie

Dear Alice Miller,
Thank you.
I wrote this letter a month or so ago, but I did not send it. Here it is now.
Once again, thank you for having the courage to speak the truth. In your post “Barbara’s Forum2” on Monday, September 29, 2008, you wrote that instead of understanding, you receive personal attacks. It happens to me all the time. People have told me that you talk about the problem, but you don’t give any solutions. This is so annoying, because people cannot see or hear the obvious solution that you do give us—the need for each of us to face our personal, painful truths and to trust all of our feelings.
I don’t know much about IFS therapy, but all the therapies I have come in contact with actually block us from our true feelings. They merely try to change the present behavior. I have learned that change cannot be accomplished without facing the truth about our past and without working through all our feelings and repressed emotions. Any change at all would just be superficial and temporary.
I’m surprised that Barbara has been sucked in by this therapy. Your experience has revealed just how great the compulsion is to repeat, to continue to do to others what once was done to us. I have also learned that people use all kinds of methods, even therapies, to run from facing a personal truth or their true feelings. I would just like to send you a hug.
Norman, thanks for your letter, “Saying the truth or being loyal,” Tuesday September 30, 2008. And thank you Alice Miller for publishing it on your website with your answer. I totally agree with what you wrote: “Fortunate are the few children who can express their criticism, who are listened to, taken seriously and understood by their parents. They receive a precious gift for their whole life. But for most children, saying the truth means mortal danger. They are often brutally punished simply for saying frankly what they feel and think. As adults they often use the same means as their parents used before, without being aware of what they are doing. They are blindly attacking everybody who questions their traditional ‘opinions’ given by their parents. Their children can't do anything else other than obey and stay loyal. Only adults can take legal actions if it comes to criminal harassment or severe defamation.”
I totally agree with everything you and Norman said: I had the same experiences. I just wish I could articulate it as well as you and Norman did. To me, it is much more important to speak the truth and not deceive myself rather than to be loyal.
Love, Sylvie
--- On Wed, 2/11/09, Sylvie Imelda Shene .. wrote:
Subject: thank you for posting your answer to B.R.
Dear Alice Miller,
Thank you for sharing your answer to B.R. I got curious and I went to B.R.’s website to read her nasty piece of writing. I did not finish reading it because it bored me to read all about her projections onto you. I am so sorry she is making you her scapegoat. Being someone’s scapegoat is never a pleasant thing. I am so grateful for your books and website. Having you here by my side for the last 10 years has been a life-saver and it pains me to see someone making you their scapegoat. I hope that you have a good team working with you and that the reader’s mail can go on forever. I also hope you have peace and health for many, many, many years.
You know when I read her book and articles and the answers to your reader’s mail, which I enjoy reading, I could feel that she still was repressed and harboring illusions. What she was writing was not coming from her true feelings, but from her head. I call people like that parrots—they have great smarts, memories, and are very talented at writing and articulating, but they really don’t understand what they are saying. They are not capable of feeling their repressed feelings and they unconsciously project those repressed feelings onto scapegoats.
I had a link on my website at the end of the page of my story to your website and to B.R.’s article. I was rereading my story and clicked on the link to the article on your website and got a blank page. For a while I was in a dilemma, not knowing what to do, because I did not want to create a link to her website. I started to write to you to ask you if you could write a small article how religion, spirituality, and the 12-step meetings cement childhood blindness. I decided not to bother you and created a link to the article on her website even though I don’t agree with IFS therapy (I don’t agree with most therapies out there). And now that I have proven my feelings are right, I have a responsibility to not have a link from my website to hers.
If you ever have a chance to write an article about how religion, spirituality, and the 12-step meetings cement childhood blindness, I would love to create a link to it.
Again thank you for being here and for your insights.
Sylvie Shene

On Thurs, 02/12/09, Alice Miller wrote: Subject: Re: thank you for posting your answer to B R.

AM: Here is my last, edited version of the text I sent you this morning.
AM: Thank you for your thoughtful letter I agree with you that there is a difference between the powerless, legitimate rage of a desperate child that reacts to the cruelty of their parents and the rage of the adult who is attacking others out of denial of their history by imitating the behavior of own parents from the position of "power" (even grandiosity). The first rage (of the child) should be felt and expressed in therapy, it can be then RESOLVED. The second one (of the adult), directed toward scapegoats, can NEVER be resolved (see dictators). If therapists see it as an end point of their therapies and don’t enable the patients to confront the early parents and the feelings of that time they do much HARM to them. Staying trapped in the hatred toward scapegoats can't be the successful end of a therapy. I hope that you can continue your work if you have this difference in mind and can also explain it in your forum.


On Thurs, 2/12/09, Alice Miller wrote: Subject: Re: thank you for posting your answer to B R.
AM: Thank you for your understanding of what happened. I wrote today an answer under the title "Aggression out of denial" that could help you maybe to see what happens behind some attacks. I wrote already much about religion, the 12 steps and about blinding people by using poisonous pedagogy but all this is destroyed in my writing and not focused in a specific article. Maybe I will write some day an article on this topic but I can't promise it now. If you want to publish my answer to E of today on your website you can do it.
 

Jeremy F Kreuz

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Sorry to hear that Alice Miller might have been taken in by a psychopath at the end of her life. I have not read all her works, so she might have come to the realization that such a thing as a psychopath does exist, but I just finished reading ´For your own good´ and in that book she is still far away from realizing the nature of the psychopath. So far that if actually does not surprise me she was taken in by one. The book ´for your own good´ is IMHO rather an open invitation for psychopaths to come into one's life. In this book AM goes to great Lenght to explain away that such a thing as a psychopath actually exists. She uses several Nazi leaders and A Hitler to prove her point that all this evil done to others is explainable by childhood mistreatment of the future evil doer. It is because they have been beaten up and emotionally, psychologically and spiritually abused and raped that those at heart innocent good beings start acting up bad. AM vehemently opposed (at least in For your own good) the idea that there was such a thing a a genetic predestination to become a psychopath. Neither did she take into consideration that beaten up could cause brain damage leading to psychopathic behavior. She explained this all away through neurosis.

I am not contesting that child abuse can lead to bad behavior, and that even psychopathic behavior might be encouraged by it, but child abuse does not explain the phenomena. As such AM seems to have missed a big piece of the puzzle and left herself wide open to abuse by a psychopath, which might have been the case indeed.
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Jeremy F Kreuz said:
AM vehemently opposed (at least in For your own good) the idea that there was such a thing a a genetic predestination to become a psychopath. Neither did she take into consideration that beaten up could cause brain damage leading to psychopathic behavior. She explained this all away through neurosis.

I am not contesting that child abuse can lead to bad behavior, and that even psychopathic behavior might be encouraged by it, but child abuse does not explain the phenomena. As such AM seems to have missed a big piece of the puzzle and left herself wide open to abuse by a psychopath, which might have been the case indeed.
I think you are spot on, Jeremy.
For a long time (being a member of AM's forum and having read all her works) I thought childhood was the ONLY explanation. And I am almost sure that AM could never see some evil people for who they truly were: psychopaths. She did write about Freud extensively, but never called him a psychopath. She wrote about Hitler and so many other dictators, but was never able to call a spade a spade.

I think you can see in the letters that Silvieshene posted and when you visit AM's website that she was not able to spot the predator. She even allowed BR into her home, never noticing the dangers until BR had left and then still she couldn't understand the nature of the beast. I can see myself in AM, hanging on to the idea that childhood is the only cause of evil and destruction (a philosophy that governments gladly use, think Social Services), feeling sorry for the child in evildoers and also leaving myself wide open to abuse. Wow. :scared:
 

anothermagyar

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
[quote author=Mariama]For a long time (being a member of AM's forum and having read all her works) I thought childhood was the ONLY explanation. And I am almost sure that AM could never see some evil people for who they truly were: psychopaths. She did write about Freud extensively, but never called him a psychopath. She wrote about Hitler and so many other dictators, but was never able to call a spade a spade.

I think you can see in the letters that Silvieshene posted and when you visit AM's website that she was not able to spot the predator. She even allowed BR into her home, never noticing the dangers until BR had left and then still she couldn't understand the nature of the beast. I can see myself in AM, hanging on to the idea that childhood is the only cause of evil and destruction (a philosophy that governments gladly use, think Social Services), feeling sorry for the child in evildoers and also leaving myself wide open to abuse. Wow. :scared:
[/quote]

I don't know if appropriate but if I understand correctly you feel guilty about her death and the way her web-site was taken over by a psychopath.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but she was a psychoanalyst, trained psychologist.
Dunno about their training at the university, but I think trained psychologists should be able to spot psychopaths.
Blaming yourself for something what you couldn't stop is NOT your fault.
You tried to warning her you sent messages to moderators the rest was not up to you, osit.
My two cents :umm:
 

Psalehesost

The Living Force
anothermagyar said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but she was a psychoanalyst, trained psychologist.
Dunno about their training at the university, but I think trained psychologists should be able to spot psychopaths.
As described well by George Simon in his book Character Disturbance (thread) the ideas of psychoanalysis are full of faulty assumptions that tend to make people blind to the existence of disturbed characters, because that framework views every problematic behavior in terms of an underlying neurosis.

So Alice Miller, while rich in certain insights, was also very likely blinded precisely by her studies.
 

Nienna

SuperModerator
Moderator
FOTCM Member
Psalehesost said:
anothermagyar said:
Correct me if I'm wrong, but she was a psychoanalyst, trained psychologist.
Dunno about their training at the university, but I think trained psychologists should be able to spot psychopaths.
As described well by George Simon in his book Character Disturbance (thread) the ideas of psychoanalysis are full of faulty assumptions that tend to make people blind to the existence of disturbed characters, because that framework views every problematic behavior in terms of an underlying neurosis.

So Alice Miller, while rich in certain insights, was also very likely blinded precisely by her studies.
Also, when you add into this the fact that there are psychopaths in the psychology field, you can see how they would try to muddy the waters on what psychopathy truly is, or so I think.
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
anothermagyar said:
[quote author=Mariama]For a long time (being a member of AM's forum and having read all her works) I thought childhood was the ONLY explanation. And I am almost sure that AM could never see some evil people for who they truly were: psychopaths. She did write about Freud extensively, but never called him a psychopath. She wrote about Hitler and so many other dictators, but was never able to call a spade a spade.

I think you can see in the letters that Silvieshene posted and when you visit AM's website that she was not able to spot the predator. She even allowed BR into her home, never noticing the dangers until BR had left and then still she couldn't understand the nature of the beast. I can see myself in AM, hanging on to the idea that childhood is the only cause of evil and destruction (a philosophy that governments gladly use, think Social Services), feeling sorry for the child in evildoers and also leaving myself wide open to abuse. Wow. :scared:
I don't know if appropriate but if I understand correctly you feel guilty about her death and the way her web-site was taken over by a psychopath.
Correct me if I'm wrong, but she was a psychoanalyst, trained psychologist.
Dunno about their training at the university, but I think trained psychologists should be able to spot psychopaths.
Blaming yourself for something what you couldn't stop is NOT your fault.
You tried to warning her you sent messages to moderators the rest was not up to you, osit.
My two cents :umm:
[/quote]

I am not entirely sure whether I feel guilty or whether I blame myself. When I wrote the first post I was mourning my own lack of expertise and inability to spot the predators in our world. And how I was unable to assist AM in recognizing these people. Here was this lady that had done so much for victims and survivors of child abuse. I just wished I could have done something and return the favour. But I am not even sure whether she would had been open to new information, had I even passed it on to her. She seemed to be very stuck in that childhood-causes-all-misery premise. Maybe I am also mourning the fact that Alice Miller, beloved writer, was unable to detect psychopathy and narcissism, because of her own failings. Despite the fact that she had a Ph.D. in psychology and other sciences.
Was it Sandra Brown that stated that most psychologists/psychotherapists do not know anything about psychopathy?
 

Renaissance

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
Mariama said:
Was it Sandra Brown that stated that most psychologists/psychotherapists do not know anything about psychopathy?
I don't know if Sandra Brown said that, but it wouldn't surprise me if she did. I worked in the mental health field for 5 or 6 years and knowledge of psychopathy is abysmal among everyone, including clinicians and psychologists. Psychologists often see the term as an outdated and crude label for anti-social personality disorder. They don't have a clue about what a psychopath really is. It was difficult to even find a single local (or regional) professional who was genuinely familiar with psychopathy.
 

Mariama

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Shane said:
Mariama said:
Was it Sandra Brown that stated that most psychologists/psychotherapists do not know anything about psychopathy?
I don't know if Sandra Brown said that, but it wouldn't surprise me if she did. I worked in the mental health field for 5 or 6 years and knowledge of psychopathy is abysmal among everyone, including clinicians and psychologists. Psychologists often see the term as an outdated and crude label for anti-social personality disorder. They don't have a clue about what a psychopath really is. It was difficult to even find a single local (or regional) professional who was genuinely familiar with psychopathy.
I have found that despite the fact that I have read the books on narcissism and psychopathy I still need a refresher course. I have been watching some movies that Jason recommended during one of the SOTT podcasts like 'The incredibly talented mr. Ripley'. Somehow for me books are not enough. I am also planning on listening to the podcasts on psychopathy. I also need image and sound, so that the message will stick.
 

Sylvieshene

A Disturbance in the Force
In a conversation with a friend talking about another psychopath/sociopath Barbara Rogers came up and I thought I would share my words in that conversation with everyone here: Like that Barbara Rogers if she is "lost in a fog of admiration" is not Alice fault that she lost herself admiring Alice Miller, but the reality is, she did not lose herself, because she has never found herself, once we truly find ourselves we can never lose ourselves again, the little girl she once was still lost in the fog of admiration with her own mother now transferred into a substitute figure, Alice Miller. It’s her problem if she is still a lost little girl and loses herself in admiration over others, she is another psychopath that have memorized good knowledge hijacked from Alice, but have not experienced it at personal level and now is trying to cast herself in the role of parent figure over others and misuses this good knowledge to manipulate and use others to distract herself, so she does not have to face and feel the repressed excruciating emotions of the child she once was; reenacting her childhood drama all over again with the people she is trying to help, but now she playing the role of her mother and the people she is trying to help, playing the role of the child she and they once were and they all remain lost in a maze with no way out, staying prisoners of childhood for eternity.

You all are welcome to read the whole conversation if you like in the link below.
http://sylvieshene.blogspot.com/2012/08/daniel-mackler-and-barbara-rogers-came.html
 

Jeremy F Kreuz

Dagobah Resident
FOTCM Member
Sylvieshene,

It’s her problem if she is still a lost little girl and loses herself in admiration over others, she is another psychopath that have memorized good knowledge hijacked from Alice, but have not experienced it at personal level and now is trying to cast herself in the role of parent figure over others and misuses this good knowledge to manipulate and use others to distract herself, so she does not have to face and feel the repressed excruciating emotions of the child she once was; reenacting her childhood drama all over again with the people she is trying to help, but now she playing the role of her mother and the people she is trying to help, playing the role of the child she and they once were and they all remain lost in a maze with no way out, staying prisoners of childhood for eternity.
IMHO this previous quote seems to sum up why the people (including you) having this conversation have misconceived ideas what a psychopath is. A psychopath is not lost, has not and will not nor has any reason to experience his lost childhood. The Psychopath is not lost in a maze but knows what the deal is: she does not have to find herself, she knows what she is. It seems that you and the other person in the conversation are still trying to explain away the behavior of the psychopath just like AM did. It seems you added the word psychopath to the theory of AM, but explain the concept of psychopathy with the theory of AM; a theory that has missed the mark on psycopathy to a large extend.

Have you read the previous posts of different forum members in this thread?
 

Sylvieshene

A Disturbance in the Force
You might be right to an extent, and I do agree they have no cure, because they are incapable of feelings and they might know to an extent of what they are doing, but ultimate they are lost in a maze with no way out endless reenacting their childhood drama and they will have a sad end taking many victims with them and leaving many behind carrying their psychological virus to the future generations to continue their deceiving schemes for eternity.
 

anart

The Living Force
Sylvieshene said:
You might be right to an extent, and I do agree they have no cure, because they are incapable of feelings and they might know to an extent of what they are doing, but ultimate they are lost in a maze with no way out endless reenacting their childhood drama and they will have a sad end taking many victims with them and leaving many behind carrying their psychological virus to the future generations to continue their deceiving schemes for eternity.
No, you're still projecting emotional qualities on to them that they do not possess. They are not lost in a maze reenacting anything. They are predators, pure and simple and they are very happy being so. They do not suffer. If they suffered, in the way you seem to be meaning it, they would not be psychopaths.
 

Sylvieshene

A Disturbance in the Force
Well maybe you are right, I still think they suffer and make others suffer too, every predator was once a victim, but if you are right at least I feel good about myself if I am projecting good qualities in myself into these psychopaths/sociopaths. :-)
 
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