FOR YOUR OWN GOOD - Alice Miller
19 [Pages 281- 286 in the print edition]


Allen, Charlotte Vale. Daddy's Girl. New York, 1980.

Ariès, Philippe. Centuries of Childhood: A Social History of Family Life. Translated by Robert Baldick. New York, 1962.

Armstrong, Louise. Kiss Daddy Good-night. New York, 1978.

Bowlby, John. "On Knowing What You Are Not Supposed to Know and Feeling What You Are Not Supposed to Feel" Journal of the Canadian Psychiatric Association. 1979.

Braunmühl, Ekkehard von. Antipädagogik [Antipedagogy]. Weinheim and Basel, 1976.
_____. Zeit für Kinder [Time for Children]. Frankfurt, 1978.

Bruch, Hilde. The Golden Cage: The Enigma of Anorexia. New York, 1978.

Burkart, Erika. Der Weg zu den Schafen [The Way to the Sheep]. Zurich, 1979.

Epstein, Helen. Children of the Holocaust: Conversations with Sons and Daughters of Survivors. New York, 1979.

F., Christiane. Christiane F.: Autobiography of a Girl of the Streets and Herion Addict. Translated by Susanne Flatauer. New York, 1982.

Fest, Joachim C. The Face of the Third Reich: Portraits of Nazi Leadership. Translated by Michael Bullock. New York, 1970.
_____.Hitler. Translated by Richard and Clara Winston. New York, 1970.

Fromm, Erich. The Anatomy of Human Destructiveness. New York, 1973.

Handke, Peter. A Sorrow Beyond Dreams: A Life Story. Translated by Ralph Manheim. New York, 1974.

Heiden, Konrad. Der Führer: Hitler's Rise to Power. Translated by Ralph Manheim. Boston, 1944.

Helfer, Ray E., and C. Henry Kempe, eds. The Battered Child, 3rd ed. Chicago, 1980.

Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Translated by Ralph Manheim. Boston, 1943.

Höss, Rudolf. The Autobiography of Rudolf Höss: Commandant of Auschwitz. Translated by Constantine FitzGibbon. New York, 1959.

Jetzinger, Franz. Hitler's Youth. Translated by Lawrence Wilson. London, 1958.

Kestenberg, Judith. "Kinder von Überlebenden der Naziverfolgung" [Children of Survivors of Nazi Persecution], Psyche 28, 249-65.

Klee, Paul. The Diaries of Paul Klee: 1898-1918. Edited with an Introduction by Felix Klee. Berkeley and Los Angeles, 1964.

Kohut, Heinz. The Analysis of Self. New York, 1971.
_____."Überlegungen zum Narzissmus und zur narzisstischen Wut" [Reflections on Narcissism and Narcissistic Rage], Psyche 27, 513-54.

Krüll, Marianne. Freud und sein Vater [Freud and His Father]. Munich, 1979.

Mause, Lloyd de, ed. The History of Childhood. New York, 1974.
_____."Psychohistory: Über die Unabhängigkeit eines neuen Forschungsgebietes" [Psychohistory: On the Independence of a New Area of Research], Kindheit I, 51-71.

Meckel, Christoph. Suchbild: Über meinen Vater [Wanted: My Father's Portrait]. Düsseldorf, 1979.

Miller, Alice. Prisoners of Childhood (published in paperback as The Drama of the Gifted Child [1983]). New York, 1981.
_____.Du Sollst Nicht Merken (to be published in English as Thou Shalt Not Be Aware). Frankfurt, 1981.

Moor, Paul. Das Selbstporträt des Jürgen Bartsch [The Self-Portrait of Jürgen Bartsch]. Frankfurt, 1972.

Morris, Michelle. If I Should Die Before I Wake. Los Angeles, 1982.

Niederland, William G. Folgen der Verfolgung [The Results of Persecution]. Frankfurt, 1980.

Olden, Rudolf. Hitler. Translated by Walter Ettinghausen. New York, 1936.

Plath, Sylvia. Letters Home: Correspondence 1950-1963. Selected and edited with commentary by Aurelia Schober Plath. New York, 1975.
_____.The Bell Jar. New York, 1971.

Rauschning, Hermann. The Voice of Destruction. New York, 1940.

Rehmann, Ruth. Der Mann auf der Kanzel: Fragen an einen Vater [The Man in the Pulpit: Questions for a Father]. Munich and Vienna, 1979.

Rush, Florence. The Best Kept Secret: Sexual Abuse of Children. New York, 1980.

Rutschky, Katharina. Schwarze Pädagogik [Black Pedagogy]. Berlin, 1977.

Schatzman, Morton. Soul Murder: Persecution in the Family. New York, 1973.

Schwing, Gertrud. The Way to the Soul of the Mentally Ill. New York, 1954.

Sereny, Gitta. The Case of Mary Bell. New York, 1972.

Sheleff, Leon. Generations Apart: Adult Hostility to Youth. New York, 1981.

Smith, B. F. Adolf Hitler: His Family, Childhood, and Youth. Stanford, 1967.

Stierlin, Helm. Adolf Hitler: A Family Perspective. New York. 1976.

Struck, Karin. Klassenliebe [Class Love]. Frankfurt, 1973.
_____.Die Mutter [The Mother]. Frankfurt, 1975.

Syberberg. Hans-Jürgen. Hitler, a Film from Germany. New York, 1982.

Theweleit, Klaus. Männerphantasien [Male Fantasies]. Frankfurt, 1977.

Toland, John. Adolf Hitler. New York, 1976.

Winnicott, D. W. Playing and Reality. New York, 1971.

Zenz, Gisela. Kindermisshandlung und Kindesrechte [Mistreatment of Children and Children's Rights]. Frankfurt, 1979.

Zimmer, Katharina. Das einsame Kind [The Lonely Child]. Munich, 1979.

Afterword to the Second Edition (1984)

This text was not originally part of the book. It was written four years after the book's first publication.

When Galileo Galilei in 1613 presented mathematical proof for the Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the sun and not the opposite, it was labeled "false and absurd" by the Church. Galileo was forced to recant and subsequently became blind. Not until three hundred years later did the Church finally decide to give up its illusion and remove his writings from the Index.

Now we find ourselves in a situation similar to that of the Church in Galileo's time, but for us today much more hangs in the balance. Whether we decide for truth or for illusion will have far more serious consequences for the survival of humanity than was the case in the seventeenth century. For some years now, there has been proof that the devastating effects of the traumatization of children take their inevitable toll on society--a fact that we are still forbidden to recognize. This knowledge concerns every single one of us, and--if disseminated widely enough--should lead to fundamental changes in society; above all, to a halt in the blind escalation of violence. The following points are intended to amplify my meaning:

  1. All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection.
  2. For their development, children need the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world.
  3. When these vital needs are frustrated and children are, instead, abused for the sake of adults' needs by being exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated, neglected, or deceived without the intervention of any witness, then their integrity will be lastingly impaired.
  4. The normal reactions to such injury should be anger and pain. Since children in this hurtful kind of environment are forbidden to express their anger, however, and since it would be unbearable to experience their pain all alone, they are compelled to suppress their feelings, repress all memory of the trauma, and idealize those guilty of the abuse. Later they will have no memory of what was done to them.
  5. Disassociated from the original cause, their feelings of anger, helplessness, despair, longing, anxiety, and pain will find expression in destructive acts against others (criminal behavior, mass murder) or against themselves (drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, psychic disorders, suicide).
  6. If these people become parents, they will then often direct acts of revenge for their mistreatment in childhood against their own children, whom they use as scapegoats. 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 stemming from how they were treated by their own parents.
  7. If mistreated children are not to become criminals or mentally ill, it is essential that at least once in their life they come in contact with a person who knows without any doubt that the environment, not the helpless, battered child, is at fault. In this regard, knowledge or ignorance on the part of society can be instrumental in either saving or destroying a life. Here lies the great opportunity for relatives, social workers, therapists, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, officials, and nurses to support the child and to believe her or him.
  8. Till now, society has protected the adult and blamed the victim. It has been abetted in its blindness by theories, still in keeping with the pedagogical principles of our great-grandparents, according to which children are viewed as crafty creatures, dominated by wicked drives, who invent stories and attack their innocent parents or desire them sexually. In reality, children tend to blame themselves for their parents' cruelty and to absolve the parents, whom they invariably love, of all responsibility.
  9. For some years now, it has been possible to prove, through new therapeutic methods, that repressed traumatic experiences of childhood are stored up in the body and, though unconscious, exert an influence even in adulthood. In addition, electronic testing of the fetus has revealed a fact previously unknown to most adults -- that a child responds to and learns both tenderness and cruelty from the very beginning.
  10. . In the light of this new knowledge, even the most absurd behavior reveals its formerly hidden logic once the traumatic experiences of childhood need no longer remain shrouded in darkness.
  11. Our sensitization to the cruelty with which children are treated, until now commonly denied, and to the consequences of such treatment will as a matter of course bring to an end the perpetuation of violence from generation to generation.
  12. 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, and because it is this knowledge (and not the experience of cruelty) that has been stored up inside them from the beginning. It will be inconceivable to such people that earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel comfortable and safe in this world. Since it will not be their unconscious drive in life to ward off intimidation experienced at a very early age, they will be able to deal with attempts at intimidation in their adult life more rationally and more creatively.


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