4 comments on “Identity and respect… how the two combine.

  1. No matter how hard the adult struggles, there will always be a residue of the child in them.

    Yep.

    There’s a … thinker, I guess you could call her — she used to be a psychoanalyst, but after a while she just couldn’t reconcile what she was seeing in her clients with the theory and practice of psychoanalysis, so she quit calling herself that — named Alice Miller who sort of specializes in that.

    Her theories involve child abuse, usually really subtle emotional abuse of the kind that victims grow up thinking is normal, justifying to themselves and eventually re-enacting on their own children. She figures such experiences — and the later rationalizations, where you learn to see it not from your own perspective but from your parents’ — are super-common and have something to do with why Western culture is so hierarchical and authoritarian.

    She’s German, writes in German, and, as I mentioned, was trained as a psychoanalyst, so her prose is dense and full of psychoanalytic jargon. I have two of her books, and, while her ideas are awesome and illuminating, I feel like I got more out of reading another person’s essays about them than I did from reading her own works.

    The guy who wrote those essays is named Arthur Silber, and he’s a lot like you. Not in any of the obvious ways — he’s maybe twice your age, not autistic, American, and gay — but your blogging voice reminds me of his. He’s also very angry, and refuses to sugar-coat or soft-pedal exactly how monstrous and suicidal he thinks our culture is.

    Anyway, here’s a page listing all the posts he’s written having to do with Alice Miller and her books; you can read them and see if they strike any chords with you.

    • Okay, first of all, allow me to apologise for taking so long to get around to composing a response. As I have written, this past week has really thrown a lot of my rhythm as a person out of whack.

      I think that a lot of people feel conflicts between their job description and what they really end up doing in their line of work. Police officers would be amongst those. At present, I am reading the Gustav Hasford novel entitled The Phantom Blooper, which addresses this conflict in a Marine who is caught up in America’s prosecution of the Vietnam war.

      I also have a very strong feeling about this culture we have where abuse is not really abuse if it is inobvious and not easily detected. Digestive worms and other parasites are not that easy to detect when they are successful, either. But when we do notice those, we go after them with a vengeance. I remember Townshend‘s (sp?) statement that he hopes he dies before he gets old. I would amend that if I were looking at my parental units, the teachers I had to contend with, or anyone who was in authority over me during my childhood. I do not care when I die, just as long as it is before I turn into anything approximating them.

      Getting more out of reading a person’s essays about someone else’s work than the work itself, whilst not common, is not necessarily bad, either. I remember when I read a detailed analysis of Mullholland DR., how it made that film much easier for me to rewatch. I also suspect that Alice‘s work may reflect a difficulty she experiences in bringing what she is offering to the audience. And I do not mean in the sense of losing things in the translation. I mean like having a great idea but just not being able to explain the actual nuts and bolts. Kind of like what I am experiencing right now.

      I will have a look-see at Arthur‘s commentaries in due course. I am a little overwhelmed lately, but it is on my list of things to do now. Oy, I am so tired, however.

      • You don’t have to apologize for not responding to me on the same day I comment; I know I don’t have anything like your problems and it sometimes takes me longer to think of what I want to say, so it would never occur to me to think you were lazy or ignoring me.

        And, if it helps, what I understand of Miller’s work makes me think you probably won’t ever end up like your parental unit or your teachers. I think that, while the thing about abuse being perpetuated down the generations is true, it’s not the only thing that can grow out of someone being abused as a child. I think that person can also grow up to be someone who stands up for abused children, who, instead of becoming their abuser, becomes the person they wish they had had on their side when they were a child. And I think I see that in you.

        • I like to do things as quickly and in timely fashion as I possibly can, though. Hence all of my bitching and moaning about what a pack of tossers the people of Queensland are. I also have a way of feeling about myself that I am lazy or neglectful that comes out of “nowhere”.

          In all honesty, I think I have pretty much come to the conclusion that I do not really want to end up being much of anything anymore. I feel it is too late to start over (especially after yet another failed attempt to work my way back into education of myself), and I feel that I am never going to stop getting ignored in the things that I am actually good at. But if I could walk arm in arm with other people who have been abused, ones of all ages, and join them in yelling at the rest of the world that a situation in which the estimated ratio of unreported cases would mean half of the children in America have been abused is not acceptable, I would do so even if I knew I would die at the end. Possibly because, even.

Chuck shit at me here

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