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  #1  
Old June 10th, 2011
w.o.f. w.o.f. is offline
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Default Alice Miller, a must-read

Ever since I read the late psychoanalyst Alice Miller's seminal book "The Drama of the Gifted Child", I've been convinced that she is striking at the core of mankind's problem.

The basic thesis in all her writings is the notion that all forms of cruelty visited by parents on their children have a devastating effect. She explictly points out that there is no categorical distinction between actual rape and the occasional "educational" smack. Even words and non-verbal communicative gestures have a negative effect on the child.

The reason is that children automatically idolize their parents. Ergo, if one parent or both display cruelty, this cruelty is automatically being idolized along with the parent.

Alice Miller found that adults who are asked about the issue of cruelty of parents against their children show a strong tendency to completely condemn it (as is politically correct, and it also reflects their true opinions) but as soon as the term "cruelty" is extended to the precise form of cruelty that was visited on those same adults by their parents, the grown-up children often fiercely defend their parents and dismiss the notion that they were harmed by that "occasional, well-deserved smack" etc.

Needless to say, adults who haven't confronted the truth of their own life history have a very strong tendency to visit the exact same cruelty upon their own children one day. After all, "the occasional smack didn't harm me, it did me good!"

Now, this does of course tie into the frequently discussed question of whether we have the right to be upset that our parents didn't defend us.

Even among restorers and intactivists, the notion is widespread that the parents "meant well, and just didn't know better."

Some of us disagree. Cutting off healthy tissue of a healthy child's body is -- cruel. Plain and simple, and obviously so. It doesn't take a medical degree or in fact any kind of education whatsoever to see right through this barbaric habit.

Most parents who have their children mutilated are doing so not because they know too little, but because they haven't confronted the emotional truth of their own life history. Their sin is not one of inaction, but of action.

So, all this should ring a thousand bells for all of us who are finally waking up to the fact that our parents are assholes.

Yes, assholes. Goddamn fucking assholes. Not necessarily in all areas of their lives, but in this issue, they did behave like assholes. Not like morons -- like assholes. And it's very healthy to actually feel the truth of that notion at least once in a lifetime. It doesn't mean that one cannot have a good relationship with their parents. But a relationship that is based on the notion that signing a form allowing a doctor to cut off a part of their child's body is not a bad thing, is a relationship built on sand.

Actually good parents will feel deep regret when confronted with the truth. They will not dismiss their own (grown-up) child's pain and emotional needs. And people can of course learn. Some can, that is. Others refuse, instead lingering and wallowing in their own lifelong illusion of "having done everything right".

Now, let me get to the point of why I am posting about Miller's writings now. I recently read her 2001 book "The Truth Will Set You Free: Overcoming Emotional Blindness".

In that book, there is a short passage where Miller actually mentions infant circumcision as an example of mindlessly continued tradition of cruelty, and the intactivist struggle to end this cruel custom.

The passage can be read at Google Books here.

She mentions Marilyn Milos and NOCIRC by name, which I find nothing short of astonishing.

Imho, this elevates Miller's writing from a super-strong recommendation to a total must-read for all of us.
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Last edited by w.o.f.; September 20th, 2011 at 06:17.
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  #2  
Old June 11th, 2011
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jeff71913 jeff71913 is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

This is interesting and I disagree with just about all of it.
According to this, Dr. Dean Edell, Marilyn Milos, and a host of others, including myself, are a bunch of cruel assholes. Ok, maybe I am, but the others are certainly not. WE DIDN'T HAVE THE INFORMATION BACK THEN THAT WE DO NOW!
Now, regarding discipline, this is a rather complex issue and no one is perfect. Question is: how much is too much? Nevertheless, some discipline is required when rearing children. I cetainly don't advocate beating children and I really don't care for spanking, but if a parent doesn't discipline their child somebody else will, whether that be the police, gang members, etc. It may come down to a few spankings early in life, or a long prison sentence, or a bullet to the head later on. This sort of thing happens all the time and children from broken homes where there was no discipline are often involved. Our prison system is filled with such people. I would rather spank a kid and keep him on the right track than let him do his own thing and end up dead, or in prison.
I absolutely don't believe in RIC, but I fail to see how this ties in with typical child rearing. I just don't think it does.
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Old June 12th, 2011
w.o.f. w.o.f. is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

Quote:
Originally Posted by jeff71913 View Post
This is interesting and I disagree with just about all of it.
According to this, Dr. Dean Edell, Marilyn Milos, and a host of others, including myself, are a bunch of cruel assholes. Ok, maybe I am, but the others are certainly not. WE DIDN'T HAVE THE INFORMATION BACK THEN THAT WE DO NOW!
Now, regarding discipline, this is a rather complex issue and no one is perfect. Question is: how much is too much? Nevertheless, some discipline is required when rearing children. I cetainly don't advocate beating children and I really don't care for spanking, but if a parent doesn't discipline their child somebody else will, whether that be the police, gang members, etc. It may come down to a few spankings early in life, or a long prison sentence, or a bullet to the head later on. This sort of thing happens all the time and children from broken homes where there was no discipline are often involved. Our prison system is filled with such people. I would rather spank a kid and keep him on the right track than let him do his own thing and end up dead, or in prison.
I absolutely don't believe in RIC, but I fail to see how this ties in with typical child rearing. I just don't think it does.
You are clueless. I don't blame you for it, but it's a fact. I'm hoping for you that you will eventually overcome your emotional blindness.
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Old June 13th, 2011
Apostle Apostle is offline
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Arrow Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

wow if she thinks smacking and hitting a child has detrimental effects i wonder what she would think of parents sending their children to have part of their genitals ripped off by some dumb hack of a doctor?
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Old July 12th, 2011
AC_Tech85 AC_Tech85 is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

By taking the accepted notions of cruelty and expanding it to including smacking your child around is going a bit extreme. Sometimes physical or verbal 'cruelty' is necessary.

For example, your child is walking across the street and the cars are not looking out for him/her. Are you going to calmly explain to the kid that he/she shouldn't do that? Hell no!

I don't particularly enjoy this pacifism movement of child rearing. I think we have a generation of children who use this movement as a means to threaten their parents. "Lay a finger on me and I'll call child abuse!" Someone I know tried that once but her mom had a good response. The mom said something like "Fine. They'll just take you away and put you in foster care. You won't get to take anything but the clothes on your back."

I see this turning into a debate on how to discipline your child. I think there is worse than spanking or hitting, and that is being inconsistent with punishment.
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Old July 18th, 2011
Terato Terato is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostle View Post
wow if she thinks smacking and hitting a child has detrimental effects i wonder what she would think of parents sending their children to have part of their genitals ripped off by some dumb hack of a doctor?
Dude it's obvious in the OP that she thinks its abusive. Like, read it.

As for spanking, I honestly don't know. I think that abuse is passed down from generation to generation. I know that forms of child discipline that were tolerated or ignored in decades past would be called abuse today -- and rightly so.

I personally would uncomfortable with spanking my child, if I ever had one, and I would NEVER allow a teacher or non-relative (or relative, for that matter) to spank my child.
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Old July 25th, 2011
w.o.f. w.o.f. is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

Quote:
Originally Posted by Apostle View Post
wow if she thinks smacking and hitting a child has detrimental effects i wonder what she would think of parents sending their children to have part of their genitals ripped off by some dumb hack of a doctor?
Read me original post... she does mention circumcision in one of her books, and she's on our side, big time.
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Old July 30th, 2011
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Borneo Borneo is offline
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Default Re: Alice Miller, a must-read

I've read pieces of her work before. She's got a brilliant way of examining issues from another lense.

I've been in therapy for years with BPD. And the subject of my stepfather and his "whippin's" with a belt bent over the toilet came up. And thinking about it for awhile, and going through my history, as well as things I remember about these events, one thing became clear...

He was always red faced and angry when he did it to me.

Of course, when a child needs discipline, they usually screwed up something, and a parent may have the right to be angry at the time. Parents are almost always angry when they are spanking or physically causing pain to their kids. Rarely have I seen anybody calm, serene and in control while wailing away on their kid's ass.

Which begs the question. Where is the line between discipline and education and just plain acting out aggression?
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