Free From Lies: Discovering Your True Needs
In her latest study, Free From Lies, famed psychologist Alice Miller examines the way child abuse shapes the psyche and the effect it can have on humanity. While the human brain has an incredible ability to normalize traumatic events, Miller argues that abuses suffered in childhood can never truly be repressed. It appears as though humanity is suffering from a collective amnesia regarding the wrongs we suffered in infancy. These wrongs, according to Miller, will manifest themselves later in life. We see evidence of this everywhere—in the form of domestic abuse, war, and genocide—all of which are prominent throughout our history. Those who have been able to break away from the cycle of abuse (a minority of about ten percent) are not without their problems, often suffering from serious health conditions later on in life.
Miller argues that humanity has, for the most part, come to define child abuse as "good parenting." The negative implications of this are two-fold: first, the child develops conflicting views regarding their parents, who act simultaneously as care-giver and as tyrant, and secondly, that the general, worldwide acceptance of child abuse will ensure it is passed down from generation to generation. Miller examines horrific dictators like Adolph Hitler, revered icons like Marilyn Monroe, serial killers, and domestic abusers. While the common denominator among her subjects is, of course, child abuse, Miller looks at the way her subjects have been psychoanalyzed. She argues that history tends to analyze and treat severely traumatized and/or psychotic adults by looking at the symptoms of their pain rather than determining the causes of it. Miller stresses the importance of asking the right questions when dealing with these seemingly traumatized adults. This, according to Miller, is the only way to determine the root cause of abuse and determine the appropriate course of therapy.
Free from Lies is a logical, well-documented study that examines the ideologies that society has been reluctant to confront. Miller challenges others in her field head-on, wondering aloud why some child psychologists continue to deny and document the existence of child abuse. Not only is her fearless study convincing and engaging, the book is also extremely readable. Miller's approach to writing is refreshingly no-nonsense; she refrains from padding her observations with diatribes and academic-speak, ensuring her work can be read and enjoyed by a mainstream audience.
A compelling read, Free from Lies belongs on the bookshelves of everyone from the novice to the well-seasoned psychoanalyst. This important study has all the trimmings of a classic in the making and it is bound to invite and create debate and dissection for many years to come. The study is best appreciated through multiple reading as it will reveal new truths and insights each time. If we want to better our communities, it is imperative we understand our own inner-workings. Free from Lies will serve as an excellent aid by promoting open discussion and release from our own forgotten abuses.