60 Inspiring Quotes By Alice Miller

Most of what you feel and do in adulthood is directly connected to your childhood experiences and memories. Alice Miller strongly believed in this idea which helped her analyze children and their behavior efficiently. 

A famous psychoanalyst, psychologist, and author, Alice Miller has greatly contributed to understanding child abuse and trauma. Her significant findings help educators and parents understand the importance of providing a healthy and happy childhood to children. Miller strongly believed in the long-lasting effects of childhood trauma and even published her work in famous books. She inspired people to understand the importance of emotional support and empathy for children during their early years. 

While Miller convincingly presented her thoughts for other psychologists as well, you can get a concrete understanding of her study through well-known quotes. Quotes by Alice Miller highlight her thoughts and findings about children, abuse, parenthood, and the significance of empathy. In this article, you will find inspiring quotes that help reveal her psychology and take on childhood development.

Enlightening quotes by Alice Miller

Alice Miller’s quotes offer a glimpse into understanding the significance of nurturing childhood for younglings. Just as Anna Freud’s Quotes help you explore modern child psychology, the below-mentioned quotes contribute to the importance of empathy, love, and freedom for children.

1. The gift of empathy is the most precious thing a parent can give to a child.

2. Understanding does not cure evil, but it is a definite help, inasmuch as one can cope with a comprehensible darkness.

3. Genuine forgiveness does not deny anger but faces it head-on.

4. The true feeling of self-worth can only be achieved in an environment where one is allowed to make mistakes without being condemned.

5. I cannot listen to my child with empathy if I am inwardly preoccupied with being a good mother; I cannot be open to what she is telling me. This can be observed in various parental attitudes.

6. The first step toward self-awareness and healing is recognizing the ways in which our childhood experiences have shaped us. 

7. The aim of therapy is not to correct the past but to enable the patient to confront his own history, and to grieve over it.

8. Children who are not encouraged to do, to try, to explore, to master, and to risk failure, often feel helpless and inadequate.

9. Contempt is the weapon of the weak and a defense against one’s own despised and unwanted feelings.

10. The grandiose person is never really free; first because he is excessively dependent on admiration from others, and second, because his self-respect is dependent on qualities, functions, and achievements that can suddenly fail.

11. Rage and pain can apparently pass quickly if one is free to express them.

12. The victimization of children is nowhere forbidden; what is forbidden is to write about it.

13. Authenticity is the courage to be yourself in a world that constantly tells you to be someone else.

14. The results of any traumatic experience, such as abuse, can only be resolved by experiencing, articulating, and judging every facet of the original experience within a process of careful therapeutic disclosure.

15. The roots of violence are not unknown but misunderstood.

16. Experience has taught us that we have only one enduring weapon in our struggle against mental illness: the emotional discovery and emotional acceptance of the truth in the individual and the unique history of our childhood.

17. One can only remember what has been consciously experienced.

18. Learning is a result of listening, which in turn leads to even better listening and attentiveness to the other person. In other words, to learn from the child, we must have empathy, and empathy grows as we learn.

19. What is addiction, really? It is a sign, a signal, a symptom of distress. It is a language that tells us about a plight that must be understood.

20. Genuine feelings cannot be produced, nor can they be eradicated. We can only repress them, delude ourselves, and deceive our bodies. The body sticks to the facts.

21. An unacknowledged trauma is like a wound that never heals over and may start to bleed again at any time.

22. I have never known a patient to portray his parents more negatively than he actually experienced them in childhood but always more positively–because the idealization of his parents was essential for his survival.

23. The truth about our childhood is stored up in our body, and although we can repress it, we can never alter it. Our intellect can be deceived, our feelings manipulated, and conceptions confused, and our body tricked with medication. But someday our body will present its bill, for it is as incorruptible as a child, who, still whole in spirit, will accept no compromises or excuses, and it will not stop tormenting us until we stop evading the truth.

24. Without therapy, it is impossible for the grandiose person to cut the tragic link between admiration and love. 

25. Neither parents nor God would survive being offended.

26. If it’s very painful for you to criticize your friends – you’re safe in doing it. But if you take the slightest pleasure in it, that’s the time to hold your tongue.

27. For the human soul is virtually indestructible, and its ability to rise from the ashes remains as long as the body draws breath.

28. The way you behave is more important than the way you really are.

29. Sadism is not an infectious disease that strikes a person all of a sudden. It has a long prehistory in childhood and always originates in the desperate fantasies of a child who is searching for a way out of a hopeless situation.

30. A pretense of gratitude is better than honest ingratitude.

31. We produce destructive people by the way we are treating them in childhood.

32. Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.

33. For one is free from it only when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of ones own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities.

34. There are people who have benefited from therapy without being confronted with the past at all.

35. The true opposite of depression is not gaiety or absence of pain, but vitality: the freedom to experience spontaneous feelings.

36. Don’t ever dare to take your college as a matter of course – because, like democracy and freedom, many people you’ll never know have broken their hearts to get it for you.

37. The art of not experiencing feelings. A child can experience her feelings only when there is somebody there who accepts her fully, understands her, and supports her. If that person is missing, if the child must risk losing the mother’s love of her substitute in order to feel, then she will repress emotions.

38. The reason why parents mistreat their children has less to do with character and temperament than with the fact that they were mistreated themselves and were not permitted to defend themselves.

39. If we do not work on all three levels — body, feeling, mind — the symptoms of our distress will keep returning, as the body goes on repeating the story stored in its cells until it is finally listened to and understood.

40. That probably greatest of narcissistic wounds — not to have been loved just as one truly was — cannot heal without the work of mourning.

41. A child too, can never grasp the fact that the same mother who cooks so well, is so concerned about his cough, and helps so kindly with his homework, in some circumstance has no more feeling than a wall of his hidden inner world.

42. Courage can be just as infectious as fear.

43. The more we idealize the past and refuse to acknowledge our childhood sufferings, the more we pass them on unconsciously to the next generation.

44. Regression to the stage of early infancy is not a suitable method in and of itself. Such a regression can only be effective if it happens in the natural course of therapy and if the client is able to maintain adult consciousness at the same time.

45. We can never do the right thing as long as we are out to please someone else.

46. It is possible to resolve childhood repression safely and without confusion – something that has always been disputed by the most respected schools of thought.

47. Today I should not be identified with any kind of regressive therapy.

48..Wherever I look, I see signs of the commandment to honor one’s parents and nowhere of a commandment that calls for the respect of a child.

49. It is very difficult for people to believe the simple fact that every persecutor was once a victim. Yet it should be very obvious that someone who was allowed to feel free and strong from childhood does not have the need to humiliate another person.

50. Problems cannot be solved with words, but only through experience.

51. Those children who are beaten will in turn give beatings, those who are intimidated will be intimidating, those who are humiliated will impose humiliation, and those whose souls are murdered will murder.

52. If a mother respects both herself and her child from his very first day onward, she will never need to teach him respect for others.

53. Nobody is born evil.

54. In your child’s striving for independence, he or she will inevitably challenge your authority. That’s how children learn to grow and develop. It’s important to recognize this as a healthy part of their development and not as a threat to your control. 

55. Children are the most honest critics. They will tell you that you are fat, that you are stupid, that you have no hair, that you are ugly, and they do not mince words, but when you ask them if they love you, they will tell you this, too, and many are the parents who will live and die without ever hearing these words from their adult offspring.

56. It is not until the unconscious conflicts are made conscious that they can be changed, and thus our fate. This is the task of therapy. 

57. To liberate our children, we have to liberate ourselves first. They will follow our example more readily than our advice.”

58. “Punishment does not teach children how to behave correctly; it teaches them how to avoid being caught.”

59. “The fear of experiencing deep emotional pain often leads us to build walls around our hearts. Healing comes when we are willing to tear down those walls and allow ourselves to feel.”

60. Understanding and empathy are the antidotes to violence and cruelty. When we can truly understand the pain and suffering of others, we are less likely to harm them.

Wrapping up 

While childhood abuse and trauma form a large branch of psychological studies, famous quotes by Alice Miller help you understand the subject matter. Miller’s contribution towards understanding trauma and its influence in adulthood stands as an excellent path for gaining knowledge. Along with this, you can also discover Melanie Klein quotes dedicated to uncovering the subject of early child development. 

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