Apr 23, 2010 1:10 PM | By Sapa-dpaAll right, that's just a sensationalistic "grabber." We'll let it slide here.
Alice Miller, the author and psychologist who claimed that Adolf Hitler was bad because he was spanked as a boy, has died at the age of 87, says her Berlin publisher.
Miller, who was born in Poland, later lived in Switzerland and spent her last years in Provence in France, died on April 12 and was buried in strict privacy. This was not made public at the time, said Suhrkamp Verlag, the publishing company.Which is also controversial; the truth or falsity of the allegations, I mean.
As a psychoanalyst she was convinced that corporal punishment and sexual abuse during childhood had lifelong effects on her patients.
Her views were controversial, with some arguing that the notion triggered a wave of false allegations against parents and teachers, after suggestible patients became convinced they were abuse victims.
In her 1980 book For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence, she proposed that Hitler's father traumatised the young Adolf with beatings and verbal abuse and taught him to despise himself and Jews.She did not merely propose that claim, she cited proof that he was a brutally abused child. Her point was to prove her thesis.
Historians replied that the Nazi dictator's personality was not so easily explained, but the thesis was still widely publicised.She didn't claim it was the whole explanation. And, by the way, "historians"? How many and how knowledgable are they about recent developments in psychology? Can't reporters ask these questions?
Her books about childhood trauma and giftedness appeared in 30 languages. Miller was born in 1923 in Lviv, which was then in Poland and is now a city in Ukraine.Now here is a fitting obituary:
...[E]xposing the full extent of the psychological damage flowing from the justification of violence against children was Alice Miller's life's work and her great contribution to the world. She showed how people will go to incredible lengths, for their entire lives, for generations, just to avoid the natural feelings of humiliation, shame and anger that flow from being abused, and then having that abuse justified. People will do just about anything -- excuse, avoid, forget, invent whole ideologies -- if it will allow them to continue to repress those negative feelings, and continue to maintain the fiction of the justification.