Hello Daniel, thank you for your website, musings et al. It was fascinating, and at times triggering, to read your views, essays etc. Of particular interest to me are your blogs/essays about sex and relationships. It IS only through deep connection to one\'s self and by delving within, regardless of what we see/find and then working on that, that we attain higher levels of consciousness, abilities to have a truly experiential, wonderful, transformative life. I have also personally found that an authentic and pure relationship with another can assist us to move towards the aforementioned . Sex acts are simple sure, humans are not, damn straight! Perhaps engaging in sex only when it is a connective force and expression of pure love takes some of the risk out of the complications that ensue when it isn\'t.....With love, light, and healing. Gemma 🙂
Dear Daniel, Although I see significant common ground between your views and mine, I’d like nonetheless to offer the following comments from a more critical perspective: (1) Relational trauma, as I understand it, is the victim’s experience, and resulting sense, of absolute powerlessness against having his or her boundaries violated by a perpetrator to whom he or she stands in a relationship of dependence, whereby the severity of the trauma correlates with the degree of dependence and with the severity of the boundary violation. Although childhood trauma in the family is as ubiquitous as it is, for the most part, invisible, I don’t think all harm inflicted on children by their parents warrants the application of the concept of trauma. There need not be a want of sensitivity in seeing no “trauma continuum” (a phrase you use in Breaking from Your Parents (BFYP)) between the invalidation of a little boy’s feelings when his parents laugh at his tears about being denied ice cream (Alice Miller’s example in The Drama of the Gifted Child), on the one hand, and the horrendous abuse that people diagnosed with dissociative disorders have suffered, on the other. While the former case constitutes humiliation, to be sure, in characterizing it as trauma, that concept is, in my view, overextended. (2) As stated in my previous post (09/07/17), I agree with you that the family – the institution – is a cult, which means, I think, it is a social system of mystified, that is, naturalized, power relations and of obscured conflicts of interest, maintained by sets of rules and meta-rules, as described by R. D. Laing in The Politics of the Family, which are inaccessible to reflection and negotiation (meta-communication). Parents’ institutionalized power consists in the child’s complete dependence on them for all of his or her basic needs, a dependence that is nearly total due to parents’ quasi-immunity to being held to account for what they do to the child, beyond the narrow scope of what by law or public opinion is considered abuse or neglect. The family thus constitutes children’s being the quasi-property of their parents, an extreme power imbalance, though not an absolute one, as constituted by the literal property status of human beings in slavery. (3) It is the mystification of the power imbalance in any given social and political system which generates, I think, what in psychology is called defence mechanisms (such as denial, rationalization) in those who hold the inferior power position. Those in the superior power position don’t need such psychical defences against social and political reality -- for they DEFINE it. In other words: the more external power you have to define reality, the less internal defences you need employ against it. I disagree with Alice Miller that “contempt for those who are smaller and weaker” is a defence. (ibid.) Contempt is an attitude shown by those with (more) power towards those with (less or) no power. Parents’ contempt for their child’s vulnerability is not a defence against their getting in contact with their own wounded “inner child”; it is the exercise of power. By the same token, I would not say that all abusers rationalize their abusive treatment of children, as you write in your essay on Alice Miller. I’d rather say, to the extent that the institutionalization (hence the legitimization) of the power imbalance in the family obscures the difference between “use” and “abuse,” this renders such parental rationalization obsolete. (4) I don’t think that by inflicting trauma on their child, parents “pass on” their own trauma or “take it out” on the child. They do take something out, to be sure, but what the child suffers it is not “the tyranny of [the parents’] own unresolved childhood wounds,” to borrow your phrase from BFYP. When A, having been traumatized by B, in turn traumatizes C, what A takes out on C is not his or her suffering from a sense of powerlessness inflicted upon him or her by B., but is, on the contrary, a sense of ENTITLEMENT to power, actualized by victimizing C. This sense of entitlement is derived from A’s identification with B., whereby, as a consequence, his or her own childhood wounds are “resolved” – reconceived, that is, from the perspective of the perpetrator. Victim A’s identification with perpetrator B -- not to be confused with A’s identification with B’s image of her or him -- betrays A’s disposition, which is to be understood in MORAL and not psychological terms, to take, like B, a “might makes right” attitude toward others. But not all victims identify with the perpetrator; most identify with their perpetrators’ image of them. Conceived in these terms, the legacy of childhood trauma in the family reinforces the power imbalance and thus stabilizes the system STUCTURED by it. Trauma, in other words, is a function of the family – not its failure. (5) Envisioning a future in which more and more people would commit themselves to healing from trauma, you write in BFYP, \"Healthy people now become ready to have children – and they become model parents.” This leaves me wondering, why would healthy people want to have children in the first place? The answer to this question depends, of course, on what we mean here by being healthy. You speak of enlightenment. In the context under discussion, enlightenment must involve, I believe, becoming lucid about the sole motive for having children, i.e., the social power with which it outfits parents and derivatively, the benefits of the social status attached to being a parent. To the extent that this incentive was absent, so too would be the desire to have children. That people could be much better parents than they generally are is no better a reason for having a family involving children than a king acting benevolently toward his subjects is a reason for having a monarchy. Parents’ sense and attitude of quasi-ownership will prevail as long as this private tyranny that goes by the name of family remains the normal, default structure within which children are brought up. The family is the primary institution of oppression in a politico-economic system of oppression (capitalism). The solution is -- not hang fire till we\'ve birthed our true selves -- but abolition. All the best, Karin
Hi Daniel Mackler,
I nearly missed the significance of your video Healing Childhood Trauma, until I read your words to a new human species and printed out the page. I nearly missed because, although the video pushed me further to my real memory and who I am, time and again I attempted to reconcile with the consensus reality by trying to figure out a \"balance\". Now the attempt has been abolished.
I\'m vulnerable to my denial and distortion, or, should I say, my own collusion. I\'m working with a psychotherapist, who will be definitely unable to acknowledge my deepest desire. Fortunately I have learnt to USE psychotherapists instead of simply connecting to them.
I\'m hesitating about working transferentially with this psychotherapist. I have the fear that I might become dependent because the temptation to go back and mingle with the consensus reality is so strong.
The greatest consolation is to know this desperate \"betrayal\" has a meaning beyond the personal. And, of course, I\'m glad that I\'m able to relate to people despite the painful factor that they cannot validate who I am and probably will not tolerate my truth.
Thanks for your articulation. Otherwise I\'m like a gossamer in a gale, hardly able to grasp my own existence.
I came across your website about 2 months ago. Since then, I have familiarized myself with your ideas and in doing so acquired the strong impression that we are, on more than one topic, on the same page.
I agree with what, in your book, Breaking from Your Parents, you state about the connection – I would say, the symbiotic interrelation - of psychiatry and the family:
“[T]he way that psychiatry treats parents is an extension of the way parents-in-denial treat their children (…) [I]f parents didn’t abuse their children there would be no psychiatry at all. The two function very similarly...”
I agree with you that the family is a cult, and indeed the prototypical one.
I see the family as a social system defined by an extreme power imbalance between parents and children, mystified by the cynical fiction of so-called unconditional parental love -- the family myth -- whereby the structural conflict of interest between the two parties is denied. As a consequence, childhood trauma is as ubiquitous as it is invisible; accordingly, the family is, contrary to popular belief, the primary institution of oppression.
Antithetical to any grouping organized along the lines of the family is a community of peers, possessed of equal power. Allied in solidarity against institutions of oppression - from the family to psychiatry to gender - such a community is, in itself, politically radical, at once transformative and liberatory, and a vehicle for political education, both of its members themselves and the public at large.
Looking for allies, a like-minded English friend of mine, James, whose educational background is in philosophy, and I, German, an early retired social worker (neither of us has children), would greatly appreciate an exchange of thoughts with you, in particular about your book, mentioned above.
Our views are informed primarily by the works of R. D. Laing, Aaron Esterson, and David Cooper, and to a greater or lesser extent by Thomas Szasz, Judith Herman, Alice Miller, Colin A. Ross, and John Briere.
I live in Denmark - the city of Copenhagen. I liked your forum. Razrishite to attach to it and communicate!
Good wind and success!
Daniel, thank you. I have spent this day with your writing and films - and one song - and I consider it a gain.
First, I would like to ask how familiar you are with http://www.traumacenter.org and the work of Dr. van der Kolk?
I would be glad to learn from your thoughts on - and perhaps your experience with - body-based therapies and artistic expression as paths to healing from trauma.
The JRI annual trauma conference is coming up:
Second, after having read your essay about your plans for starting a community and your fear of failure and I would like to share something that has helped me navigate through fear: the book \"Designing Your Life\", which proposes \"wayfinding\" as an acquired \"failure immunity\" and even more, as guaranteed thriving - we cannot fail when we live and learn through experiences that we design for own growth. We win, come what may.
How does this sound to you?
do you interested to have your book translated in russian?
After reading your About page I\'m relieved to know I am not the only one has this abnormal relationship with family. I\'m coming to a point where I\'m about to jump the sinking ship so at least one of us can lead a healthy and positive life. I\'ve always felt bad about my relationship with my family and have drastically improved myself in order to fix it. Although I\'ve grown to become a much more patient and strong person, the relationship with family remains in an amateur state. This made me realize in this instance, the only way to fix this issue is to leave it.
Thanks for sharing your story!
Came off of 32 years of psych Meds and \"treatment\" by myself without support and with resistance from family. I am a strong advocate my son has my same energy enthusiasm, and empathetic brain I refused psychiatric labels treatments or Meds for him. He currently has his dream job at 25 working with virtual gaming technology lives in Seattle does not take Meds or recieve psychiatric treatment. I am a high school drop out twice divorced.
I\'ve spent the past two years recovering from a dr increasing my SSRI when I told him it would exacerbate my mania he said\"I don\'t have a problem with that\" and handed me an RX for 90 klonopin I was having seizures most likely from serotonin syndrome rather than take me off psych Meds they installed a pace maker somehow with my consent while I was incoherent on a 72 hour hold resulting from the original statement. It did not stop the seizures. It\'s a long traumatic tale of social injustice which nearly led to my death. It did lead to the loss of my spouse, my home, the entirety of its contents, my job, my friends, my sanity...I will not stand silent and let them kill someone who is perhaps not as resilient or tenacious as I might be. I had a legitimate law suit, unfortunately by the time I recovered it was too late to sue. I am in the process of going through the Wyoming state medical board to fine a grievance.
I\'ve been off all Meds for over a year now, I did this alone without medical supervision I do not recommend this! I feel... Well, I feel.
When I watched one of your videos I was very much struck by you saying that our different problems manifest from traumas. Thankfully, you also said that some good therapists don\'t charge much and that you know some around the world. Could you recommend me some in London, UK?
Nice movie: open dialogue.
I have been hoping for many years, Daniel, to thank you. We met once, at Windhorse in Northampton in 2009, as I recall it. You were there to film, or check it out for filming, for use in a documentary about best alternative practices around the world in mental health care. We chatted, I gave you a ride to a nearby town where you wanted to attend a conference about/for those who hear voices. As we drove we exchanged the stories of why were each at Windhorse that day. In response to my story, you told me about and gave me the name and phone# for practitioner in the Chicago area, a Dr. D.G., who you thought would be the ideal person for the individual at the center of my story of why I was at Windhorse. When I called his office a couple of days later, he took my call and was so generous with his time and his knowledge. He recommended books and counseled realistic expectations. It took 7 years before my person found the courage to see him, but it was the match you thought it would be. He has helped this person back into a robust, meaningful life. You\'ve never known it, but by your actions that day you helped save the life of one deeply hurting individual, as well as the well-being of the loved ones who cared so much about that individual. That very individual, a person of exceptional ability, is in turn, helping others. I gave you a ride, and you gave me a lifeline. Thank you.
I\'ve spent 35 years finding out what happened to make me as weird as I am. I\'ve used a lot of modalities and have the full picture. What a trip!
But I\'m still left with a couple of things I don\'t know what to do about - except to accept them, I guess. But I\'ve come so far and I hanker to be normal.
I\'ve always found dealing with OPs \'face\' weird - why do they refuse to accept themselves? Yesterday I realised the best way I found as a child to protect myself was to go energetically invisible.
Another repercussion was that my adrenal glands never functioned well enough to give me libido. Which made my teen years weird, and relationships in my 20s and 30s petered out when I failed to lust.
My other bug-bear is my complete lack of knowing what love is . My parents failed to bond with me, and the only touch I got was my father\'s sexual abuse. Hence a lifetime of Stockholm Syndrome.
Does anyone know how to heal from all that?
No shock or hurt or chronic fatigue left - just the blasted repercussions.
Oh, and the ex who is just like my dad and is best described as a pathological narcissist!
An external uneasiness to add to my internal dissatisfactions.
Actually i looking for some sollutions to common sleep disorders
I just wanted to thank you a lot! Found your anti psychiatry songs online and then kinda found your website. It is great to have people caring about real issues. Psychiatry in my eyes is pseudo science. I wish people who have problems were really helped and not just drugged up and locked up against their will. This is not how things should be and obviously how is someone going to trust the people around them if they don\'t know who really helps them and who just stereotypes and locks them away?
Obviously it all has to do with Trauma, I also think so. I personally don\'t think that things like depression are sicknesses by itself but rather symptoms. With saying that it is just a chemical imbalance that cannot be cured they ignore the root causes and the person itself. This doesn\'t help anyone except the corporations and institutions that profit from it.
It is great to have people like you who are really experienced and being active for human rights. Thanks a lot! Peace!
No more Xanax! I\'ve broken the cycle of Xanax going on six months now. I got so tired of my Rx being screwed up by the doctor\'s office or delayed at the pharmacy. Tired of freaking out not sleeping because of these mix-ups. I was DONE! I had been taking 10 mg for over 7 years and was terrified at trying to quit. I was taking 10 mg. and went down to 5 mg without too much trouble. Stayed at 5 mg. for a month. Broke those in half, the best I could, and took 2.5 mg for a month. I took a deep breath and stopped. A couple of rough nights but after the third night I slept like a baby. I sleep normally now. Deep, wonderful, restful sleep. No more Ambien for me. The fear is gone. There is sleep without drugs. I feel so relieved and on top of the world.
My name is Maiia, I\'m from Russia.
I\'m severely traumatized person. And I want to help myself very very strongly. Yesterday I found out your website at first time.
And I saw you sell your book From Trauma to Enlightenment: Self-Therapy in Twelve Steps. I really want to read it, but, actually, I don\'t have money to buy it and I don\'t have opportunity to pay by paypal. Could you send me, please, your book free to my email?
I\'ve been searching far and wide for life on mars, and for me you\'re the first sign of it. People are terrifyingly good at pretending they grow and change...you\'re one of the few people I\'ve come across whom I believe actually does, and whom I believe would be willing to let go of every attachment when push comes to shove.
In my journey I came to a lot of the same extreme conclusions as you. I don\'t trust people with kids, or spouses, or people who haven\'t left their families behind. (Though in all honesty, I\'m also very weary of people trying to rescue the world, which does make me wonder about you. This is where I lose everyone. People are always trying to \"save\" or \"help\" me to avoid saving themselves)....
I\'ve used audio from one of your videos for an illustrated piece on my channel, Illustrated Philosophy. Feel free to share if you find value in it.
here Michaela from the Czech Republic!
Thank you so much for videos with Open Dialogue!! Great material to know and watch!
Currently I\'m studying in Finland, I\'m plannig to write diploma thesis on topic Open Dialogue..I would like to do research on some cetres, where is Open Dialogue working..
Can I ask for any advice, how the centres find? Cause it\'s really hard to find that centres with Open Dialogue..
Thank you for any advice!
Wish you a lot of luck and bless to your life!
I really enjoyed listening to your fresh new approach to childhood trauma. Hoping to hear more. The world needs to hear your healing perspective.
Peace and blessings.
i came acrros your amazing video on you tube and i must say that it felt like someone is articulating my feelings and thoughts so clearly and i just want to thanke you deeply for it . i my self is in a proces of self finding and reconncting i wondering if you have an up coming lecture in nyc or where is possible to get intouch with your work and writing .
thanke you and a lot of love to you
I just found the book Peace Pilgrim and enjoyed your review of it:
I love youre documentary \"Take this broken wings\". But i have one question about. The Reporter tell us about a study from the who in terms of the medication and recovery. I can´t find it. Please tell me, where i can get the study. Wanna use it for my psychiatriclessons. Also i need the study for a doctor in our hospital, because he don´t belive me.
Thx a lot!
Can you write me? I am seeking downloadable versions of the TRAILERS of your films.
THANKS and peace,
we met some years ago in Stockholm at your lecture at Magelungen. Hope you are well.
I have a tip for you for your next movie. There is a great group called Urkraft in Skellefteå, Sweden who work with Supported Education with about 100 participants. They do amazing work in getting people back on track. Their attitude is similar to Open Dialogue. If you are interested, contact me for next step. The project leader is Katrin Lundmark, and I have met with Peter Brännström.
The projects name is Texas and they support people with mental illness back to school and work. Wonderful, wonderful work.
All the best from Ove Valodius
I studied the last 3,5 years at university to become a social worker.
I wonder if you could read the book by Alice Miller\'s son Martin and what you think about it. It seems that as a mother she was not very sympathetic with her son, even at times when she had already written her best books. The book wasn\'t translated in English yet, I think. But maybe you understand enough German?
Always following you on your way (as far as possible)!
recently I came across your video where you talk about your experience with training in psychotherapy; it came as a revelation to me – I have always had the same feelings – the stiffness, the absence of humor, the inability to get out of the box, the middle-age church like rules.
Thanks for that, finally somebody has formulated and summarized something I have in mind.
Not only the content, but also your personality seems likeable and well-composed (good energy, no air of narcissism etc.)
I am looking forward to see your other things, because you are exceptionally sound and sincere.
In return: There is a very snappy question one can use as a diagnostic tool when speaking with people in power, kind of a final countdown:
“How could a person in your position misuse his/her power? And how do you personally combat these temptations?”
And a real-life joke. Once my therapist asked me, what kind of relationship I had towards authorities. I replied: “I can´t judge it, I have never met any.”
Best and thanks once again,
Soy Azucena, de Zaragoza, España.
Estoy interesada en el sistema de recuperación de psicosis sin medicación utilizado en Noruega.
Tengo un hijo de 25 años diagnosticado de varios trastornos, ahora no toma medicación, y pasa el día en su habitación, cortándose e la realidad, y yo su padre no me rendiré, y buscaré hasta hallar lo que le pueda ayudar a salir y poder vivir de otra manera.
Estoy dispuesta a hacer lo que haga falta y si hay que viajar a Noruega para la recuperación no dudaría en hacerlo.
La esperanza y el amor a mi hijo es mi fuerza, y mi perseverancia mi ayuda.
Muchas gracias por tu atención, y espero tu respuesta.