first mail to barbara

Oct 14, 2013

hi barbara

i'm sorry u felt so much pain by what alice did. i read your open letter to her. i am glad you had some support.

i would like to put a copy of your letter on my site. and i would like to have a dialogue with you about her, ifs and some other things if u are willing.

best wishes

steve hein


Oct 15

Hi, Steve,

Martin Miller, Alice Miller's son, has published a book about his mother's life and their relationship. It just came out in German; here is a review which I have translated

So I have been for a while, and still am, in the process of dealing with what I have learned from Martin about his mother — it's terribly painful, and it breaks my heart for both of them — and trying to write about his book.

Why do you want to put a copy of my letter on your site and not just link to it? I am curious why it's important, and when I can understand it, I think I could be OK with it. I appreciate that you ask me about it. Yes, we can have a dialogue about Alice, IFS.

Thank you for your compassion and best wishes,



Oct 21, 2013

Hi, Steve,

Thank you for being so open and sharing honestly with me your reasons to have my "escape from the fog of admiration" on your website. How much do I appreciate honesty and openness! I understand your reasons, they make sense to me, and your website deserves to be supported. When I wrote "spirituality cements childhood blindness," it was Alice who read it first and encouraged me.

I did not know that it is illegal in Thailand to criticize the king, and that you can go to jail for it. How frightening! [SH - I had told her about my trip to Thailand]

Alice very much disliked the Dalai Lama; when I found the book by Colin Goldner, which unfortunately is only available in German, it supported me very much in finding and sharing my insights. Colin has a link to my spirituality essay and short synopsis on his website.

That I now have to realize how dissociated Alice Miller was and lived her life, and how profoundly she hurt her son, is still excruciatingly painful and shocking for me. To read his book provides devastating insights. War trauma had put gruesome marks on her life, her relationship with her son, and on his life. More and more clearly, I can see how contradictory her beliefs about feelings and the true self were. Well, my next project is that i want to write about Martin's book.

It's OK for me if you make a page about me and my writing and put "escape from the fog of admiration" also on your website. We all, I think, who are engaged for the rights of children, and for compassionate therapy with a sincere witness, are greatly pained and affected by learning the truth about Alice Miller's life. It's wonderful that you continue to seek the truth. Yes, I have always been a truth seeker. My oldest son once said to me that I reminded him of Vaclav Havel and his book "living in truth" because that's how my son saw me living my life. It has been the most heartwarming compliment that I have received in my life.

Thank you for sharing about yourself, for your trust, and all my best wishes for you and your website, that it may find many more readers.

Warm regards from

Oct 28

A couple days ago I wrote Barbara, saying I could use a hug if she felt comfortable sending one. She wrote a long reply, which also addressed some questions I had asked in other mails. The reply is below, but first, here is my reply to her reply. Sorry it is out of sequence, but at first I just posted my reply because I wanted to edit hers to take out some personal info she shared.

hi barbara

thank you for another heart warming message. and the hugs.

hug back


Date: Sunday, October 27, 2013 15:36:00 -0200
Subject: it's all about change

Hi, Steve,
you get a hug from me; I like to give hugs and appreciate them when I get hugged.
Yes, I can only reply at my pace, which sometimes can take days, a week or more.
I also read emails, especially long ones, at least twice and think about it; questions that I get asked stay with me, on my mind, until I kind of know what I want to answer. As I teach piano and work with clients, I also have only certain times when I feel free to write.
So I can only write and respond when I am ready for it, have the time to do it, really want to, and have somewhat thought about what I want to say. Why were you banned from outofthefog? Without an explanation? I took a brief look at the website….

You wrote in a previous post that you and your partner have been suffering a lot lately and you both think about suicide. It is difficult to live when we are in so much pain; therapy has helped me, and still helps me, through difficult and painful times. So I do know all too well that, yes, an enlightened witness is very, very important; although I often write therapy by myself and can help myself in that way, too — the times I can have a session with my therapist bring this enlightened witness powerfully into my inner world; then, my therapy work unfolds more focused and clearly, often in deeper ways. It certainly is not Alice Miller alone who talks about it. Good therapists ARE, and have been for many years, enlightened witnesses who accompany their clients with compassion, respect and understanding.

“This Will Change Everything” is a wonderful book which talks about the power of relationships and the changes which feminist psychotherapists brought into the field of psychotherapy; how they changed relating with clients to a caring, respectful, supportive and compassionate way. Here is the website:

It is my experience that, in the USA, there is the most advanced, humane, enlightened psychotherapy movement. Although there are terrible, destructive liars that promote and fight viciously for denial, there are many therapists who support the truth to come out and people to get to know themselves and get closer and closer to their selves. They empower their clients to be true to themselves. Certainly I owe my therapeutic journey to therapists in the USA, and I know that in Germany, it would never have happened in this way.

A brave therapist, Jennifer Freyd, whose malicious parents founded the “false memory syndrome foundation” — although this alleged “syndrome” does not exist — has written an exciting, enlightening new book where she shares honestly and courageously also about her own history with her dangerous parents. The book is called “Blind to Betrayal.” I read it this past summer and love it, found it so inspiring and supportive. Jennifer Freyd, through her books, has become for me a vital, encouraging, enlightened witness.

Here are links to Jennifer Freyd and betrayal blindness:

an article about it:

The book:

definition of betrayal trauma:

Her first book "Betrayal Trauma":


I have also written about her first book on my website in “the war against the truth.”

I read your thoughts about cyber bullying suicides; it’s true, we learn a language of violence; in my therapy work, I still help the parts of me that were formed, devastated, rendered hopeless — because of my parents’ degrading, critical, judgmental attacks against me. Thus, through patient therapy work, I bring a new and different language into my inner world and into my life, which has been my endeavor and need for a long time, it seems since forever. In “facing a wall of silence” I wrote at the end: “I see my life as being in the service of overcoming silences, within me and around me.” This longing still moves my life; when I began the exchange with Martin Miller a year ago, it was for me another step to support someone to overcome a silence imposed on him. We cannot break silences by using violence, although some people would perceive breaking a silence as an act of violence….. Speaking up often is not welcome and regarded as “violence” — while “forgiveness” is preached and recommended as non-violent and not revengeful. But the opposite is true. In the beginning, it was hard for me to not let these ideas crush me and silence my thoughts; I struggled so hard, with lots of anxiety, to be on my side and stand up for myself and my insights, to take seriously what I needed to share, and to speak up about it.

You wrote:

so yes. there is a lot to process. a lot of healing to be done. i wrote the other day on my site
"it is hard to heal when i keep getting wounded" or something like that...

Yes, a lot of healing needs to be done, and it takes time and a lot of patience and dedication to bring love into our inner world and our lives and relationships. I do understand you and your insight "it is hard to heal when i keep getting wounded" so well because it is so discouraging when we get wounded again. And when we say no, we loose the relationships, friendships, family relationships. All this has been excruciatingly painful for me. After Alice’s attack and this profound wounding, it took weeks and the help of Richard Schwartz, my therapist then, to get out of that abyss, help the suicidal parts, help me feel better and later be able to speak up for myself. The repercussions of this malicious attack I can feel until today because it still discourages me from writing. Amazingly, the exchange with Martin and learning what his mother did to him has put it into a new and helpful perspective: that the dissociation in Alice was so profound and enormous — I was powerless against it and it was NOT my fault. So I have continued to help those parts of me that believed that it was my fault; that believed that something was/is wrong with me; that I “should have known better” etc… The groundbreaking and wonderful therapist Richard Schwartz, though, thinks that painful challenges like this are opportunities for us to get to know our parts better — and to help them in deeper and deeper ways, which I have found to be true. And that has been of great benefit in continuing my therapeutic work, and at times have some courage again to write something. It is really about building loving inner relationships with ALL our feelings, beliefs, agonies, thoughts, longings….

(some part edited out)

The idea that “god” — I might call it well-meaning goodness — is in all of us is certainly a much nicer approach than the religious madness I grew up with where parents believed that a child was bad, evil, even a devil and needed to be beaten, punished, degraded, etc. They believed firmly that I, any child, was full of badness. So for a while, in contrast to my insane religious upbringing, I felt close to spiritual ideas that see goodness in us. And I still like this concept, although I would not call myself a spiritual person. Richard Schwartz’ approach that we all have a self inside that gets crushed and has to withdraw because of traumatic experiences has been helpful and true for me. Especially as it means, that we don’t have to see ourselves only as broken people who need to be “fixed” by someone — but that the self can be reached and become an active participant in our therapy work and lives. Together with what he calls parts who need understanding and healing. Here are some of his thoughts about the self:

and the video is also worth watching:

When we do have destructive or self-destructive feelings, beliefs, thoughts, or violent impulses — we can communicate with them in IFS therapy also respectfully and with compassion. Only then will they open up, share where they come from — and can we then help them heal.

My experiences with Alice Miller has profoundly and unforgettably marked my life: from reading “for your own good” in 1980; to entering therapy for the first time in 1982; to changing my life because of it in many ways; to wanting to support her as good as I could because I so believed in her work on behalf of children, to encourage us all to protect, respect and nurture children. When the break happened, I did not dare to think that she could be as deeply dissociated as she was. Martin writes extensively and shockingly about her war traumata, and it makes harrowing sense to me. So the book has left me shocked and heartbroken, for both of them; for his suffering, and for hers. And brought once more so close, and so strongly into my consciousness, the unspeakable, sadistic and murderous destructiveness of Nazi Germany. It’s grievous, burdensome and challenging to face it as a German.

Yes, I have read in Dennis Rhodie’s forum “walls of silence” and also have read
Daniel Mackler, whose documentary “take these broken wings” I find deeply moving, impressive and fantastic. He was the first one to see and write about the “limits” of Alice Miller, and he was right about that. I have not had contact with him and rarely take a look at his website; I don’t know why. Recently, when I did, I saw that it was changed….

You write about not being back in the US for 15 years, and, yes, “I got it;” as I have a son and his family living there, and dear friends, I do go back every year because I love these people and Chicago and many other things about the US, like psychotherapy which I find unique and the most humane in the world. But I see the dark, violent and destructive sides, too; it’s deeply frustrating and so hurtful to witness. So I do get it why you don’t want to go back there….

... your website is interesting and supportive of those of us who acknowledge their suffering and who want to CHANGE things, in their lives and around them. Just empowering these teenagers to become aware of their suffering and the injustice in their lives and to speak up about it creates a new consciousness. Every effort, every encouragement for change like this deserves support, I strongly feel that. There is SO MUCH we need to change in this world; in fact, I think it’s all about change — if we want to live our lives with meaning. No matter where we start or how we do it — I value it so highly. My parents were terrified of change, and so many people are; instead of daring it, they believe firmly, even obsessively, in destructive traditions, destructive beliefs, destructive mistreatment of others and our planet earth. Every tiny step we take to bring change to even one little thing is, in my mind, a good deed, a mitzvah….

Best wishes and a hug from


SH - as I explained above here is my reply to this

hi barbara

thank you for another heart warming message. and the hugs.

hug back