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on May 8, 2004
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding... the prophet
I checked this book out from the library the words "Banished Knowledge" intrigued me 1990 version. Already knew most of what was written but to have someone else actually write it wow! She had the courage, Thank you!
reading Saint Nicholas part made me furious. Furious because I have seen it before in churches, in blackmailing & bribing for behavior, or just plain "because" no reason at all. What makes it worst is that I don't stop them from hurting their child, they usually kill the messenger and don't want to see the truth.
The excerpt "The Child Sets Limits" to open eyes gently. That was a great positive side of a book that explores the truth.
I cried on page 79 child: "she has no choice but to accept any closeness she is offered rather than be destroyed."
I'm grateful for a mother who at least mentioned to me all the mistakes she has done rasing us. And all the mistakes she is making now. Specially saying NO just because she felt like she needed control. She blames herself for anything we "her children do wrong"
P.S. I agree with her on the autism and if one is to research for the truth; One would find that many illnesses are because of emotional states. Taboo subjects always makes people angry!
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on May 27, 1998
If society is seriously interested in declining child abuse it must stop trivializing the fact, read "Banished Knowledge," by Alice Miller, to comprehend the consequences, then proceed and support the need. Then, and only then, will they comprehend that psychologists who try to help are practicing with the limitation of arcane theories, mostly without having personal experience about the subject. In too many cases theories are missing the point and are forcing victims to accept the training of a Ph.D. as salubrious. Two years ago, discouraged and disappointed I ended my twelfth session with a psychologist after she tried different theoretical approaches, when she asked helplessly, "What kind of theory fits you?" In my desperation to relieve the pain of memory I was pressed into obscure methods, declared as the only way or solution. In this kind of approach, again, harm is done. My personal experience with format theories like "one fits all," had lead me to more desperation than healing. Because self censoring psychologists approach child abuse with dogmas, instead of listening for an eventual true lead, they should find individual methods for the painful experience expressed by the victim in a descriptive way. I do not knock the honest attempt of scientific studies, which I trust, someday, will lead to more insight into this human behavior; on the contrary, I urge Psychology to recognize that all scientific approaches are developed by individual minds. In spite of all knowledge available, everything we do has limitations, and the possibilities of errors are influencing the result. We must consider these facts before we imply otherwise and call others wrong. Having experienced verbal, mental, physical and spiritual abuse, molestation, rape, incest and the horror of being sold into slavery as a child, I challenge all researchers to find acceptable new ways with more concern for the abused individual in seeing old methods with more criticism and adopting other new! ly known theories, as Alice Miller has done. Progress or improvement cannot be reached by continually using existing theories of psychological approach, which were by honest observation unsuccessful. Psychology should objectively consider the statements by studied individuals as guidelines, instead of seeking desperately convenient, society- pleasing or self-glorifying solutions, and establishing dogmas which are closing forever doors for future developments or final solutions about this unbalanced human behavior of child abuse. I agree wholeheartedly with Alice Miller's theory described in "Banished Knowledge" for this simple reason, it applies to me.
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on December 23, 1997
Several years ago while I was an undergraduate majoring in Mental Health, I read Banished Knowledge. At the time I was also engaged in personal psychotherapy, getting in touch with the traumas of my past. Banished Knowledge was the first book I read that really "put it out there". No glossing over issues, no excuses for errs committed by others, no shiny marketing techniques to make the subject more palatable- Alice Miller just stuck the truth right out there. the book changed my life. Now, after completing a master's degree in counseling, Banished Knowledge is still the book I most reccomend. Not only does Alice Miller eloquently describe what trauma is, but she describes the differnce between blame and accountability when attempting to understand one's perpetrator. At times, the truth is hard, but the victory of understanding one's own wounds is freeing in the end.
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on December 11, 2015
Nothing short of breath-taking.
Monumental and a glimpse into the future.
I have not as yet read her other works, so my knowledge is limited to this volume which is located near the end of her publishing output.
That being said, if you are seeking an alternative to psychotherapy using conventional approaches that take as their starting point children's supposed "destructive drives" as rooted in the Freudian pedagogy, this-along with Laing's 'Divided Self' and the work of Carl Rogers-should be your starting place. Or perhaps, as Miller suggests, begin your road to conscious wellness, developmental awareness and healing after abusive trauma though art: paint, draw, write, and allow free expression of your own inner affective memories to manifest creatively. For Miller, this was her starting place for her own transformation and recognition of how she had been abused and the way social forces, from the Church to educational systems, reinforced the blamelessness of abusive parents.
When a work swims against the social tide and yet successfully manages to not only question but challenge something as fundamental as the west's accepted wisdom of forgiving abusive parents, all survivors seeking true healing, catharsis and wellness would be advised to take note.
Of seminal importance today and a work whose timeless threads are echoed in the transformative works and approaches of the likes Mate, Levine and others.
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on November 5, 2007
I came across this book at a local bookstore last weekend just out of curiosity, and the thing that caught my attention was the title itself: "Banished Knowledge." I began to wonder: what kind of knowledge that this author was addressing. Then, I looked through it and it was about a knowledge lost to oneself due to trauma in childhood. And, this book was also about facing one's abused childhood in order to be freed from repressed emotions. This book is a second book by Alice Miller that I have read, with the first being "Drama of the Gifted Child." I was a bit skeptical when reading "Banished Knowledge," but there is some good information that lies within.

I do agree with Miller when she said: "repressed pain blocks emotional life and leads to physical symptoms" (p. 161). There are many of us to blocked out memories from childhood that leads to dissociative states, and we tend to act out or act in a way seems unnatural to ourselves and to others. And, because we repressed our emotions, either from our childhood or present time, we would become sick in some aspects. Our emotions do indeed affect our physical bodies.

"Banished Knowledge" is short, with 180 pages, and has nine chapters with an appendix. It is fairly easy to read, but it can be little tough to understand. But, there are nuggets of truth in this book that may or may not help one to face fears stem from one's childhood. I do recommend this book for those who are searching for self-identity. Judge for yourself on how this book affects you, and if you feel anger, then you found one of the repressed emotions leading back to your childhood.

This book will not hold all of the information that will save you from pain/trauma, but it at least will have some truth for you as part of your self-discovery.
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on May 7, 2004
I have read Banished Knowledge.
It seems to be best used in conjunction with other books, as it's focus is on showing how saying things are not well (which is the pre-requisite for wanting to change) is not always so warmly received .
Examples presented in the book include a television production team tailoring a series on child abuse to be more "protecting" of the adults and a philosphy professor being belittled by psychoanalytic professionals because he shared with them that he learned about himself from Miller's unconvoluted writing (Alice Miller, an established psychoanalyst, possibly in her fifties when she wrote Banished Knowledge, says that some psychoanalytic theories are probably developed to obscure truth and to protect the parents and the status quo from criticism; some of her psychoanalytic peers do not like her saying that),
Drama of The Gifted Child And The Search For The True Self, also by Alice Miller, is probably a good single-book choice if a person wanted to get busy with becoming whole.
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on August 23, 1999
Miller may make some extreme and perhaps unsupportable statements now and then, and don't expect a course in scientific method on every page, but her books lay out how the mind works more clearly and thoroughly than anything else I know of. Trying to understand the child, or the parent, or the mind, or trauma, or yourself without thoroughly digesting Miller is really unthinkable. Other excellent books by Miller include Drama of the Gifted Child (also called "Prisoners of Childhood") [read the original version, currently available only in hardcover] and For Your Own Good. As for other authors, important works on childhood trauma include Making Sense of Suffering by J. Konrad Stettbacher, Betrayal Trauma by Jennifer Freyd, and Soul Murder by Morton Schatzman (don't confuse this latter book with one of the same title by Leonard Schengold). Schatzman's book is inexplicably out of print, but it's worth getting from the library. An excellent, simple, and highly practical book is Toxic Parents by Susan Forward.
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on March 22, 2000
First let me begin by saying that I really have enjoyed and learned from Miller's other works. They have been important text's for those of us not in "practice". So it was with high expectations that I purchased Banished Knowledge. After reading the first couple of chapters, I came to the conclusion that this book was more of a polemical text meant for the psychoanalsyst community then it was for the layperson. By the end of the book I was convinced that this was the case. However, I did find nuggets interspersed throughout the book that made the book at least worth reading if not completely satisfactory. If you are interested in purchasing this book with the expectations of, say, Drama of the Gifted Child just be prepared to find the writing written in a tone that seeks an audience not usually intended for her other works.
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on August 13, 2000
This is the first book I have read by Alice Miller and the first I've read on childhood abuse. It is written in easy to understand language and gets the point across VERY well. Ms. Miller does make a few statements that are hard to swallow, but she goes on to explain them and certainly doesn't tell you that you HAVE to believe them. This book is a must read for anyone who has suffered any type of childhood abuse.
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on June 26, 1998
A potentially interesting and highly important book which was spoiled for me by Miller's insistence that autism is caused by cruel and unloving parents (a view contradicted by exhaustive research). This flaw seemed to cast doubt on the rest of the book, as Miller would seem to be contradicting her own principles by ignoring the testimony of high-functioning people with autism themselves who have spoken out vociferously against this view and by treating the traumatic and pointless method of "holding therapy" as a miracle cure.
Society badly needs to wake up to the issue of child abuse (emotional as well as physical), but this cause is hindered not helped by claiming as a product of abuse one of the disorders which has been most conclusively shown to be neurological.
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