Hero Child

 
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Foreword: A Hero Child
Chapter 1
screams from childhood
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English articles

My Letter to Marilyn Van Derbur — Despite my Father's Misogyny, Despite the Incest, I became a Strong, Spirited and Daring Woman

 

Martin Miller's Important Contribution to the History and development of Psychotherapy — About the English translation of his book "The True Drama of the Gifted Child"

 

 

Alice Miller: War Trauma and Betrayal Trauma

 

 

about Martin Miller's German book "The True Drama of the Gifted Child"

 

 

 

escape from the fog of admiration - my response to Alice Miller

 

Facing a Wall of Silence

essay from the book "Second Generation Voices"

 

a love letter to my anger

 

the war against the truth

 

 

insights about therapy and IFS therapy

 

IFS therapy sessions

 

Getting to Know my Self-Hatred

 

Liberation from Guilt

 

"spirituality" cements childhood blindness

 

 

The Trap of Forgiveness

 

On my side

 

The Futility of Punishment — or — The Buddha as a Symbol of Death

 

Child Abuse--the Essential Reason for Murder

 

When Do We Protect Innocent Lives?

 

Outrage over a Handcuffed Girl

 

Hansel and Gretel - Lost, Deep in the Forest

 

A Christmas Gift to be Burnt?

 

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my truth part
living unknowingly as a child under the dark shadow of fascism

Barbara: My part does not feel safe. I’m not worried about COVID. No, it’s the election and the republicans, all the law-suits, and that the republicans don’t say anything, and the parallel to hitler-Germany where the conservatives supported hitler and finally, it became a tyranny. I’m not just shocked but really devastated. I find that’s fascism to me if you don’t respect the election and support a president that does not accept the election, and 74 million people voted for this and go along with it — and the republicans in the senate don’t say anything? Only a few of them, an abysmal number, accept the election.


It scares the hell out of me. I really scares me. I am glad that Biden is president, and maybe the Democrats get two more senators in Georgia — but the direction of the republicans is NOT for democracy. The electoral college is an insanity, because someone could have 10 million more votes, but lose the presidency because of these red states where much less people live.


It is so haunting, and what my part goes back to is what I said last week: my disappointment in the US, a place where I felt safe. I cannot describe to you how safe I felt when I moved back to Chicago in 1992. And I did not think particularly about fascism and democracy. It was the distance from Germany, and I felt safe in Chicago because of the experiences I had had during the first six years when I had lived in Chicago with my first husband and our kids. So when I came back eight years later, by myself, not yet divorced, but separated, I felt indescribably safe.
I remember a dream I had then, where I watched my cat playing a cruel game with a bird; then the cat climbed on my bed and turned into a man lying down on me, pressing me down, suffocating me. I felt terrified because it seemed as if the man was real and that my life was in danger. But after some time, I realized that it was like a hallucination, that I was at home, safely in my bed. And I understood that the cat was my mother, the bird was me, the cat turned into my first husband — and that I had escaped them both. (escaping)


I think for this part, it’s a sense of loss, and a betrayal; it’s not just disappointment, it’s more like disbelief, kind of a question that I hear: where do I belong?

Therapist: Right. Mmh. That makes sense. You want to focus on that part? You want to continue to?
Barbara: I have to. It’s not the anxiety that I know so well, it’s not debilitating like the anxiety was. It was hard to function with the anxiety. This is more like agitation, not restlessness, a sense of alarm; I can practice, I can walk, I feel physically much better than I felt two weeks ago, when I felt really sick.
There is a sense of foreboding in this part, of “what is coming?” and “what can I do?” There is also the sense that this part wants to do something, but it does not know what to do.

Therapist: All right, so is it two different parts?
Barbara: No.
Therapist: Is it one part that feels foreboding?
Barbara: Yes, foreboding — and wants to do something. It says: we have to do something. We have to stop this, we have to stop this, and I don’t know what to do.

Therapist: So can you focus? Where do you notice the foreboding, the sense of foreboding and agitation?
Barbara: It’s like a tingling or prickling inside my body, not on my skin. A nervousness all over inside my body.

Therapist: Antsy.
Barbara: Yes, there is antsy agitation inside my body. And the agitation is: “Something terrible is coming. What can I do about it? I don’t know what to do about it.”

Therapist: OK. So let’s see if we can stay with the part who feels that way, that real agitation. Let it know you care about it.
Barbara: There are parts who really don’t want to go there, not in a loud way but quietly; and I can say: please let me help this part. It really needs my help very badly. We need to be with this part.

Therapist: Yes, because that’s a terrible feeling to have.
Barbara: Yes, and this part suffering; that is very clear and obvious to me.

Therapist: So do these parts agree?
Barbara: Yes, they even go away, like Dick sometimes sends parts to a different room, which I never do; but these parts want to go somewhere, like to the kitchen or my bedroom. They don’t want to be present.

Therapist: I can totally understand that; it’s a very unpleasant feeling.
Barbara: Well, I also think these parts have helped me not feel it, they have kept me going. They have helped this part by making me who I was at home. So I understand them, they don’t want to be here.

Therapist: OK, good.
Barbara: And it seems like a very young part. Very desperate. Screaming almost. “What can I do? What can I do?” A very afraid part.

Therapist: How are you being with it? How do you feel towards it?
Barbara: I feel sad. I mean sometimes I feel shocked by the extent of pain and fear that I am witnessing. And I have done a lot of therapy, as you know. It’s like: I knew it from the very beginning of therapy, but I think I am being confronted with it more and more clearly and inescapably. When you say: “I was afraid as a child,” that is one thing. But if you are with a part like this, and you really allow this part to be there, it’s shocking.

Therapist: Tell me more about that. You mean that it’s always been there, right?
Barbara: Well, I remember after my first eighteen months of therapy with Allen Siegel, and I came back to Europe, and a friend asked me: “What is the difference now that you have done this therapy?” And I said that I am not afraid of my mother anymore. And before therapy, I had not even realized I was afraid. But I notice, this is an existential fight for this part.

Therapist: What you are saying to me is that you haven’t been aware of the visceral life and death feelings to this part. Is that what you are saying?
Barbara: I think so, yes. I think there have been moments and times in therapy when I have certainly known that my life was in danger, and how badly, and that my mother once almost killed me — I know all of this. But there is something about the republicans and the election, and about the survival of democracy that triggers this part, again — so that I cannot sleep anymore since the election.

Therapist: So let it know that we really want to get to know it and what’s it been holding for a really long time, right? It’s finally getting a little of openness, and an opening, right? Because of what’s happening right now.
Barbara: Yes. It’s like the part is raising its voice and saying: “I have to tell you something. I have to let you know something that you are not yet aware of really. Even if you are shocked and even if it’s sad, but there is more to the fear and anxiety that I have carried than what you are aware of.” That’s what I hear part.

Therapist: Great. SO, OK, can you stay with it?
Barbara: Yeah. My question to the part is: What is it? What do you need for me to know?
And that’s again what the part said last week: that there was this shadow of fascism, of the nazis and of hitler, that was something that was there — but I could not understand. First of all I had no idea, and second of all I did not grasp until I was in my thirties what had happened. But this sense of that I trusted my parents so totally — without knowing who they really were, and what they had believed and what they had done during the nazi regime. And how they would not talk — the silence of the republicans is very hard for this part, because it is like: Who are you?!? You’re not taking a stand! You’re not saying: “I am for democracy, this election was not rigged, it’s not fraud — it was won by Biden.”


The silence is really hard for this part. And that’s the silence that was there. And I did not even know what it was. I mean, how can you sense a danger without understanding what it is about? I don’t think you can. I don’t even know how you live with that. I feel it now because I just want to take them and shake them and say: “My god, for heavens’ sake, America stands for democracy, for justice, for all the good things. And you are SILENT! Why are you silent? How can you be silent?”


And if you ask me, my parents were silent, too. I remember when I came back from America, and I started to ask; even when I began therapy, I already began to ask. I can see my father, on the island, at the head of the table where we were sitting, and I asked about the war. And after a while, he looked at my mother and said to her: “(The) Barbara is asking so many questions.” I was 32 years old. That’s the first time I even dared to HAVE questions. And I am sure that I did not ask anything that was problematic for them. I mean, that’s like it was with Alice Miller: you knew exactly what you could ask and what you could not ask — without knowing anything about anything, without understanding why.
It’s like you had this law over your head, this law of silence. And you go along.


And what I hear this part telling me is that it did something to my brain. It blocked it. It made me feel something that I did not understand and that I could not work out. They were demanding: “You cannot think about it, you cannot ask about it, you certainly cannot know about it. Silence is the way we deal with it.”


I feel so much compassion for this part. What a terrible way to live! How can a brain grow and develop and go somewhere and be open to the world if, every time you try to think something, you get knocked down!

Therapist: Exactly.
Barbara: And that’s what I hear from this part — the silence. How terrible the silence was, and how difficult it was to deal with. And that you did not know HOW to deal with it or what to do about it. When I began therapy in 1982, during the first sessions with Allen Siegel, who is a Jewish man, all I could talk about was the Nazi time. And finally, I asked him — you know, psychoanalysts don’t talk or respond or let you ask much — but he allowed me to ask him what had happened to his family. Because I said to him: “If your family, if anyone in your family, was killed during the Holocaust, I don’t think you could work with me. And I don’t think I could be with you.” And he answered. Unforgettable to me. He told me that his family came from Russia, before the Nazis came to power, I think already at the beginning of the century. Unforgettably, he answered. And I will always remember this being stunned that I asked a question where I was not sure he would answer because he is a psychoanalyst and they throw everything back at you. But he just answered it — honestly, clearly, not confusing me, not burdening me — nothing. I think it made a huge difference in our therapeutic relationship because I certainly had trust in him, but I think in that moment, it became very strong.

Therapist: That’s really great.
Barbara: Yeah. He is a very fine therapist. I don’t think he would have understood incest though, I don’t think he could have gone there. I remember the last time I had a session with him, he was working in the psychoanalytic institute of Chicago. And I came in, and on the wall, there were maybe fifty photos of Freud. Drawings, too. And I waited like in a tiny room, no window. These rooms were like monks’ cells where you waited for your session. He used to have a beautiful office with a view of Lake Michigan. Now he was in a cubicle like a monk. You waited in a cubicle, you had therapy in a cubicle. It really felt like religion, and I thought, of my goodness, you are in the wrong place. This is not working.
But the question and the answer and the trust that it built, that’s what this part remembers — how important it was and how good it felt. And almost until then, I cannot remember asking my parents anything, or ever contradicting them — contradiction is a crime: that was the 1st commandment of my mother, it was the biggest crime — not a sin but a crime. I did not question my parents.


But I did things differently. When my kids were born, I got up for them at night, and I did not beat them, with one very sad exception. I had ideas and goals that were so opposed to my family and how we had been brought up, that I remember one of my sisters telling me, when my kids were little boys: “The way you raise your children is a slap in the face of our mother.” And I did not cry much then, but I remember crying because I could not even grasp how anybody could see it that way.


So I have a part that was very opposed to my mother, but I did not question her openly. I did things in my way — but I didn’t question my parents.
I ask the part what it’s like to talk about this. I feel already that it’s a little calmer. It feels a little calmer in my body. And it’s like the part is saying that until she could even talk about this, she had no clue why she was suffering. She, this part, didn’t even know; she didn’t know that the silence affected her, that she felt the danger of: “Who are my parents?” “Who are they really?” Yet that I could not figure it out, although this danger was there. But there was not a single person or a Self to hear that. So the part says — it’s almost stunning for the part to be heard, and to have a voice, and to be acknowledged.

Therapist: Yeah. Yeah.
Barbara: That this is an issue, and that is something why a child would suffer.

Therapist: Absolutely. Right?
Barbara: Yeah.

Therapist: I can’t even…
Barbara: I can’t imagine what it does to a child, but I hear the part. It did something to this part. It did something to the functioning of her brain. You couldn’t create clarity.

Therapist: Right.
Barbara: And you couldn’t find the truth. You were almost like being in a labyrinth, in a maze.

Therapist: Oh, labyrinth. Right, like in a maze.
Barbara: You would go here and there, and it would feel weird, and it would feel wrong, and it would be dark, and it would be scary. But you didn’t know the exit, and you didn’t know why you were in this maze. That is a wonderful, very strong metaphor for me. That’s what she felt. And of course she didn’t know why she was there — because nobody talked about it.
And she goes back to the silence of the republicans who don’t take a stand. You know my father was never in the Nazi party; he stood up for the Jews in his fraternity, and they shut it down because he refused to ban Jews from the fraternity. So he was never a fanatic Nazi. I think my mother was, but she was a teenager, brainwashed in the hitler-youth. But I remember talking with my father about the Nuremberg trials, and he said to me: “That’s victors’ justice.”

Therapist: It’s what justice?
Barbara: It’s the justice of the victors, of the people who win the war. In other words, there wouldn’t have been any Nuremberg trials if Germany had won the war. That’s really what he was saying. I don’t think I felt anything when he said this. I think it was another walk in the maze where you run against a wall and you think: “Why would he say this?” I think the Nuremberg trials were really important, they were vital for justice, a beginning to hold nazis and their enablers accountable. Still, in Germany, into the seventies, Nazis were judges and the German judiciary was brown. I am so mad at Mitch McConnell and all these right wing justices he has put in place. They are there for years and years to come. Nazis dominated the German judiciaries into the seventies; they were also in politics. They were not held accountable.


So, who is my father? He was not a Nazi, but he thinks if Germany had won the war there wouldn’t have been Nuremberg trials. Why shouldn’t there have been Nuremberg trials? These people committed horrible, horrible, unspeakable crimes, everybody who was there. And the part says: That’s like being back in the maze. It’s like: why are you not — just like those republican senators — why are you not on the side of justice? Why are you not on the side of democracy? Who are you? You were not for Hitler, but you are obviously not against what nazi-Germany did. Did you want Germany to win the war — he was a soldier for hitler for five years — I never asked him, Jeanne. I could not even have thought this question. I couldn’t have thought it. But I think it now.

Therapist: Right. Right.
Barbara: And in the agitation of this part, there is also rage.

Therapist: OK.
Barbara: An enormous rage comes along with it, like you want to tear down the maze. You want to create clarity, you want answers. You want to be able to not be in there — in this darkness, in this uncertainty, in this confusion, in this no-way-out. And she cannot find a way.

Therapist: Right. Mhm.
Barbara: She doesn’t…. I mean, there was nobody to show her a way or to help her. I not only have compassion for this part, but I am angry together with this part, because on top of everything that was bad to begin with, this was a horrible way to grow up, and a horrible way to develop your brain, your thinking, your independence, your inner freedom. She couldn’t. She had no chance.

Therapist: Right.
Barbara: She really had no chance. And when I look at my life until I started therapy, which ironically started when my father entered a psychiatric hospital…. you know; and years later, the connection and the incest came up a year after he had died. The patriarchal power of my father was enormous. And under its spell were not only my mother or my family — although my mother certainly let us know, not in an outspoken way, but in a quiet, angry, defiant way, that she did not agree with anything that was going on. It was another thing you could not be aware of. I noticed certain thing, you know, like she always had her own room, she didn’t wear the jewelry my father gave her, she didn’t like the nice clothes he bought her — she very much had her own mind in contra to my father. She was not a pleasing wife who went along with him.
They were very different people, with very different values,


Therapist: Yeah.
Barbara: …. and different perceptions of life, also different upbringings and backgrounds. At times in therapy, that was difficult; but now I see this as a strength because, it’s like: you get a different view of things. My father was patriarchal, and not just in my family, but there was a huge extended family around us that often came to swim in the pool, to play tennis, to make music. There was often a lot of family — they all admired him. He was a very cool, charming man. So this patriarchal power also silenced me. I noticed the resistance of my mother, and in some ways it formed me. But I wasn’t aware of it. You couldn’t be aware of anything.

Therapist: Right, right.
Barbara: I married my first husband, eighteen years old — and all I was aware of was that I had this terrible anxiety and couldn’t sleep anymore. That was all, Jeanne. It was like the tip of the iceberg that’s on the surface of the water — when all this stuff was under there. And I had no clue.

Therapist: Wow.
Barbara: Nothing. I just had this little tip, and that was anxiety. And then I took the pills — and there was silence. (Laughing) More silence.

Therapist: But this part is getting that it doesn’t need to keep silent. It feels better? Right?
Barbara: It feels great to talk about it, to think about it, to ask about it, to be aware what it felt like — and that I acknowledge her reality. That I understand: this is true, this is a horrible way to live, that I understand that it blocked her.

Therapist: Yeah.
Barbara: That it blocked her brain, it inhibited her.
But remember, at the end of the last session, when the part was on the sofa here, with me.

Therapist: Right.
Barbara: The part said that she is the truth. And that has stayed with me the whole week. And all the dreams I told you last week: from the cat and the man on the bed, to the fjord where I had been on a ship with my father, and then drifting in a stormy sea. (leaving the fjord); several dreams I told you: the casket where my father was with his lower body missing — remember it was the first dream I ever had about my father — the dream with my mother in a garbage bag that I didn’t know what to do with….. (accepting the truth) ….. these were my first dreams about my parents in my life, ever in my life, soon after I began therapy.

Therapist: Right.
Barbara: I thought about this part, I thought about these dreams.
And in this feeling of this part, there is a truth that I did not know. When these dreams came, the truth of incest is there — but it took fifteen years until it arrived in my brain.
So this is a very precious part, that’s a part that kind of held on to the truth. And it spoke the truth in some of my dreams that from my point of view today absolutely stun me. Because it was as if the whole tragedy of my childhood — this part knew it. It knew it. How can you start therapy, and your first dream ever about your mother, and your first dream ever about your father are so clear…..
Who is that inside? Who knew that?

Therapist: Are you asking….
Barbara: No, I am asking kind of myself, but I think the answer is in this part.

Therapist: Right.
Barbara: There is a part of me that held on to the truth. I think if I were to talk to my brothers and sisters about this feeling: of what it’s like being in a maze, that you could not ask questions about the nazis and the war, my mother’s time in the BDM and why did she suddenly become a democratic person after she had been for hitler for years — I don’t think they would understand it.
I have a question for the part: WHY did you hold on to the truth like that? What is it in you? What is there?

Therapist: That’s a good question.
Barbara: There comes the word “oversensitive.” That’s a word that my family threw at me often.

Therapist: Yeah?
Barbara: And when later anybody would say this to me, I would say: No, I am a very sensitive person; oversensitivity does not exist. I can just feel things. It’s like the part says: I am the “oversensitivity.” I am your ability to feel and to be sensitive. And I remember telling my second husband once: it’s a strength that I have, it’s a gift that I have. Like when you can play the piano well, or climb trees, or whatever you can do well — being sensitive is never something wrong.

Therapist: No, not in our world.
Barbara: No, no. It’s a gift.
So this part says: that’s who I am. I sense things, I feel things, I notice things. I notice things even if I cannot put them into words. But I feel them. I feel when something is wrong. Another thing that this part brings to my mind: my mother had two brothers, one died in the war, the other brother lost his first wife to cancer and then he married again. And so there was a small family meeting at my parents’ house — I can even see my father’s room where it happened, with those three big arm-chairs — and there were, I think my parents, and other family members, and this couple. And I thought they were behaving totally strangely. Later I found out that they had gone that same day to tell his parents, my mother’s parents, that they were getting a divorce. That is something that I picked up from the way they behaved. Maybe they kept a big distance, or did not look at each other. But I noticed it. It’s to me pretty unforgettable. And I think I even talked about it and said, what is wrong with them. That’s how I found out, I think.


What I hear from this part is the evasion that was connected to the silence. The untruthfulness. Like my father was not a nazi, but he works for hitler for five years? I remember asking my father once how it felt, after the war, to have been a soldier for a monster. And I remember he said: “It felt so terrible, you can never imagine it.” That much I heard from him. So that was an honest answer to a clear question. But that was rare, and I was in therapy when I did this, so it was much later in my life. Evasion is the word, evasion is what the part notices, like this couple that maybe did not talk to each other or didn’t look at each other. Maybe also the insecurity, and the fear in my parents — and on the other hand the stubbornness, the anger of my mother. I mean, certain things that were just awkward, that felt strange.

Therapist: Just all the things that got split up…..
Barbara: Right. But you still notice that there is something that they are splitting off. You don’t know what it is and where it comes from, or why they are doing it.

Therapist: Right. How old is this part?
Barbara: It’s very young.

Therapist: Yeah. It got a big job.
Barbara: I would say two, three years old. She is very young, not a baby. She has an awareness of what is going on around her. She is definitely walking on her legs, looking around, looking, observing. She is an observer. I want to thank this part. I think this was incredibly moving and stunning — and incredibly enlightening because I certainly knew that there was the silence. You know, I have written “Facing a Wall of Silence.” I have been dealing with this for years now. But to really know what it felt like for this little girl is very moving to me, and very heartwarming in a way — that she held on to her truth and did not…. I mean, in these dreams…. It’s like I feel that this part is telling me in these dreams things that she knew and that she observed — that I could not be aware of, that my other parts didn’t want know about. She held on to this. I am really fascinated by this part and very moved, deeply moved.

Therapist: She can feel that? How moved you are?
Barbara: It’s like she is looking at me and saying: “Do you really see me? Do you really know who I am and what I have done for you?”
And I say: Yes, I’m beginning to see that, I am beginning to understand that — and its absolutely precious to me. It’s very, very precious to me. Like: “You are a big part of my essence. Of who I am as a person.”
Last week, I told you that my oldest son once said to me that I remind him of Vaclav Havel’s book “Living in Truth.” I will never forget that. So it’s like this part, from the underground, in a very silent way, has formed my life, has almost guided my life because it just didn’t give up. It said: “There is something wrong here, I don’t know what to do about it, but there is something wrong. And there is something wrong with your parents, and I don’t know what to do about it, but they are not good parents: for this reason and for that reason.
The dream with the ship comes to my mind, “leaving the fjord,”— and Allen Siegel was like the person on this boat that took me away from the fjord, where I had been on a boat with my father, and he took me out to the open sea where the child almost drowned. That was a dream that I had when I was back in Germany in 1984, after my initial months of therapy. In this dream, the child is drifting in these huge storm-waves, and drifting away from me. And men come with a boat to rescue me. But I say: “I’m not coming into the boat if you don’t get the child first.” And they rescued the child, and then they rescued me.

Therapist: Wow.
Barbara: Unforgettable to me. And I remember exactly when I had this dream. I had piano lessons when I was back in Germany with a young woman from Romania. And I played a Chopin ballad for he. And when I was done, she said: “You have something very precious inside.” And that night, I had that dream.

Therapist: Wow.
Barbara: I remember that clear as a bell. I am so moved by this part. I am really so very deeply moved because it’s like she is telling me a story that I know — and didn’t know. And this precious inside that is this part that was feeling, noticing and observing, and held on to the truth — even though all the other parts didn’t want to know about it. Couldn’t know about it. I am not judging them. It was impossible to know.
So I say to this part: “Welcome!”

Therapist: That’s great. Right.
Barbara: A big warm welcome. Gratefulness. I feel enormous gratefulness.

Therapist: I can imagine that’s a big shift for her. That’s not a familiar experience, I imagine.
Barbara: No. (Laughing) I cannot tell you how often I heard: “You are oversensitive” in my family. It was the biggest flaw, like committing a crime. And I say to this part: “I appreciate you! This is something precious, just like this piano teacher said.”
There is also something very strong about this part, like: “I’m gonna hold on to the truth. I’m not giving up. I know that something is wrong, and I don’t know what to do about it, but I’m STAYING with it. I’m not gonna deny it, I’m not gonna put it under the carpet. I can live with it.”
And I feel that I’m having this part with me on my lap now, and just holding her, and just saying: “Welcome. Thank you.”

Therapist: I thought you were imitating the part when you were making the gesture of embracing.
Barbara: I am holding the little girl.

Therapist: That’s great. That is so precious because everybody else treated her like a nuisance, like a problem.
Barbara: (Laughing) That’s an understatement. She was not welcome where I come from.

Therapist: Yeah. Mhm. Horrible.
Barbara: And it was also very debilitating. It’s like you take something away from a person’s humanity. And I think that’s part of the burden of the nazis. I always felt that my grandparents, who were born towards the end of the 19th century, they lived through World War I. But from two of them, my mother’s father, and my father’s mother came more love and appreciation for me, and in some way for who I was, than ever from my parents. And I think my parents were really deformed and destroyed by the years of national socialism and the war. And the people who say about Martin’s book: it was Alice’s childhood, it was not the war, not life-threatening persecution. But think that Alice would have been a different person if she had not been persecuted for years. You develop and grow differently if you are NOT persecuted, and if you don’t have to face death and being murdered on such a constant basis.
Look at all the fear that I have right now, although I am living safely, but fear about the survival of democracy, fear about the election, fear about what else are they going to do, fear about the senate. But we don’t have the nazis. I cannot imagine what people felt and experienced living through twelve years of the nazi regime, with things constantly getting worse, all the laws that hitler made: no more elections, the war, the persecution and killing. All the fear. I don’t know who you become if you live through this. But you cannot be yourSelf anymore when you must live with this amount of fear. And I cannot tell you how I admire all the people, from Adam Schiff to Joe Biden and Kamala Harris, who fight for the truth, and against the lies, and for democracy. I don’t know how they sleep; I cannot sleep, and I have no responsibility. But I admire them for their fight, I love them for their fight. I do whatever I can to support them.
So, my parents were deformed, stunted — more than my grandparents. My grandparents were not as affected by hitler and the nazis as my parents were. My parents were younger, my mother was eight years old when hitler came to power, and when kids were twelve, I think they had to enter the hitler youth. So there went her brain, if you ask me. And my father was twenty years old, he was still a young man when hitler came to power. It did something to his brain, too. It changed it.


When I hold this part and I say: “Is there a burden you carry? What can we do? What can I do for you?”

Therapist: You are asking the part if she has a burden.
Barbara: Yes, I ask this part if she has a burden. And it’s something about not being welcome, it’s like every time she wants to come out, there are like thorns that stop her, that say: “Go back. You can’t be out there.” And I think of the fairy tale where the princess sleeps for a hundred years, and this thorn hedge grew around her until this prince comes after 100 years, and the thorns change to roses. and he can get through.
For my part, it’s like she has these thorns around her that prevent her from coming out, from being in this world, from being with me. It reminds me of the prickling I experience in my body with the agitation. And the light just burns the thorns and burns the hedge of thorns and says to her: “You are appreciated. You are more than welcome. And it’s great if you are going to be with Barbara. That’s where you belong. And she is there for you, she is not going to abandon you.” And I say the same to this part. I say: “I’m so glad you are with me, so grateful for what you shared today. I’m very moved and stunned and in awe of you and who you are. I am so glad that you ARE a part of me and that you have such a unique role in my inner family. You’ve had this role all this time, but you can be much more present now and don’t have to wait or be afraid to come out.”

Therapist: How does she respond to that?
Barbara: I feel that she hugs me back, that she feels incredibly relived about the contact, even the physical contact of being held, and being in warm arms that don’t reject her but appreciate and love her for who she is. And what she also is is curious. If you ask, what do you want to invite, aside from truth and being an observer, everything that she is, it is also a curiosity about the world that she couldn’t live. That she could not express, even about my own parents. I mean, can you imagine all the questions that I have now? My father told me maybe two scenes from being a soldier in Russia, but there was a photo album with photos of him as a soldier, in uniform, with his motorcycle with a sidecar. I know very little of what he did, but now I think: Where were you, what cities were you in, what did you witness, what did you do? And I remember he once told me: “You can ask me any question, but there will be questions that I won’t answer.” It was a very prohibitive environment. This part is encouraging me to trust myself more, and to allow questions, and to ask questions, and to think about things when I am with people or out in the world. And the part itself is grateful that I have not run away from the truth, but that I have worked really hard to allow it to be there, in my dreams, learning about my family history, in whatever I have written. The part is aware of that and is very grateful for that because it’s like she can connect with that now. She is not alone. There is something inside that I have lived where we go hand in hand, where we belong together.

Therapist: Yeah, that’s huge, not being alone with that, that’s huge.
Barbara: I think so, yes, because I have done a lot to live in truth. And the part sees that, and is aware of that, and she feels very much connected with that — like: we belong together.

Therapist: That’s great, and that’s going to help with the agitation. Can you check on that before we end, has there been some ceasing of that?
Barbara: Not completely. I still can sense it, more quietly, but it’s definitely still there.

Therapist: What would this part need?
Barbara: That we talk again next week?

Therapist: OK.
Barbara: I think it just needs our attention. I think that’s very helpful right now.

Therapist: OK. Good. All right, very good.
Barbara: So, can you talk with me next week?

Therapist: Yes, at this time I can.
Barbara: Perfect. Thank you, Jeanne.

Therapist: Your’e welcome, Barbara. Good work. I’m glad that we could spend time with her.
Barbara: I am grateful for that, thank you.

Therapist: You are welcome. I hope you have a good week.
Barbara: You too. Good bye.

Therapist: Bye.