Corporal Punishment (and wtf does THAT mean?)

Just read about the Judge in Texas whose daughter filmed him and her mother “whipping” her.   Beating her with a belt.  Verbally abusing her.

She was making a lot of noise, anyway.

So, I’m concerned.

According to Alice Miller (thank you, Nancy, for introducing me), physical punishment received by the child is so painful emotionally and the need to retain the parent’s love and protection so strong, the child will internalize the sense of betrayal and helpless rage caused by “corporal punishment.”

And because of this internalization, she believes a strong correlation exists between “spare the rod” parenting and illness in later life.


Alice Miller has pioneered a form of therapy to help the adult child release these internalized and semi-forgotten emotions.

She describes her therapy as a sort of witnessing.  Forgiveness of the parent is not necessary, just expressing the events and reactions to a Listener, who will not try to “fix” the adult child’s suffering–just acknowledging.

So, where does my kidney disease come from?  I can’t even begin to think about addressing that bulging folder where I file things that I can’t process.

And then, what have I done to my own child?  I was very seriously anti-corporal punishment when he was a child.  Mostly, I would take away something that he liked.  Did he feel betrayed?

I also used to flick his ear.  To get his attention.

I SO wish I could do it over.  I’ve grown up a little since then.

Oh.  And the Texas Judge will not be prosecuted.

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