For Your Own Good——-“Poisonous Pedagogy” ?

I received a question from a viewer asking why her inner child hasn’t been touched and healed.  I think about the question over and over again and doubt whether she’s still in the beliefs of  “Poisonous Pedagogy.” The Swiss world renowned psychiatrist Alice Miller wrote a book called “For Your Own Good” and she grouped those parenting rules under the title “Poisonous Pedagogy.” Before we talk further about those poisonous parenting rules, I guess we may just start from doing a few self-image tests today. 

There are four parts of the tests including (1) Are you afraid of failures? (2) Are you afraid of rejections? (3) Do you feel guilty? (4 ) Do you often feel shameful? Ten questions will be included in each part. If your answer for every question is “very often”, then the score for the question will be “1”. “Often” will be given as “2”. “Usually” will be “3”.  “Sometimes” is “4”.  “Seldom” is “5”. “Very rare” is “6”.  And, “Never” will be scored as “7”.

Part 1

(     ) 1.  I always try to avoid to join some activities.

(     )2.  I feel nervous and anxious when I feel I’ll fail or things aren’t going what I expect.

(     )3.  I’m afraid of making mistakes.

(     )4.  I often feel worried about a lot of stuffs.

(     )5.  I like to do things perfectly.

(     )6.  I feel depressed when I fail.

(     )7.  I always examine how I fail.

(     )8.  Under some situation, I tell myself I’ll never end without success.

(     )9.  I don’t know where some anxiety came from.

(     )10.Despite what my friends said I’ll have great achievement in the future,  I just doubt about it.


Score 57-70:  You totally understand God’s unconditional love and acceptance. You’re not a person who’s afraid of failures.

Score 47-56:  You seldom feel troubled or anxious although sometimes you fail.

Score 37-46:  You feel very troubled once you’re discouraged.

Score 27-36:  You’re often worried of failures. You seldom have happiness, and you’re nervous all the time.

Score 0-26:    You have to build a good relationship with God, since you’re always at the fear and depression of repeating failures in your daily life. Let the Lord change your life and heal you heart!

Part 2

(     ) 1.  I avoid some certain people.

(     ) 2.  I feel nervous when I feel I’m disliked by others.

(     ) 3.  I feel uncomfortable when I get together with those people whose opinions or personalities are different from mine.

(    ) 4.  I feel troubled when I face to the people who aren’t friendly to me.

(    )5.  My friends said that I’m unsociable.

(    )6.  I don’t agree with people about how they get things done.

(    )7.  I do something to please others.

(    )8.  I feel uncomfortable and discouraged when I hear the criticism on me from other people.

(    )9.  I’ll guess how people feel about me.

(    )10. I don’t understand people and don’t know their motives behind them.


Score 57-70: You’re not afraid of being rejected since you have a good self-image. You totally understand God’s unconditional love and acceptance.

Score 47-56: You seldom feel troubled or anxious although sometimes you’re under the situation of being rejected.

Score: 37-46: You feel very troubled when you face to the people who aren’t friendly to you or their opinions are different from yours.

Score: 27-36: You care a lot about how people think about you, therefore, you’re not happy and you’re nervous all the time.

Score: 0-26: You’re a person who are extremely afraid of being rejected. Due to the fear of being rejected, you’re always in the great depression. You have to build a good relationship with God. Let the Lord change you and heal your self-image.

Part 3

(    )1.   I’m often in the worry of how God will be against me.

(    )2.  I often think whether God will be angry with me if I don’t do things well.

(    )3.  When somebody falls in the great difficulty, I usually think the person must have done something bad to make him (her) reap what he (she) sowed.

(    )4.  When I’m not doing well, I think it must be God who is punishing me.

(    )5.  I’ll punish myself on purpose when I mess up doing something.

(    )6.  When somebody messes up something, I usually punish them.

(    )7.  When I see somebody does something bad, I’ll be angry with God and arguing why HE doesn’t punish him (her).

(    )8.  I’m good at finding other people’s faults.

(    )9.  I feel God is rigid.

(    )10.I’ll correct people without any hesitation once they make mistakes.


Score 57-70: You have a good self-image. Although you sometimes make mistakes, you totally understand God’s unconditional love and acceptance and His grace is enough for you.

Score 47-56: You feel uncomfortable once a while in making mistakes , however, you seldom feel very troubled or anxious in making mistakes.

Score 37-46: You feel very troubled and uncomfortable when you make mistakes.

Score 27-36: You’re very afraid of making mistakes. You don’t feel happy at all and you have no peace within you because you think God will punish you if you make mistakes.

Score 0-26:  You think God is so harsh that He oversees you every second, and He will catch you and punish you once you make mistakes. You are very depressed. You have to build a good relationship with God.  Let the Lord help you and heal your self-image.

Part 4

(    )1.  I often think about the past failures and people who didn’t like me.

(    )2.  I feel shameful, angry and sad when I think about something happened in the past.

(     )3.  It seems that I often make the same mistake.

(     )4.  I always want to quit some bad habits and change my personality, but it hardly improve.

(     )5.  I always feel I’m not good than other people.

(     )6.  I feel bad on my shape and looking.

(     )7.  I sometimes dislike myself.

(     )8.  Those things happened in my childhood keep on bothering me.

(     )9.  I’m a person of no virtue.

(     )10.I think I may have no achievement in my life.


Score 57-70: You have a very good self-image. You understand God’s love. Those things have happened in the past can’t influence how you deem yourself now, because you totally realize God has accepted you to be one of His children unconditionally.

Score 47-56: You seldom feel very troubled or anxious though you feel uncomfortable once a while about the past events.

Score 37-46: You feel very troubled or uncomfortable about some past events.

Score 27-36: You aren’t happy and have no peace in your mind since you feel very shameful and anxious about those things happened in your past life.

Score 0-26:  You can’t forget the past. You were deeply hurt in the past. You have to build a good relationship with God. Let the Lord get you out of the depression and rebuild the new self-image for you.

The pioneer of family therapy,  Murray Bowen thought that although the original family had brought substantial influences on family individuals, the individuals had to take his (her) own responsibility. In addition, He thought When a person was no longer a helpless child, then the person was not passive and could have the ability to change himself (herself) and have more impacts on the dysfunctional family system. He also said that a person’s real change came from knowing his (her) own original family.

As a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ, I agree that the “past” can’t determine the “present” and the “future” ; the “past” can only have influence on the “present” and the “future.”

The “Poisonous Pedagogy” exalts obedience as its highest value. Following obedience are orderliness, cleanliness and the control of emotions and desires. Children are considered “good” when they think and believe the way they are taught to think and behave. The author Cecil G.Osborne of the book “The Art of Learning to Love Yourself” also thought the parental “Put-Downs” did permanent damage to children. From hundreds of counselees Osborne had heard parent “put-downs,” Osborne asked some of them to list the ones that they resented most. In here, I’ll list them as follows:

Parent: Don’t interrupt me! I’m talking.   Child: So you are. I’m sorry; but how about the ten thousand times you’ve interrupted me?………….

Parent: Do it now. Right now. I tell you.   Child: All right, all right! But why when I ask you for something, you nearly always say , “Wait a minute, I’m busy,” or ……….

Parent: Wait till your father gets home!    Child:  Yeah. I’ve heard that one before! It’s about five hours until he gets home,  and meanwhile I have to live under a big black cloud of fear………

Parent: God doesn’t love you when you’re bad.  Child: Bad? Am I bad? Does God love me when I’m good and get mad at me—like you do—when I make a mistake? ……

Parent: Look at those grades!  Child: Keep on looking till you see if you can figure out why they’re so rotten. I’ll tell you. Kids all want to learn. It’s built into us; but with you two quarreling and threatening to split up, you’ve got my nerves all shot. I just can’t concentrate………

Parent: Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about.  Child: All right, if you say so. I have no other choice. So what I’ll do is this: I’ll bury my hurt and grief and anger, bury it so deep no one will ever know what I’m feeling………

Parent: You must respect your parents.  Child: Yeah, why? You don’t respect me! You scream at me, hit me…….

Parent: What I’ve done is ” For your own good!” CHILD: WHAT WILL YOU SAY OR THINK?

Dear all,

Do you feel you are familiar with the above parenting rules? I guess you might be familiar with more than those, right? What were the others? Get them out!  Please don’t get me wrong! I don’t mean to ruin the image of your parent or ask you to disobey your parent. I mean to help you come out of the idealization of the parent, know yourself better, and let your inner child start to get healed. Pray for it! The Holy spirit of God can bring you back to the past and help you figure out where your ancient hurts were and the Lord Jesus will heal your hearts and transform your self-image!

The following articles we’re going to talk about a few addictions, fantasy bond,…  and I’ll also introduce the creative prayer. Please don’t fall behind! Start to follow the Lord Jesus today and let Him do His wonderful work for you!

“I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out…… What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!….”  Romans 7: 18, 24, 25



Miriam White

About Miriam White

Hi there! My pen name is Miriam White. I've experienced my inner child transformation through God's love, healing and His Word. Do you know Jesus loves you? He helps me and He can help you, too. I wish this site would offer some guide for you whenever you're seeking God's salvation or His power of healing. Expecting you to experience the amazing transformation very soon !
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