Miller has created a work that reaches into the soul and guides the reader through innermost (sometimes forgotten) memories and details of early life. By showing very clearly how gifted children are often relegated to that back burner of the family because of their own innate self-sufficiency, she paints a vivid picture of unconscious, conditioned manipulation and a common lack of emotional maturity in the part of the parents. The child is essentially denied a self of its own, as the needs of the parent are always paramount.
Miller says one can only be free from depression "when self-esteem is based on the authenticity of one's own feelings and not on the possession of certain qualities." In this case, a child who is exceptional in some way (and most likely an Intuitive Soul who is unaware of this ability) is the catch-all for the family's myths and issues. This child becomes the "damaged goods" who never fulfills the expectations of his/her parents because they are "incapable" and therefore appear as non-productive, non-achieving, or introverted in order to protect themselves against the domineering egos of their parents and other family members.
In my case, my role in the family as "the genius who was unable to handle school" left me with an overall sense of personal worthlessness and confusion about my own reactions to the events of my adult life. Not having been allowed true feelings of my own through my childhood, I found myself lost in a sea of immature emotions once separated from the needs of both of my parents and their continual controlling mechanisms and denial of my identity as an adult. This was also transferred by my siblings to me: they continue to deny my values and beliefs because they are in conflict with their own and thereby consider mine to be "worthless." Denial is another phase of this: when confronted with these damaging statements, effort is made by them to brush aside my demonstration of being injured by their words or representations.