I sent a letter and the weight lifted.

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sambellscoup

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I sent a letter and the weight lifted.
« on: October 08, 2021, 07:11:53 AM »
I have really struggled this past year. My grandmother died almost a year ago and she was like my safety when I was stuck with my family. When she died, the floodgates opened in my head and I recently got to the point where I realised I could no longer physically cope with varying heavy secrets on behalf of people who advised and neglected me growing up. It was too heavy.

So I sent a letter to my father laying it all out there, in as non-accusatory a way as I could. I actually did similar many years ago as a college student when I was struggling with secret traumatic memories specific to my mother, the main abuser. She loves to hide behind him and he's only too happy to make excuses for her and make it all go away. But this time, it's addressing his dire failures, some stuff he did and some stuff he failed to do. And how easy it was for other men to abuse me because of what I'd been taught at home.

I felt a weight lift from me when I sent that letter. I feel like I'm grounded in how I feel about my father, because I've gone against his sneaky covert narcissism and cut through the BS the only way possible, by writing a letter, since I don't be listened to if I try to express myself verbally.

He has probably received it by now. Although it's possible it'll arrive today if there were any COVID-related delays in postage. He hasn't tried to contact me and I have a feeling that this time, he won't want to. My mother always has him to hide behind do she doesn't receive any consequences for her actions. He has nobody to hide behind though. He has nobody he can attempt to throw under the bus either this time.

I'm in a bit of suspense wondering if he's going to attempt to contact me, wondering if perhaps my GC narcissistic brother will get his hands on it and go nuclear in me, whether perhaps my father will write back instead of trying to call me. My husband will open anything that arrives from them and let me know if it's important, useful, honest/dishonest, etc. it whether it's only for for the trash.

But despite the suspense, I feel 100 times better than I have felt in a long, long time. I am able to sleep, I am able to relax and rest, I am able to enjoy spending time with my husband or doing my hobbies or whatever. And I'm even beginning to feel a bit more trusting of other people in general.

I'm not 100% where I want to be, but this has moved things in the right direction for me. I am no longer carrying secrets for people who absolutely do not deserve it, and who benefited from it being in my shoulders all these years after they were the ones who wronged me in the first place.

I may get no response at all, or I may get a mealy-mouthed non-apology full of excuses. Either way, I know my truth, I know my story, and I have told it. I will tell it whenever I know I need to.

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JenniferSmith

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Re: I sent a letter and the weight lifted.
« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2021, 12:07:52 AM »
My personal belief is that sending a letter like this only really works when we truly do it for our own need to express ourselves and not to get a certain response or reaction from the other person.  I'm not entirely sure, but it sounds as if that is what your motivation was.

When we hope for a response, our feelings are dependent on what they do or don't do, or say, or don't say.  Many times, we may even be unaware that deep down we really are looking for a response to what we've shared.  It can be hard to admit that to ourselves. We might think we are being strong or brave by sending such a letter, but if we aren't honest with ourselves about our true motivations, I think its easy to feel worse after sending it.

My belief is that when a parent-child relationship has been bad for years or decades, its very unlikely that the parent will have the skills to respond to these types of letters in a healthy manner.  The fact that they treated their child so poorly for years kind of reveals that they are not a very emotionally healthy person to begin with.  So the odds that they can read a letter about their emotional, physical, sexual or any other type of abuse or neglect and respond in a meaningful way just seem very small to me.    A person who could treat their child like this, again, IMO, would need years of intense therapy to sort out why they were that way.  I think the most likely response is total denial, defensiveness, blame, or ignoring it completely.

I relate to your story because when I sent my letter confronting my mother on her abuse of me, I did it because I just needed to speak up to her for the first time in my life.  I grew up terrified of her. Sending my letter felt truly liberating. I didn't want a response from her, and I didn't need one. Nothing she could possibly say would make up for the years of how she treated me. 

So bravo on taking that step and doing it for yourself! 

One caveat I could see is that people who have parents who would continually harass or stalk them as adults, I could see them deciding its not worth it to send such a letter. I think many people on this forum have parents like that, and in that case, deciding not to send a letter is an extremely valid choice for self-protection.

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sambellscoup

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Re: I sent a letter and the weight lifted.
« Reply #2 on: October 17, 2021, 08:16:13 AM »
Oh no no I'm not hoping for any response at all, I was sending it because I needed to send it. There's no point in me trying to verbalise anything whether in person or on the phone, because my father would shut me down by any means he can think of, which I think sounds a lot like you're situation too. And he's manipulative as hell I've come to realise. My mother was the main abuser and he was mostly the enabler, and it turns out they're almost as bad as each other now that I see how hard he'll dig in his heels to avoid consequences for anything.

I was in a state of slight worry and anticipation of him either trying to call my husband to get through to me to explain it all away, or being angry, or that maybe he'd write back diminishing it, or whatever... But in the end nothing came so he has chosen the ignore it route. And I'm very happy with that because I don't want to have to deal with any diminishing of what I went through. He did something very abusive twice, and engaged in abuse-by-proxy on the daily by permitting my brother to abuse me right in front of him, so at this point I am struggling to see him as just an enabler...

I've had to come to terms with the fact that he allowed himself to blatantly facilitate abuse towards me and was fine with that. It didn't disturb him that I was being abused. It didn't disturb him that he was once/twice abusive towards me. All that ever disturbs him is the possibility of someone finding out.

I agree that it would be a huge undertaking for a parent to even begin to consider doing the internal with it would take to address why they behave the way they did for so many years. Unfortunately they have to admit to themselves first that they really did all of that stuff. And that's where it all stops. "I don't remember that"/"You have a very vivid imagination"/etc.

I don't expect them to change. The only thing different is that they are afraid of me telling the truth about everything. They realise I'm not going to lie to myself about them so I feel like going NC will be fairly easy. I just have next month's memorial service to navigate. I'm a little worried about my other family members who I actually like and what they'll think of me. It hurts to be drifting away from them when I have happy childhood memories of them and always felt welcome in their home. There's also a memento I requested from my grandmother's house that my aunt is holding for me, I'm just not sure how to get it from her without being forced into contact with my crappy family.

Sorry I'm rambling here lol, I'm surprised at how long this process is still going on for me. I took my first steps Out of the FOG 10/11 years ago, I guess it could be a lifelong process really!