Tag Archive | Support Groups

Writing a Letter You Will Never Mail

I was doing research online to help me write my letter and ran across this from a Counselor/Psychotherapist named Patricia Burnett and thought I would share.Wastepaper basket with crumpled paper

 

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child or an adult is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child or adult, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse.

Behaviorally, people who have been abused may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness. ( I am sorry, but I am not sure I will ever be able to forgive any of my abusers).

 

 

The latest from Patricia

 

Writing a letter you will never mail

Patricia Burnett – Monday, November 07, 2011

Dear Abuser. . .

One choice for someone wanting to rid oneself of emotional pain resulting from abuse as a child is to write a letter you will never mail. You write a letter to your abuser, expressing your anger and hurt and shame and whatever else is shoved down inside and possibly impeding you from a full and successful life as an adult.

Some perspective

As a child, you were voiceless and powerless. You were small, and your abuser was large; physiologically, you didn’t stand a chance. Your brain was not yet fully developed, and you were intellectually unable to meet the abuse with adequate resistance and creative response. You lacked the vocabulary and the logic to confront and defend. You did not have a full knowledge of the world and your place in it. You did not know there were people beyond your family who wanted you safe; you did not know how wrong this abuse or neglect was, from a sociological view, nor from a loving and kind view in which every child is sacred.

The psychological and behavioral damage

As a child, you lived in fear, and this meant that the stress hormone cortisol was ever-present, attacking your immune system and changing your brain chemistry so that you became, lifelong, more vulnerable to stress, depression and anxiety than people who did not experience abuse in childhood. Abuse in childhood is, in effect, trauma.

Behaviorally, adults abused as children may display some or all of the following:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty in establishing and maintaining trust in a partner relationship
  • Aggressiveness
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Anger, including road rage
  • Passivity
  • Clinginess and dependence
  • Self-loathing
  • Drug and alcohol abuse
  • Sleep problems
  • Self-isolation
  • Guilt and shame
  • Fear of new situations.

How writing a Letter to My Abuser can help

Writing a letter to the person or people who tormented you can have a cathartic result. You know how you feel, but somehow putting it in words, putting it in adult language with an adult understanding of the evil perpetrated upon you – using the power you didn’t have as a child — may help you in a number of ways:

  • Just “getting it out” feels good. You may have many difficult emotions as you remember and write, but when finished, most people say they feel better, which is the goal, or course.
  • Exerting the power of expression may lift your self-esteem. A common trait of people abused as children, or as adults, for that matter, is low self-esteem. “Telling off” your abuser feels empowering, across your current life.
  • In the writing exercise you may conceptualize your past in new ways and gain new perspectives.
  • You may process past events in ways that will give you a feeling of release and freedom.
  • You may feel that you can reclaim lost parts of yourself, or your soul.

Overall, a Letter to My Abuser can be a first step on your path to forgiveness.

How to do it

So what goes into a Letter to My Abuser? Naturally, it will vary from person to person, and you are free to write whatever you wish – that’s the point! –but here are some suggestions:

  • Set the scene: Where were you when this happened? Remember your home and your place in it. Were you rich or poor? Did you have supportive family and friends? Were you isolated? Was there food in the house? Was there mental illness in your home? Was someone disabled?
  • Describe your vulnerability and powerlessness. Remember how small you were. Remember how little you understood the world.
  • Identify the abuser and the abuser’s power over you. Was your abuser an alcoholic or drug user? Was your abuser a narcissist or self-centered? A follower of a cult or religious sect outside the norm?  Ignorant?
  • Identify the abuse. There are many kinds of abuse – physical, verbal, controlling, demeaning, sexual, neglectful. Playing favorites among the children is another common and painful practice. Describe the abuse. Try to remember a specific event and use it as an example.
  • Tell the abuser how you felt. Did you live every day in fear? Did you feel ashamed or guilty? Try to remember what ran through your head.
  • Tell the abuser about the lasting effects, the lifelong damage that started with abuse of a child. Look at the list higher in this article. Do you have trouble with stress, depression, anxiety, self-esteem, etc.
  • Tell the abuser off. Tell the abuser exactly what you think of him.
  • And, finally, tell the abuser he hasn’t won yet. You’re fighting for yourself. You have plans to make your life better. In another letter, to yourself, on another day, you can write about commitment to change.

You can write in longhand or on a computer. Either way, be sure to safeguard your letter so that other people in your household cannot access it. The letter is for you alone, or you and your therapist

You can write in sentences or bullet points or just stream of consciousness. You can swear, or not. You can YELL in capital letters, or not. You can cry as you write. But if you become too emotional, please take a break, have a cup of tea or talk a walk. You can work on the letter over a number or days, or set aside a day when you can devote all energy to it.

What next?

You will want to keep it only as long as you need it. You may need to look back on it a few times for the letter to fulfill its potential promise of release. Sometimes letter-writers then choose to burn the letter ceremoniously, a metaphor of burning up all the bad things that happened. Another option is to bury the letter, as in burying the bad. It’s up to you.

Good luck if you decide it is time to write your abuser a letter….get it all out! Let him/her have it! They deserve it after what they have done to you! It is time that I write mine….and I can assure you, he will get the brunt of my pent up anger that I have been harboring for years!

My Story

love

This is VERY hard for me to do…..but hopefully by doing this I can show that it is ok to share your story with others and to also show that you don’t need to feel like you are the only one out there cause you are not the only one fighting this battle.

I have had a very interesting life. I was abused at birth. The earliest that I remember is that I was backhanded out of my high chair for spilling milk out of my sippy cup. The others were nightmares but were confirmed after I grew up. First instance…I am terrified of thunderstorms because I was at my grandmother (on my birth mothers side) house and she decided she didn’t want me there anymore so she packed my little suitcase and threw me and my suitcase outside in the middle of a thunderstorm. The next one is that my brother and I were put on the bottom bunk of our bunk bed and she poured gas all around us and set the bed on fire. Thank goodness our Uncle happened by to check up on us so he was able to put the fire out before anything happened to us. Then there was an instance where she left my brother and I in a trailer, in the dead of winter, I was little bitty and my brother was still a baby, with no food water, heat or anything, while she went off to California with her boyfriend to do drugs. The neighbors across the street noticed that there wasn’t any movement in or out of the house for about a week and came by and noticed the condition of my brother and I and called the doctor. The doctor came…..and we both had pneumonia….diaper rash, malnourished, dehydrated, and he said if we were left alone for a matter of about 4 more hours we would have died.  Where was my birth father in all of this you ask. Well he was in the Army. And he would go a wall all the time to come back and take care of us…..but they would find him and bring him back. My grandmother on my birth fathers side tried to take care of us…..but she had children of her own and was living in a small trailer and couldn’t so the state stepped in and took us away. We ended up in foster care.  I was abused by foster parents.  I was put in a bed with I don’t know how many other children….all I know is that I was at the very EDGE of the bed. I still sleep like that to this day. No matter how much room I have on the bed, I always end up at the very edge…and never fall off. I was about 3 and was made to go to the HUGE strawberry patch and pick strawberries and milk the cows. From dawn till dusk. My foster parents had a son. I admired him because he worked with model molding. So one day I went upstairs to see what he was doing and he grabbed me by the hair and kicked me down the stairs. Thank God nothing was broke. My brother and I got adopted and things happened but for the sake of family peace I shall not mention what happened then. I got married when I was 16 and had 4 wonderful children. He could be controlling at times, couldn’t have friends, but to be  honest with you….I didn’t have time to have friends with taking care of 4 boys. Then after 13 yrs of marriage we just drifted apart and got divorced. I had a boyfriend before my next husband who was EXTREMELY controlling and ABUSIVE. I could not go anywhere without him….and had to go everywhere with him. He would kick me, punch me, slap me etc. He had me staying in an outdoor kitchen that was infested with mice and roaches and I had to wake up at 4 in the morning to go feed the goats and horses so he could sleep in. If I didn’t I would get it. Finally his family found out about me staying back there and got mad. So he brought me out the country to a friend of his trailer (in the middle of summer) no air conditioning no electricity. I had to stay there. No way to contact anyone. I almost died of heat stroke so he moved me to a little motel out in the country. There he continually beat me and punched me. One day he beat me so bad that i started throwing up blood. So I got on the phone and called a friend in Lafayette and told him what was going on and he came and got me and brought me to an abuse shelter. He helped me pack all my clothes and helped me get in the truck. As we were pulling out of the driveway I called the shelter and told them I was on the way and the vehicle i was in and that my friend was with me. Unfortunately, as we were pulling out my boyfriend was pulling in. So needless to say, it was a race by both to Lafayette to get to the shelter….but we won and made it in seconds before he got there. He tried to get in but the shelter was locked by gates and the cops came and picked him up so my friend was safe and I was safe.

After several months there, I moved to Mississippi and got married again, that is where all my REAL trouble started. Let me first say we lived with his mom and her  house was deplorable. He drank some before we got married but it wasn’t bad. But once I signed the piece of paper all hell broke loose. It is like it gave him ownership of me or something. He was controlling, didn’t want me to work. IF i went somewhere without him (which was few and far between) I had to bring receipts back. Or he was calling every 2 minutes to see where I was. And heaven forbid if I said or bought something that he didn’t like….I got beat. He drank like a fish…..10 or more 64 oz bottles of beer a day. Did cocaine, meth, marijuana, and lord only knows what else. I was not allowed to speak without him telling me that I could. When he was home I had to stay in the bedroom with him. He was lazy. If it was on the weekend, I was in the bedroom all the time.  It got to where I slept the majority of the time. Then I couldn’t really do that because I was afraid of what he was going to do while I was sleeping. I was also stabbed on a few occasions. He loved to go fishing…so we would go fishing and he would get so drunk that he would fall into the pond and then blame it on me and then beat me. One time it was so bad that I had blood running down my legs. I had to go to the ER. The doctor asked what happened, I told him it was just a bad “time of the month” but he knew better and gave me something for the pain and put me on bed rest. I had to hide the medicine from my husband which was farely easy because he stayed to drunk to remember where they were. It got to where he turned my whole family against me and I had to turn to strangers to be able to leave. One night at 1 am I packed a couple of trash bags (while he was work) and ran through the house and jumped in the car and drove as far away as I could. Once he found out I was gone….and wasn’t coming back….he kept calling my phone and threatening me. He was stupid enough to leave me messages on my voice mail threatening to kill me, plus his mom threatened to kill me AND I still had all the bruises and fresh wounds when I went to get the restraining order. The judge in Minnesota was shocked to say the least and VERY MAD! He told me that if my ex ever stepped foot in Minnesota he would regret it. But for now all he could do was issue a restraining order on him and his family. After I left and moved WAY up north (Minnesota) I have lived in fear for most of my life after that…..not until just recently have I decided that enough is enough and it is time for me to take my life back.

It is a one day at a time process….but I am getting better. I have started seeing a psychiatrist to help me deal with my flashbacks, because I have come to the conclusion that I can’t do it on my own any more.

You never get over being abused you will always remember it but you can’t let it ruin your life. I am finding my Brighter Tomorrow, let’s find your’s.

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Connecticut

BHCARECENTER FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES

Confidential Address
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New Haven County
CENTER FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES OF EASTERN FAIRFIELD COUNTY, THECENTER FOR WOMEN AND FAMILIES OF EASTERN FAIRFIELD COUNTY, THE – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE

753 Fairfield Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604
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Fairfield County
WOMEN’S CENTER OF GREATER DANBURYWOMEN’S CENTER OF GREATER DANBURY – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE

2 West Street
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 731-5206 Hotline   24 hr/7 days
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(203) 731-5200 Voice   Administration
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UNITED SERVICES

1007 North Main Street
Dayville, CT 06241
(888) 774-2900 Hotline   Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline
(860) 774-8648 Voice   24 hr/7 days; collect calls accepted
Windham County
NETWORK AGAINST DOMESTIC ABUSE OF NORTH CENTRAL CONNECTICUT

139 Hazard Avenue
Bldg. 3-9
Enfield, CT 06082
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YWCA – GREENWICHYWCA – GREENWICH – DOMESTIC ABUSE SERVICES OF GREENWICH

259 East Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
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INTERVAL HOUSE

PO Box 340207
Hartford, CT 06134
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MERIDEN – WALLINGFORD CHRYSALIS

(n/a)
Meriden, CT 06451
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(203) 238-1501 Hotline   24 hr/7 days
New Haven County
NEW HORIZONS

PO Box 1036
Middletown, CT 06457
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(860) 347-3044 Hotline
Middlesex County
PRUDENCE CRANDALL CENTER

PO Box 895
New Britain, CT 06050
(860) 225-6357 Hotline
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SAFE FUTURES

16 Jay Street
New London, CT 06320
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(860) 447-0366 Voice
New London County
BHCARECENTER FOR DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICES

Confidential Address
North Haven, CT 06473
(888) 774-2900 Hotline   Calls route to local DVS office; 24hr/7 days
(203) 789-8104 Hotline
(203) 773-0192 TTY
New Haven County
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS CENTERDOMESTIC VIOLENCE CRISIS CENTER – NORWALK SITE

5 Eversley Avenue
Norwalk, CT 06851
(203) 853-0418 Voice
(203) 852-1980 Hotline   24 hr. Hotline (Norwalk)
(888) 774-2900 Voice   24-hr. State Hotline
Fairfield County
WOMEN’S SUPPORT SERVICES

158 Gay Street
Sharon, CT 06069
(860) 364-1900 Hotline   24 hr/7 day
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Litchfield County
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777 Summer Street Suite 400
Stamford, CT 06901
(203) 588-9100 Voice   Administration/Stamford
(203) 588-9096 Hotline   24 hr. Hotline (Stamford)
(888) 774-2900 Voice   24-hr. State Hotline
Fairfield County
SUSAN B. ANTHONY PROJECTSUSAN B. ANTHONY PROJECT – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE

179 Water Street
Torrington, CT 06790
(860) 482-7133 Hotline   24 hrs/ 7 days
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Litchfield County
SAFE HAVEN OF GREATER WATERBURYSAFE HAVEN OF GREATER WATERBURY – DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SERVICE

29 Central Avenue 2nd Floor
Waterbury, CT 06702
(203) 575-0036 Hotline
(888) 774-2900 Hotline   Calls route to local DVS office; 24hr/7days
(888) 568-8332 Hotline   Spanish
New Haven County
CONNECTICUT COALITION AGAINST DOMESTIC VIOLENCE (CCADV)

912 Silas Deane Highway
Wethersfield, CT 06109
(800) 281-1481 Voice   Toll free – Connecticut
(860) 282-7899 Voice
Hartford County
UNITED SERVICESUNITED SERVICES – WILLIMANTIC OFFICE

132 Mansfield Avenue
Willimantic, CT 06226
(888) 774-2900 Hotline   Statewide Domestic Violence Hotline; 24/7
(860) 456-9476 Voice   24 hr/7 days; Emergency AND non-emergency calls
Windham County

Pain

hurt

 

It is true what it says…DO NOT GIVE UP! And I do know how you feel. But unfortunately, the feelings and the tears do not stop. At least for me they hav’nt. Mine are not tears or feelings because I still love him but because tears and feelings of pain. I see the physical scars and I have flash backs. I have Fibrolmyalgia because of him and I live with the very dibilitating pain from that EVERY day. I used to “woman up” and try to deal with it on my own….because I thought there was shame  in going to see a psychiatrist. But within the last couple of months it is like I have had a huge epiphany or something…..I realized that I can’t do this on my own anymore! It has been 7 years….and I still have trouble sleeping, I still look over my shoulder, I still have flash backs, I still get depressed and cry for no reason. Only difference now is, is that I have the most amazing man in the world….and he accepts me the way that I am and helps me through all of my issues. So don’t give up!

Hard Night

Fibromyalgia Awareness

Fibromyalgia Awareness (Photo credit: Kindreds Page)

Last night was a very hard night for me. I tossed and turned all night. Not only from the nightmares and night sweats but from my Fibromyalgia, which my Neurologist seems to think I got from all the horrible abuse I went through. Sometimes I wish bad things on my ex for the things that he did to me leaving me with physical scars to look at every day of my life. But now I have Fibromyalgia which has only gotten worse over the years and is very painful. If anyone wishes to vent……feel free to message me or leave a comment.  I’m a great listener! Just try to keep it clean.