What to Expect
I first want to thank you all for committing to contribute to “Letters to My Abusers: What I Couldn’t Say Then”. I am confident that it will change lives and do more than we can ever imagine.
I want all of you to be prepared for some of what may come up for you as you write these letters and revise them. You may be affected in a variety of ways that will all be natural responses to facing old wounds. Don’t be surprised if you find yourself emotional at times even when you are not “thinking” about the abuse. You may find yourself overreacting to someone, snapping at them, crying over “little things”. Pay attention to what is being triggered inside of you and talk with your therapist and/or support group about it. These are all valid and normal responses when you are directly facing what was done to you. Allow those emotions to flow. Try not to be afraid of them; they are bringing you closer to healing, even if it doesn’t feel like that right now.
You may find yourself edgy or emotional even when you are not writing. You may feel a sense of dread when thinking about it or even feel ill at times. This is your body responding to the awakening of buried pain. Your thoughts and emotions may go in many different directions. Pay attention to your body and mind. Give it a rest when you need to. Healing is messy. Going into dark, untouched parts of ourselves is not going to be easy. Take your time and be gentle.
Make sure you have and use a support system (therapy, support groups, family, friends) and if you feel as if it is too much, take a break and put it aside. If you are unable to finish it, do not think that you have failed in any way. The fact that you took another step toward your healing is commendable. Not everyone is in the right place to do this. It took me ten years to get to a place where I felt strong enough, safe enough and angry enough to truly confront what was done to me.