I mentioned before that as a part of my preparation for confronting my parents that I needed to role play with a friend and read the letters to him as if he was either of my parents. I forgot to say that this idea came from a wonderful book called Toxic Parents by Dr. Susan Forward. I read this book and it was one of those books that felt like it was describing me exactly. She discusses everything from parents pushing their beliefs on a kid to physical and sexual abuse. She talks about the developmental effects this has and she talks about getting past all of it. She makes it seem like it’s possible to have a functioning life when all you’ve known is dysfunction.
Anyway now that I’m done plugging the book that is changing my life haha, I’d like to talk about my experience of reading these letters out loud to another person. I can say that it was painful. It was sad. I know that I have to do it again. I started tearing up when I read the letter addressed to the silent parent. I’m actually more afraid to read my letter to that parent, not because it may hurt them but because once the abuse was over that parent has had the most control over my life. That parent lives in denial quite strongly and expects me to continue living that way as well.
I sobbed when I read the letter addressed to my abuser. I included in that letter instances of abuse. I couldn’t even get through the entire letter. I read my last vivid memory of abuse out loud and just broke down. I could remember the feelings I had as a kid. I was so confused as to what I did wrong to deserve such wrath and mental manipulation when in reality it had nothing to do with me. I never did anything so bad that required that crazy treatment in return.
I felt bad for my friend to have to sit there listening to those letters. I felt like I was subjecting him to my abuse as well. No one should have to hear those things out loud. He had heard a lot of this before and had even read the letter to my abuser before. It’s one thing to write these words down but it’s another thing to say them out loud. My friend wanted to be there for me though. He wasn’t giving me anything that he didn’t want to offer. He was offering support and I appreciate it greatly. I have to realize that when people are being nice to me, it’s not always out of obligation and it’s ok to accept a person’s kindness and not feel guilty or feel like a burden.
My friend couldn’t say anything in the form of what my parents might say. He just said that the letters are so straightforward that he couldn’t see anyone having anything to say in return. We discussed that we could see my parents getting angry and saying they did the best they could or that they’ve done so much for me but my friend pretty much expects them to be shocked. The scared little kid in me, expects my silent parent to go berzerk and to tell me to get out of the house. I find myself wondering if my abuser will question why I’m bringing it up again when they’ve already apologized. My answer to that is that I’d like a sober apology, however I’d be more delicate in my delivery of that rebuttal. The worst thing that could happen is that they choose to cut me out of the family. If that happens I doubt it would be for any real length of time. I could live with it though. I’ve been living without them for awhile now and I think I could survive it. It’d be sad.
I know I’m not quite ready for the confrontation. Breaking down and sobbing is evidence one haha, but I felt anxious and ashamed to have to start reading out the memories of abuse. I didn’t want to say out loud to another person that I love that I was a little kid who was beaten and made to feel weak. I didn’t want to feel weak in front of him. I didn’t want to subject him to my past abuse out loud, even though he had already seen the letter. I didn’t want to make it all real. Sometimes, I hold all the past at arms length and make it look like a bizarre story for myself. It makes it more bearable but saying it out loud makes it very real. I’m lucky I don’t have permanent physical damage and I’m lucky I turned out as well as I have.
I still need to rid myself of that shame before I talk to my parents. I need to correctly place the responsibility of events. I need to keep telling myself that none of it was my fault. I need to keep telling myself that it’s ok to admit out loud that I was an abused child. This is not a secret I have to keep anymore.
There is a reason that I am still alive on this earth. I don’t know if it’s to share my story or if it’s to help other children or to bring light to the situation and help with legislation or what my purpose is. I know I’ll find it. I choose to be one of those people that finds purpose from their experiences…. In the mean time there will probably be some more tears and I think that they are necessary even though I hate to cry. I’m not weak because I cry.