A pair of dear friends, Athena Moberg and Bobbi Parish, suggested that I might make further progress with healing from my personal trauma if I actively accept the emotions I experience on a day-to-day basis rather than attempting to numb them out. I’m going to do so in this post and follow what I’ve learned to call the “Love Letter” format popularized by Dr. John Grey’s book Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. I may decide to revisit this later, if further emotions arise. For now, here is my letter of acceptance and self-care.
I feel angry because I feel that I was used without any thought to how that use would effect my life. I feel angry that I was told I would get respect if I gave respect and yet, on two separate occasions I was definitely not respected. I feel angry that when I told my psychiatrist what happened to me, the only help I got from him on the subject was not to bottle it up and to only tell people I trusted. I feel angry that my abusers managed to con my parents into leaving me alone with them specifically so that they could take advantage of me. I feel angry that a person whose job it was to watch and protect me, namely a babysitter, did nothing of the sort in pursuit of some perverted sexual gratification. I feel angry that said person had the gall to inform me that I was “bad” because my body responded to her touch when I had no clue what sex even was. I feel angry that I am left to deal with the consequences of my abusers’ actions instead of the abusers having to deal with them.
I feel sad that it has taken me such a very long time for me to make the progress I’ve made. I feel sad that I’m probably not the only one that my abusers ever abused. I feel sad that I’m not the only one this has ever happened to. I feel sad that so many other children were abused in worse ways compared to how I was abused. I feel sad that it’s so hard for me to believe that I’m worth anything. I feel sad that it’s so hard for me to believe that people really care about me. I feel sad that it’s so hard for me to just trust people like I used to when I was a kid. I feel sad because I have trouble believing that I’ll ever be worthy to look my Heavenly Father in the face. I feel sad because I want to believe in myself and, nine times out of ten, I just can’t. I feel sad because I have spent a large amount of my life being depressed. I feel sad because I feel like my abuse has effected how I treat my kids. I feel sad because I sometimes think I deserve to be alone.
I feel afraid that I may never be completely whole. I feel afraid that much of the negative things that pop into my head when I’m depressed may actually be true. I feel afraid that if I write a book about my experiences, people will think I’m just trying to get attention. I feel afraid that I am nothing but a gigantic fraud. I feel afraid that I’m really not worthy of real love. I feel afraid that I’m not qualified to be a mom. I feel afraid that I have messed up my kids’ lives. I feel afraid that my husband will find some flaw in my character that will convince him to leave. I feel afraid that I will end my life alone. I feel afraid that I don’t belong anywhere. I feel afraid that I am actually a bad girl, just like the babysitter said. I feel afraid that I will not be able to prevent my kids from being abused, too. I feel afraid of my emotions, because they are so strong sometimes that it’s hard to control them. I feel afraid that I may never be in control of my own emotions. I feel afraid that nobody will ever actually want to be my friend. I feel afraid that people are only pretending to be my friend so that they can get something from me. I feel afraid that I am just too stupid to notice when people are trying to take advantage of me.
I feel bad that I fell into such practices as pornography and food addictions in order to cope with my pain. I feel bad that I have yelled at my family when I really wanted to yell at my abusers. I feel bad that I allowed myself to get into an abusive relationship rather than following my gut and running away from him. I feel bad for the number of times I’ve yelled at my husband in front of my kids. I feel bad that I have been oversensitive and completely misunderstood things my family and others have tried to say to me that were not meant to be offensive. I feel bad that I am having difficulty keeping up with the housework. I feel bad that my action, or lack thereof, has been responsible for bringing Child Protective Services into our house on multiple occasions. I feel bad that my son is so abusive of his caregivers. I feel bad for every time I’ve lost my temper and hurt someone. I feel bad because I doubt my husband’s loyalty, even though he’s been with me for eighteen years. I feel bad for being so difficult to live with.
I feel joy for the amount of progress that I’ve made in my recovery journey. I feel joy for the number of sympathetic friends I’ve made during the years. I feel joy that I have never believed in giving up, even when I was in the depths of depression. I feel joy that I have never stopped living my beliefs. I feel joy for the growing list of my blessings. I feel joy because I know my Heavenly Father loves me, even when I don’t feel like I deserve it. I feel joy because my husband has never abandoned me, even when I thought he would. I feel joy because my daughter looks up to me and thinks of me as her friend. I feel joy that I have learned things during my life that I can share with others, if I have the courage to do so. I feel joy for the number of people who seem to think what I have to say is worth reading and/or listening to. I feel joy because I know I’m not really stupid, even if I sometimes think I might be. I feel joy for my Savior, who thought I was worthwhile enough to give his life for. I feel joy that I was worthy to come to Earth in this day and age. I feel joy for the ability to get through this entire post without having to spend more than one day on it. I feel joy for the love of my mother and sister and all my dead relations who have continuously worried about me when I was depressed. I feel joy for an ability to enjoy the work of other survivors like myself. I feel joy that I was able to write this post at all. I feel joy because I have accepted these emotions and felt them and I didn’t have to eat anything to feel better.
Okay, Athena and Bobbi, I see how this was helpful and I’ll admit I do feel better. Thanks. Expect to see more of this on another day if I chance to feel depressed again.