Today I have posted a letter to one of my abusers. It is a big day. It is a day I stand up and not hide the secret any more.
Last week after much thought and consideration I wrote a letter on my computer for one of my abusers. I have known for some time where he lives and what he has done but really wasn't ready to do anything.
The writing of the letter was very cathartic and released a lot of the emotions I have been feeling. (For obvious reasons I will not post it here bit I will give you my thoughts if you are considering doing the same.)
Firstly, writing a letter to your abuser/s can be very therapeutic. Many of us who have been through abuse were threatened with harm to ourselves or love ones if we told. Some of us were threatened with death. This is very intimidating for a young child, and there is no reason to believe that the adult will not carry out such threats. They have all the power, and so we keep the secret, and they are in control. As we mature and become adults, and are hopefully living a safe life, we realize that often we are still keeping the abuser's secret. Strangely even as adults, the abusers can still hold so much power. The fear of telling can be overwhelming, and many take that secret to the grave. Having the opportunity to get those secrets out can be a hard and painful experience, but it can also free you from the feeling of their control. For me it was a chance to say how it really affected me and to admit to myself that it was NOT OK.
This letter never needs to be sent. Once written it can be burnt, ripped up, or sent out to sea. It is the process of writing that has such a great affect. You may choose to keep it some where as a reminder that you are strong enough now to tell the secret, and in time you may be able to share it with someone you trust. If that is what you choose to do.
But for me, I wanted to let him know that I know, and that I am not willing to keep his secret any more. I also wanted to tell him how his actions had had a devastating affect on my life. I began my letter by explaining to him that I have DID as a result of years of ongoing abuse. I explained to him what it is and how it affects my every day life. Then I went one to tell him that this is the legacy he leaves behind. I didn't mince my words, I said it like it is, I want him to know the truth. I did not threaten him and I was very careful not to use words or terminology that could be considered threatening.( it is wise to take into consideration any legal ramifications on you, should they decide to take it further. There is no point getting your self into trouble with the law for their actions).
Once I was happy with what I had written I took it to my Therapist to get her opinion. We talked extensively about the pros and cons of sending it and anything she thought may be dangerous about the situation. (I just want to add that I never signed my name to the letter or used a return address) I am ultimately not expecting a reply as I am not even sure he will know who is sending it. My entire aim was to let him know the distruction he had caused in my life and possibly others. I hope it will make him uncomfortable.
Please Please Please, if you decide to write to your abuser and to send it, BE CAREFUL. Get advise from your therapist or someone you trust. Your safety is what is most important, and no one wants this to cause more harm than good. I suggest writing the letter and then letting it sit there for days, weeks or even months, so you have time you really consider what could happen. You have to right to be safe and feel safe. If writing and sending a letter is going to stop you from being safe or feeling safe, please don't do it.
I hope that my experiences can be of some help to others out there. I am not expecting anything to happen as a result of me sending it, but if it does I will keep you informed. Please be careful and kind to yourself, you are what is important here.