Please take a moment to read this therapeutic letter. Letter writing is a tool I often use in working with clients. The intent of this letter was to focus on providing support to this client’s younger self. The kind of support which she never received from her own parents. The intent of this was for it to be written to her younger self as if she was in the parenting role. All identifying information has been excluded from this letter. I have also been given permission by the individual to share it with all of you.
I am sharing this, as I have worked with so many individuals who have been through similar situations and experiences. I am hopeful that this will be relatable to many of you. If you feel comfortable enough, please comment below. Thanks for taking the time to read this.
“It wasn’t your fault. I would scoop you up, give you a big hug and let you know I love you”
I wouldn’t have given up on you. I would’ve offered to be there and when you were really young if you said no just been there anyways. I would also recognize the anxiety you experienced and not add to it by criticizing things you couldn’t change and only making you more self-conscious. I wouldn’t let you push me away, you would be cared for, and love would be shown.
It is ok to put yourself out there and say “I love you” First, if I were your parent no matter what I would always respond and better yet show you. I would hear your concerns and never brush them off especially after your brother came out and everything gets squashed because “he’s gay”, he has his own stuff and you are an individual and deserve respect and attention.
The life lesson of treating others how you wish to be treated is great; however, there is wiggle room in that and you certainly can adjust and never be the one always giving and getting walked over since most people unfortunately won’t treat you equally. You have a big heart so even if you tone it down a bit it’ll still be better than most. As your parent, I would have advocated more for you, got second opinions and searched around for professionals that were best for you. I also acknowledge and recognize how difficult it was to have to go through everything from injuries, glasses, dental work, surgeries, bullies, and being used.
A kid doesn’t deserve to picked on for those things out of their control. You didn’t ask for glasses. You sure didn’t ask to be a mouth breather and have an adenoid issue and have a narrow mouth that needed to be widened and a lower jaw that needed to be pulled forward. Those appliances were hideous and added more to your plate and I sure know that I couldn’t do now all that you did then. It was traumatic to wet the bed for as long as you did and I would love to take the fear away that you felt each and every day/night hoping to get things cleaned up without mom knowing and being so afraid of her reaction. It wasn’t your fault. I would scoop you up, give you a big hug and let you know I love you, the sheets and clothes can be washed and you are more important and above all that. I would have explored and learned alongside you and not shut down your hopes and dreams.
I also would watch my words and be mindful of using statements that didn’t allow the opportunity for you to voice your opinion and certainly made it hard to disagree as the acceptable response was known. I want you to know that you could’ve disagreed and you still can. You are you and you’re exactly the way you’re meant to be, quirks and all. Who else could organize and plan like you especially being a calm procrastinator that worked well under pressure. You developed so many skills in spite of what you were going through in those early years. I only wish I could have been there to get you the help to develop the social skills along with the self-esteem you deserve because that paired with your many amazing strengths and skills makes you a pretty darn fantastic kid that gave most adults a run for their money. It is perfectly fine to have your own thoughts, opinions and emotions about whatever it is and you certainly never have to go along with what is going on.
I can certainly say I am proud of you. You have showed great strength so many times in your life and I wish you could have felt strong then and believed you were strong and to feel strong all along. You were not the parent in the household to your parents or siblings and you certainly didn’t need the weight of responsibility on your shoulders. You were a kid and I wish you truly could have been one and not grown up so fast and lost some of the fun and carefree moments most kids enjoy. Mom had her own issues to deal with and I wish dad wouldn’t have put the weight on you to do what she says and not piss her off kind of pep talks given cause no matter what it wouldn’t have had mattered. They both had their own stuff individually and as a couple to deal with…they still do. The problems with mom and dad weren’t your fault.
Didn’t need to be responsible for everything, you were a kid and weren’t a parent – mom at bingo, parents gambling – didn’t have to join in those activities just to spend time together
It is ok to be angry that they missed games when you were older to go gamble especially when you got hurt and was all alone with no one at home to come pick you up and take you to the hospital – that seriously sucked, you weren’t an adult. It’s ok to feel angry and hurt that you were left at the hospital to wait for surgery on your own, you didn’t need to take on everyone’s responsibilities; you had the right to not be so strong and say you wanted someone there and at least speak your mind.
Target for bullying in school, not your fault. Teachers making it like it was your fault was their issue and them not doing their job. I would have taught you that it’s ok to say no, and that no is to be respected, heard and followed. First and foremost I believe you. What you went through as a kid was real, it wasn’t your fault, you are not the problem you certainly aren’t bad and I would help the innocent child. I would be by your side fighting the battles. You were a very smart and observant kid and I would listen to you and take what you said into account. I see the times you went unheard and unnoticed, you belonged although weren’t treated in that way
When you had that emotional breakdown explaining how you felt you were there but not really there, I understand that. It was a legitimate feeling, it was real and pretty damn scary for a kid to deal with on her own. I would help you to figure things out and get you to talk to a professional to get help if needed.
It’s ok to disagree with others especially when those people are making statements and trying to push their hopes on you. Saying you’re ok or you’ve decided this without asking you, you could’ve said no and told the truth, you had a right to speak up and say the truth instead of protecting others. Nobody was there protecting you
I hear those thoughts and believe you that things would’ve been different if you were born a guy. It would have been acceptable to excel at sports. You did more than try, you succeeded and did well even when everyone hated you and the ball was rolled to you so you didn’t have a chance to hit and then would be used by those same girls for provincials…you were alone then but you aren’t alone now as I’ve got your back and I’m fighting for you. Also wasn’t in your favour to constantly be told by mom that I was a lady so always feeling like what I was doing was wrong and didn’t fit
I wouldn’t constantly shut you down by saying things like we can talk about it later, tomorrow, when you’re home etc. and after all that avoid the topic totally or put it off again with another excuse. Life is tough and I would be there with a comforting presence to deal with the tough stuff head on and certainly so you didn’t have to go through it alone. I would also encourage you to explore and learn about emotions and express them so you could identify and understand yourself more instead of finding out in your thirties that good isn’t a feeling word.
I would be there to protect you from the bullies and constantly remind you the names they called you weren’t who you were it was a reflection of the kids doing the bullying. I would’ve been there to fight back when the boys would surround you and physically hit/punch you. You didn’t deserve it. It also was in no way because of who you were or your fault that mom lost her tempter on you and would take her anger and frustration out on you with hurtful words, criticism, washing mouth out with soap, hitting with wooden spoons and brushes.
I wish I could take your pain away. Ultimately I can say I believe you, you were strong and it took guts to not do things to avoid a portion of the punishment cause why get criticized and punished. You learnt responsibility from a very young age. You definitely didn’t need the character builders or to have the hurtful things brushed off with those words as if it didn’t affect you.
Had mom and dad split up at any time it would’ve never been your fault and I would do anything to take that burden you carried with the constant threats of mom leaving and help you see how it couldn’t possibly be true that it was because of you. Never could it be true.
I would get you help so you could develop a healthy body image in spite of everything and to realize weight isn’t protection and when you lost it and felt great help to deal with the attention and the feelings associated with everything, possibly feeling vulnerable and helpless.
I am glad you started exploring who you really are and what you like and want from life although I wish I could take away some of the deep rooted pain. Just remember it’s not your fault, you’re not to blame, certainly aren’t “the problem” not are you wrong or bad. Others can easily judge actions and decisions without having gone through anything similar in their life. You didn’t kill another human being. You are still you – including honest and trustworthy – and don’t have to share every aspect of your life with your parents or let them know every like or dislike as it changes etc. It’s ok to have different beliefs and opinions ex: church, race, relationships, career, and life in general. Certainly don’t need to feel guilty for wanting to be an individual and having different ideas and goals, I only wish I could have encouraged you more to pursue those instead of having them killed the moment they were voiced.