A letter to an abuser

The following letter was shared with me by a courageous survivor.  Her decision to share with all of you is with the hope you will find connection and inspiration.  Just the act of writing a letter to an abuser can be incredibly healing.  You don’t even have to send it.  Making the decision to confront an abuser is a very individual decision. It may be helpful to discuss the desire with a professional as there are many factors to consider.

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Just the mere fact that I have to write this letter makes me sick. As now an adult and mother I recognise better than ever just how wrong it was. It makes me sick NOT because I felt shame and guilt towards what went on, NOT because of all the hard work I’ve had to and am still doing to heal from something that was completely out of MY control…. But because I have a feeling that this is something you rarely think about. Whilst you go on living your life I’ve been living in a prison. A prison YOU created! I was a child, a child in a very vulnerable place, YOU saw that and YOU chose to exploit it. I did make some poor decisions. Decisions I’m not proud of and I have had to process through them, yet I’ve come to the conclusion that I was a CHILD. A child who was put into a situation and making choices I should have never been in, in the first place. YOU did that to me. So regardless of my response and willingness to what YOU were doing ALL the fault and ALL the blame Belong to YOU. The adult in that situation. This letter is for nothing else but an act of healing for me, for you to see just what YOU did has affected my whole life. I’m not writing this to hurt you, or as an act of revenge. Quite frankly you mean nothing to me anymore. It is simply for ME. I’m trying to close the book on this and possibly open it for YOU. I WILL be okay. I am stronger than I’ve ever been and I am taking steps to heal. I am now letting go of….. Guilt that is NOT mine, Shame that doesn’t belong to me and A secret that no longer serves me. You can deny it ever happening, how you deal with the horrible things you did is not my issue. We both know what happened over and over again, We both know you did things to a child that (albeit naively) loved and cared for you. That NO adult should have seen acceptable. I’m passing the inappropriate feelings of guilt, shame and pain back onto the person they belong to YOU!!!!!!! Do as you want with this letter, hide it, rip it up, deny it, show it to people. I don’t mind I have NOTHING to hide. Just know I’m no longer trying to deny it happening, I’m no longer minimising it and I’m no longer ashamed to tell people, to be open and honest about what you did. Because I am NOT the person who should feel ashamed. I may still be dealing with the damage the abuse caused but the scars with heal. So I am handing back the guilt, shame, fear and secret. The guilts is ALL YOURS the shame is ALL YOURS and Your welcome to keep the secret. As I no longer own them.

Comments 10

  1. It is the middle of the night and thoughts/memories of the extreme physical, sexual and emotional abuse i suffered throughout my childhood have driven me to the Internet looking for ways to help me deal with the pain. I can see now I do need to write a letter to my abuser(s) and even though i already know I will not send them, I am really hoping it brings some measure of healing. I am 56 years old on the outside but so many days, I still feel like a helpless, terrified child on the inside.
    The reason I would not send the letter to my father is that it would not do any good. He has no concept of guilt or remorse. He is so cold emotionally, he recently refused to see my adult son who had flown half way around fhe world to see him (his grandfather) and his father. My son offered to rent a car, drive from the airport, spend just an afternoon with him and leave. My father said no because that would interfere with his afternoon nap.
    For some resson, that rejection ot my son (and he claims it didnt hurt him but I lnow it did) has brought up feelings of anger and betrayal and many memories of abuse and I just don’t know how to deal with it.

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      Author

      Thank you so much for sharing with us, Jan. I’m glad you found us.

      Writing a letter you don’t send can be just as powerful for healing as sending one. It can, however bring up a lot of feelings. I would encourage you to have some support as you process this experience. Unfortunately, for most people who actually send a letter they can end up feeling betrayed all over again.

      I think it makes sense that your father’s behavior toward your son would bring up much more for you than it might him. It can be a really big trigger.

      I hope you’ve been able to get the help you deserve.

  2. Hi, Peggy. I am a survivor of child sexual abuse. I am in therapy, and have just read this blog post, and have, for quite some time, long before I came up on this website, I have been considering writing a letter to my abuser. If you could please email me about this, I would be so appreciative. Thanks!

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      Author

      Hi Bobby. Thanks for taking the time to comment. I’d be happy to have you email me if you have a question regarding writing a letter, or anything else 😉 .

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    Author

    Nothing is more difficult than experiencing the betrayal and destruction of sexual abuse as a child, on your own…and your survived that. You can do this!

  4. This was very impactful to me because I couldn’t even imagine telling my abuser how I feel. It’s awesome that this person was able to.
    I still hold all the shame and guilt from what happened. Some days I think it is going to just consume me.
    Thank you for posting this. Helps me to keep in my mind that I might get there someday.

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      Author

      Thanks for commenting Brandi. At the time this person shared her letter she had not sent it to him. I’m not sure if she has. The act of just writing the letter, without ever having to send it, can be incredibly therapeutic. You are not alone in not confronting your abuser. Most people don’t.

      It’s time to let go of the shame. It’s not yours to carry. Shame is by far the most destructive aspect of sexual abuse. It is the core of the emotional difficulties and self-destructive behavior. It is also the most difficult aspect to heal. But, it’s worth it and you deserve it!

      1. Thanks Peggy. I’m working on it with my therapist. I just didn’t think it would be so hard. I keep telling myself I’m an adult not that little girl I can do this…..but it’s difficult.
        I am going to talk to my therapist about maybe writing that letter.

    2. I just had to comment about how you said some days it feels like the shame and guilt will consume you. Wow I know exactly how that feels yet had never thought of it like that. I connot recommend more to think about just writing a letter like this, like Peggy said you don’t have to send it, but it can help put things into a little perspective. I know that it was a huge turning point for me and my healing. And also help hand the guilt and shame back to the person it belongs too.

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        Author

        Thanks so much Suzanne for commenting to Brandi. It’s so healing to be able to connect to others who know how it feels.

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