Friday, June 09, 2006

Reading the letter to my therapist

My therapist was eager to hear my letter to my father. She listened carefully. She had a box of Kleenex next to her and used the Kleenex as we worked through the letter. That meant a lot to me. Those who have been abused need to find out that there are people in the world who care, people who feel sad or angry at how we have been treated.

It was an intense session reading my letter. I had been able to write the letter without a whole lot of emotion on my part, perhaps because due to some unforseen interruptions in my schedule, I had to write the letter during the evening before my therapy session and I felt rushed. Rushing does not allow for adequate emotional processing of information.

But the therapy session was not rushed. And it was a safe atmosphere. I started out reading without a whole lot of emotion, but then the sadness and grief kicked in at certain points, especially when I spoke of how Dad had abused Mom so much and even our family dog. That helped free me to feel more of the emotions I needed to about how Dad had treated me. Yes, I cried at each of those points. I sobbed at some point where I had written something about how deeply the abuse had impacted me.

It was an intense, honest time. It was good to be able to read the letter to someone who is a professional, well experienced in helping adults who were abused as children. My therapist asked me at the end if I felt drained. My answer was "yes."

When I got home I suggested to my wife that we go out to eat at one of our favorite buffets. I felt the need to do something good for myself after sharing so much pain that afternoon. We need to find ways of affirming ourselves that we are doing the right thing in dealing with the pain of our past.

Oh, my therapist and some others have asked me if I will send the letter to my father. The answer is "no." I cannot do so because there is a real possibility that my father would commit suicide after reading such a letter. It could even be a double homicide, where he takes Mom out first and then himself. I think that he would feel so much shame after reading the letter that he might do as one of his friends did after it came to light that he had been sexually abusing his grandchildren, and the legal system had to deal with him on that. For Dad and Mom's friend that was too much. So he shot himself to death to avoid as his solution for dealing with his shame. My father has previously threatened to me that he would kill himself with his guns, when he has been in one of his rages. I don't want my father to kill himself. A few years ago I took his guns away because a situation had come up where he was angry and having difficulty dealing with the threat of the law forcing them to make some changes that they did not want to make at their old age.


Blogger Marj aka Thriver said...

Al, I am so proud of you! I'm glad you were able to grieve and that your therapist was truly caring about it. I hope you enjoyed your trip down the buffet line!

10:13 PM  

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