My letter of forgiveness to my abuser:
Throughout my childhood, while I adored life with every fiber of my being, I knew something was wrong. I knew my abuser loved me and that I was cared for, but I always had the underlying feeling that I was protected fiercely from something I couldn’t see.
Whenever criticism was brought up by myself, my family, or outward sources, they would crumble into themselves and become a torrential force of anger toward the criticism—not letting go until any force of resistance was gone. By that factor, I felt anger and resentment at not being able to express myself and communicate these issues.
Every day it felt like I never did anything right. Soon, it felt like asking for my own basic needs was like asking for diamonds. I turned into myself, blaming myself for every little thing I did wrong, or even right, but not to their specifications.
It felt like torture. For years, I thought I hated them. They took away my choices, my freedom, and my identity.
My family was criticized to my face constantly, and I never understood why. From what I witnessed, they were hardworking people who did everything for us, to keep us afloat.
I grew to be angry at my abuser. Why would they go out of their way to criticize the ones they loved if they hated the criticism they received?
What I didn’t know as a young girl was that my abuser was in immense pain themselves, constantly. I know now because I feel it too today. It warped their perception and left them emotionally distant.
Being abused in any way can be a huge changing force in a child’s life.
While I spent most of my life feeling sorry for myself and angry at my abuser for not understanding, what I was missing was that they couldn’t see their actions to take any responsibility.
See, abuse in my experience unleashes a small, lost child who feels unloved and scared of any outward force they don’t understand. Those actions can manifest as mental illness, personality disorders, or general mistrust of others to a smaller degree. Once I learned about my abuser’s past, I learned they were just as hurt as me, so I couldn’t continue to hold blame anymore.
As a grown woman, it’s impossible to be upset with my abuser now. They tried to be a fierce protector of the child they held within them and by extension, without realizing the repercussions, me too. Did I need that amount of extensive protection? Maybe not. Did it mold me into who I am today? Yes.
Without their influence, I wouldn’t fight for the little people. I wouldn’t have spent the past three years educating myself on my own mental health and helping others with the same illnesses. I wouldn’t fight for their story to be heard—because it needs to be. I’ll always remember them fondly despite the abuse.
While you can’t read this, I will forever be grateful to you for molding me into who I am today.