The Letter Did Me No Good

That letter yesterday to Miguel, my ex, didn’t bring me any relief at all. I don’t feel better or empowered. Instead, I feel flattened.

Maybe it’s the wrong approach, to write him a letter after all these years. It makes me think about him too much. It makes me remember the reasons I hate him. And somehow that seems to have turned my subconscious to all the criticisms he leveled at me over the years. I’ve been hearing them all day:

You are so lazy.

You don’t try hard enough.

You feel so sorry for yourself, poor you, such a victim.

You think somebody should take care of you, when it should be your job now to take care of others.

You do a lot of things but you don’t do any of them well. You never keep the house clean enough. You work but you don’t fulfill your potential. You are a half-assed mom. 

I see the unkindness of his words. But Sunday I also saw the truth underneath them. I mean, I didn’t do much of anything the whole day. I took a shower. I watered the yard. I spent about 15 minutes meditating. I think “lazy” may fit pretty well. Probably a lot of the other stuff as well.

Yesterday I waited until my husband (current one, the good one) left to run errands so I could burn myself without him knowing. Actually that is a little hard to do this time of year since there’s the problem of light summer clothing not covering up a burn. Often in that case I go for the inner thigh, but later today I have my first pelvic floor physical therapy appointment (sigh of dread), and so the PT would see it.

Anyway, I’m supposedly not going to deny or drive away my feelings, but take the time to acknowledge them. So I sat down with my journal to write down the reasons I wanted to harm myself. I wrote a lot of negative things, all the bad thoughts that were going through my head, many of them words Miguel had hurled at me.

I didn’t feel good when I was done, but I didn’t feel like harming myself anymore either. So I didn’t.

Maybe I don’t need to rage at Miguel. Maybe my attention should be directed inward, to caring for the person he spent so much time mistreating. I don’t know. I’m supposed to allow myself to feel all my feelings, but Rage has me baffled I thought she was supposed to be my ally, and maybe she is, but we just don’t know how to work together yet. Now I don’t even know where she is anymore.

7 thoughts on “The Letter Did Me No Good

  1. Rage isn’t very dependable sometimes. She can be useful for certain justifiable experiences, or at least says she will, but then wimps out or something and shows up when it doesn’t really make sense. She uses a LOT of energy. So she may have just gone to take a nap? You have every reason to feel rage but I’m gald you didn’t take it out on yourself.

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  2. It makes sense to me that a letter would bring up more of the difficult feelings, rather than bringing immediate relief.

    Congrats on writing out your feelings instead of coping by hurting yourself!

    I actually don’t think that feeling all the feelings is always a good thing when dealing with trauma. Once the feelings are overwhelming, they simply re-traumatize IMO. However, it is such a struggle to figure out what amount of pain is healing vs too much. I agree that you do have to feel it to heal it as they say. I like what you say about caring for the inner hurt person for now, and giving the rage a rest for a while perhaps.

    What an AH your ex was. So happy for you that you have found a good one this time round.

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  3. I found that who I had to forgive the most was myself. I don’t know why, but it was me I had to let off the hook. All else fell over like wind on tall grasses. I am still working on softness, comfort, gentleness and love towards and for myself.

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  4. Wow, so many unkind words hurled at you. They’re so hurtful and you don’t deserve any of them. You’re a beautiful, kind, caring, and hardworking person who deserves a “lazy” day every once in a while. I’m just glad that you didn’t hurt yourself and was able to work through your feelings. You’ve been working so hard at recovery and I really am impressed and admiring of how strong you are!

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  5. I’ve been exploring my own relationship with anger lately, and have come to a conclusion that mirrors what you wrote in this post: feeding or ruminating in the anger doesn’t actually make me feel better. Nothing wrong at all about feeling anger and letting it surface. But that intentional stoking, directing the feelings towards someone else, just leaves me feeling a bit empty and unfulfilled. Directing compassion and tenderness internally, and acceptance for the experiences that cause the pain anger serves to protect me from, that seems to be getting me somewhere a bit more therapeutic.
    Thanks for sharing here.

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