Sunday, January 8, 2012

A Follow-Up Letter to My Perpetrator (Healing Exercise)

Recently, I can actually tell that I have made some progress in healing. Although I still experience dips almost on a daily basis, I really think that I am becoming more accepting of what happened.

Below is a letter I felt compelled to write earlier today. It is a follow-up letter to a healing exercise I did a while back (click here for previous letter). As you can tell by comparing the two letters, I felt very different when writing this one today. I hope these feelings of self-empowerment stick around for a bit– or permanently would be nice, too! I know, I know...baby steps! J

January 8, 2012
 Dear A.T.,

I’m not completely certain why I am writing you this letter right now, but I do feel strangely compelled to do so. In my last letter, I felt very emotional and ended up asking you question after question. Questions that have been on my mind for years. I can tell this letter is going to have a much different tone.

I have to admit that shortly after I considered sitting down and writing you a second letter, I began to feel embarrassed and ashamed. I immediately pictured what it would be like if you actually read these letters from me. How weak I would appear to you. How ridiculous you would think I am for still being upset by something that probably meant almost nothing to you. How you might even view it as almost funny. I pictured you kind of chuckling, and then telling someone that you feel sorry for me – that I really need to get some help.

For a few fleeting minutes, I started to second-guess my decision to write you this letter, fearing that if you thought I was out of line for still being affected by that night, then perhaps I really was being out of line.

But then something strange happened, and it’s something that has been slowly (but steadily!) happening over the past few months. This welcomed change is perhaps my reason for wanting to write you this time.

I want you to know that I don’t really care what you think. It doesn’t really matter if you think I’m being ridiculous because the truth is I am getting better – STRONGER – everyday. The control that you have had on me all these years is slowly diminishing.

The more I write out my story and the more I share my thoughts and feelings about that night, the more I see the truth. The truth hurts, but I have learned that running from it hurts a lot more. I want you to know that I am done running from the truth.

For some strange reason, in a way I have felt compelled all these years to defend your actions. I would do this not only to other people, but also to myself. I have constantly minimized what happened to others and to myself. My silence has allowed others who believed your actions were an accident to continue doing so. All the while, I tried desperately to convince myself of the same thing. I thought that I was doing myself a favor – I didn’t realize I was denying myself the opportunity to heal.

The more I write out my story and revisit it, the more I am able to relinquish responsibility for what you did that night. I am not saying that I think I acted maturely that night. Or that I was even conducting myself “like a lady.” But I feel a lot better about how I conducted myself that night than how you did. I would have never EVER hurt you like you did me.

I have been allowing myself to remember and consider various aspects of that night – the details I have forced out of my mind for years – and I am gaining a better understanding of why I felt so violated. Most importantly, I can see that I didn’t feel violated because of something I did. Nothing I did that night caused me to feel violated. Your actions made me feel that way. Remove your actions from that night, and I would not be writing you this letter. I would not have a healing blog. And I would not have spent tons of resources – time, money, energy – trying to “get over” that night. I have been hurt by something you did, not I.

I have beat up myself for years for being “weak.” For allowing myself to get taken advantage of by you. I blamed myself for bringing your actions on myself. For not being more perceptive and skeptical of your intentions and actions. But the truth is you used certain aspects of my disposition, the very ones that I used to value the most about myself, against me. But I am slowly accepting that I was not my greatest enemy that night. You were.

I was forgiving, trusting, go-with-the-flow, and though I wasn’t Little Miss Perfect, I was innocent on so many levels. I saw the world as a happy place where all people had an innate goodness that would emerge if they were just given a chance. For years, what you did to me made me despise those traits about myself. In fact, I began to hate myself merely for being myself. However, just because you didn’t respect those aspects of me and instead saw them as an opportunity to carry out your own selfish desires doesn’t mean that I am not worthy of respect. It means that you are not worthy of respect.

You denied your actions to me on two different occasions. Later, you admitted to mutual friends that it happened but that you “didn’t know” it wasn’t supposed to happen. I am going to call B.S. on that one.

You totally knew what you were doing. You just didn’t expect to get caught.

You had planned to leave my room that night just like you did. You were going to leave shortly after it was over, and then you were going to pretend like it never happened. Due to my level of intoxication, you likely expected that I would not remember anything the next day; if I were to remember certain things, you felt confident in your ability to fill in the gaps how best suited your purpose.

You were taken off guard when my drunken head flung up and demanded to know what had just happened. It’s pretty impressive how fast you booked it out of my room. When I confronted you sober a week and a half later, you claimed, “we almost had sex but didn’t.” People don’t deny actions unless they know they have done something wrong.  

You might have fooled others with your B.S., but not me, A.T. Not me.

Before I close, I just wanted to let you know that I was in the same city as you this past week. Yes, I was very anxious at times that I might bump into you. I’m not yet at a place emotionally where the thought of seeing you doesn’t send me cowering in fear, but I am confident that one day I will be at a place in my life where a run-in with you won’t be completely disruptive. Fear will not dictate my life when I move to New York. I am taking back my power.

Until next time prick,
M.M.

2 comments:

  1. You totally knew what you were doing. You just didn’t expect to get caught.
    I think he did too. The entire night and the fact that he so openly and willingly kept your drinks refilled makes me assert that his actions were premeditated.

    I am sorry that someone you cared about and someone that pretended to care about you could be so wrong that they would put thought into how they were going to violate you. It's so wrong.

    You had planned to leave my room that night just like you did. You were going to leave shortly after it was over, and then you were going to pretend like it never happened.
    He probably hoped and assumed that he would be able to violate you and continue to pretend to be your friend until the next time he created the opportunity to violate you.

    If he could have violated you unnoticed he would have tried it again with you or someone else. That means that by you confronting him with in in the subsequent weeks to follow, you very likely helped to prevent or did prevent it happening to someone else. People who do those actions seldom stop with one.

    The more I write out my story and revisit it, the more I am able to relinquish responsibility for what you did that night. I am not saying that I think I acted maturely that night. Or that I was even conducting myself “like a lady.”
    I am glad that you are letting go of the blame. You don't deserve the blame, he does.

    You could have acted as childish as a child and it still doesn't even come remotely close to excusing his actions.

    You are coming a long way in this healing, keep at it. In time you will get there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jaime, Thank you for your encouragement and validation. It's always good to hear it from someone else.

      *"You totally knew what you were doing. You just didn’t expect to get caught." I think he did too. The entire night and the fact that he so openly and willingly kept your drinks refilled makes me assert that his actions were premeditated.*

      I'm not quite there in accepting his actions as premeditated - they likely were, but I guess I feel like I need to be certain in order to accept it as such (but then again, there's no way to be certain!). When I wrote that in the letter, I was mainly referring to what he did after he walked me home - he knew I was in no state to consent/deny sex, and he knowingly took advantage of the situation banking on me not remembering anything the next day. Sometimes I see the events of that night as premeditated, and then other times, I get so slammed upside the head with self-blame that I start to try to pass it off as one big misunderstanding, which I KNOW was not the case. Ugh, but it would be so much easier if I could convince myself of such. :/

      I posted this on one of the forums a few days ago, and I received a comment congratulating me on expressing so much anger towards my perpetrator. I found this person's comment very interesting because when I wrote this letter, I did not feel any anger at all. I felt a self of empowerment and a sense of relief, but no anger whatsoever. I don't know what to make of that. I guess anger will come in time, but when I read back over the letter, I could see how it might read as anger.

      Anyway, thanks again for reading and commenting. I know you know this, but I'll say it anyway - I value your support so much, and I really cannot thank you enough. ((((Jaime))))

      Delete