Addressing the elephant in the room
January 26, 2012 8:52 AM Subscribe
Has anyone written an honest letter to an abusive parent and actually sent it?
posted by side effect to Human Relations (41 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
I have a difficult relationship with my mother who I believe has NPD or something in that area. I've realized that the thing that I resent the most is that she refuses to acknowledge some pretty bad things she did through my childhood and adulthood. I've never brought them up or confronted her about them because my relationship with her revolves around her using guilt and denial in most of our interactions. A lot of family members have already cut off contact with her because of her behavior.
I've been reading some books about parents with NPD or BPD and see a lot of this in her and realized I should write her an email finally saying the things I've wanted to say in a completely non-confrontational and fact-driven tone with the hope of still continuing our relationship. One of the books I read said that sometimes in order for an adult child to get over an emotional hump in her healing process, they should write a letter or talk to them about everything they needed to say. Ideally I would like to have a cordial relationship with her, but I feel I can no longer carry on our contact unless I talk about some things that are hurtful.
I wrote the email, had my spouse read it and offer suggestions to make sure it doesn't sound histrionic or like an attack. I've written it over the course of a few weeks and shelved it many times, cause I really don't want to send something I'll regret later. The problem is I can't bring myself to actually send it. I can't really articulate why. I just feel anxious about it. I've read a lot of advice before about writing an angry letter to someone who hurt you and then just destroying it/not sending it. That works in some situations, but I feel I really need to send this because otherwise I have nothing else to say to her and our relationship can't move on. I'm not looking for an apology from her or even an acknowledgement. I just want her to know this is how I view everything and how I feel about it.
Has anyone written a letter like this to a parent and actually sent it? Did you feel better afterward regardless of how the parent reacted?