To My Abuser:
Even though years and miles now separate us, I want you to know that I still think of you often.
I now understand that the way you treated me was not right. Even more, I realize that many of the things I thought were “not okay” were not just “not okay” – they were blatant, obvious verbal, physical, and sexual abuse. I just couldn’t see it at the time because I loved you.
No. That’s not why. Because the truth is – the truth that most will probably cringe to hear is – that I still love you (in a way, at least). The real reason that I couldn’t see how deeply you wronged me at the time is because I didn’t love me.
I want you to know that I don’t blame you for the things you did to me, and (as much as I know some do) I hope that the people who love me don’t blame you either. You see, I’ve discovered that blame doesn’t solve anything. I know now that you were sick and hurting too (just as I was) and that’s why you did those things to me (why I allowed those things to happen to me).
In fact, blame doesn’t just not solve anything. Blame nurtures the cycle of abuse. As long as people point fingers at you, tell you that you are not worthy, a coward, a bad person… how can you be anything else? And as long as people criticize and belittle the abusers that we victims (survivors) so dearly love, how can we possibly trust those people to help us (me and you)?
I don’t know what has happened to you, and I don’t want to know – but I do want to hope. I hope that you have found peace. I hope that you have found acceptance, healing, and forgiveness. I hope that you wake each morning to a beautiful life, better than your wildest imaginings, and that you go to sleep each evening overwhelmed with gratitude for the second chance you’ve been given – just like I do. And I hope that you don’t waste or take a second of it for granted.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month. If you, too, are a victim and/or survivor of domestic violence and need assistance (or just a sympathetic ear), I encourage you to call the National Domestic Violence Hotline from a confidential phone line: 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224.