Updated: Mar 31
It appears I am ready to talk about another part of my healing journey; healing from Narcissistic abuse. I was looking for my materials to work on my next Reiki manual when staring up at me from the bottom inside my coffee table storage was a bunch of papers with some writing on them. I couldn’t tell what it was until I picked it up to read it. It was a letter I had written to my dad in the spring of 2020.
This was to be a healing letter to his spirit as he died in the fall of 2002. (It may not seem healing at the start, but it truly was) I had hoped he would be able to read it in spirit. What this letter conveys is just some of my experience as a child living with an alcoholic, narcissistic and abusive dad. I’m going to share the majority of the letter with you here in this blog - I feel it is a very healing letter and one that has many parts that others may relate to. I’ve left out the names of my siblings I mentioned in the letter for their privacy. This is my story - they may tell their own differently. I have elaborated on a few things from the original letter (that will be found in brackets within the letter). Heads up - this is a long read - but it needed to come out of me and now I feel like it needs to be shared. It was only in the past year or so that I learned that a lot of his behaviour stemmed from narcissism .
I’m coming to realize, that while I have forgiven you and have worked hard to understand your position and how you became to be an abuser; I never took the opportunity, nor had the courage, to tell you just how your abusive behaviour affected me and the course of my life. It is time for me to tell you, so that I can release it and let it go.
I remember being a small child and thinking of you as both heroic but also very frightening. You seemed to be fond of me the I was little and brought me smarties, cuddles and affection; but that disappeared and never returned. (It stopped around age 5) Your pain and repressed anger and emotions turned your behaviour into ugliness.
I still remember and will always remember being so frightened of you. Terrified actually. I always tried to disappear in your presence so you wouldn’t see me or target me in one of your rages. But, at the same time, I wanted to be seen by you - to exist; to matter. (Sometimes he could be ok - it wasn't always about the abuse - I just never felt safe around him)
Whenever you got angry and yelled, I cowered, I trembled, I felt so unsafe and insecure. The first time I saw you beat one of my siblings with your belt was traumatizing (this event happened when I was in Grade 1, I recall it so clearly - sitting at the dining room table for breakfast before school - I realize to some that in those days, many considered this to be acceptable punishment but for a child it was terrifying.) I felt unsafe from that day on. You were angry at my brother and you made him lay down on the living room floor and you beat him with your belt. It was horrifying and I wanted Mom or this woman who was painting our living room to stop you, but nobody would. Then I was sure no one would protect me in this world, this life. I was so little, so young and the world suddenly became a very scary place (it stayed that way well into my adult years). That terror and fear continued each and every time you beat one of my siblings, and again, no adult would stop you. ( I do recall in later years when my brother was grown up him physically stopping you from hurting one of my sisters) All of our screams, our terrified cries, went non responded to; we were never protected from your rage or anger. That’s the root of my anxiety, my fear of life and angry men.
Then there was your anger when you flew into rages, destroying things in the house (like smashing our records against the wall) yelling at us, calling us terrible names, threatening our safety (several times you threatened to shoot us all - I recall one time at 17 you threatened to shoot us all when Mom went home for a visit to Scotland and I snuck into your room and stole the bullets for your gun from your dresser and hid them under my pillow). Sometimes you would cut off our power and our water. Your behaviour towards us was so very cruel at times.
It makes me feel quite angry myself to think how could anyone be so cruel to children; their own children. But I know why (now I realize it was the alcoholism, the narcissism and PTSD - but I never knew it growing up). But you need to know what your anger did to me.
I dreaded your Sunday morning lectures - where you would startle us awake with angry words, then force us to sit on the couch after breakfast for hours and listen to you rant and rave- calling us down, making us feel stupid and insignificant, scared and just wanting to escape. (This was how it made me feel - I can’t speak for my siblings but that’s how I wrote it in the letter) I did escape - in my imagination - I just kept imagining and daydreaming to take away the fear; the pain, the hurt.
Sometimes you would get drunk and be nice to us - usually only when you had company and you wanted to show off to them; then we were all cute, smart and pretty. But most times when you were drunk, you were angry and then we were whores, prostitutes and dancing girls (I was called these things before I was even 10 years old) we were stupid and “greenhorn” as you liked to call us. I was and still am very smart - but you just didn’t want to know that (you even did some stupid trick test on me when I was 13 and I had told you I wanted to go to University after graduating and have a career - I failed your dumb test and you laughed at me and said I wasn’t smart enough for University - I was actually a straight A student but never did go to University - I quit high school at 16). Your name calling, lack of love or affection made me feel so small, unloved, unwanted and ashamed.
I used to be such a “good” gentle kid who was creative, smart, kind and wanted to be good. I tried to behave so good, so I never would get in trouble or get the belt from you. I felt the pain so much of my other siblings whenever you were cruel to them (it broke my heart). I just wanted everyone to be good so you wouldn’t get mad at anyone. I hated your anger and rages, your abusive behaviour.
Then I just started to hate my life and I stopped being “good”. I GAVE UP. I didn’t care - I just wanted to escape my life and the hell that it was. I started drinking and smoking pot at 14 - I was still a child but no longer innocent. Anything that could take away all the pain, disappointment, terror, fear and anxiety. (It should be noted that by the time I was in my early 20's the destructive behaviour stopped) I had no confidence, no hope for my future besides escaping home as early as possible and hope my life would then be better.
Remember how mean to cats you were? It broke my heart how you treated them. How about how mean you were to Mom. You were so abusive to all of us and we ended up so wounded by it. (Again, I know I can't speak for my siblings, but this is how I wrote it in my letter - it was from my heart and what I believed to be true) You took your own wounds you couldn’t cope with, or deal with and inflicted them on us.
What is my purpose of writing this letter to you? It’s so you know what your behaviour did to me - actually NO, it’s so I know what is needing healing in me because of your behaviour.
Do you recall the time you almost stabbed 2 other sisters of mine - that had to be the most traumatic experience ever - (this experience happened when I was a teenager, a voice inside me told me to stay home that night and I am grateful I did- My dad was extremely angry at one of my sisters and when she got home he went after her - he first had this sister at the wall with a knife against her throat and then when I got the other sister to come help stop him and she jumped on his back, he threw her up against the wall and held a knife to her throat - the original sister then jumped on him to stop him and I remember putting my hands on him and begging him to stop - at some point then, sanity returned and he put down the knife). The terror of this experience stayed in me for what feels like forever - it’s still there somewhat in the respect that it was just another occasion where nobody cared about us or protected us.
I don’t know what writing any of this will mean to you, but I’m not doing it for you, I’m doing it for me. If your soul gets some healing from this, then I am grateful for that. I hope for your soul to heal. I work hard at healing my own soul.
Now I am in an emotionally abusive relationship, not as fierce or as terrorizing as it was with you but it is still abusive (I am no longer in this relationship). The difference now is that I am healing. I am learning that it’s ok to say No to the abuse - when I was a kid, I couldn’t say no to you - but I can now. My learning now how to stop being a victim of abuse by being assertive, courageous and strong, is helping me to take back all my power your abuse took from me. My learning how to love myself releases the pain from not being loved as a child; my gaining courage, confidence, strength and self-esteem releases all those years and memories of not being valued, respected, encouraged - it releases all the negativity, the cruel names, ridicule, being ignored, mistreated and abandoned. My caring enough about myself now to heal as much as possible; being brave enough to face the darkness of the past, helps me to realize that I have always had the power within me - because your abuse didn’t destroy me. I see I did stand up to you back then, just in a different way than what you could recognize. The love, strength and courage of my inner being, my soul, my spirit, was always there - I didn’t just survive your abuse - I thrived.
I can better understand now why I sought out and became involved with men with narcissistic tendencies - it was to show me the strength of my own spirit; to teach me that I am worthy of being protected, loved and valued - to help me find my inner strength and courage to do better for myself - to face my fears and to realize and know that Love will always be stronger; stronger than any other emotion, power or vibration in this world.
I see now too, while writing this, that I have been holding on to anger and fear still from my childhood, thinking I am powerless to stand against abuse, manipulation and mistreatment. Getting this all out shows me that I had a right to feel angry and that my anger at my mistreatment can be changed into determination and strength to let go of unhealthy relationships, attachments, behaviours and mistreatment. I can say NO to emotional abuse. I can let my fear and anxiety be changed into motivation to grow, heal myself and others. I can liberate myself, my soul, my spirit into a life of freedom, love, courage, confidence, joy and well being. LOVE WON because LOVE always wins!!!
I also know I wrote this to help release you from My pain, anger and fear - as long as I hold on to that, I hold you back from forgiving yourself and I do want you to forgive yourself and heal.
Thank you for the lessons. Thank you for having your courage to “listen” to what I have had to say. I can see my authentic self was there all along.
As I said at the start, Dad, I have forgiven you - I just hadn’t let go. I’d like to let go now. I’d like us both to be free of all these painful memories, emotions and experiences. I’d like to release us both further into the light. I’d like you to move on in Love and Peace - I do not wish to hold you back anymore than I do myself.
If there is a way for you to give me a sign that you’ve received this letter, understand what I’ve wrote and forgive me and will let me move on, and you let go too - I would appreciate the sign. I’d like to be clear it came from you.
Letting Go With Love, Trish.”
That’s the end of this letter I wrote. It was lengthy and I do hope you were able to read through it all to this point. I wanted to share to show that it is possible to understand, forgive and let go of even the most painful and toxic experiences and relationships. It’s a process and it takes time and healing; yet it can happen - for anyone.
Epilogue: Did I receive a sign from my dad that he “heard” my letter - I didn’t realize it until just putting this post together that I believe he did - I would love to share with you what that was - but I don’t think there is anyone who would believe what I think it was; it’s too bizarre and I have no proof outside of my “knowing” that this was from him and a gift of healing. And I actually don't feel it is for sharing with anyone.