Letter to my 7 year old self

Hey Kiddo…

There are some things you need to know about the stuff you are going through right now.  Some of this won’t make sense for a long time.  And some of it will go against everything you know about yourself and the people around you.  But it needs to be said.

1)  It isn’t your fault.  No matter how many times or how many ways your mom will try to get you to believe this, it’s not your fault.  You are a CHILD.  You are SUPPOSED to make mistakes.  It’s not you.  It’s her.

2)  You don’t deserve these kinds of punishments:  Beatings (of any kind – with or without the belt), being dragged or thrown or shaken or shoved or smacked or grabbed so hard it leaves marks, silent treatments, withholding of food, force feeding of food, withholding of love, exclusion from the family, being told you will never amount to anything, name calling, public and private humiliation, threats of harm, and so many more tactics intended to intimidate you into doing her whim.

3)  Her rules are just that – whims.  They don’t make sense.  So don’t beat yourself up for failing to understand them or her.

4)  For all those nights in bed when you squeezed your back against the wall and faced the door so that you could react faster in case she was drunk and needed to hurt you: You’re going to learn how to deal with this.  One day the beatings will stop.  You will grow older and have defenses.  You’re going to do some things you will regret.  You will survive and eventually forgive yourself.  Hold on to hope.

5)  You are human.  Your goal of being perfect at prediction, performance and control will not make her stop.  You cannot control her pain.  You are not her parent.  You cannot save her.

6)  I know that you wish every day that you could just grow up… you don’t want to be a kid anymore.  You wonder why on earth *anyone* would want to be a kid or have a kid.  This will change.  Your own kids will show you why.

7)  Dad loves you even if he cannot help you.  He has his own pain that keeps him from protecting you and the other kids.  This doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you.  One day he will finally make her leave.  When he cries because of this, it isn’t your fault.

8)  When she curses you with the words “I hope you have kids JUST LIKE YOU”, know that her curse somehow changes into a blessing.  You will have children whose beauty and love will be such a source of pride, joy and healing for you.  Do not doubt your ability to be a loving parent or mate.  Your desire to heal and grow will make this possible.

9)  She lies.  And her lies hurt terribly.  She wants to wound you in ways her beatings cannot.  Don’t believe her.  She just wants to spread her pain.

10)  When she tells you she loves you and this scares you, know that what she does and says is not love.  You will know real love one day.  And those looks of hate she gives… try not to take it personally.  She hates herself more than she hates you.

11)  When your siblings side with her and join in on the verbal abuse and exclusion, know that they are kids – just like you – and they don’t know what they are doing.  You can forgive them.

12)  When she rejects you and pretends that you do not exist, hold on to this fact:  You MATTER… you are WORTHY of love… you DON’T deserve this… and you are not any less of a fighter when you give in and beg her to beat you instead of ignoring you.  You are wired for survival.  You have permission to do what you need to do to get through this.

13) The nightmares will eventually diminish.  And so will your anger at yourself.  I promise.

14)  Your needs are not being met.  So you are learning to bury them deeply.  One day you will have to dig down there and retrieve them.  It will be almost as scary as the process of burying them.  And then you will have to learn to accept them.  Its okay.  Everyone has them.

15)  There is a part of you that you will put away for a long time.  This is necessary for self preservation.  Just remember how to get back to recover that part of you.  When life is less painful, you will dare to make that journey.  I’ll come back to get you.  Just give me time.

That’s all I have for now.  I’ll see you in my memories and dreams.  And some day there won’t be this space between us.

Love,

Me

2 thoughts on “Letter to my 7 year old self

  1. Teddy B

    Such deep suffering. Your letter is so real. You took me there and I saw your suffering. Never feeling loved. So articulate.
    You helped me to say things to the little boy within who remains hidden. I hear his cries in my dreams in the deep somewhere. I just don’t know how to talk to him.

    thanks for sharing.

    1. chris Post author

      Teddy – Start by talking to other kids who have gone through what you went through. Talk to them as if they were you. And eventually, you will understand on a deeper level that you were the same as they are. And you will start your conversation with yourself. It’s bloody hard, don’t get me wrong. So much harder than talking to someone else. Because it requires you to admit that you were just a fucking kid. You couldn’t have done any better. Which makes what your dad did even worse. And you will feel even more angry for awhile. But then you can finally let it go with time. Just don’t give up. Peace, Brother.

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