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Dear Incest Survivor

I can’t pretend to know what you are feeling, because each person’s pain is individual. But I survived incest. My father abused me from the age of eight until I was fifteen. My mom knew what was going on, but did nothing except keep notebooks detailing each visit. Each morning she would say, “I heard him in your room last night, tell me what he did.” I quit telling her everything when I realized she only used it to get sympathy from her friends.

I tried many coping strategies. I thought suicide would be a way out. If things got too bad, I’d off myself. I tried living in a fantasy world, drugs, and as a young adult other actions that were self-destructive. None of these worked.

I blamed myself. Tried to find excuses for them. Anything to take away the hurt of what was stolen from me, my innocence.

Years after they died, I still harbored hate and anger at their actions. Sad thing was, they were dead and the only one the hate and anger hurt was me. Finally I realized that I needed to forgive them, but that didn’t seem right. How could I give them a free pass for all the hurt they caused me?

Truth is, forgiveness is a very selfish act. It is never for the forgiven and it has nothing to do with absolving a person from their guilt. The guilty one will answer to God. What forgiveness did for me was lifting a weight of oppression from me. I no longer carried my dead parents around in my mind. Why was I giving them a place in my life? No, I didn’t forgive and forget. The memories are there, the actions are there, but forgiveness helped me to let go and not have the emotions tear me apart.

Forgiveness was the first step to healing. I am praying that you find freedom from the hurts of your past.

Today’s letter was written by Name: HEATHER
Written From: NEW YORK