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This is an emotional question for me... so please be nice. How do I start a therapeutic letter?

I'm seeing a therapist for anxiety and phobia disorders. She thinks my issues stem from anxiety and stress caused by my parents fighting and my dad emotionally abusing me. This week I'm supposed to write a therapeutic letter to him, explaining what he did that was wrong and how it effected me. This is really hard for me. He died when I was 15 and I kind of idolized him. He hurt me a lot, but he was still my dad. It's going to be very hard to write all this down, but I can do it.

The problem is that I feel like I need to talk to someone who knew him about it. My brother and I are not close at all and all my sisters are busy. I worry that my mom will blame herself for my problems if I talk to her about it. It's really not her fault, I mean, she could have left him, but for all the hurt he caused our family, he was better than any man she had ever known in her life. She was not raised in a happy home and had no idea how to pick a man who would be stable. Her father was violent and tried to murder her mother and her siblings on several occasions because of paranoid schizophrenia.

I realize this is a lot of personal information about my family, sorry for the overshare. But I just don't know what to do. Do I talk to my mom, wait to get ahold of one of my sisters, or do I power through this letter all by myself?


Asked by Anonymous at 6:07 PM on May. 5, 2011 in Relationships

This question is closed.
Answers (8)
  • This letter is for you, and I think you should write it from your heart without other family input. If, at the end of it, you feel like sharing your letter and talking about it with your family, you can do it then. Consulting beforehand, though, might steer you in a direction where you will feel funny honestly expressing yourself in your letter.

    If you have trouble starting your letter, you can always begin with something like

    "This is hard for me because X and Y"

    Talk about the process, and it should flow into the content naturally.


    Answer by ImaginationMama at 6:13 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • You should do this alone. Don't write it the way you think others would want to hear. Write ALL your feelings down. Dear dad, I want to start off by saying I miss you and I need to have a heart to heart with you. Then start at the beginning and let all your feelings out. It'll hurt reliving and opening old wounds, take breaks if you have to. Afterward you will feel renewed and have a whole new outlook on life. GL :)

    Answer by Kathy675 at 6:14 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • id start by writing it all down all the things youd tell him all the memories you want to touch on all of it then go back and write the letter after u have your thoughts organized itll make it much easier gl

    Answer by rhonda111787 at 6:15 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I think this is a good idea. I did not write my birth father a letter but I wrote a story about him. He was a troubled man with a horrible childhood. I have brothers and sisters in this country and another. I wrote this story so I could see where he came from and why he did the things he did. I was angry but I am not anymore. GL to you. write it the way you need to without others input. Everyone sees who you see in a different light.

    Answer by Autumn07 at 6:23 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • You can say you loved him and you hated what he did to you. Both emotions are valid. You could start by saying how much you loved him and then say there are things you need him to know. Pour your heart out. Once you start it might be easier than you think and do not feel guilty for writing the negative stuff. hug

    Answer by whitepeppers at 6:55 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • I think the hardest part is just having to say hurtful things about him. Since he died I have done my best to remember ONLY the happy things about him. I don't like to dwell in negativity, and it has never made me feel good to reminisce about all the ways he hurt me. So even though I remember clearly many of the times he hurt me, they are "bad" memories in my mind, not to be relived, and I feel like I'm doing his memory a disservice to recall all the sad and hard times we had together. I have never had to purposefully be negative before, and it's just not in my nature. GAH! This is going to be hard!

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 6:28 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Can you tell him everything in the letter that you just posted? That is really good and really honest.

    Answer by ImaginationMama at 6:31 PM on May. 5, 2011

  • Yeah, I think I'll start with that. Might make it a little easier.

    Comment by Anonymous (original poster) at 6:35 PM on May. 5, 2011