In the last 18 months everything has changed for me and when I looked back at that post I realised the letter would be very different now.
I am sitting down to write this letter once more.
I like you. I think you are a really nice person. And I know what you’re thinking “why would anyone like me?” but you’re just going to have to accept that I do.
I know it feels like you are broken. That there is something wrong with you. You did the right thing when you went into your head to hide. That skill you have developed there is going to get you through many years of your adult life.
You have done what you needed to do to survive and you’ve done an amazing job. Your brother hasn’t been through half of what you have and yet he has run away and is a drug addict. I know you resent him for leaving you but he can’t help it. He’s not as strong as you are.
But you know, this isn’t about you. Hard to believe I know when you see yourself as a common factor in all the years of your life but just think for a moment if you can – when you’re older and have your own daughter, how would you respond if she was treated in the way you have been? Would you tell her to try harder to not upset those adults all around her, or to work harder to please them? Would you tell her it’s all her fault? Would you tell her that she has something wrong with her and is impossible to love?
I know that’s what you believe about yourself but could you believe that about your daughter?
I don’t think you could because I know I can’t.
Because I know when I look at my daughter I would do anything to protect her. If anyone did even a fraction to her that they have done to you I would take great pleasure in destroying them.
You see it really isn’t about you. None of this has been your fault.
You’ve been unlucky. You’ve been brought up by people who have been too absorbed in themselves to care about you. And you are right, it really isn’t fair. But that still doesn’t make it your fault.
In a couple of years you will go to University and when you do you will realise that nice people exist. That there are people out there that will genuinely like you and there is one person that will love you. Let them. It’s ok. You are both likeable and loveable.
And you know all that strength and determination that you have had to survive so far? (trust me, to be the person you are despite everything has taken huge strength) Well that same strength can be enough to know that once you have left home, no one will have power over you again. You don’t need to protect yourself all the time. You are strong enough to cope with anything.
And one day you will realise that. One day you will realise that you can be whoever you want to be and that no one can control you any more.
You will feel truly happy and you will realise that I was right. You will realise that you are an ok person.
But don’t worry, when you do it won’t be too late. You will have wonderful people around you and you will really be able to enjoy it. You will also have the chance to help others. And I know you think about that already. I know you look at others who are suffering and want to stop their pain because you are too familiar with how it feels. Well one day you will be able to help people in ways that you could never have dreamed of and it will give you the biggest buzz ever.
So you are ok.
None of what you’ve been through is about you. It’s just wrong place, wrong time.
I’d be your friend. And I think you are really loveable. After all, I love you and I don’t give out love easily.
Take care and hang in there,
Dawn, aged 40.