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Old 04-16-2019, 10:43 PM #1
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Default Letters to Ex T

I thought I would create a thread with my letters to Ex T. I wrote one today and part of me wants to send it, but Iím not going to. I have finally had some time under my belt not leaving her voicemails and have got it under control. Still, I hope one day I will reconnect with her from a solid place. I thought it would help me when I have urges to write her to post them here. The first one is quite long and I have donít expect anyone to respond or read it in its entirety. Thank you for letting me take up space here.

Dear You,
I donít anticipate sending this letter, but if I do, I hope Iíll be in a solid place. I am working hard on letting you go, and I am finally starting to move on simply because I want that for myself.

Almost 8 months have passed since we said goodbye, though in all honesty, I have only grieved for a fraction of that time. I spent the first 6 months caught in a vicious cycle of drinking and calling you, unable to face the loss and forgive myself. My shame runs deep, but I have spent the last 39 days looking it straight in the face with clear and sober eyes. The memories are painful, yet I am coming to realize they arenít worth forgetting. I can still remember you, me, us, and our time together without the crippling shame and regret, because now, I am beginning to wonder if I am worthy of forgiveness. I hope one day Iíll forgive myself.

As you well know, Iíve struggled with understanding the reality of our relationship. Even now, I fear writing this letter is somehow ďoff limits,Ē an obvious violation of a rule or boundary I simply canít acknowledge or accept. It is for this reason, I have decided to wait on sending the letter, if I ever send it at all. I am waiting until it doesnít matter whether I hear back or not, because I want to respect your boundary and not prolong my own grieving process in the meantime. Actually, I take that back; it does matter, but I am waiting until it doesnít crush me or reignite past feelings.

You may be glad to know I am working on staying in the middle when it comes to remembering our relationship. I struggle with accepting there could be love (the appropriate kind) and care between us, yet the relationship ended in a blink of an eye. I donít know if Iíll ever fully understand how it felt for you, but I know how it felt for me. In the past, my hope and imagination got the best of me and I only saw what I wanted to see. I wanted you to feel the same, so I searched for evidence to support that desire.

I donít want to lose touch with reality anymore, yet it feels worth it to me to reach out to you. My hope is that maybe it will be worth it to you as well and I am not violating a boundary by sending you this letter. If I am once again violating your boundary, I am sorry. I wish I could know how this feels to you before sending, hence why it may just be safer not to. That is another reason why Iím giving it time, because perhaps Iíll have more clarity and insight as to what you may be feeling later down the road. Perhaps Iíll feel different in my own experience as well. Perhaps my own interpretations of what may be going on for you wonít be clouded by my own hopes and wishes.

You once told me that I should allow myself to sit in the grey. I should not close myself off to potential opportunities, while also not be devastated if the opportunity is never available. If I remember correctly, this conversation occurred in the context of ongoing contact. I know a lot changed after that initial conversation, including the context of our relationship. I crossed your boundary, and I understand if the ďgreyĒ area you once spoke of has turned to black. I understand if our relationship cannot be restored as I so wish, because I broke your boundary and the therapeutic frame. Often, I lean towards this being the case. And even now, as I write you this letter, I worry I am holding onto ambiguity just for the sake of hope. My shame tells me itís obvious, that Iím a freak and scared you to the point youíd never feel comfortable seeing, hearing, or talking to me again. I still crave the reassurance from you, that Iím not a freak and you didnít just run for the hills when you saw me that night driving by your house. I cannot send you my letter from that insecure place, because while it took me awhile to catch on, I finally understand the goal you once set for our work together - I need to be okay with or without you.

I need to be honest about something, but you may have known the secret all along. I never wanted to be okay with or without you. I wanted to say all the right things just to continue seeing you, because while it logically made sense to me, I was terrified of the pain of losing you. And while it was indeed as painful as I imagined, I survived. It got easier over time. And I am finding a life worth living without one single attachment figure dictating my emotions. You have know idea how empowered I feel, even though it still hurts.

I donít think I was lying just to get things from you or that I was consciously trying to deceive you in some way, because I did want to grow long term. If you asked me whether Iíd have wanted to remain attached to you my entire life, I would have replied with an emphatic and honest ďNo.Ē Deep down, I always feared Iíd never detach from you because of how badly I wanted your love and how good it felt to receive it. Despite my long term wish for myself, when it came down to taking small steps each day, those small steps felt debilitating and I protested. I argued. I fought. And I attempted to manipulate the situation just to get a ďfix.Ē That is one of my biggest regrets and a whole other layer to my shame - I was so caught in what I wanted from you, that I defended it at all costs. I should seen my pattern at the time, but living these past months no longer receiving the ďfixĒ, I see the depth of my enmeshment. I see ďnormalĒ people in relationships, living their lives without losing themselves in another person, or making others responsible for their own feelings and insecurities. I wish I could say that my behavior wasnít ďme,Ē that I wasnít the one who always tried manipulating you and drove by your house that night. In treatment, I learned there is an ďaddictĒ as well as a ďwise womanĒ within me. They taught us the addict is not who we are and we are in fact much more than how we behaved in our addiction. I have trouble classifying my mistakes under the ďaddict,Ē because I donít want to minimize the harm I caused and/or not take responsibility for my actions. I did grow attached to you, I did manipulate you, and I did cross more than one of your boundaries. However, I now understand my behavior was wrong and perhaps that is why they mean about no longer defining myself by my ďaddict,Ē rather, owning my mistakes and behaviors.

I didnít know how to build a balanced life, when everything I wanted was sitting in front of me. I donít know what exactly it was about losing you that allowed me to move on, but I equate the feeling to powerlessness. I canít have just one drink and not lose myself to my addiction, just as I couldnít escape the grasp of my feelings for you.

While residential, the treatment center I went to, I learned my addiction runs deep. I learned my addiction started when I was very young, the moment I inhaled my first dose of anesthesia while laying on an operating bed. I needed an escape, something to look forward to when I was scared, anxious, or in pain. Having a focus gave me peace, when an otherwise terrifying or painful experience would have overwhelmed me. Everyone would tell me how strong I was, but I didnít understand what they meant. All I knew was Iíd get the laughing gas and copious amounts of love and nurturance as soon as I woke up.

I donít want to think you were simply another facet of my addiction, because my addiction is inside of me. I was addicted to escaping reality and I didnít know how to bring myself back. Unlike alcohol, love is everywhere and not an unnatural or foreign substance to the body. However, I didnít understand how to receive or experience love for what it was. I met you when I was insecure, lonely, and isolated. I met you when I was most vulnerable for attaching to another soul. I met you when I had yet to discover my unhealthy attachment style, because no one including myself witness the equally toxic dynamic between S and I. I met you before I understood the hole inside me, and before I knew it, I discovered you were an amazing substitute. For the next year, I quietly let you fill the void and that void only grew, just like an alcoholicís tolerance gets higher and higher with each drink. By the time we found out what was happening, it was to late. I couldnít let myself drink with the depth that I craved more. That felt like a tease. I was under the illusion that I needed you to survive, because while I may not have been lost in the illusion that you felt the same way about me anymore, I needed our relationship just to feel normal.

I have battled whether writing, seeing, hearing or hearing from you again will awaken the receptors that Iíve closed. But I believe, unlike the affects of alcohol, relationships are in my control. They havenít always been and after you left, I convinced myself I needed to isolate so as to never attach to anyone ever again. How ironic, right? Because the opposite of addiction is connection and I quickly realized the alcohol was not my ďdrug of choice.Ē No matter how much I drank, I could not get over how much I missed our connection and the pleasure of letting someone in. The more I drank, the more miserable I became. I have learned isolation is not the answer, but rather, I need connection to survive. I need to have a multitude of relationships built on trust and support, in order to heal. I would choose relationships over drinking any day. I remember the moment in treatment I first realized I felt happiness, but there was no external person or thing making me feel that way. Rather, I couldnít put my finger on it. It was both exhilarating and destabilizing to realize there were many people and experiences making me happy. I no longer feel caught in the extreme highs and lows of putting all my worth in one person, but am creating an equilibrium for myself. I donít live from one session to the next anymore and while there is loss in giving up the ďhighsĒ of connecting with you, it is a huge relief to finally live in the present and feel joy no matter where I am or whomever Iím with. While it would still be a significant loss, I am not debilitated by fear of you leaving or never hearing from you again. I have not sought out replacements to fill the void. Part of me didnít want to replace you because I wanted to keep our relationship special. But I also learned there are many more special relationships to be had. I no longer want to drown the memories of you, because while that relationship was irreplaceable, I know I can still be happy.

I miss you - not for the euphoric way you made me feel - but for who you were in the context of our limited relationship, what you taught me, and the interactions we shared that Iíll never be able to replicate with anyone else. As painful as many of those interactions were, especially the final ones, I am incredibly grateful I got to work with you because in doing so, I was catapulted into a process of growth. Youíd probably tell me I didnít need you to grow up figuratively and metaphorically, and maybe thatís true. But I still want to say thank you for being the one who cared enough to guide me for as long as you could.

As I end this letter, I cringe at how much Iíve written. If you did choose to tear the envelope and read my letter despite seeing it was from me, thanks. And if you read the letter in itís entirety, thank you for that too. I drank not only to forget you, but to forget myself. I may or may not ever know whether you took the time to read this, and that is something Iím willing to accept because I have to be okay whether you write back or not. If the closure could like anything Iíve hoped, it would be something like this - I just want you to know Iím doing okay and Iíve grown into a much stronger and more secure woman than the one who you said goodbye to.

Last edited by justbreathe1994; 04-17-2019 at 12:00 AM.
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Old 04-17-2019, 04:50 AM #2
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Default Re: Letters to Ex T

Thank you for posting this.

This is remarkably insightful as well as beautiful. So much of what you write strikes a chord with me and itís amazing to see what youíve been able to reflect on and cultivate out of heartbreak.

I relate so much to what you write about wishing to someday connect to your old therapist from a better (and perhaps more equal?) place. It would be wonderful if she could help you get the closure you need to this chapter of your life. At the same time, a part of me hopes you can fully heal and thrive without her, and turn your back on all of this and walk on to a phase of your life thatís bright and full.

Iím rooting for you!!! Keep at it!
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Old 04-17-2019, 06:34 AM #3
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Default Re: Letters to Ex T

It feels like a letter of reassurance and healing to yourself. Whether or not you send it, I think it is a blueprint for where you are now and how far you've come.
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Old 04-17-2019, 05:38 PM #4
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Default Re: Letters to Ex T

Thank you both for reading it. I agree that I wrote it more for myself, but every time I write to her, I end up wanting to send it. I know I have to wait though, as I do really need this time to focus on myself. Also, since Iíve struggled with calling her in the past, I know sending her a letter right now would probably not mean much anyway - neither to her nor myself.

I understand I need to move on and I hope my sense of closure is not dictated by whether she responds or not. Even still, it was an extremely meaningful relationship and it would feel painful to just move on from that chapter of my life and turn my back. I really want to be able to look back on that relationship with a sense of peace, and it would mean so much to me to be able to express my own regret/shame, appreciation, and care for that relationship. Depending on her boundaries, my own hope would be to have a fluid relationship that is neither worth terminating nor obsessing over. I just donít know if this would be possible or comfortable for her given the boundary I did cross and her own limits. I may just have to accept that she will never be comfortable with any kind of contact since she could no longer be my therapist and therefore there wouldnít really be any appropriate relationship to maintain.
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Old 04-18-2019, 07:33 AM #5
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Default Re: Letters to Ex T

I can relate to a lot of what you wrote in the end, about the wants of more and uncertainty etc. It's sure awful

You are very brave, I could never have shared something so personal on a public forum, so kudos to you.

You don't have to answer but how did things end with her? I feel like I missed the story.... just wondering if it was a situation like mine or something else
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Old 04-19-2019, 10:16 PM #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DP_2017 View Post
I can relate to a lot of what you wrote in the end, about the wants of more and uncertainty etc. It's sure awful

You are very brave, I could never have shared something so personal on a public forum, so kudos to you.

You don't have to answer but how did things end with her? I feel like I missed the story.... just wondering if it was a situation like mine or something else
Thank you DP. I appreciate it. I have been listening to a lot of podcasts about heartbreak and break ups (I know the relationship wasnít technically ďromanticĒ in any sense, but the grief feels the same to me), which say itís not healthy to hold onto hope because it can prevent people from moving on. I understand logically, but at the same time, I feel like hope is the only thing that helps me get through the days without crying. I donít know whether itís going to be helpful to hold onto or not in the end, but it seems to help and make me feel better right now. I understand that I have to be in a place where it wonít devastate me if I donít ever talk to her again if I ever CAN talk to her again. Hope is hard for me to let go of because what if there really is a chance sheíd talk to me again? Do you hold onto hope when it comes to reconnecting with your ex T in the future? Do you think it helps or inhibits your grief and letting go?
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