I have a friend who has a history of some bad stuff that happened with her two younger sisters and other family. What happened was long ago, the parties all sought the help they needed, asked forgiveness and moved on. Except for one sister, who seems to need to live in her story. She seeks to continue to punish my friend for things that were out of her control, and not even within her knowledge, ad infinitum.
I wrote my friend a letter about an exercise I have done with many people in my life who’ve become toxic to me, or created great pain. It seems to be the catalyst for her to let go. I made a difference today. I will attach the letter sans names. Perhaps there are those in cyber-land (dating myself here) that might find value in it also
I can’t help but feel how much pain you are in from your texts. I’ve been there too. I have an exercise for you to do tonight when you are by yourself with no distractions or demands…some quiet time.
I want you to write your sister a letter. I want you to say everything you’ve ever wanted to say to her, unedited, no punctuation, or paragraphs or spell checks necessary. You can think of it as a mental dump and purge. Use any kind of language you want. Tell her your side that she doesn’t want to hear, tell her about how you’ve turned it around, tell her you’re sorry, that life goes on, that she’s selfish and cowardly and scared of life and hiding behind her story so that she can’t even live a real life. Tell her she has to believe someone else’s story because she’s too afraid to write her own. Tell her she’s selfish in keeping her kids from you, and self-righteousness is a sign of fear and weakness, real strength comes from forgiveness and embracing that which frightens you and angers you. Tell her she hasn’t had an honest day with herself in way too many years. Tell her whatever is in your heart with whatever language makes you feel it. Have a good rant. Keep typing till you’re done. 10 minutes, an hour, two hours. You’ll know when you’re done. Then leave it for awhile and go do something else. I guarantee you’ll be tired, but much much lighter.
Then go back and write about all the things you’ve overcome, turned around, made better, succeeded at; how you are a good person who is brave with a loving and forgiving heart. Make a list. Have your husband add to it if you want. List every kind, good, brave, courageous, forgiving, positive thing you’ve ever felt, done or been. Read it back to yourself out loud.
Then see yourself, and see your sister for who each of you truly are. Who would you want for a friend?
Later, if you want, you can edit the letter and send it to your sister, or you can delete or print it and burn it, your choice. But see her for who she is (and isn’t). Try to release all the anger, resentment and sadness surrounding her, forgive her for the hurt she’s caused, and accept her as the very damaged (by her own choosing), shut down person she is. She’s trying but this is the best she can do right now. Her life is her own choice, you can only accept and leave her to it.
If you feel there is a place for her in your life where she does not create pain for you, then you can go with it. If not, bless her on her path, wish her well and release her. Your other sister just wants to fix it and make it all better, and she will have to learn that we each have to fix our own lives, we can’t fix others. She too will have to find peace in what you decide. You hold the cards here – choice and attitude.
Ok, a little longer and more rambling and ranty than I’d intended, but I mean every word. I hope this helps and you realize what an awesome person you are. She said you made your choices, and you did – forgiveness, second chances, hope and love. I think they are all awesome choices!
Isn’t that what life is about? Trying to make a difference in a positive way?