Arlene had tried therapy but it seemed
Arlene thought about it for several days. How could writing a letter help you feel better? After a while she decided that she had nothing to lose, so she set aside time in her schedule, bought some stationary and sat down to write.
Dear Pain Inflicter:
Are you aware of the pain you have caused me in my life? I remember the day you hurt me. I remember every word you said to me. You had never talked to me that way. I stood silently and allowed you to say whatever you wanted. I kept being nice to you because I thought that any minute you would realize you didn’t have to talk me that way. But nothing helped. You just continued to be ugly to me.
How dare you disrespect me like that? How dare you speak to me that way? Were you not aware of how much you were hurting me? Did you not see the pain on my face? You had no right to say the things you did. They were disrespectful, unkind, and humiliating. They made me feel like a piece of trash that you had thrown away.
I have cried over this incident long enough. Let me tell you that I think you are despicable, appalling, dreadful, wicked, vile, and loathsome. I wish I had never met you. My life changed for the worse the day you came into it. You think you are hot stuff, but you’re not. You walk around looking like you have all the answers, but don’t forget-- I know better. Oh, you may look good, but I know the real you.
I am so angry at myself for not standing up for myself. I allowed you to berate and belittle me. Now I want to stand up for myself. I did not do what I was accused of doing. I waited because I thought surely you would allow me to defend myself. But NO! You just believed other people and didn’t even consider that they might be lying. I don’t like being falsely accused. But then, if you really thought I was capable of doing what they said, it would have been a waste of my time to explain it anyway.
Here’s what I think. You didn’t believe in me. You didn’t trust me. Therefore, you didn’t deserve my kindness and friendship. So I am through with you. I don’t want to see you. I don’t want to hear from you. I don’t want to speak to you. I don’t even want to think about you. We are done, done, done.
Your former friend,
Arlene folded the letter into thirds and placed it in the addressed envelope. Now I’ll feel better, she thought. She placed the envelope on the mantle of the fireplace and went about her daily tasks—or rather tried to. She couldn’t stop thinking about that letter. She had said exactly what she thought so she should be pleased with herself. But she wasn’t. She wasn’t sure if she felt worse, but she sure didn’t feel any better.
The next morning she took the envelope off the mantle and reread the letter. She felt justified in everything she wrote. The person who had caused her pain deserved everything in that letter. She quickly replaced the letter in the envelope and sealed it so she could not take it out again. Now I’ll feel better, she thought. But she didn’t.
The next morning, still feeling down, she put a stamp on the letter. There, now I have to mail it or waste a stamp. Then she replaced the envelope on the mantle. Still she couldn’t take her mind off the letter. The letter consumed her every thought. Did the other person really deserve that? Whether it was deserved or not, the letter hadn’t brought her the satisfaction she thought it would. She considered opening it and writing more on the letter, but decided against that.
That night was a fitful, restless night. Arlene didn’t sleep at all. She was concerned about why she wasn’t feeling better. According to the expert she should be feeling great. There is no point in mailing the letter if I don’t feel better. She paced the floor for most of the night. She spent several minutes walking in front of the fireplace and looking at the addressed, sealed, and stamped envelope containing a scathing letter that was supposed to make her feel better, but didn’t.
The following morning—mailing day, she was still apprehensive about mailing the letter. She walked out to the mailbox with the envelope in her hand. Suddenly she had an idea. She took a pen out of her pocket and wrote I forgive you on the outside. Instantly she felt better. The expert was right, I do feel better.