Letters of Hope and Forgiveness – Illinois – US – Together Letters | Together Rising

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: US, Illinois
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After years of being sexually abused by my father as a child, I finally told my family 5 years ago. My mom left my dad. I am so appreciative of her for this. However, I feel an overwhelming amount of guilt for both the abuse, and for tearing apart my family. I feel that my brother's depression is my fault. I also feel unlovable. I feel that if someone knew my secret, they would blame me, and think that I was a horrible and dirty person for allowing this to happen for so long. I am hoping for letters of encouragement, that things will get better, and that I will learn to love myself and forgive myself.


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  • Livia
    Dear Rose,

    How brave you are to share your guilt and shame. There was abuse in my family as well. I can tell you what I learned.
    We are not our emotions, nor our experiences, these are moments in time that pass by and say nothing about who we are; as we evolve continuously.
    We can evolve best if we let go of the chains of guilt and shame. You have thought these thoughts so much that you start to believe lies, but they are not you. You are not what someone did to you. You are not what happened to you. You are Love, You are brave. You are courageous. You are perfectly imperfect on a journey to discover who you really are.
    What I learned :
    We all program our minds by what think of repetitively and what we focus on all the time.
    To break through this pattern I suggest you strive to stop reliving what happened from your point of view and start seeing it from a 2nd and 3rd person's perspective.
    Then you will not feel the emotions anymore and you will see you were not guilty of anything,
    See what happened from far away and make it smaller and smaller, black and white and send it into the ether as many times as needed. So when you think of it it does not cause you any pain anymore. (This is neuro-linguistic programming)

    I learned that when we ;
    accept that the abuser did not know any better, that he was selfish, he was looking for love in the wrong place.
    accept that an event that happened to us does not define us;
    We can take off the chains of lies of who we are; that held us, hostage, for so long; so you will too.

    And we can give the whole experience a new meaning; a meaning that does not hold you back but a meaning that empowers you instead.

    This meaning could be: "This event does not define me, instead I will use this event to empower me"

    When you can overcome your pain and turn it into your power, you will be unstoppable and you will be able to help many women to do the same.

    I have great admiration for you, and I am convinced you will heal from all of this and be the healer for many women out there who never dared to speak up.

    Lots of Love
    Livia

  • Lori
    Dear Rose,
    Thank you for sharing your story! It takes guts and you’ve got it. I hope you are working with a counselor or support group. It really helped me. To find support in your area you can call 211. Reach out to me if you’d like shadow1144@aol.com
    Kindly,
    Lori
  • Anna
    Hi Rose. You are so brave. SO so brave. You're the furthest thing from dirty, and have nothing to feel guilty about. But I understand why you feel these things. All of your feelings are valid, so don't beat yourself up for any of them. Processing all of this is going to take a long time. What your dad did to you is horrific. You are a badass for surviving it for as long as you did and for eventually finding the strength to speak up. It's really good that your mom left him. It demonstrates her commitment to you and her own strength. Your brother's depression is not on you. You were brave enough to speak a truth that has had an impact on the rest of your family. It is that truth (the truth of your dad's actions) that is painful, not you or anything you have done.
    You know how else you are brave? By asking for others to talk to you here, by being open and asking for support and encouragement. I think you have all the makings of a super survivor who is going to overcome and come to peace with her past and help others someday, too. By asking for encouragement and support you are allowing us to help carry this burden, which never should have been yours to begin with, but which now, because of your bravery to share, can start to lighten. You deserve help with lightening this load.
    I was sexually abused by a male family member also. I told adult female family members who did not take any action. I brought it to light in a louder way years later when I found out it had been happening to other girls. There is no "right" way to speak this kind of truth; it's always going to be messy. Keep asking for help as you move through this. There is so much fierce love and compassion out here and people who want to be there for you.
    Keep being brave. I know I don't know you but I am so proud of you.
  • Kris
    Rose
    Not sure when your post was written but hoping you are doing well and getting support. I too am a survivor of sexual abuse. It to me a long time to tell. It wasn’t until I had my own children and they were about the age of the start of my abuse that I finally started to deal with it. And it took a lot of time in therapy to become ok. You are so brave. There is not one single thing in this that you have fault in sister! Not your mom leaving, not your brother’s depression- NONE OF IT. It is all on HIM! Children don’t make those decisions- adults do so please please don’t feel like you need forgiveness for a single thing. Be gentle with yourself and think of that little girl that was so hurt and confused. I’m sending you love, strength and prayers knowing that you have taken the hardest step. You’ve let the secret out! God bless you Rose on your journey. You are and will become more free than you could ever imagine. You are a survivor!! Sincerely- Kris
  • Kris
    Rose
    Not sure when your post was written but hoping you are doing well and getting support. I too am a survivor of sexual abuse. It to me a long time to tell. It wasn’t until I had my own children and they were about the age of the start of my abuse that I finally started to deal with it. And it took a lot of time in therapy to become ok. You are so brave. There is not one single thing in this that you have fault in sister! Not your mom leaving, not your brother’s depression- NONE OF IT. It is all on HIM! Children don’t make those decisions- adults do so please please don’t feel like you need forgiveness for a single thing. Be gentle with yourself and think of that little girl that was so hurt and confused. I’m sending you love, strength and prayers knowing that you have taken the hardest step. You’ve let the secret out! God bless you Rose on your journey. You are and will become more free than you could ever imagine. You are a survivor!! Sincerely- Kris
  • I am so sorry that this happened to you. You are a victim of a horrible, unthinkable crime. It is not your fault and you are in no way to blame. You did not tear your family apart. You are not a horrible person. You are a beautiful person, worthy of so much love and care and tenderness and understanding. If you are not already doing so you may want to seek out some counseling and/or support groups for incest victims. Many offer free services or reduced rates. You are not alone and the ways you are feeling are normal for someone who was a victim of immense abuse and cruelty. Be kind and loving to yourself and it's ok to feel sad, angry, and confused. Things will get better, but help from those who make you feel safe, professionals and others who have been through similar circumstances can help you recover. You did the right thing to tell your family. My daughter told me she was abused by a family member and I am grateful everyday that she trusted me and now I am in counseling to get help in understanding what she is going through and how to support her. Holding on to secrets can destroy families too, now that it is out in the open there is space for healing and growing and loving more. It is not your job though to make things right or easier for your family, it is your job to take care of your own emotional needs and then you will have more love to give others you trust. Family counseling with a trusted therapist can be extremely helpful sorting out all the complicated emotions. I love you and you are a strong, beautiful person. Surround yourself with people you trust and that support you. It will take time but you will get through this and you will not be defined by this but you will become a stronger, brighter light and the darkness will fade. May you be find peace and the root of happiness. I know you will because you are loving, brave, and courageous.
  • Lior
    Dear Rose,

    My family went through a fairly similar thing... My sister was sexually abused by my father a long time ago and she told us about it three years ago. This revelation definitely shook us all up, speaking for myself, I went through about a year of depression before I started returning to "full function".
    It's confusing, upsetting, and frustrating, especially because the truth can't be ignored anymore.
    I hope you won't see it as a burden you set upon your family though, because it most likely liberated you all from a life that was based on a lie and a very broken family. For such a thing to occur, such a betrayal of trust, for your pain to go unnoticed, for a family to have been so blissfully ignorant of its brokenness it had to be very disconnected (everyone from themselves and from each other). Rattling up your family by sharing your pain and exposing the truth is liberating because it allows everyone to face their own truth and begin a long process of healing and reconnection.

    My family is still broken, there is pain that resurfaces often out of nowhere and new cuts exposed all the time. We are collectively, separately, debriding our wounds and recovering into the most honest version of ourselves.
    I also don't want to presume that we all experience the same "digestion" process... Perhaps your brother is struggling with depression and isn't yet on a path of healing. Help him get support and create a space for himself to process (the first time I walked into my therapist's room I told her "I'm here so that I have a space that is just for me", and I realized that that was the first time in my life I had sought out such a space), and also trust him that however long it takes and whatever path he chooses, he will create his own self when he is ready.

    Sorry for the long rant, perhaps I'm oversharing.
    You did the right thing, Now that you've aired out the truth, it's time for you to take care of yourself! You are worthy of love, respect, beauty, success, a full life based on your most authentic voice that had previously been shut down. Explore that voice, let it stand for itself!

    Love and light!

    Lior
  • Jo
    Rose,

    Look up "peace rose" on the internet. They are so beautiful. This is what I wish for you for you to feel that you are the embodiment of this rose. I am a survivor. Me and my 2 sisters were abused by our older brother. I am so proud of you and your mom. You both have done the right thing and in time may you feel your burdens lift and your joys increase. You did nothing wrong. You were wronged. May you experience grace through this grief. You will come out the other side.

    All love and light to you.
    Jo

  • Phoebe
    Rose,

    It is not your fault. You are lovable. You are strong and brave. You are not alone.
  • Kate
    Hi Rose,

    I am so very sorry that you are experiencing this. You are not to blame. You are not at fault. You are a survivor. You are strong. You ARE loveable. You are human and with that comes feeling everything you're feeling right now.

    It's not your fault that your family is restructuring. I'm not sure if you've read Glennon's new book yet but she talks about how if you have to decide to live for someone else's happiness or your own...always choose your own. Maybe if you had not told, your mom would still be with your dad but would that have felt right to you? Would your mom have wanted that?

    You chose freedom from abuse and while it came with changes, they were necessary and not at all your fault.

    The end of your abuse is the beginning of a new path...your path to healing and forgiveness.

    I wish you all the love and support as you forge ahead on this part of your journey. May you grow into the person you are fully meant to become and may you feel all the love in the world...because that's exactly what you deserve.

    XOXO
  • Kelsey
    This is not your fault. This is one of the most courageous things I have ever heard. I can't imagine the strength it took to share this with your mom (and what a woman for leaving your dad). I can't imagine the suffering this has caused. You are truly inspiring for speaking out. Sending positive thoughts.
  • Debbie
    Love and encouragement to let go of the misplaced guilt. Speaking out was an act of self-preservation and healing. You are not the guilty one. Stay strong. I see you and am sending strength your way.
  • Maria
    Dear Rose,
    It is never okay to take advantage of a woman's body, let alone a child. Please forgive yourself for buying into the idea that it was your fault. It never was. You're innocent, beautiful, radiant woman. I see you. My heart is with you. I am sending a lot of healing and loving energy your way! There is no shame in what happened to you. It is NOT your fault. It never was.
    I was raped as a teenager and for many years carried with me a thought that it was my fault, that I should have gone the other way... I now know this is not true. And I know this for you too.
    So much love for you in my heart!
  • Maria
    Dear Rose,
    It is never okay to take advantage of a woman's body, let alone a child. Please forgive yourself for buying into the idea that it was your fault. It never was. You're innocent, beautiful, radiant woman. I see you. My heart is with you. I am sending a lot of healing and loving energy your way! There is no shame in what happened to you. It is NOT your fault. It never was.
    I was raped as a teenager and for many years carried with me a thought that it was my fault, that I should have gone the other way... I now know this is not true. And I know this for you too.
    So much love for you in my heart!
  • CKA
    I too was abused sexually by my father. When my mother found out she did not leave. He didn't abuse me anymore, but he did move on to abuse my little brother.
    You are not to blame for anything another person does. What you did was incredibly BRAVE. It is so hard to move past the pain and the LIES your mind can tell you. PLEASE listen to survivors, so friends, to this community when we say, YOU ARE AMAZING. You are so much MORE than the things that have happened to you. You have NOTHING to blame yourself for, you were hurt, you were taken advantage of. You will RISE from this. You are beautiful, through your words I can feel it, for beauty lies way deeper than the surface. Your courage is beautiful. Your reaching out is beautiful. Your desire to reclaim yourself is beautiful! Your strength is beautiful. Things will get better, they absolutely will. Sending LOVE!
  • CKA
    I too was abused sexually by my father. When my mother found out she did not leave. He didn't abuse me anymore, but he did move on to abuse my little brother.
    You are not to blame for anything another person does. What you did was incredibly BRAVE. It is so hard to move past the pain and the LIES your mind can tell you. PLEASE listen to survivors, so friends, to this community when we say, YOU ARE AMAZING. You are so much MORE than the things that have happened to you. You have NOTHING to blame yourself for, you were hurt, you were taken advantage of. You will RISE from this. You are beautiful, through your words I can feel it, for beauty lies way deeper than the surface. Your courage is beautiful. Your reaching out is beautiful. Your desire to reclaim yourself is beautiful! Your strength is beautiful. Things will get better, they absolutely will. Sending LOVE!
  • Mary C
    Rose.

    You might not feel like it, but coming forward was incredibly brave. You are strong, scrappy, gritty. As a young person, you experienced a betrayal of epic proportions, and you are standing here today proving that you can't be destroyed.

    I don't know if it's your thing, but one thing that helped me enormously while I was dealing with my own childhood trauma, was to work on balancing the chakras. It's a little 'woo', but my life, my outlook, my perspective, and my inner truth has expanded so much in the 2 years or so I've been working on this. It started with a youtube video of Yoga, and turned into something much bigger than myself.

    You will find what works for you to process, heal, and release this, and you will celebrate the day that the shame subsides. If you want to talk further, please feel free to reach out - caskey.mary@gmail.com.

    Sending you lots of love.
  • rose
    I have no idea what you went through but I do know it was not your fault at all! You did not deserve the abuse you received. In my honest opinion it was great that you told your family, you are strong and brave for doing that and i’m very proud of you! I really hope you see that! if you need anything my email is soccer.ashley1010@gmail.com i’m here for you girly ❤️ sending lots of light and love
  • rose
    I have no idea what you went through but I do know it was not your fault at all! You did not deserve the abuse you received. In my honest opinion it was great that you told your family, you are strong and brave for doing that and i’m very proud of you! I really hope you see that! if you need anything my email is soccer.ashley1010@gmail.com i’m here for you girly ❤️ sending lots of light and love
  • Maria
    Hi Rose,

    not. your. fault. Sending you love and healing, you are incredible strong!
  • Hadley
    From a fellow survivor- I’m standing with you in love and healing. It gets better. It’s a process, but it does get better. You have already taken a huge step towards self love by speaking your truth.
    Xoxo
  • Jeannine
    Hi Rose,

    You are not alone. Your experience is not something you did. It is something that was done to you.

    I can not pretend to know what you experienced. I am a healthcare provider and just would like to introduce you to ACEs, if you are not yet familiar with the term it stands for Adverse Childhood Events. These events are more common than first thought and have a profound effect on brain development as well as ongoing health throughout one’s life.

    I have attached an article written by a survivor of ACEs, and thought this may help to encourage you and help you to feel less alone, as well as the website www.acesconnection.com

    https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/coming-out-as-a-survivor-of-adverse-childhood-experiences
  • Jeannine
    Hi Rose,

    You are not alone. Your experience is not something you did. It is something that was done to you.

    I can not pretend to know what you experienced. I am a healthcare provider and just would like to introduce you to ACEs, if you are not yet familiar with the term it stands for Adverse Childhood Events. These events are more common than first thought and have a profound effect on brain development as well as ongoing health throughout one’s life.

    I have attached an article written by a survivor of ACEs, and thought this may help to encourage you and help you to feel less alone, as well as the website www.acesconnection.com

    https://www.acesconnection.com/blog/coming-out-as-a-survivor-of-adverse-childhood-experiences
  • Donnelle
    Rose,
    I cannot imagine the horror you have survived through but you ARE a SURVIVOR! Hoping that you reach out to LPP's organization or one like it, you deserve love, support, and community. I just wanted to offer my love, light, and words of validation and strength to you. <3
  • Laura Parrott Perry
    Sister. You did not tear apart your family. That is the math we do as survivors - that somehow disclosing our abuse is an act of harm. You didn't drench the house in gasoline and you didn't light the match, and you didn't toss it- you're just calling the fire department. I co-founded and run a non-profit, Say It, Survivor, that connects survivors with resources and helps them to reclaim their stories. My email address there is laura.sayitsurvivor@gmail.com - I would be happy to help you in any way I can. You have taken some really powerful steps toward healing, and I know all too well how terrifying and painful that is, but it is not more terrifying and painful than what you've already survived. You deserve freedom, Rose. You deserve to be free from pain and shame and darkness that was never yours to carry. The work to heal requires bravery, but we already know how brave you are and you do not have to do this alone. There is so much help to be had, and you are so totally loved, necessary and enough exactly as you are in this moment - and you always were.

    So, so much love and light to you. You are not alone.

    LPP