Dear Dani: A letter, an apology, a commitment to myself

Dear Dani,

I am so sorry. I am sorry for all of the terrible things you’ve endured in your life. You didn’t deserve any of it and none of it was your fault. You were a child, you experienced terrible things and kept them a secret. You were scared and felt very alone in what you were going through.

As you got older you found that similar experiences repeated themselves. You felt like you had no control of anything. Life was just one experience after another, ugly things continued to happen to you and in your life, and you did the best you could to get through it all. You were still really a child, even though as a teenager that wasn’t how you saw yourself, but you were. Like all teenagers you thought you knew everything, but later years taught you that you had no idea. What you learned to this point in your life was how to manage your chaos and you did so by building massive walls and shutting down any real emotion or connection to anyone. It was what you had to do to survive. For awhile it seemed like you were ok. No one could hurt you because you had constructed such a strong exterior. I am sorry that you were brought to a place in your young life that forced you to lock everyone out or rather to lock yourself in, to shut down your very own emotions, to have to become so closed off in order to not feel the pain of everything you had endured and were continuing to endure. I am sorry you had to carry that kind of pain.

What I am most sorry for is that even as an adult I’ve treated you the same as so many others have. I’ve neglected you; I’ve disrespected you; I’ve abused you emotionally and verbally; I’ve knowingly walked you into heartache; I’ve made regrettable decisions you’ve had to live with; I’ve let you down time and time again. I am so sorry that I, too, victimized you. You did nothing to deserve any of this and I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive me for the ways I’ve wronged you. No rush, take all of the time you need, I’m not going anywhere.

I didn’t know how to love and care for you the way that you so desperately needed me to, and I’m still learning. The more I learn the more I admire you. Everything that you have been through, endured, seen, heard, felt…you’re still standing. No matter how many times you’ve been knocked down you always get back up. You have a strength inside of you, a will, a desire, a passion that is so incredibly powerful; and that my Darling, is something to be admired. I haven’t always seen you as having that kind of strength and that is another thing I am sorry for. I have underestimated you and your ability so many times. Again, I didn’t know how to love and care for you. I’m not trying to make excuses for my behaviors and actions towards you but, given everything we’ve been through, I think we could ease up on ourselves a little. It’s amazing we are even still alive and I owe that to you! Without your strength, resilience, and determination there is no way we would’ve come this far and I will forever be grateful for your ability to get back up when it would’ve been so much easier just stay down. Thank you for fighting for us.

Sweetheart, you’ve carried more than enough of the load on your own for far too long, I’m going to take it from here. I know you don’t trust me and you have every reason in the world not to. I’ve not been here for you like you needed me to be, you’ve never been able to depend on me, I’ve put you at risk and in danger numerous times but I am asking you to please trust me one more time and to be patient with me as we go forward, as I said, I am still learning.

My commitment to you as we go forward:

I promise I will do my best not to let you down.

I promise I will put you first and I will always protect you.

I promise I won’t knowingly put you in any more unhealthy situations.

I promise to do a much better job at loving and caring for you and meeting your needs.

I promise I will clear a path for you to follow your dreams, passions, and desires.

I promise I will keep us working towards thriving rather than just surviving.

And I promise to listen when you tell me that you’re not okay.

I will not abandon you. I am right here. You are not alone.

 

With Love,

Your Functional Adult Self

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