I only trust two people on this planet enough to let them read momster’s last letter to me – my best friend and my therapist. I trust them both with my life and know that neither would use anything in momster’s letter to try to influence or hurt me. After I realized that my intense triggering came from that letter, I sealed it in an envelope and gave it to my best friend to read. She is going to hand-deliver the letter to my therapist since she will see him before I will. That way, my therapist and I can hit the ground running talking through it when I see him.
I handed her the sealed envelope at a park, and I ran an errand with my kid before meeting up with her at her house, which gave her time to skim through the letter quickly. The look on her face when she opened the door was scary – she looked like her mind had just been blown. She said we needed to talk privately away from the kids.
She talked me through what was in the letter (parts of which I did not remember – presumably from being so triggered when I read it), being very careful to speak in generalities and spoon feed me with enough information to validate that this letter was EXTREMELY triggering. Knowing my history, she would have expected me to be very triggered and VERY ANGRY at so many words (well over 30) that directly reference triggers from childhood, such as “kill,” “dog,” “pants,” and “chain,” and she noted that some of the words (such as dog) did not fit within the context of the paragraph. She said that the absolute last reaction she would expect from me – or anyone – reading the letter would be “peace” and a desire to connect with the author because it was “f#$%ed up” (she rarely uses profanity) and the most disturbing letter she has ever read.
*** possible ritual abuse triggers ***
She said there was a recurring theme throughout it of mothers and children returning to each other, but it also had a story about different types of cows and how the mother cow will kill her calf if the calf is not removed, so the calf is placed with a herd of a different type of cow to raise. It also had lines from an inappropriate skit involving a man taking the pants off a woman and being the “boss” of the “little girl.” This was right before the directive for me to email her, which I felt a strong compulsion to do after reading the letter.
*** end possible ritual abuse triggers ***
The most disturbing thing is that these are the only parts she felt were safe enough to talk with me about. She wants my therapist to read the letter and offer his own thoughts. She could tell how triggered I got about the cow part and said no more, which I think was the right call. She wanted to walk the fine line between validating that my getting triggered by the letter was completely understandable and that my feeling peaceful after reading it was not “normal” while also being careful not to tell me enough to trigger me again.
Photo credit: Hekatekris