Therapy Homework: “Love Letters” Technique

I am not going to lie, I was going to adamantly not do this weeks therapy homework. When Dr. W gave me the paper that says, “The purpose of this love letter is to express and resolve all the negative feelings that prevent you from experiencing and sharing the love you feel deep inside”, I thought, “this is stupid. I don’t even have someone to write the letter to. And everyone knows letters are written to someone or something.” I have been in such a weird, angry space lately and I can’t shake it. No doubt this is also seeping into my therapy. I’ve always been an overachiever, so, of course, it is no different in therapy. For me to refuse to do an “assignment” is completely out of character.

After some contemplation, I decided I could adapt the love letter and make it work for the purpose she intended the homework to serve. Dr. W. said that she assigned the “love letter” to “build on the hard work [I] put in last week in relation to overall acceptance and expressing of emotions.” She told me I could just start with one emotion because apparently it can be overwhelming to do them all… but… yeah… overachiever here. Anyway, when I am not being a stubborn ass I can see how the letter is meant to build on the expression of emotions. It contains levels with sentence stems that make it really easy to just complete the sentence in a way that inevitably becomes an expression of emotion.

The worksheet is laid out as follows:

Instructions:

Each level is to be completed (don’t stop until you’ve made it to love)

Balance the six parts in length

Write clearly

Have someone read the letter to you when you’re finished

Levels: 

One: Anger and Blame

I hate it when…

I resent…

I’m fed up with…

It makes me furious when…

I blame myself for…

Two: Hurt and Sadness

I feel sad when…

It hurts me when…

I feel hurt when…

I’m disappointed that…

Three: Fear and Insecurity

I’m afraid that…

I feel scared…

I’m worried that…

Four: Remorse and Responsibility

I’m sorry that… 

I’m sorry for…

I didn’t mean to… 

Please forgive me for…

Five: Intention and Wishes

I want…

I wish…

I hope…

Six: Love, forgiveness, understanding, gratitude

I love you because…

Thank you for…

I’m proud of you for…

I forgive you for…

I love it when…

I decided that I could do this assignment in one of two ways, I could write the letter to myself or I could write a separate letter to each emotion. Given that I have already done A Love Letter to All My Jagged Edges I decided that writing the letter to myself would probably be the more fruitful option. So, I am going to attempt that here with y’all. I suppose I hope that the whole being open and authentic thing could possibly help someone else to be open and authentic. And, maybe, others who can’t afford therapy or who don’t want to go to therapy for one reason or another might be able to gain something from my sharing my weekly homework, by having an opportunity to do it alongside someone else.

Without further adieu, my letter: 

Dear Katie,

I hate it when you push everyone away because you think you’re so flawed. I resent the fact that you carry your mother’s voice inside you like it is the voice of an almighty, omniscient God. The only truth her voice ever told was that you came from her, everything else was a lie meant to keep you locked in a fortress of isolation, another thing of her making. But, I’m fed up with always feeling isolated and like I don’t or can’t fit in anywhere. Solitude and loneliness do not have to be synonymous; in fact, they’re not meant to be. Things don’t have to be this way, you make them this way; I blame you for that.

I feel sad when you say “no” but you really mean “yes.” You don’t have to live in fear of letting people near. You can enjoy living life, that’s why you’re here, despite what you’ve been told. The looking at people’s backs as they walk away gets old. It hurts me when I have to say another goodbye even though I know it is inevitable. It isn’t because they’re bad people. It is because you know how to push their buttons. I’m disappointed that at 29 years old, you still think this is the best form of protection. How have you not learned something better yet?

This is, I suppose, where things get sticky because you are me. I did this. I’m the one with the lessons not yet learned. I’m the one who pushes people away. I’m the one with the inner voice filled with vitriol and venom. I overidentified with that Simon and Garfunkel song, “I am a Rock.” It became my anthem: “I am a rock/ I am an island/ I’ve built walls/ A fortress deep and mighty/ That none may penetrate/ I have no need of friendship, friendship causes pain/ It’s laughter and it’s loving I disdain.” I let this happen. I’m sorry for all the friendships I ran from, all the times I could have had love and connection but I messed it up. I didn’t mean to solidify the message that you weren’t worth loving, that wasn’t worth loving.

I want you to know that it is okay to let the walls crumble. Not everyone is going to pillage the real estate that is your body, not everyone will take a piece of your heart and use its jagged edges to stab you in the back. Some people just want to be present with you.  I wish you could see that, that you could see that there are people who care, who won’t think that you’re too much, who will love you despite your darkness. I hope you know that you can be one of those people, one of the people who loves despite all the reasons not to.

I’m proud of you for being so strong when you needed to be, when it was vital to your survival. I forgive you for not being able to trust people; you’ve had years and years of proof that people couldn’t be trusted. I know that made it hard to see when people did care, when they were trustworthy. Thank you for doing what you had to do but you don’t have to be that person anymore, the one who builds walls and pushes people away and hides all of your darkness. I’m proud of you for surviving. Now it is time to thrive. It is time to find some light.

Love,

your Self

 

8 Thoughts

    1. Thank you. I kind of feel weird or naughty for having done the whole thing. She made such a big deal over it being okay to just do like a sentence. That isn’t me though.

      Liked by 1 person

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