Here’s a really short exercise you can do to try to work through some hurt you have sustained and are grappling with still. It was developed by Barbara Sher as a tool for moving past hurts from people, especially those who were our caregivers, who didn’t extend the compassionate, loving care that was needed. It’s not a magical exercise (i.e., one that will make all the pain go away instantly) but it can help clear a bit of debris out of your psychological space.
Letter to the Person Who Didn’t Love Me Enough
(Or, Love Me in the Right Way)
Write a letter to the person who hurt you and did wrong to you by not demonstrating enough love or care for you or who neglected you and your needs. Write about your anger and hurt and explain to that person why it hurt so bad and what you wish would have happened instead.
- Write for about 5-10 minutes.
- Get mad and explain in detail.
- Get sad and grieve each part of the loss.
- Repeat until the really hard feelings go away.
- Forgive them their failings.
- Destroy the letter.
Shari van Spronsen, MA, RCC