November 30, 1993
Sorry I haven’t written lately. I thought you would be discharged on the 28th, so I didn’t want to send letters to the wrong place.
As sad as our conversation was, I still was glad to hear your voice and know that you are all right. Well, at least that you are still with the program.
I don’t know how to help you with this thing. I can tell how frustrated you are that you can’t find a way to unlock the feelings you put away so long ago. Of course, I am forever playing the amateur psychologist, but it seems to me you have a trust problem here. You perceive that you are in a position not to trust anyone with what is locked away - what will they think of it? How will it change how they view me? Will they think I’m stupid? Will they think I’m a whore? Will they think
my father is a scum-bag? Will they think I’m weak and not capable of caring for myself? Fill in your own fears. Ginger- you have got to trust your therapist. You have to believe that she will treat your feelings in a compassionate, professional way. You have to take the chance. There is no other way. Listen to me. Listen to your own heart. There is no feeling too vile to be rejected by Lisa; there is no fear too ridiculous to be looked at and studied with care and compassion; there is no anger too ugly to be heard calmly and dealt with carefully; there is no careful emotional rationalization that can’t be taken apart and put together correctly; there is no emotion too loathsome not to be heard understandingly. You have given up 2 months of your life and a semester of school for this
chance to straighten out your life. Don’t throw that away now. I don’t know how to tell you how to do what needs to be done. But I can tell you that, sometimes, feelings creep out in little ways- with one tear welling up, with a feeling that the dam could burst. When that happens, you can just let it go- and let the anger and fear and loathing spill out. I can tell you what you already know- you can’t take feelings off the shelf like a book- they spill out like water through a broken dam.
I think it might help you in your sexual trauma work to review a few of the things we discussed on the phone Monday, so you can place where I was coming from when I was abusing you.
1. First, however I may have tried to make it appear to you, I was satisfying my own sexual needs at your expense.
2. I knew what I was doing was wrong and was criminal but I did it anyway.
3. I knew that what I was doing was going to do emotional and psychic harm to you, maybe serious harm, but I wouldn’t stop and I wouldn’t get help, because I didn’t want to get caught.
4. I knew you trusted and adored me and I exploited that so I could keep doing it without getting caught or without having to figure out what was wrong with me.
5. Even when you tried to avoid the contact by sleeping in the childrens’ room or in Chris’ room, I would come there and risk exposing what I was doing and what was happening to you to them.
6. Throughout the whole thing, I did it in such a way to make it look like you were cooperating and consenting, even, maybe, in your own mind, when that was really not true.
7. Using “seduction” rather than force is really the same thing. It is a way to exercise power over another. And when it is an adult “seducing” a child, it is no different than force since the child has no real choice but to expose the adult and bring calamity down on everyone. Using the backrubs in combination with the fondling makes the child’s pleasure a part of the process- but the terror is still there. There was no choice and no boundaries- that is terror to a child.
8. Finally, I promised to stop and didn’t, breaking what trust you might have had left and then asked you not to tell, which, I’m sure, is partly responsible for you locking things away.
If you can’t feel what these things did to you, then think about how you would feel if this happened to your child or if it had happened to Katie and you found out about it. How would you feel. Would you be mad? Would you be revolted?
Would you be sick to your stomach? Even though you were and are the only victim of abuse by me - the whole family suffered from it and will for the rest of their lives. Where is the pain coming from? What are you holding onto so desperately? What did the touching and stroking and fondling mean? That I loved you? Bullshit. They meant lust, satisfying my sexual need, protecting myself from discovery, feeding my fantasies, controlling you and your life.
I don’t think I have ever before made a closing argument for the other side, but this is it. You didn’t choose it, but you have to live with it. There is nothing left to protect. There is only a life to save.