The Power of An Unsent Letter

The Power of An Unsent Letter

When a friend, partner, or even a family member exits your life closure is not guaranteed. In most cases,  you don’t get real closure unless you seek it out. Some people will even argue that the entire concept of closure is a myth and that no one ever truly feels genuine closure. I personally disagree with this. I do think there are exceptions, but in my experience closure and acceptance of a situation are somewhat synonymous and often obtainable. Not easy, not always, but often obtainable.

But how do you get closure? For some, reaching out to the person -regardless of their reaction- works because it gives them the opportunity to clear the air (which I think is what closure is often about). In other cases reaching out to the other person is either not possible or not safe, so going to a therapist to talk about it and learn coping skills can help. Unfortunately, therapy is not always a realistic option (cost, accessibility) for everyone and many people are afraid to seek it out.

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Today I want to talk about something that has helped me with getting some form of closure from relationships I’ve had with a former friend, partner, and family member. It has helped me in all three situations. Including the grieving process of some of these people, whose exit from my life was because they passed away.

Regardless of the circumstances of their exit, someone who was once a large part of your life often suddenly (though sometimes this also happens gradually) being gone from it is never easy. Even if their presence in your life was toxic, we get used to our close circle being around and it’s hard to walk away, especially if you are trauma bonded. But sometimes you have to cut the cord ( or vice versa). And when you do, you’re often left with a mix of emotions and eventually, a desire for closure.

Here is one exercise worth trying…

Write them a letter.

But don’t send it.

Doing this allows you to get what you want to say to the person off your chest. You can express how you really feel without fear. You can apologize if you need to, and then you can put it away, delete it, whatever you want.

The unsent letter allows you to experience an emotional release. It allows you to give your anger, sadness, hurt or regret a place to be expressed. No one is going to read it so you have the complete freedom to say how you truly feel.

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This process can be very cathartic. You may even begin to see the situation in a new light. Or you may simply gain a sense of acceptance about the situation. Acceptance is often one of the first steps towards closure, if not the embodiment of closure itself.

Will writing this letter magically make you feel immediate closure? Probably not. But in my experience, it will help give you clarity and some closure. I have done this numerous times in my life. I even wrote a letter to my deceased dog, which depending on who reads that is either relatable or wacky, but let me tell you: that was the first part of my grieving process where I began to feel “ok”.

Whether it is to your former friend, your ex, your family member that you are estranged from, or a loved one who passed away, writing an “unsent letter” can be the key to unlocking emotional buildup that is preventing you from feeling closure.

Here are a few resources with more information about coping with the end of relationships:

8 Steps To Closure When A Friendship Ends

How To Get Closure After A Breakup

10 Steps to Recovering from a Toxic Trauma Bond

The Six Needs of Mourning (for those seeking closure after a death)

 

Sending love & light,

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