You can change the ages and conditions of this letter to fit what happened, Dad left, Mum left, Dad died, Mum died, child now 7, 8, 9, 13, 16, 30…..see how it works. Imagine the 3 year old (or even younger) with little if any language to explain how they feel and little if any insight to know how they feel.
When our children act and behave in ways that exasperate us, and we know that their lives were turned upside down at some point when they were very young, imagine them at 3, imagine yourself at 3…..
When you two split up I was very little, very young and very scared. I didn’t know how to tell you how I felt. I didn’t have the words to explain to me how I felt. I just felt. As I have grown up, this very little, very young, very scared child has remained inside me and she still acts out at times when I am stressed and tired. She has her own interpretation of what happened way back then. It doesn’t matter that it is the wrong interpretation, for her it is real and it is what and why it all happened and sometimes it means I am stuck feeling lost and angry with you and cannot control my feelings towards you.
Here’s how it is in my 3 year old head.
I miss you, where have you gone, why can’t I kiss you goodnight, my tummy hurts when I miss you, are you lost, did you die, where are you
I miss you, my tummy is hurting, I am crying and my tummy is hurting, I miss my bedtime story, where are you, are you coming back, it’s dark, I am scared, where are you.
Was I naughty, have you gone because I am bad…I am bad and naughty, it’s my fault, where are you.
You’ve gone, I am lost, my tummy hurts, I am crying myself to sleep, I am dreaming, you are here, I am happy, I am awake and you’ve gone, where are you.
Are you dead, are you lost, I am naughty and I am sad. Mummy(Daddy) is angry, I am bad, I am naughty and I am lost. I am cold and I am sad.
Where are you.