The Letter You Won’t Send

Posted on April 18, 2011


So you need some closure with an ex-partner. As I’ve stated previously, you most certainly DON’T need your ex to get it. One of the best ways I know how to get the closure you need is to write a letter. A letter that you won’t send.

Now this idea isn’t particularly original. I’ve read countless books that advise readers to write letters to people when they have something uncomfortable to say. Then, the books state, one should allow the letter to sit in a drawer for a few days. After this time, if you feel so inclined, you should send the letter.

There are several problems with this strategy.

First of all, if you are writing a letter to someone (all the while knowing in the back of your mind that you may end up sending it), most likely there will be some kind of subconscious censoring.

You won’t say everything you need to say nor will you fully express yourself or how you feel, because a part of you will remain aware that whatever you write may be exposed.

Another problem with this suggestion is that if you DO end up sending your letter, you still won’t have a feeling of closure.

You’ll start wondering how the recipient reacted when they read your letter. Then you’ll be waiting for some kind of response. And if the person does decided to respond to you, you’ll then have that can of worms to deal with. In short, this is about as far away from settling your unfinished business as you can get.

I propose something different. I propose writing a letter that you will, under no circumstances, send. Write a letter to the person with whom you need closure with absolutely no intent to send it.

Doing a closure letter this way ensures several things:

-You’ll be honest about your feelings and what you need to say

-You’ll have freedom to completely express yourself uncensored in whatever words or phrases you feel you need

-Once the letter is written you’ll have the closure you need

-You won’t have to spend any more time worrying about what to do with your letter or debating whether or not to send it

-You will be free from the mental stress and anxiety that would appear if you actually sent the letter.

Go ahead and try it. Write a closure letter. Be honest about how you feel. Get out everything that you need to say that you never got a chance to say. Be fully self-expressed. Cuss up a storm, name-call and participate in all of those other ‘forbidden’ forms of communication you normally don’t participate in.

Then, don’t send it. If you feel you need a witness for your words, find a non-judgmental, empathic friend whom you trust and read your letter to this person. But that’s only if you feel it necessary.

The unsent closure letter works wonders. And one of my favorite things about this activity is that it reminds you of who is really responsible for your growth, healing and your unfinished business: you

Posted in: Letting Go