I think I am going to need some time to process my experience at the retreat I attended this past weekend with Making Daughters Safe Again (MDSA). I would like to share a little bit now, and then more as I see things more clearly. Ten of us, survivors of mother-daughter sexual abuse, along with licensed, clinical therapists and interns did incredible work on the range of issues that confront us as survivors. We had a beautiful space to do the work, a lovely Inn at the Jersey shore.
One of the last things we did as a group, on Sunday morning, was open up boxes that were filled with cards on which we had written notes to each other throughout the weekend. I have taken the notes and compiled the various comments into what feels like a short letter from one person to me. Somehow, it feels more powerful to look at them collectively, although the individual messages are heartfelt and deeply appreciated.
Congratulations on making it through your first retreat! I’m so glad you were able to attend. It was an honor to be a part of your journey. From the first time I saw you, I thought “what a kind smile she has”. As the weekend went on I saw that it was a reflection of who you are, considerate of others and very kind. You were always so affirming and had a warm spirit. My wish for you is that you are on the receiving end of the same, especially from significant others. The way you talked to your mother during the empty chair exercise was amazing! Thank you so much for your bravery in that exercise. It was powerful. I find your courage to share your experiences in an open way incredibly inspiring. I was encouraged to share more and be more vulnerable by your wonderful example. I am so glad I met you. You have inspired me. Your insights were spot on. Thank you for being so open! I was so touched when you shared about your grandfather after I read my letter to my grandmother. I could tell that you truly understood exactly how I was feeling. I hope you will come back. It was great getting to know you. I look forward to seeing you next year.