Today my mom has decided we should send letters to my sister, as it's looking like her engagement to the douchebag is impending.

Some of you already know this story, but for those who don't, backstory. My sister is 22 and dating a 40 year old with two sons, one 15 and living at home, one 20 and in jail. The oldest refuses to speak to his father because of the way he treats the 15 year old son. The youngest son has told my mom, in confidence, about a great deal of physical and mental abuse he's suffered, as well as this man's ex-wife had suffered. No one has told my sister this information directly, and when anyone has tried to bring up that there is a problem she's called it "gossiping." My sister is part of a very, very conservative group of Christians who, there's no other way to say this, are a cult. They're the type who believe women should submit to their husbands above all else. And abuse is entrenched in our family. My father abused my mom, sexually and emotionally, our whole lives, and emotionally abused us and hit me as well, and my mom is still trying to leave him. I have myself been in a dangerous abusive relationship from which I escaped only just over a year ago. My abuser continued to stalk and threaten me well into this year and stole my cat in May. As such, knowing that my sister's boyfriend has a history of being abusive, and generally getting a creepy vibe from him anyway, I'm very concerned about her. I don't know how likely it is that she'll be able to escape this cycle of abuse my family is so prone to, especially since she doesn't even recognize that the abuse exists.

I have a letter I wrote her months ago and never sent. It's very blunt but I tried to be as kind as possible. I don't honestly think she'll listen. I do think it will probably alienate her in the short term. But a) I think it's worth it if in the long term she thinks I'm a safe person to talk to and b) I don't want to go to their wedding anyway, because I will not be able to stop crying. But I'm still nervous about sending it.

So I want you guys to read it.

This is what I've written. It's pretty blunt.

Dear (greenheart's sister),

I just want to start this letter by saying I love you and miss you, and if you don't agree with this letter or if it hurts you in any way, know that I intended it only in love and I will love you and be there for you if you need me no matter what. I do not need you to agree with me, or make decisions that I agree with, in order to love you.


I don't actually think you will listen to this. I think you probably look at me, as someone who has made a lot of mistakes you've been smart enough to avoid, and as someone who has doubted and ultimately rejected the faith that defines your life, as a person whose advice is therefore meaningless. And I understand why you'd feel that way. I am not offended that you will probably not pay any attention to what I'm about to say, but I have to try anyway. Because I love you, and because I don't want to see you hurt. Because I've been in a place that's similar to where I'm afraid you'll end up. (sis), I'm just going to say this one time. I promise I will not ever bring it up again. I promise I don't and won't judge you.

(boyfriend) scares me. The way he looks at women, the way he talks about them, makes me strongly believe that he thinks women and children are possessions, not human beings with rights equal to his own. I know for a fact that he has hit his children and he hit his ex-wife. Regardless of whether she cheated, a man who would ever hit a woman is not a man to be trusted. I am fairly certain that if you marry him you will lose your autonomy, any sense of freedom you ever had, and ultimately you will lose yourself. He will abuse you emotionally, manipulate you to suit his purpose and punish you when you don't do what he wants. He may hit you. He will probably rape you. I'm just going to be blunt: Mom was raped her whole life by Dad. I've been raped. Rape is terrifying. It is about as powerless as you will ever feel. And you will be told that that's normal, healthy, what's expected in a marriage, that when you're married to a man he has the right to do whatever he wants to your body, whenever he wants to. But it will feel wrong to you.


I hope, at a minimum, you will wait to marry him until you know him better, until you can honestly say what his flaws are. I'm not telling you to do anything you feel is wrong, obviously. But find out what he does when he's angry. How he treats you when you disagree.

I really hope I'm wrong about these things. I hope he is actually a wonderful person. If so, I'll be the first to admit I'm wrong and the first to apologize and welcome him to the family. I promise I'll never bring this up again and will celebrate with you at your wedding, if that day comes, because you are happy. But if it turns out I'm right, and you choose not to listen to this letter, please know I'm here for you and will listen to you and help you in any way I can.



Thank you all, in advance, for taking the time to read this.