"Pray write to her if it be only a line." (Henry Crawford, Mansfield Park)
7. Confucius says, "When you are joyful, do not make promises; when you are angry, do not mail a letter." You are allowed to write that angry letter, but you should always cool down overnight and then destroy it. If you have already mailed the kind of words that can destroy a relationship, call the person and apologize ahead of time for flaming them; ask them to destroy the note or return it unread. (from The Art of the Handwritten Note.)
Confucius is still wise. Have you ever written a letter in anger? I have. It took courage to write it, but I did; I mailed it the next day. The sun just showed itself! A reward for me telling on myself? Not likely, but it sure makes me feel good. Better. It makes me feel much better. I also feel better when I can freely express myself over issues I'm uncertain about. Like misunderstanding or misinterpreting something written in a letter. It happened frequently in Jane Austen novels. The issue was always resolved before The End. Not so in real life. Art often imitates life, but the reverse seldom applies just as often. A single angry letter begets an angry response, and then it's The End.
How should I have handled things? No. How would you handle a misunderstanding if you'd been hurt by a sentence in a letter? Would you write the "angry letter," sleep on it, then destroy it? Should I have written to say I'd been hurt? Is writing an angry response ever the honest thing to do? Is "I'm sorry" or "You misunderstood what I wrote" ever enough? I am on the brink. Relationships within a family and friends are difficult enough, but I never imagined penships could be just as difficult, fragile, or painful. When in doubt, write it out, or be dishonest? Please don't say "ignore the slight/hurt" or "grow thicker skin." I think one should ask if they don't know or aren't sure. And who better to ask questions about condolences and hurt feelings than my letter-writing peers?
Thanks in advance.
A single letter goes out on Monday. Three were returned. (sigh)