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Guilt, Grief....Why does it take so long to heal?
May 1, 2007
1:23 pm
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on my way
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After reading RW's story, I began to think about issues I face, that RW faces, and probably many of us face. And, that is how to let go and move forward of childhood atrocities, hurt, and even things we have done as adults to hurt other people.

I think of my oldest son, who seems to hold grudges against everyone he knows right now. And to expect this from him, is a contradiction because he has a good heart.

I think of my guilt for divorcing my husband, (which realistically does not make sense, because he was totally 'out there' and verbally abusive), but is currently very ill, and I hurt my sons by leaving him. My 2 older sons were forced to choose who they wanted to live with until the courts told them they had to live with me. I have extreme guilt for allowing my oldest son stay with his dad. He got into too much trouble, and I blame myself. He is now slowly killing himself and I am powerless to help him. It is very difficult to not look back and take partial blame for how our children have turned out.

Those who were abused as children carry the hurt around for many years. It isn't easy to let go. And in my life, as a spiritual person, it is not EASY to turn this over to the God I believe in. Please no God bashing, as I am just sharing my beliefs and how I feel.

Why do we do this? Sometimes no matter what anyone says, it doesn't make a difference, as we KNOW it and we KNOW we need to let go as it hurts us, but cannot.

I am stumped. I know for me, my hurt is sucking the life out of me. It is always there, it never goes away, and the worst thing is that I wasn't even aware of it until recently, when a couple of events jarred my emotions to kingdom come.

Any thoughts shared here I will gladly welcome.

Thanks,
omw

May 1, 2007
1:31 pm
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Randomwomen2
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I just wanted to send you cyber hugs. (((On My Way))))

May 1, 2007
1:40 pm
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on my way
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Same to you sweetie. ((((RW)))))

It is just a very hard and painful road. And sometimes it is hard to see the good in it all. Maybe we can all brainstorm and come up with a few answers. 🙂

May 1, 2007
1:42 pm
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Randomwomen2
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in about 2 1/2 hours I will be free to type (naptime) I will write more then

May 1, 2007
1:46 pm
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balancesekr
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hi omw,

I know its hard to face decisions we have made and when we realize how our actions hurt others. I guess its a period of realization and just knowing that you are going to do whatever you can to change things and be better. Whether it is you being better and leading by example for your sons.

I don't have kids so I have no experience to share. Recovery-wise I can say it just takes time to realize who and what we want to be.

I think as humans we are always growing and we will hurt someone eventually again and someone will hurt us, but the tools and skills we have acquired along the way wil aid us and help us remedy the situation faster in the future.

(((HUGS))) I know its hard! Thinking of you, b

May 1, 2007
3:48 pm
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Randomwomen2
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For me the reason why I havent been able to let it go is because I havent felt all the emotions I need to. Until I have finished walking through all the pain it will continue to haunt me.

May 1, 2007
4:33 pm
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soprano2
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I agree, it does take a long time to heal from guilt.

I, too, have struggled with some things in life--bad decisions, hurting others, hurting myself.

Over the years, I have spent countless hours and nights crying about things that I have done. I was extremely depressed.

I even convinced myself that I did not deserve any better out of life.

Someone once said something very interesting to me that helped me a lot. I am not sure if it will help you, but I will share it anyway.

Learn the difference between sorrow and guilt.

Most people do not have a choice about sorrow. You just feel sad about certain situations. Sad things happen to people all of the time. Death, Divorce, Financial trouble, Loss of a job, and the list can go on.

In time, sorrow almost always fades in its intensity.

People have a choice about guilt. Guilt is usually self-inflicted. Something sad happens, and you take blame or partial blame for it--even when it was not truly in your control.

Guilt gets worse if you choose to not deal with it.

I was told that if I looked at my life and the things in it, the times that I should have felt only sorrow, I chose to feel guilt, which added tremendous pressure to every situation.

I did take this advice and it did make a huge difference in some of my thoughts and how I deal with things.

For instance, I felt so guilty in my first divorce that I basically shut down for about a year. I lost 40 pounds. I didn't leave my house except for work. I didn't talk to friends for months at a time. I was so guilty that my marriage broke apart that I could not deal with anything. Then I truly sat down and thought about it: How much of the break up should I feel guilty about? Did I beat him like he beat me? Did I treat him like a child like he did to me? Did I have the drinking problem? Did I dabble in drugs? The answer to all of these questions were a huge no. Then why did I feel so guilty--because I said enough is enough? So, I learned that I need to feel sorrow. I should feel sorrow that I thought that I married a wonderful guy who was to be my life partner, and it wasn't meant to be.

I don't know if you can relate to this or not, but I thought that I would share it.

Any way that we grow sometimes hurts.

s2

May 1, 2007
4:42 pm
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soprano2
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I should tell you, too, that now I am going through another divorce (yes, I learned some things but obviously not enough to repeat the same patterns). But this time I have kids.

I have spent many many hours thinking about what it is going to do to the kids. Are they going to hate me because I choose to leave? Are they going to hate me because I choose to stay? Or are they going to thank me for staying or going?

I don't have the answer to this question, and it will be years to get an answer because they are so young. But I do know that I am not doing them any favors by staying in a loveless, abusive relationship right now. Do I want my kids to follow the same patterns as my and my husband? NO WAY. But I also need to recognize that by the time they can answer the questions above, they are also going to be old enough to be responsible for their own behavior.

You mentioned above that you have extreme guilt about letting your son stay with his dad. Unfortunately, you are assuming that he would not have had problems if he stayed with you. And that is not always the case. Eventually your son will need to be responsible for his actions. I know that is a very difficult thing to read/hear (and I am sorry if I offended--that's not my intention). As parents sometimes we need to make decisions based on the facts and situation on hand. And then we need to hold our kids accountable and responsible for what happens in the situations.

I do feel for your sitaution. Here is cyber hug for you. Sorry if I was long winded.

s2

(((((((((on my way))))))))))

May 1, 2007
4:48 pm
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risingfromtheashes
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there are two things to consider -

what you can change and what you can't.

you can't change the past...it's that simple.

AND

you did the best you could with what you had.

sometimes we are ill equipped to deal with the things life throws at us.

I truly believe you did the best you could under the circumstances...hindsight is 20/20. We all make decisions that we regret, and wish we could change. But we can't.

Instead of getting all boggled up in what "could have been", how about focusing your energies on making the best out of today and tomorrow?

While I don't know your type of guilt firsthand...I DO know that I sometimes wish I had done things differently with my daughter. But I have to realize that at the time, I did the best I could.

My mom was young and forced to raise her brothers and sisters while her mom was at the bar and step dad abused all of them.

My mom later had SERIOUS depression and even tried to kill herself twice....some of the pain came from thinking she did a bad job parenting her siblings cuz they all ended up with adddictions, in jail or such...and felt she was responsible.

She was just a kid and given the circumstances, did the best she could.

But her guilt followed her for many years....a good therapist helped her work thru it.

Later on, my brother went down the wrong path...again, bad parenting on my parent's part...but this time, she felt bad, but recognized that my brother will do what he chooses to and she can't change that, nor can she control it. My brother turned his life around, by his own choice...and things are much better.

It's hard as a parent, cuz we ARE responsible for raising good kids...but in the end, all of us grow up to have our own free will and make choices that our parents aren't happy about...and some of those choices ARE linked to how our parents brought us up, and others are just choices we make because of our own decisions.

In the end, you can't change it...all you can do is support them and be the best parent you can be at this moment.

May 1, 2007
5:09 pm
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RW,
You are still numb to some of the pain is this what you are saying? I remember you saying that you would have dreams or flashbacks....that hurts but you do have open doors there. So you are hoping to get back in touch with all that you do not remember, right?

I have buried mine all of these years and now am facing them all at once. I look back on my life and wonder about the choices I made, did I marry the wrong person? I knew in my heart that it was wrong. For all of my strength I was just as vulnerable as anyone else. For years I have told myself that it's ok, it is in the past, but the buried hurt is very much alive, ...so strange the way it creeps up on you. Trying to view it positively, but it is so ugly.

May 1, 2007
5:27 pm
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soprano, and rising,

You both have excellent ideas. I think the frightening part is that I have always been 'in cntrol' of my emotions and have been able to tell myself the same thing. For some reason, today, this week I feel extremely powerless to do anything about the recent events from the weekend involving my son. Being powerless, is not a familiar phrase for me, as I am a fixer, a fighter, a survivor...only just woke up and realized that I am not doing very well in these departments of my life. I can do these things in what is under my control, as my job, or my home when it is just me, but the ones who matter most as my son, I am powerless and I am "IT". Such a contradiction of terms there!

So my feelings are in direct contradiction to what I know. Makes it more difficult to make sense out of it all. This is what I can't figure out. At what point does it all come together? Is that an individual decision, or is it something that just happens like these feelings that come out of nowhere that are 'triggered' by an event? I can now cry out of nowhere! Maybe those who feel such remorse are just grieving.

soprano, I like the idea of the differnce between sorrow and guilt, and I agree with you that is a conscious choice we have to make. And I never thought about the differences, thanks very much.

May 2, 2007
1:03 pm
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mj
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I love this "letting go" prose and wanted to share it with you.

LET GO...

to “let go” does not mean to stop caring, it means I can’t do it for someone else.

to “let go” is not to cut myself off, it’s the realization I can’t control another.

to “let go” is not to enable, but to allow learning from natural consequences.

to “let go” is to admit powerlessness, which means the outcome is not in my hands.

to “let go” is not to try to change or blame another, it’s to make the most of myself.

to “let go” is not to care for, but to care about.

to “let go” is not to fix, but to be supportive.

to “let go” is not to judge, but to allow another to be a human being.

to “let go” is not to be in the middle arranging all the outcomes, but to allow others to affect
their destinines.

to “let go” is not to be protective, it’s to permit another to face reality.

to “let go” is not to deny, but to accept.

to “let go” is not to nag, scold or argue, but instead to search out my own shortcomings and
correct them.

to “let go” is not to adjust everything to my desires, but to take each day as it comes and cherish
myself in it.

to “let go” is not to criticize and regulate anybody, but to try to become what I dream I can be.

to “let go” is not to regret the past, but to grow and live for the future.

I am sorry that you are having a difficult time right now On My Way. I hope that you can find comfort in knowing that you are cared about.

May 2, 2007
3:44 pm
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mj,
Thank you for finding this and posting it here. I remember this from last year on this site, but have not seen it in that long of time. It puts matters in perspective doesn't it? I do love this.

Thanks for the encouragement. Sometimes I wish I had a magic salve for those I love. Periodically the pain in the world zaps me, especially when so close to home. Then I get a phone call from one of my sons on his way home from work, "Just because"...just because he wanted me to know that he loves me, which was sweet. I don't interfere in my adult son's lives, I respect that, but it was a very big blessing.

I think I will try reading this and replace some of the words being spoken about with the problems I am facing right now. The past is the past, but still alive, seems crazy doesn't it...just buried and then pops up out of nowhere. I suppose feeling can be good, and feelings can also destroy if they get out of control. But it helps to write here on AAC as it is a safe place with many kind and helpful people.

I hope your day is blessed, 🙂

May 2, 2007
5:14 pm
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mj
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The good news OMW is we don't have to be alone. We have our God of our own understanding and all we have to do is ask for guidance. Letting go is the magic salve. We do our best in each day and that is Enough.

I am thankful that you posted and shared your vulnerability today. I read what you shared on another thread and I just needed to acknowledge that you can heal those wounds and feel your feelings and have hope.

Blessings to YOU and lots of Love

May 2, 2007
5:20 pm
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Thank you, you are a sweetheart to say this. Thank you for the encouragement. It's nice to know that you and other people are here whenever we need to talk.

((((mj))))
take care.

May 2, 2007
5:23 pm
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mj
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((((OMW))))

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