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Letting go of Childhood mistakes?

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This topic contains 114 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of anita anita 1 week ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 115 total)
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  • #35131
    Profile photo of Calvin
    Calvin
    Participant

    I’ve been really caught up in guilt about inappropriate things I use to do when I was young, like steal, and sexually explored with a few playmates from the ages of 9-12 I’m feeling intense guilt and I’ve apologized and they’ve said it’s okay how can I let this go myself?

    #35175
    Profile photo of Nico
    Nico
    Participant

    Hi Calvin,

    I don’t know how old you are, but I sometimes get exactly the same feeling even though I am nearly 40. I went through a very deep period of shame and embarrassment and even low self-esteem.

    Mistakes are much more than things to be embarrassed about. They are for you to look back on, and understand why you did them, then look forward and understand why other people make mistakes in the present day. They are about knowing your own weaknesses so that you can be sure you and only you know how to grow, and not get into destructive patterns.

    Mistakes happen for all sorts of reasons. Insecurity, the needing for love, the needing and longing for excitement, the longing to express our individuality, the longing to push boundaries against authority and control. At my age, I have yet to come across one person in my life who has never made a mistake like the ones you have made. Even the ones who are seemingly perfect – once I get to know them well, including my own self-righteous parents, I learn that everyone has been driven by all sorts of extreme feelings, to make mistakes. Even as adults. Sometimes, especially as adults.

    The best way I have found to forgive my own mistakes is to imagine they were not made by me, but made by someone else. Then looking back, they are actually quite funny. It’s so much easier sometimes, to forgive someone else than to forgive yourself. Because only you know what feelings drove you to do the kinds of things you do. Its very likely the feelings you felt that you want to forgive, not the actions of whatever mistakes you did. Actions come from feelings, after all. Once you recognize that, you can do two things.

    Firstly, learn to guard your emotional health so that you’re less likely to have feelings you don’t like. Be curious, but not at the expense of someone else’s self esteem. Be adventurous, but not reckless. You can only work out what all that means to you with time and practice.

    Secondly, look toward other people who make mistakes with as much compassion as you can. We’re all human. We’re all capable of doing things we are shameful of. We all need compassion. It’s only by understanding why we ourselves made the mistakes we made, that we can understand what someone else must be going through when they make the mistakes they make. Because we’re all made of the same stuff. Different cards to play.

    You’ll get through this in time. Trust yourself.

    #35229
    Profile photo of Calvin
    Calvin
    Participant

    Hey I’m 18 years old now and these acts happened about 5-6 year ago, I remember that I use to steal and do all these wrong things because of greed and such. I felt guilty for something I did when I was from 9-12 I use to “dry hump” a girl about 4-5 years younger then me, I don’t think she realized what I was doing but I knew it was wrong. I felt guilty for this and I decided to apologize for these acts and she said it’s okay even though I don’t think she knew what I was talking about but I still fell like I did something terribly wrong

    #43654
    Profile photo of Sam
    Sam
    Participant

    Mi mistake, i think is worse than that of yours..

    i made two boys and girls, smaller than me to kiss each other in there genitals..

    Now, who does that ?

    and i’ve been feeling terrible since i came up with this thought may be four months ago..

    i say I forgive myself for the mistake but it isn’t that easy as saying..

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 5 months ago by Profile photo of Sam Sam.
    #49555
    Profile photo of Butterfly Cookie
    Butterfly Cookie
    Participant

    Hi there,
    I am experiencing a similar thing, when I was I kid i feel like i remember discovering sexual feelings early and then when I was about 7/8 I think i did the dry humping thing with quite a few kids of similiar age once i discovered the feeling. I think i did it with my cousin too who is a year younger than me. i dont fully remember but I am quite sure it happened. I feel like as a kid I somehow knew it was wrong as i remember doing it when there were no adults around. i keep going round and round in my head with it. I am paranoid now of any child hood memories i have and i am quite sure that thrugh paranoia i have distorted a few. I am the type of person that would never want to hurt anyone and this has brought me to suicide ocd and depression. the idea that i feel this way makes me feel worse when i think of what i could have put someone thtough. i have spoken with a therapist who has said it is notmal childhood play but i just remember feeling sexual as a kid and i have no idea why. now i am a 26 year old girl who works in an office 9-5 pretty normal and i have only had two sexual partners (males). I remember getting to about 12/13 and realizing what i had done and being horrified and since then the suicidal thoughts and depression set in. i am also paranoid of anyone i came into contact with when i was younger especially my cousins.my paranoia has spiralled out of control now but because its triggered by some real memories thats what makes the ‘what ifs’ not go away. i know i have ocd but it all feels so real and i feel like i am distorting every childhood memory i have. the guilt i feel is terrible as i feel it is not in my nature and if i had only had inhibitions then it wouldn’t have happened.

    #49771
    Profile photo of Nik Myhre
    Nik Myhre
    Participant

    Thank you for these recommendations. They were very helpful to me. I am new to this site/forum and I cant begin to tell you how much it has helped me. I feel so isolated from others emotionally because, well I allowed myself to feel that way. I was both blessed and cursed with being extremely sensitive. I am learning how to embrace this gift as well as harness it so as not to be a vulnerable zombie all the time, if that makes sense.

    Most of my guilt comes from my past as a younger adult exploring the world of drinking and then eventually getting caught up in a very toxic, abusive relationship. This relationship was 10 years ago and I still cannot seem to move forward and stop beating myself up as my exboyfriend did.

    I am so grateful to have found this site as a resource and am going to look at taking one of the courses. Thank you so much:)

    • This reply was modified 3 years, 1 month ago by Profile photo of Nik Myhre Nik Myhre.
    #49778
    Profile photo of Matt
    Matt
    Participant

    Butterfly,

    Oh dear, my sweet sister, what a terrible burden to bear. Sometimes when we are exploring, we make choices from desire that confuse us. The feelings of pleasure from sexual contact collides with an ickiness of wrongness, which happens to almost all of us. When we have difficulty forgiving ourselves, sometimes the “ickiness” of it clings on, as shame. You don’t need it, dear sister, you’ve done nothing to be ashamed of… you were young, your body was awakening, and there was some confusion. All normal, all usual, all lovable. Most of us have those kind of stories, and can heal and move on. It’ll be OK.

    That being said, here you are, still feeling shitty and reliving the emotional pain. Consider spending some time forgiving yourself.

    “For whatever harm I have done to myself, I forgive me. Whatever harm I have done to others, forgive me. May we both be healed, may we both let go, move on, and find our joy.”

    Consider for a moment, how you have felt dark and alone, when just about everyone has done it. How many men and women of all ages run around and play the humping game? Bar scenes, campuses, everywhere, anywhere… sex is a huge drive. It pulls us together with heat and passion, part chemistry and part mystery. The game you played is the same game, dear sister. Your issue, while vibrant and painful, is actually boring, usual, and happening over and over for many of us. Said differently, yes, your parts got all tingly and you did stuff with them, and as you grew up, your mind caught up. Its OK to let it go. We all fumble and bumble as we try to find a path of balance and joy. Sex is a tough drive to manage for adults… and for an 8 year old? Just forgive yourself, please, you really are quite normal. In a good way. 🙂

    Next, consider where the shame is actually coming from. When you were young, you ran around humping stuff. The chair, the fridge, the neighbor, whatever… grab a tool, and yep, tasty, pleasure. However, the emotional component was missing, so it really was more just humping for waves of pleasure. As your emotions caught on, perhaps your heart began to see the sacred nature of union, the romantic potential with boys, and the moments before it spoiled, festered. Since then, if its tied into being turned on, which probably happens all the time, because you’re human, it could have become a painful cycle, like walking on a foot with a thorn in it.

    Luckily, its all healable, and for all its pain is actually pretty simple. The thorn comes out from the kind words of forgiveness you offer to yourself and others. Grit your teeth if you must, but say them with as much authenticity as you can. The forgiveness will grow with time. The wound itself heals from self nurturance. Consider that your dance with sex has been a heavy one. Heavy for your heart, your esteem, confidence, feeling of safety, lovability. This has perhaps left you drained, dim, with need of some light. The forgiveness will help it, but your heart needs space to rekindle, time to get strong. Self nurturing is that space… it helps the body relax, unwind, and heal. Perhaps get in the tub, light some candles, put on some soft music and let your body be. Breathe, feel the water, and let yourself settle. If the memories come up, just try to settle and forgive, clinging to the mantra as a raft if needed, but relaxing and letting your attention go back to your senses, your breath, as you can.

    Finally, consider trying some metta meditation. Metta is the feeling of living, friendly warmth in the chest, and is much like chicken soup for the heart. Consider that you’ve been through a lot, dear sister, and could use some tender care. Sharon Salzburg has a great guided meditation on YouTube. (search “Sharon Salzburg guided metta meditation” if interested.

    With warmth,
    Matt

    #92201
    Profile photo of curioust
    curioust
    Participant

    Hi all, I know this conversation has been dormant for a while but I am experiencing a similar sort of difficulty from a teenage act I am struggling to forgive myself for. I was suffering from anxiety and intrusive thoughts for some time during my university years, and almost looking for reasons to validate my feeling that I was abnormal, because of the way I felt. All of a sudden one day I remembered a time I had not thought about for many years when, as a teenager of perhaps 15-16, alone one evening at home and I think more out of curiosity as to how it was different from a human’s as opposed to sexual frustration, I briefly touched my dog’s vagina. I cannot get back into the frame of mind as to why I did this because in all honesty I don’t remember the thoughts leading up to it or during, and afterwards I just forgot about it, but coupled with intrusive thoughts (fear of becoming a “bad” person who is aggressive or violent or controlling), what my mind will do is use this as evidence that I am not “normal”. I have confided in my Mum and a therapist who both have assured me that this was just part of being a teenager but I still am finding it difficult to learn to trust and forgive myself, especially since I cannot find much writing to do with this sort of thing which further suggests to me that it was a really wrong act to do, especially considering my age at the time! My dog passed away 6 months ago and luckily, she never behaved differently following on from that incident and I loved her dearly, feeling quite guilty about the act in the last 6 or so months of her life.

    Any words of wisdom on how to truly let this go would be greatly appreciated, thank you for reading.

    #92219
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear curioust:

    Like you wrote, my understanding is too that your brain was scanning, looking for evidence that you are abnormal when it found the “evidence” of you touching your dog there.

    There are two places to go from here: examining the “evidence” you found, the touching of the dog so to determine if it proves you are abnormal, that there is something wrong and unacceptable about you OR look for other evidence. I mean, I don’t believe it is evidence that you are abnormal and it seems to me that there is a different origin to your belief that you are abnormal…

    Which way to go?

    anita

    #100732
    Profile photo of Ankita
    Ankita
    Participant

    Hi Calvin,
    Years have passed since this post. Still hope my words are of help (and you are doing well). Like many people on this forum (and outside as well) I had a few sexual experiences as a child. Knowing they were wrong and still doing it makes me embarrassed and sad years later.

    I opened about some of them to people (including my mother!) who were surprisingly understanding and non judgemental. As one wise person told me children do stupid things all the time. What you did was probably out of stupidity. I feel the same as you do. Take care.

    Also, to those who may not be okay with the use of the word ‘stupidity’ please don’t take it seriously. It’s only being used to show that sometimes people (and children) don’t know any better.

    #113155
    Profile photo of Hope.
    Hope.
    Participant

    Hello all,

    I also have a childhood story that devastates me. Funny thing is it comes back to me from time to time and it hurts me and haunts me. I am, unfortunately, emotional person with highly developed conscience and when I think about it it drains me, I almost get sick. It is, of course, about sexual experience. I don’t know when I actually remembered that event for the first time but it was some years ago and when I did, I was shocked and disgusted with myself. It happened when I was an “older” child, I was 9 or 10 and that was the time when I first saw porn movies. I was ashamed of it but interested at the same time as well, I wanted to see what they are doing. I then copy them and touched myself and I guess that is when I discovered masturbation and that it brings some kind of sensation. I was curious about all of these things but my family would never answer any of these questions because they would even change the channel when people would be kissing so I thought I would be judged and to be honest, I was completely right, sex has always been a taboo in my family. Anyway, the thing that I am disgusted with is that when I was playing with a younger girl in a room and I touched her inappropriately because I thought she would like it. I remember that she didn’t and that was it, nothing else happened, never again. However, I am disgusted with myself because she was younger that me, around 5, I should have known better but I didn’t. I feel so horrible, like I was some kind of a maniac. I can’t even type normally because I am crying now. What if I have made negative memories in her mind as a child? I sure have made those in my mind and that is not fair to either of us. How can I forgive myself? Help. And thank you.

    #113170
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear hopelight:

    The girl you touched, do you presently have any contact with her? Can you make contact?

    anita

    #113185
    Profile photo of Hope.
    Hope.
    Participant

    No, not at all. I don’t remember well but her family moved around, we were briefly in each other’s lives as kids who lived in the neighborhood.

    #113186
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear hopelight:

    I need to make sure I understand the situation very well because this is a sensitive topic to many and I want to be as responsible as I can be before giving you my input, therefore I ask the following:

    Was it that one time that you touched her? You were about 10-12, she was about five? No violence involved, that is threats or scaring her in any way?

    How did you know she didn’t like the touching How did she respond to it?

    Did you stop the touching right away following her unfavorable response? What happened next: did she leave the room? Did you? Did the two of you continue playing?

    Did you see her after that one incident? What were those interactions like? How long after did they move and why? Do you know anything of significance about the girl’s home life then and after?

    And I am not clear: is there a way for you to find that girl (is she an adult now?)

    anita

    #113187
    Profile photo of Hope.
    Hope.
    Participant

    I was about 9 or 10, she was about 5. As I wrote before, it happened that one time, no violence involved and after I touched her, I remember I realized she did not like it and I stopped. I know I felt it was wrong and never had any experience like that with anyone, never wanted to either. We both left and played normally after that time. Later, when I grew up, I saw her once with her mom, they were very pleasant in a casual chat but she didn’t recognize me. Of course she is an adult now, it happened more than 20 years ago, we were just kids. I don’t know anything about her now and there is no way for me to find her.

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