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Letting go of Childhood mistakes?

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This topic contains 121 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of Rudy Rudy 1 month ago.

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  • #113188
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear hopelight:

    In those circumstances: you touched her (to verify: you touched her on the surface, no penetration of any kind, for less than a minute or so?) when you were 9 or 10, she was about 5, one time only, no violence, no threats involved. After the touching the two of you continued to play normally. You saw her a few years later and she didn’t recognize you and her mom had a casual chat with you/ the person you were with, no particular communication to you. In those circumstances, do you think you damaged that girl and how? Be as specific as you can.

    anita

    #113189
    Profile photo of Hope.
    Hope.
    Participant

    I feel like I am in a police station right now. No, no penetration, that is a disgusting thought, the touch lasted for a few seconds only. Somehow, you only made me feel much worse about my troubling childhood memory.

    #113190
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear hopelight:

    It was not my intention to make you feel better but to examine the truth in a situation so to help you see it for what it is. When a feeling follows a clear understanding of reality, the feeling is reliable. When a feeling follows a distorted view of reality, the feeling is unreliable.

    So the hope, the light, hopelight, is in seeing reality clearly. If you’d like me to further attempt to help you with what I aim for, let me know.

    anita

    #113191
    Profile photo of Hope.
    Hope.
    Participant

    I spoke the truth and you made me repeat it and it is hard for me to relive it. Ok, what am I not seeing clearly?

    #113203
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear hopelight:

    Sex with children is such a highly charged topic that it scares me to answer your post here. We are adults, you and I and anyone reading this, and we are talking about a five year old girl who was touched sexually. This is not an easy thing to communicate about, not for me.

    I re-read your post and the latest short post. It is my feel, based on what you shared, that indeed, like the title of this old thread reads, it is time for you to let go of this childhood mistake.

    It was a mistake. You were a child.

    I can say it was a mistake because not only you were a child, but your answers to my questions suggest to me no damage done to her. I write this because it was a superficial touch of a few seconds that you stopped when you sensed discomfort on her part. It was never repeated. No violence, no threats involved.

    You watched a porn movie. I detest the porn industry. I would prefer if no one watched porn. But a nine year old is definitely not equipped psychologically to process such visuals. So you thought she would like it, like the female performers in the movie you watched.

    Yes, from the facts that I asked for- and they were crucial for me to ask- I’d say, definitely, forgive yourself. If you could speak to others, to parents, about the dangers of children watching porn, or somehow be an activist of sorts, here and there, talking about the damage porn watching does to children, you can more than make up for your childhood mistake.

    At the time, at nine or ten, you didn’t know better. It was your parents’ responsibility to discuss sex with you and to see to it that you didn’t have access to watching porn.

    Now I do hope you feel better, based on the reality of the incident, the details you provided in your original post and in answers to my questions.

    anita

    #121126
    Profile photo of S.
    S.
    Participant

    Hello,

    I have been going through something similar. I am not sure if this thread is even active now, but I would really like to share my story.

    When I was 16, I read a newspaper article about a father who raped his daughter. That disturbed me, I hadn’t thought such a ghastly act possible. It made me paranoid and fear my own father, who is as loving and and as wonderful as a father can be.

    Soon the paranoia gave way to guilt – how could I think in this way of the man who loved me so much? How could I even imagine or suspect he’s do something like this ever? Then, my mind took a different turn. I started thinking I was a sexual freak. I started blaming myself. Imagining that I was some sort of evil sexual deviant for having thoughts of this sort.

    It was also summer vacation time, so I did not have much to occupy my mind. Then, in one such spiral of self hatred, I remembered what I had long forgotten.

    I used to live in a joint family. And at the age of 11-12, I had gotten my brother and my cousin sister, both 5-6 years younger to me, to touch my stomach, almost manipulatively, during games. It must have happened at least 5-6 times.

    Once I remembered this, I completely broke down. Blamed myself every minute of the day. Cried all night. Told everything to my mother and grandmother, who were very supportive. With their help and after lots of prayers, I was able to put this behind.

    Until now. 8 years later, I find myself in the same space. It happened because I was feeling guilty about wasting too much time during a break between jobs – and guilt is an emotion I am terrified of – and soon this guilt triggered flashbacks of those depressing times from my past.

    This time, I find myself more informed and more forgiving for what actually happened, but the refreshed memory of what happened has unleashed a monster of self destruction in my mind.

    It accuses me of everything i hold reprehensible. When I try to forgive myself, forget it and move on, this voice whispers, maybe you are attracted to your own brother. Maybe you are a sexual freak like you suspected earlier. Maybe you are still like this.

    I try to ignore it. I try to debate it logically – I have never felt sexual desire for anyone except my boyfriend and a few other crushes, I have never even seen porn of this kind, and I have a most cherished, most regular relationship with my brother. But it keeps coming back, poking my mind, filling it with self hatred.

    This time the impact feels larger and worse because I thought this was beyond me. I thought this battle was over. In these 8 years I have developed such a fun connect with all of my siblings and cousins, including my brother. I value it so much, and the same part of me knows this is just my over thinking, self destructive, idle mind at work – but still I feel ashamed to face him very often these days.

    I feel afraid. How long will this go on? How do i recover again? I sometimes even feel the burden is too much, I feel like there is nothing to look forward in life if I must spend the rest of it moping in this sort of guilt.

    I want to forgive myself. I want to convince myself I am normal, not a sexual freak. I want the evil voice in my head that accuses me of having all sorts of disgusting desires – from imcestous to bestiality – to stop. I don’t have these desires, I know, but I have a throbbing fear, a constant ‘what if’ going on. Its breaking me down. I am afraid that I might have to carry the burden of this one childhood action all my life in my mind, because of my destructive imagination/paranoia/self-hatred.

    This time I haven’t told my mother. I have important exams coming up and she will freak out too much. I have told my boyfriend, who is very understanding and helpful.

    I would really appreciate some suggestions.

    I do not think apologizing to my brother will help because the action in itself was too minor – just putting his hand on my stomach a few times – to remember. I mean at least I hope he won’t remember. Besides he is too young, I dont want to burden him with this complex stuff. Besides, I dread it may create a sense of awkwardness between us. That will be so terrible.

    Thank you so much in advance. God bless!

    #121132
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    * Dear seeker1357:

    There is a quote I read lately that explains to me what is happening with you. The quote is:

    “People mistakenly assume that their thinking is done by their head; it is actually done by the heart which first dictates the conclusion, then commands the head to provide the reasoning that will defend it.” Anthony de Mello

    This is my understanding, using this quote as a guide, (let me know what you think of it):

    The conclusion your heart dictated to you (and that happened before you read about the father who raped his daughter) was something like: “something is wrong with me/ I am a freak/ There is something bad about me/Something about me is harmful to others.

    So then your head- ever since- has been trying to find the reasoning to defend this conclusion, locate the evidence to support the conclusion. The evidence, taken from your post above:

    Evidence # 1: I thought my father could rape me (->only a freak would think something like that!)
    Evidence # 2: When I was a child, I directed two younger children to touch my stomach (->only a freak/ bad person would have younger children touch their stomach!)
    Evidence # 3: I spent a lot of time in between jobs not looking for a job (-> Only a bad person would do that!)

    When your head does not come up with “evidence” it substitutes accusations for evidence:”maybe you are attracted to your own brother. Maybe you are a sexual freak like you suspected earlier.”

    Of course, you want that “evil voice” to stop torturing you with “evidence” and accusations.

    Let me know what you think of my understanding and I will write more. There is a way to heal.

    anita

    #121142
    Profile photo of S.
    S.
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    Thank you so much for replying. Your understanding is absolutely correct. Just one detail I think might help : ever since I fell into this self hatred and recovered (when I was 16), I have been very afraid of guilt. Now whenever I feel guilty about even regular, day to day things in life, I recognize the emotion and feel afraid it might snowball into something like *that time*.

    This time I was feeling guilty about not studying enough although I took the break to study, and especially since my parents have sky high expectations from me. I was under a lot of stress too, and not very interested in what I was doing. So this time the guilt did snowball and it bring me back to that awful state of mind I thought I had left behind 8 years back (I am 24 now).

    Sorry if this wasn’t relevant to the situation. Thanks for replying and I am looking forward to what you have to say!

    Thank you so much.

    #121145
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear seeker1357:

    Did you attend psychotherapy so far? If so, what was the experience like, what did you learn?

    I also need to learn, to deepen my understanding: those sky high expectations your parents have of you- ever since what age? And how do they express those expectations of you: what do they say to you, how…? And what do you feel about their expectations?

    anita

    #121146
    Profile photo of S.
    S.
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I have not attended psychotherapy. I fear if I take professional help its like giving legitimacy to what I call (when feeling sane and surprised at my own previous thoughts) the bullshit spouter in my mind.

    My parents have had high expectations from me since childhood. I am extremely competitive and only recently decided to slow down a bit because I used to nag myself about every small failure. Somehow I never found their expectations unreasonable. They have raised 3 children with financial difficulties and just don’t want the same for us. So I don’t generally resent them for their expectations. But it often weighs me down since my own heart is after other goals, and it is not always possible to balance every thing.

    Also wanted to add : my music teacher groped my breasts a few times when I was 10 or 11. I was terrified of him and quit music soon, but I think that awakened my sexual desires/curiosity.

    #121151
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear seeker1357:

    When your parents sent you the message that you must be perfect, a top performer, they unintentionally sent you the message that it is not okay for you to be imperfect. Because you are imperfect, like every other human being, the message meant that you are not okay.

    It is understandable that your parents want you and your siblings to be financially okay, to have an easier and better lives than their own. The way they went about it (as do many other good-intentioned parents) hurt you. What happened is your number one priority was to please them at the cost of you being you and having your own goals and preferences.

    Clearly to me, the way for you to heal is to learn that you are okay being imperfect, to give yourself the permission to be who you are, think whatever it is you think, feel whatever it is you feel, and perform imperfectly with the intent to make progress (progress, not perfection).

    The sexually abusive teacher that groped you is one of the people and situations that were involved with your to-be-developing sexuality. So sexuality got to stick, so to speak, to issues already in existence.

    Your concern about the two younger children who touched your stomach is not the main issue here. I think that psychotherapy with a competent therapist will be best for you. Your thoughts that you try to not legitimize do not need your legitimacy to keep occurring. Dig into the core issues, get insight into the past and present, learn skills to tolerate distress, to endure anxiety, all this in therapy, and your life will improve so very much.

    Post again and I will reply to you anytime.

    anita

    #121152
    Profile photo of S.
    S.
    Participant

    Thank you so much Anita. You are correct. I have always tried too hard to be the perfect person, perfect child. So much so that until a few years back I felt very jealous of any stranger who achieved any goal – even if it’s not something I wanted ever. Have overcome this now.

    I am still not sure about therapy. I feel if, by being strong, and with the support of my mother and grandmother, I was able to overcome this at a young age, I might be able to do it again. Particularly as I do see why I did what I did, and I dont hold myself guilty now – just afraid in advance of more guilt. Like I come to know of a horrible thing and immediately worry – oh my god, I did that thing in childhood, what if I am capable of way worse things, like this one that I have just learnt about?

    I have told my best friend and my boyfriend about this. They are helping me heal. I am also praying and meditating, which gives me peace. But, I will definitely consider going to a therapist once I feel a little more stable.

    I was also wondering why this kind of stuff always happens when I am unoccupied and bored.

    Once again, thank you Anita. Your words have really helped. Your insights, I feel, are spot on. I will definitely consider going to a therapist as well, as soon as I can. Thank you for your time and wisdom. Wish you happiness 🙂

    #121161
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear seeker1357:

    You are very welcome and thank you for your good wish. The incident of childhood, the stomach touching incident reads to me like such a non-event. It alarms me that in your mind, at times, this event is magnified to such extent, almost equivalent to.. a crime against humanity, or so. The magnification of this non-event (in reality) tells me how intense that feeling of guilt is in you. Your fear of the guilt tells me how painful it is.

    Do take comfort in your best friend and boyfriend and any person who is honest, trustworthy and kind. I think that psychotherapy with a competent therapist, is an excellent idea at this time, so to prevent problems in the future. It is your choice, of course.

    Feel free to post here anytime and I will be glad to reply.

    anita

    #121175
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear seeker1357:

    Regarding your question (which I didn’t answer yesterday): “I was also wondering why this kind of stuff always happens when I am unoccupied and bored.”

    Simplified, when you are engaged in a task that requires your attention, the Task Positive Network (TPN) of your brain is activated. When you are not engaged in a task (“unoccupied and bored”), the Default Mode Network (DMN) is activated. These are different areas of the brain and when one network is active, the other is way less active.

    Your troubling thoughts do happen during DMN. Solution would be to engage I a task, only it is impossible to always be engaged in a task. You can definitely get breaks from the DMN, aka the Wondering-Mind if you do engage in a task that requires your attention.

    I have a question: did you consider before the diagnosis of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 5 months ago by Profile photo of anita anita.
    #121782
    Profile photo of Imagine
    Imagine
    Participant

    Hi Anita, I’m coming to you today because I’ve seseen how helpful you’ve been with everyone on hhere sharing their mistakes and guilt in hopes of recovering. My incident was very similar to the user named Hope, I believe it was. This is the first time I’ve ever had the courage to even mutter a single word of this to anyone and I just feel so ashamed and disgusted having to admit to this, and I’m just terribly sorry if this causes any discomfort I just have nobody to tturn to and I’m tired of doing nothing but hating myself for nearly the past decade of my life and I’m begging that you help me move on from this stupid mistake. Please let me know if you are available at the moment. I thank you endlessly for giving me this opportunity to speak.

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