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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.

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 123 total)
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  • #128737
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear BothSidesNow:

    You wrote a bit earlier: “My dad was pretty emotionally and psychologically abusive…I hated all of the criticism… There was also constant speaking against gay people from my father… I was constantly afraid…I self-harmed a bit. To this day, I walk around with constant anxiety.”

    Key sentence: TO THIS DAY, I walk around with constant anxiety.”

    And according to your last post, you are still afraid of him- that is the discomfort you feel, walking on egg shells.

    In your aim to achieve mental health, to dissolve your anxiety as much as possible, you need- I believe- to have no contact with your father. That is, to not be in his physical presence, to not talk to him on the phone and to have no other contact with him.

    Can you, and are you willing, to make that happen?

    anita

    #128745
    Profile photo of BothSidesNow
    BothSidesNow
    Participant

    I can’t cut off the communication completely, but I do keep him at a distance. I speak with my mother on the phone every day, but I do not speak to my father very much at all.

    To be honest, I think what I experienced with my father and the shame and anxiety it produced have become embedded in other aspects of my life as well. It manifests in fear of rejection from friends. Sometimes I’m afraid to voice a dissenting opinion for fear of being rejected, for example.

    #128771
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear BothSidesNow:

    Pay attention to whether there is improvement in your anxiety when you don’t see or speak to your father for a long time. If there is, then it means that his physical presence in your life is still, in the present, harming you, encouraging your anxiety (and shame) to stay. If that is the case, then it is for your benefit to avoid him altogether.

    The fear of a parent’s rejection does get projected to other people. I don’t think it is ever not the case. And the fear in one area does spread to other areas.

    Regarding your fear of expressing a dissenting opinion with a friend: if it is a good, empathetic friend, let the friend know of your fear and ask him how he will react if you express a dissenting opinion. If his or her answer is acceptable, let him know that you will practice with him expressing dissenting opinion when it occurs that you have one. Then practice, and see how he reacts. If he reacts well, practice again and again. When you build some practice with him, expand to other people. With less close people, express your dissenting opinion in a gentle way, notice the reaction. Slowly build the practice. When we deal with fear, the only way to progress is slowly, carefully, gradually.

    anita

    #139591
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Hello anita, would you mind telling me if you’re still available to talk about these issues? I’m also quite troubled but I don’t want to put any of it in words unless it’s going to be helpful, I just can’t.

     

    Please let me know if you’re available, or when you’ll be available.

    #139611
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    I am available now. I cannot promise to be helpful, but I do promise to be empathetic and respectful to you. About the details- give me only the details that are necessary for adequate understanding, at this point. If I need to know more, I will ask.  (It will be your choice then to give more details, or not. You are in control).

    anita

    #139619
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Okay, here goes.

    At the age of 11, I remember watching porn, since then it has been in my life almost every day. I am only mentioning this because it was mentioned in the previous stories.

    I don’t remember when exactly, must have been when I was 12-13 or 14(I truly, honestly, do not remember when it was, perhaps my mind is just blocking this information because of how painful this is for me). This is incredibly disturbing for me to even type.

    I remember playing with my cousins, one of them must have been about a year old, the other was older, probably 3-4 years old. I don’t remember the details exactly, I do remember that this has occured at least twice. I was playing with them, and I took the older one to my lap, under covers, I remember kissing her, this was definitely not appropriate, this wasn’t a loving act, I am pretty certain that it was sexual. There was no forcing whatsoever, nor any violence, I don’t think she knew what I was doing, she didn’t seem uncomfortable.

    This is the one I remember better, however there was a very similar event that took place before this one, again, no violence, no forcing, yet quite inappropriate acts. This one was not under covers though, and I was definitely a bit younger.

    I am 18 now, this has been on my mind ever since I first remembered it on last October. I have had hundres of suicidal thoughts since then. I have been on antidepressants, I have developed a heart problem from stress for which I take medication for now. I am absolutely disgusted by what I did.

    Why? Why oh why oh why oh why have I done such a thing?

    Whenever I feel a slight optimism, everything is crushed by these thoughts: “what if she remembers and tells someone?”

    She is my cousin, I will probably see her two or three times every year. She has grown up to be 8 now, I think. She does not seem to have any problems, any signs of trauma. But what if something happens to her? What if she remembers this? What if I have caused damage?

    Her father is not a good man, he is physically and psychologically abusive towards his wife, I don’t know what would happen to me if this came out.

    I have never thought sexually about children, I am not aroused by them, it makes me sick even thinking about doing such a thing.

    What if it happens? What do I do if it happens? Do I deny it?

    How on earth can I have a functioning life if this never gets resolved and I can never know if she’s certainly never going to remember this, and that I have not damaged her in any way?

    #139629
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    There is no doubt in my mind that your (about) eight year old cousin has been and is being damaged, only not by you. It is impossible for a child to not be damaged by a “physically and psychologically abusive” father- be it as a direct recipient of his abuse, or indirectly by witnessing it being directed at her mother. It scares a child and she will need serious psychotherapy to heal from that damage.

    You kissing your cousin, not forcefully/ no violence exercised on your part, is not appropriate. In my responses to people on this thread, I am always careful to make it clear that sexual behavior toward children is wrong.

    Let’s look closer at the situation: there was no force, no violence exercised on your part. She is not going to remember that incident. There has to be a reason to remember a moment in a person’s life when there are so many moments, day,s weeks, years. There has to be something about the moment to be memorable. That something is strong emotion.

    If she was aware that being kissed was wrong, at that point, then she would have felt uncomfortable. At that age, she was not likely to be aware, therefore she wasn’t uncomfortable, therefore that one moment is lost to her awareness: it didn’t register.

    Children are highly sensitive to violence, therefore her father’s behavior is a huge problem in her life. His behavior has nothing to do with you.

    We are taught that sex as children is highly damaging, but depending on the context. In this context, there is no way for that kiss to have damaged her. Or the other younger cousin.

    Regarding the porn: you watched it since you were 11- someone wasn’t watching you. It is the responsibility of the adult care takers of a child to supervise the child, to follow through with what is going on with the child. No  one was paying attention to you, their failed responsibility.

    Watching porn when a child (I don’t like it being watched at any age), is more than a child can handle. No wonder you acted out something of what you watched there.

    What do you think/ feel as you read and consider what I wrote here?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of anita anita.
    #139645
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Dear anita,

    I would like to start off by thanking you for taking time to try and help me, this is a completely selfless act on your part, I am forever grateful.

    Your words are definitely soothing. I felt like crying as I read them and I still do. I will always try to keep them in mind.

    However, I just cannot see myself ever completely believing that she will never remember any of it. I don’t know if this is paranoia or some sort of obsession but I don’t think I can do it.

    It pains me to realize that this is the only way of salvation for me. My entire life depends on her not remembering it. I feel like a bad person, like I am hoping to get away with murdering someone. Like my whole life will be spent living on a knife-edge, ever wondering when it will happen.

    Do I tell anyone about this?

    Will this ever go away?

    How can I convince myself, sincerely, genuinely, that she will not remember this incident?

    How do I live with myself?

    #139655
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    You are welcome. Yes, I think it is an obsession at this point, fueled by anxiety, and so for this obsession to go away you will need to heal from the anxiety fueling this obsession.

    Not a good idea to tell anyone about this other than here, anonymously or in a psychotherapy session where confidentiality is your legal right. If you tell anyone, a family member, or your cousin, it will be unhealthy for her. Like I wrote, I have no doubt she is hurt and damaged by her father’s abusive behavior. Because sexual topics get .. stuck in a person’s mind, she may think that indeed she was damaged by your act of a (non-violent) kiss and that will take away from her attention to what really damaged her.

    How can you convince yourself that she will not remember? Like I wrote, one, none violent kiss- not memorable. Thing is, it is an obsession in your mind at this point. Obsessions tend to stay, by the nature of it being an obsession.

    Healing from the anxiety that is fueling the obsession is how you find a way to live at peace with yourself. Your anxiety has probably to do with your relationships with your parent/s- the one who didn’t pay attention to you as you were watching that porn as a child. Do you want to share about it?

    anita

    #139661
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    After thinking about this incident again, I remembered that I realized that it was wrong, and stopped after a couple of minutes. We were in a room while this happened, and then I went to the other room where her and my mother were in. We went to the room and she said something like, “let’s kiss again”. Not exactly this but quite similar. No one responded and then she forgot about it I guess and that was that, never again anything related to this event happened. Would this mean that she will remember it?

    About my parents, they were never physically abusive except a few incidents. Ever since I was a little boy I remember my father going to his own room after 9-10 pm and closing the door. Once I entered adolescence I realized that this was for watching porn. At around 11-12, I found a DVD in the house with loads of porn in it. I was disgusted but fascinated. It has been in my life ever since, though I have attempted to quit it several times, thinking that it was what caused this horrible act. What aspect of my relationship with my parents do you think might have caused my anxiety?

    #139673
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    Regarding the kiss and will she remember it: you drink  water every day, let’s say. You don’t remember it, do you? But if you are on a hike in the desert and you are lost, scared and you run out of water, suffer dehydration, and suddenly you come across another hiker who shares his water with you, you will remember drinking that water, won’t you? It is strong emotion that glues an event to our long term memory (beyond five minutes or a very short time following the event).  No strong emotion? No glue, no long term memory.

    What aspect of your relationship with your parents may have caused your anxiety? Those few physically abusive incidents you mentioned, following those- fear of future such incidents. Also: your father, mother being otherwise occupied and you being alone. When a child is alone, scared- even a bit scared- and alone, that is scary. Being alone- were you alone a lot, as a child?

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 2 weeks ago by Profile photo of anita anita.
    #139681
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    Your example is definitely helpful, I see what you mean more clearly now. What do you suggest I do to make this guilt effect my daily life less? Are there any methods, activities to consider?

    I would not say I was alone as a child. I was not physically alone, but emotionally I definitely was, and I still am. Despite living in the same house, I barely ever talk to my father, and he has never been there for me emotionally. I don’t think he’s a bad person, or a bad father, he is just sort of… absent. Also worth noting that he had an affair with another woman in the past year, and I have seen my mother suffer as a cause of this. He does not know that I know about this, and my mother has repeatedly told me that he cannot know that I know, and that this would hurt him a lot. This is basically my relationship with my parents, talking to my father through my mother.

    I just need some way of letting go of this incident, some way to rid myself of this anxiety and obsession, and the inevitable depression it causes.

    #139703
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    How did you find out that your father had an affair with another woman this past year: did your mother tell you?

    How did she express her suffering about that affair: did she describe her suffering to you? How?

    In about fifteen minutes I will be away from the computer for a few hours. I will check for your answer and if there is one, I will reply before leaving. If you don’t reply by then, I will check your thread in 3-4 hours.

    anita

    #139815
    Profile photo of Steven
    Steven
    Participant

    Dear anita:

    I apologize for the late reply, it is likely that I am on the other side of the globe, I have finally got the time to respond.

    It will seem unusual, but my older sister found out about that affair first, by secretly reading his text messages after she became suspicious of him, she then told me. I told her not to tell this to my mother, and that she will be effected too badly by this, and that she does not deserve this. Perhaps I was wrong, I just didn’t want her to suffer as a cause of my father’s actions.

    Nevertheless, she went ahead and told her a few days later. All of this happened around last November, I think. Since then she has become a way unhappier person, started smoking(although quite infrequently), and when we are alone, she does not hesitate to tell me her latest thoughts and feelings about the incident. All of which are filled with sadness and disappointment.

    #139819
    Profile photo of anita
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Steven:

    When your mother tells you of her thoughts, filled with sadness and disappointment, how does it make you feel? What thoughts go through your mind when she tells you of her sadness and when you see her sad?

    anita

Viewing 15 posts - 91 through 105 (of 123 total)

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