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How to let go of guilt ?

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This topic contains 44 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  anita 1 week ago.

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  • #225853

    Naia
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for your insight ! 🙂

    “In other words, you are kind to others because you fear them.” If there is some truth to this sentence, I would like to try to nuance it : I think that perfectly applies to the relationship I have now with my best friend, in the sense that I would like to detach myself from her but at the same time, I feel guilty for even feeling like this and yes, a part of me fears her reaction.Right now, I am just trying to focus on my studies and I talk to her less and less… But I am not as firm as I would want to be because I apprehend her reaction

    I feel trapped because I want to leave but at the same time, I know how destructive and malevolent she can be if you upset her

    But generally speaking, I wouldn’t say I am kind and polite because I fear people’s reaction if I behave otherwise. That was not the case with my best friend before those events. When I dislike people, I am mocked because I am usually “not mean” even when I think I behave “unkindly” or “inconsiderately”. Do you think that is because I subconsciously try to avoid theirs reactions if I offend them ?

    Generally, I don’t think I care or fear people’s reaction enough to let it dictate my behavior honestly. I am not mean to people I dislike because I don’t want to and I think it’s bad to hurt others.

    Actually, I have another best friend, that I have known for over 10 years as well (I met them all at once) and she’s the sweetest person I know. Our personalities are similar because she is shy, introverted, not assertive as well…

    And although I don’t “fear” her reaction if I harm her, I can’t even imagine myself doing that without hurting :/

    Yet, I fear my former friend as you pointed it out. And I used to fear my mother when I was a child

    “But angry inside you take revenge, such as in the case of sending that email to the company. Interesting, how it is you who is taking the revenge you are afraid others will take against you”  Yeah, what I did was really really awful :/

    I still feel bad about it … And you are right, I did take revenge 🙁 I think that has something to do with the fact I wanted to force an end to the friendship without confronting her, which is incredibly cowardly…

    I felt like if I did this, then the friendship would definitely be over. Because you can’t be “friends” with someone if you are able to harm them ! I don’t know if that makes sense

    A part of me want to end the friendship because that brings out the worst in me (I feel angry, resentful although I don’t want to feel that way about anyone) and I can’t be genuinely happy for her as I used to. I am sure that anger will turn to indifference in time but first, I have to let go

    If you want to read about it, I explained about 16 days ago in that thread how my relationship with my friend went south. If you are interested, would you have a look ?

    Thank you ! 🙂

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Naia.
    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Naia.
    #225865

    Naia
    Participant

    I just read this and I find it edifying :

    https://goodmenproject.com/ethics-values/5-keys-emotional-independence-fiff/

    especially those sentences : “You are responsible for your own emotions.””You are responsible for managing your own emotions” and “if you consistently experience unhealthy emotions that influence your actions, it is up to you and you alone to manage your moods to minimize their destructive impact on the people you love.”

    Maybe I went through that experience to realise this ?

    #225873

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    I read your previous thread about the ending of the relationship with your boyfriend, this is the thread you are referring to, the one of 16 days ago?

    You wrote that you have a long term friend who is “the sweetest person… shy, introverted, not assertive”, and although you don’t fear her, you are kind to her. On the other hand, your other long term friend can be “destructive and malevolent” when she gets upset.

    To understand better I ask: how has she been destructive and malevolent so far to you or to others, specifically?

    anita

    #225895

    Naia
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    I am refering to a post I made on August 30 in this thread, I could copy-past it for you if you want ? I was answering Prash

    Well she’s not really destructive to me but I can feel that she is quite jealous  sometimes because she undermines everything I do

    I am constantly walking on eggshell because if I seem too enthusiastic about my life, I know she is going to make some sarcastics comments. But I don’t resent her for that, she is not really satisfied with her life, I empathise and I do my best not to talk to her about any of my “successes”.

    Regarding those employers who declined her application because she hadn’t the diploma required, she typically became really bitter (even though her application was not admissible) to the point she invited herself to a party she knew they attended and started to brag loudly about her success, a study and a book she was going to publish, and she mocked the employers because they “didn’t even compare”.

    They didn’t seem to care, because they probably thought that was petty.

     

     

    #225919

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    Yes, you can copy paste to me what you are referring to. I would like to read it.

    The “destructive and malevolent” behavior on her part then is “some sarcastic comments” she made and bragging at a party she was not invited to. Well, like you wrote, “she’s not really destructive”.

    But you wrote earlier that she is destructive. And you do walk on eggshells around her. What is the danger then, what is it about her that you fear?

    I will soon be away from the computer for about 16 hours. I will look for your copy paste and reply when I am back.

    anita

    #225921

    Naia
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

     

    No problem, thank you for your help 🙂

    Here is the answer I gave :

    I will try to explain how the relationship has deteriorated. I am sorry if it is too long, I am trying to do my best to expose the situation properly.

    I have known her for over 10 years ago.

    She has many great qualities, I trust her completely, we are really supportive to one another and we never argue. I know she has some insecurities : she’s very possessive so she feels threatened when I meet someone because she doesn’t like to “share” her friends with someone, especially if she judges he’s “not worth it” and she has a fear of abandonment. She has a big personality

    To set the context, 6 years ago, we were both trying to enter med school but I was the only one who succeeded :/ I was very very sad for her and did everything I could to help her. She was happy for me me (she still is) but never gave up and she has spent the last 6 years trying to get another degree that could allow her to access med school in third year (that’s how it works in my country, sorry if that’s confusing). Unfortunately it didn’t work so she’s planning to study abroad. She never met any of my friends in med school because that depressed her, and i noticed she was kind of jealous when i mentioned them.

    Our friendship was fine until september 2017. It was tense sometimes and I felt like walking on eggshell because she would get upset if I mentioned her attempts to get in med school or outraged if I said something about someone who left the school … Apart from that, the friendship was great. She was always here for me if I had any personal problem, etc

    Last september I started dating a guy who became shortly after my first boyfriend. Due to my studies, I only got to see him once a week and at the time, I was living with my best friend.

    I admit, I did some mistakes, I struggled to manage my time and I had to cancel going out with my best friend because I had a lot of work. But in the other hand, I was still seing the guy once a week. I had (and still have  ) a lot of insecurities about my body, so being in a relationship freaked me out completely and she was there to reassure me everytime I panicked.

    But she started to be really annoyed I would find time to go out with him and not her so, at some point in november, she bursted into tears saying she “had been hugely disappointed at me”, that “she was proud of herself because she handled well the fact I had a boyfriend, but she felt like I was taking her for granted and she didn’t want to be sacrificed.”. She stated I should have know she wasn’t okay because she was stressed that she wouldn’t manage to get in med school

    I apologised to her, I explained her I was going through a lot of thing and that the only reason I started to go out with her less often, was that I was already living with her in the same apartment so I got to see her everyday.

    She said that she was ready to forgive me because she still thought I was a good person, but if I was someone else, she would have cut me out of her life. She knew I hadn’t done her wrong in purpose, but she said she “didnt care”.She explained that she was no longer willing to listen to anything I had to say about my boyfriend and that I would have to talk to someone else but she was still here for me regarding any other issues.

    Some months later, I got dumped. He was tired of me not getting enough time to see him .I talked to my sister, another close friend of mine and I got a therapist to get through all the usual sadness and distress that comes after a break up.

    At some point, I did say to her we broke up and she replied “okay, sorry. Unfortunately I will not be able to comfort you, but i am sure you can find someone to talk to”

    I don’t know, maybe I am being incredibly selfish here but I don’t understand her reaction and I feel disappointed too. Those events damaged our friendship. We still talk every other day, but I don’t feel like opening to her anymore. Regarding her studies, I have been here for her because she had a lot of exams in may/april and she went through a stressful period. My break up was in march and she never asked how I was doing, not even once. I think I resent her for that, but again, I don’t know if that is selfish of me.

    I just didn’t think our frienship was like that :/ If I felt temporarily neglected by a friend because she had a boyfriend and it was all “shiny and new”, I would have been confident she would come back to me at some point. So I think I would just have backed off, and find others friends to hang out with before she came back. I don’t know if that makes sense ?

    And if she was going through a break up, I surely hope I would have been here for her

    I don’t know how she feels about that though,, but for me the friendship is not the same.”

     

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Naia.
    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Naia.
    #225937

    Naia
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

     

    Yes, sorry, it’s just she herself said she would have “no scruples destroying lives of whoever hurts her” so I took it litterally.

    I said she could be malevolent because last year, she spread rumors about a girl in her class that were absolutely untrue just because she didn’t like her and she was jealous that she got a lot of male attention

    Those last year, she became more and more of a bad mouth being judgemental about everyone’s appearance and choices in life. And I discovered she had a bunch of classmate just like her, with whom she could gossip (I am not saying I am perfect, not even close, but I liked that she was so open and non-judgemental, so I am  bit disappointed).

    I am walking on eggshell because I know there are many subjects I have to avoid (boys, my studies, my classmate …) if I don’t want to offend her. I don’t know, I think I am afraid she will become mean

    • This reply was modified 9 months ago by  Naia.
    #225991

    Prash
    Participant

    Dear Naia,

    Posting here to apologize for not replying to your post. Constraints on time prevent me from posting in the way I would like to. Hope you are soon able to resolve your guilt. From your most recent post about your friend, she doesn’t seem the kind of person who you would like to maintain a friendship with. Her own issues seem to have taken a toll on her personality. Unless she demonstrates any kind of healthy change in the relationship towards you and others, it is advisable to cut ties.

    Take care.

    #226021

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    I am responding to your posts on this page:

    It is my understanding that you are genuinely a kind person and you don’t want to hurt others. This is admirable. Your kindness is evident in your communication with me and with other members on this thread.

    You wrote about another long term friend: “she’s the sweetest person I know.. she is shy, introverted, not assertive”- if everyone you meet in life was these things, you will have no problems. Problem is that some people are aggressive and you will need to assert yourself so to protect yourself, either end interactions/ relationships or confront those people otherwise.

    Your other friend is at times aggressive and you have been afraid of her hurting you, so you wanted to end the friendship but was too afraid to confront her so you took an indirect way to sort of confront her, that is.. to confront her without confronting her (“I wanted to force an end to the friendship without confronting her”)

    You wrote: “I feel angry, resentful although I don’t want to feel that way about anyone”- it is impossible to not feel anger at others because we are born to feel anger, it is one of the natural emotions of animals. Its biological goal is to motivate an animal to fight when it has to, so to protect its life, its territory, its offspring. Your anger has a reason and it should be there.

    When we feel anger at a person, we can’t be “genuinely happy” for that person. We want to hurt them, this is natural. Not that we should proceed to hurt the person, but we feel that we want to, that it will please us. This is what revenge is about, feeling pleasure over another person’s displeasure/ hurt. Can you imagine, Naia, the most “saintly” person feeling this way? But it is so, all humans do. It is just that not all humans proceed to act on this desire.

    You placed a quote: “if you consistently experience unhealthy emotions that influence your actions..”- but there is no such thing as “unhealthy emotions”. We misunderstand our emotions. Some of our emotions feel good and some feel bad, but they are not good or bad. They are all natural and meant to motivate us to act in such a way so that we survive and function well in life. We need to understand our emotions correctly, not to reject them!

    What to do when angry? Look for the valid message in our anger and choose what to do about it. In case of your aggressive friend/ roommate, the right thing to do is to end your relationship with her and plan on no longer living together.

    (The post you copy pasted for me, I read it before. I didn’t understand that you meant this one).

    Your friend/roommate “herself said she would have ‘no scruples destroying lives of whoever hurts her'”- if I heard that, I would ask what she meant by “hurts her”- what hurt is she referring to. If she meant that if a person is trying to kill her she would have no scruples doing what has to be done so to protect herself, then I understand and agree with her sentiment. But if she means otherwise, this statement would be enough to end my relationship with the person making this statement.

    “Last year, she spread rumors about a girl in her class that were absolutely untrue just because she didn’t like her”- yes, I would not be her friend. But why did you write about her before (in the post you copied and pasted): “I trust her completely”?

    You don’t trust her. You are afraid she will hurt you. This means you don’t trust her.

    “she became more and more of a bad mouth being judgmental about everyone’s appearance and choices in life.. she had a bunch of classmate just like her, with whom she could gossip”- better stay away from her and her friends.

    Clearly you need to end the friendship and living together arrangement with her. It is not good for you to be “waking on eggshells”.

    In summary: it is natural and healthy for you to feel anger, it is okay to assert yourself against aggressive people and end contact with them. It is impossible to live a functional life if our aim is to never cause hurt or displeasure in another person. We have to be fair with people, to not mistreat them, but to protect yourself is not to mistreat another, even if it displeases them that you protect yourself. See to it that you are fair in the way you assert yourself, but do assert yourself. It will be scary to do so, but start small and practice. Over time you will build confidence in your ability, confidence and courage and it will get easier.

    anita

     

     

     

     

    #296053

    Naia
    Participant

    Hello 🙂

     

    It’s been a while since I last came here.

    I wanted to thank you again for all of your advice. That really helped me 🙂

    I reread this thread many times, and it’s been a huge inspiration for me. So thank you !

    I finally ended my friendship with my former best friend. That is probably the hardest thing I have ever done but it’s for the best I think.

    We have many friends in common, so I still run into her once in a while but that doesn’t bother me.

    Regarding the guilt which was the main topic, I am doing much better and I really think of my mistake as a learning experience, something that allows me to grow. I admit that sometimes, it’s a bit hard and I still judge myself harshly for it but overall the situation has improved.I just try to focus on the present and be the best person I can

    Lately however, it’s been more difficult probably because it’s the same time of the year, so I am reminded of what I did.

    What bothers me is that sometimes I find myself thinking that I deserve some kind of punishment (karma maybe ?).

    For example, I am taking a huge exam in 2-3 weeks, I have been studying really hard for the last 2 years to achieve my goals but those thoughts disrupt me and make me feel like I kind of deserve to fail anyway after what I have done. It’s pretty annoying because I can’t study properly

    I don’t know if anyone has experienced the same thing ? How do you deal with these thoughts ? Thank you ! 🙂

     

     

    #296067

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    Welcome back!

    You wrote: “I find myself thinking that I deserve some kind of punishment.. For example.. I feel like I kind of deserve to fail anyway after what I have done“-

    – having read some of our communication here, it is clear to me that you feel guilty for feeling angry at anyone, as if anger is a bad feeling that makes you a bad person for feeling it. Thing is everyone feels angry sometimes, humans and animals, so is everyone bad?

    Here is something that happened in your childhood that made you feel like you are a bad person: “she (your mother) put me in my place with words and sometimes it was physical”- I think your place, the place she put you in was the bad-little-girl place.

    From there on, from that place, when you feel angry at anyone, including at your mother, while she smacked you, you feel like you are a bad person who deserves punishment.

    “I wasn’t very thoughtful or considerate as a child”, you wrote earlier.  But no child is very thoughtful or considerate (in such ways as waiting in line, sharing toys, saying thank you and please etc.), no child on the face of the earth until the child is taught to be thoughtful and considerate.

    Would you like to respond to what I wrote in this post?

    anita

    #297607

    Naia
    Participant

    Hello 🙂

    Thank you for your reply

    I am sorry, I haven’t realized it’s already been a week since I last posted !!

    I am studying all the time so I kind of lost track of time

    “it is clear to me that you feel guilty for feeling angry at anyone, as if anger is a bad feeling that makes you a bad person for feeling it.” Yes, I do

    I realize it’s perfectly normal for everyone to feel like this sometimes because it’s inherently human.  I would never judge someone for it and it wouldn’t change the way I see them

    But in my case, I guess it’s different. I don’t like being angry or hateful because I don’t like the thoughts that come out of it if that makes sense ?

    When I was angry at my friend for example, I started to wish she didn’t succeed in her projects and I resented her, which never happened before

    And I don’t want to be like this, wishing bad things on anyone

     

    “Here is something that happened in your childhood that made you feel like you are a bad person: “she (your mother) put me in my place with words and sometimes it was physical”- I think your place, the place she put you in was the bad-little-girl place”

    It’s interesting, I really need to think about that

    Thank you for your perspective

    “I wasn’t very thoughtful or considerate as a child”, you wrote earlier.  But no child is very thoughtful or considerate (in such ways as waiting in line, sharing toys, saying thank you and please etc.), no child on the face of the earth until the child is taught to be thoughtful and considerate.”

    Thank you very much 🙂 Yes, it is true

    I think I am too hard on myself

     

     

     

     

    #297623

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    You are welcome.

    “I don’t like being angry or hateful because I don’t like the thoughts that come out of it.. I started to wish she didn’t succeed in her projects.. wishing bad things on anyone”-

    – quite natural, when angry to wish the person we are angry at to hurt. This is what animals in nature do when angry, intending to hurt the object of their anger and proceeding to either threaten to do so or doing so.

    As humans we have the privilege of sensible thinking and choosing. So, when you hear yourself thinking those thoughts, wishing bad things on another, remember that your thoughts in themselves do not harm anyone. These are private thoughts that exist only in the distance between your ears and have no power anywhere else. These thoughts just happened, you didn’t choose them. So accept them as natural and not of your individual choice.

    You are responsible for your actions, behavior, not for your emotions or thoughts that just happen. Don’t perceive your random thoughts as indications that you are a bad person. Or a good person.

    anita

    #298391

    Naia
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

     

    Thank you so much, I really love your reply !

    Have you ever had a hard time to get over something (bad) you did to someone ?

    And how do you deal with the thoughts that imply that I shouldn’t be happy because of it ?

    Thank you in advance

     

     

    #298491

    anita
    Participant

    Dear Naia:

    You are welcome. Yes, I did have a hard time getting over something bad that I did, a few things,  one in particular. I still feel sad about it and would do almost anything to go back in time and not do that thing, but I don’t feel shame about it anymore, and I am not tortured by guilt either because I have been working very hard for eight years and still do, working to heal myself. It is my commitment to healing that earned me self forgiveness.

    anita

    • This reply was modified 1 week ago by  anita.
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