I unintentionally hurt an ex-partner. I am deeply struggling to forgive myself.

HomeForumsShare Your TruthI unintentionally hurt an ex-partner. I am deeply struggling to forgive myself.

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    Hi Bee

    I’ll point out that your sister is a different person and she was still abused. Any child born to your parents would be abused.

    We can create our own misery in life as adults. But as children we are innocent, should be loved and protected by loving parents. Unfortunately, not all children are lucky enough to be born to healthy loving families. Any misery caused by unhealthy abusive families is 100% their responsibility.

    We cannot change the past, but I hope you can take solace in the fact that you are doing your best you can to handle things in healthier ways now.

    Often, abused children learn abusive habits from their parents. This is an unfortunate reality. But you as have many others are choosing to reject the behaviours that you learned as a child. I think you are not giving yourself enough credit for the steps you have been taking.

    I know that while I was being abused as a child I was very angry. I enjoyed fighting with other children. I bullied bullies because I couldn’t defend myself against my bully at home. It made me feel strong and powerful. But this aggression spread, I started lashing out at my friends when they told hurtful jokes. When I noticed that I was starting to hurt my friends I stopped it all because I didn’t want to turn out the same way as my mother.

    We can only change when we are fully aware of our actions.

    Let me ask you, what good is coming from you torturing yourself over your past behaviour? My concern as I mentioned before is that ruminating on this is a pattern of self-abuse for you.

    I would also add that this world is inherently traumatic. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has hurt someone unintentionally. Everyone has experiences of trauma by the time they become an adult. Whilst it is unfortunate that so many people experience pain, it is also a part of life. It is every adults responsibility to learn to manage their emotions and boundaries.


    Hello again,

    That’s a complicated question for me. I’d say it isn’t wrong however I felt/feel a responsibility to my sister. I feel as though I betrayed her by leaving her with my mom and aunt. I thought things might get better for everyone there if I weren’t around anymore. I stopped talking to my mom for a year.

    I found out later on that my mom and aunt still didn’t treat my sister the best (verbally and emotionally) and that my sister even felt resentment towards me for leaving. She doesn’t hold onto it anymore but for a long time, she did. After I told my dad about everything that had happened in that house, he told me I ‘left my sister there’.

    My dad once said he was ‘glad’ I was so protective over my sister. He said that in reference to me protecting her from him.

    I remember feeling the tension rise as I heard him and my sister playing together; inevitably she’d be ‘too sassy’ (a line that was never clarified) and he’d yell and hit her. Play to abuse to play again. Nothing he did or said was talked about or acknowledged. He’d go on as normal and everything would flatline until it happened again.

    I hated that tension and I felt resentment towards my sister for continually trying despite her being hurt by him. I felt upset towards myself for being unable to protect her, for fear I’d also be hurt.

    I think it was both. They mistreated my sister and I and we mistreated them in response. I spoke in anger to them about their parenting and thought I should have a say in it. They disagreed and took strong offense to me even suggesting I have a voice in the household.

    They didn’t act justifiably, no. I didn’t raise my hand to hurt anyone. I just wanted everyone to leave me alone and to stop trying to mold me into the shapes they wanted me to be in.

    I was hit because I came downstairs to protect my sister from my mom. They got into an argument. My sister said she hated her and my mom yelled that she hated her back. Then she threw a cup of soda in my sister’s face. I walked down the stairs and asked my mom if she was proud of herself. My aunt got up from the table and demanded I leave. I refused and removed my arm from my aunt’s hold. Then she started slapping me back and forth till I was backed up by the television a few feet away. The attention was off my sister and onto me.

    However I was familiar with the feeling of tension rising and I knew my aunt would hit me again for lesser reasons next time. So, I decided to leave and I justified leaving my sister with the belief that they’d be better off without me around.

    But, I’m regretful I didn’t know better. I’m regretful of the choices I made. Maybe I didn’t deserve it and maybe it wasn’t my fault, but I didn’t make it any better. I probably made it worse.


    Hi Bee

    How old was your sister when you left? Was your sister able to leave if she wanted to?

    I left my brother when he was 14. He chose to stay. The reality in these abusive situations is that by staying you would have both been abused. By leaving, I’m assuming that you were not subject to as much abuse? You were protecting yourself and there is nothing wrong with that. You do not have to feel responsible for someone else’s abusive behaviour.


    Hi Helcat

    I was around 14-15 and she was around 11-12. I was legally allowed to move to my dad’s. She was not and didn’t move there until recently as my mom kicked her out.

    I am sorry you had to make that choice too. It’s a really terrible one.

    Unfortunately, I was still being treated poorly by my dad but he at least left me alone for the most part. I was severely depressed for a few years and he’d mostly criticize me for not doing enough around the house and for not leaving my room. I incessantly felt emotionally disconnected from him and my stepmom and as though they didn’t want me. I tried to suck up to them a lot and thanked them often for letting me stay there in the first place. They didn’t talk to me much. I felt like an unwanted stranger most of the time.

    Eventually I convinced him to let me do online schooling instead of switching to yet another new public school (in a bad area) where I felt I’d likely be singled out and harassed by the other kids.

    I know I’m not responsible in my mind but feeling-wise, I carry a sense of responsibility for not doing more and making better choices.


    Hi Bee

    I’m so sorry for the way that your family treat you. You didn’t deserve it, your sister didn’t deserve it.

    It sounds like you leaving was a legal arrangement and not your responsibility. Your sister isn’t significantly younger than you.

    Feelings can take time to catch up to what you know to be true in your mind. You have to remember that what you feel isn’t necessarily true.

    Your abuse has primed you to abuse yourself.

    When you start blaming, punishing yourself and feeling guilty it is important to ask yourself if this is part of your pattern of self-abuse. What good does this behaviour actually do? What harm does it do? Likely, all this behaviour does is harm you.

    You can learn to forgive yourself without punishing and harming yourself. What do you think would forgiving yourself in a healthy way look like? I would recommend that you also intentionally do something kind for yourself to take care of yourself when these feelings arise.

    Regarding schooling I’m glad you stood up for your needs and came to a reasonable arrangement.

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Helcat.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Helcat.

    Dear Bee:

    They mistreated my sister and I and we mistreated them in response. I spoke in anger to them” – you are confusing things: they (your parents, your aunt) were the adult entrusted with taking care of the children (your sister and you). When they mistreated you and your sister, they betrayed their responsibilities as parents/ adult caretakers.

    When you spoke in anger to them, you did not mistreat them: you voiced your valid and justified anger at their betrayal of you and your sister.

    Think of this, a mountain lion (predator) roars loudly as it jumps on a deer (prey), the deer kicks the mountain lion hard with its legs… this does not make the deer a predator (the deer’s aim is not to eat the mountain lion), it makes him an animal trying to survive a predator.

    The adults who abuse children are human predators, the children are human prey. When children fight back, in one way or another, they do not switch into predators, they are just trying to survive.

    They disagreed and took strong offense to me even suggesting I have a voice in the household” – in the world of predators, prey have no voice.

    I thought things might get better for everyone there if I weren’t around anymore… I decided to leave…  with the belief that they’d be better off without me around” – while living at home, before you left, you thought that things will be better without you because you believed that you were the villain and that everything was your fault (“I feel like a villain and as though everything was my fault”, April 7).

    Abused children naturally believe, falsely, that they are the villains (not the victims) because such false belief makes children feel a bit powerful, as in, if I stop being the villain, there will be no more abuse. If abused children believed the truth, which is that they are nothing but victims, then it would mean that there is nothing they can do to stop the abuse.

    Bee, I think that you need psychotherapy to understand this, and to stop this false belief from taking over the rest of your life.



    Hi all,

    I too just ended an unhealthy relationship, which it wasn’t that even. They pushed they wanted sex with me, but without a relationship. I said no, at least 3 times that I absolutely can recall with time and place. They were a co-worker, I liked them as a person, and I know how needy and anxious I am in any kind of relationship, so no. I told them sex complicates everything. I told them that I liked sex too much. But we gave in, we kissed, made out, it was great, amazing even, I hadn’t had that kind of chemistry in a while. I got horny and gave in. We both agreed that we didn’t want a relationship. I told him if I gave them oral, which I rather take off the table–for some reason I consider it more a relationship kind of thing–to not hold or touch my head, and also, because men tend to hold your head like you were in porn, and I really hate that, I find it disrespectful because I ask not to be done to me. Guess what they did? When we finally got to the day, I made a deal about it because that’s how I would like to be treated. I bought linens, got waxed, got take out, etc. The sex wasn’t great, they put me in positions which they didn’t need and ended up causing me real pain. They held my head down and literally fucked my throat. It was abusive and completely superficial. I felt used. I asked them to not make me feel used. I guess I fantasized about them too much beforehand, so my expectations were impossible, but I wasn’t expecting them to not listen to me also. And when I asked for another session, they refused, said they didn’t want to continue. Why can’t we have sex and agree/respect our boundaries? Well, they lost their job. Don’t fuck around with the boss’ daughter.

    Am I proud? Of course not. This is why I’m here. Because I did this to myself and to them. I knew better, I told them, but neither of us listened to the wise person in me and here I am, feeling shitty about myself. Not because I expected a relationship, or loved them or anything like that. I knew what I wanted, I wanted dick. But the change in them, wow, that deeply hurt me, because I did it to myself. I knew better, and I still gave in. I let them use me.

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