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Regret at decisions made while grieving

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  • #387616
    d85
    Participant

    Hi all, didn’t know where to turn to so just wanted to write this down somewhere and if someone is willing to talk then great – but if not no worries.

    I’m feeling like a terrible person who is consumed with regret and I don’t know where to turn to or how to shake these feelings.

    I’ve suffered from depression and mental illness for as long as I can remember. Have had treatment but never managed to shake it properly and for years have been struggling – panic attacks on way to work, crying in public, thoughts of death and low feelings etc.

    As I’m sure is the case for everyone, these past few years have been very tough with COVID. But I think all my mental health issues have come to a head with what’s happened.

    The catalyst I think was this time last year my father sadly died. And in the aftermath I emotionally shut down, struggling to deal with regrets, things left unsaid, not being by his bedside when he passed (despite rushing to the hospital and just being too late).

    Recently though I’ve been trapped in a spiral of regret, with the thing I’m looking back on and regretting constantly changing. I’m always thinking life would be so much better if I just made one different decision. And at the moment the thing eating away at me is decisions I made around the time of my dad’s death.

    At the time I was struggling so much and finding it difficult to get through each day, in a complete fog and daze. But there’s one thing I wish I had the foresight to make a better decision.

    Basically, I ended a budding relationship in the aftermath of my dad’s death and really wish I hadn’t. We had begun doing online dates in the spring of last year. I really cared for her and thought we had a special connection, with video dates we had lasting hours and feeling an instant spark.

    But in the early stages of the relationship my dad feel ill, and I had to help him with day-to-day functions as he could barely move, before he ended up in hospital.

    It was quite conflicting trying to date someone I felt a special connection with and holding onto that, while seeing someone I’ve known all my life fading.

    With this girl I was seeing we had a number of online dates, chatted on the phone, and were texting on a daily basis. But then things started to go a bit wrong.

    It began when she said she wanted to meet in person. She was keen to move things from online to an in-person meet-up to see if we had the same type of chemistry in person, and said she wanted to do this as before she had had video dates with people that went well but the connection in person wasn’t there.

    But I was so scared with COVID going on and am living with my elderly mum, so was very apprehensive.

    We were going to meet and had a date in the diary, but then I feel ill with a suspected bout of COVID, and when I tried to rearrange she wasn’t sure about when she would be free.

    Something felt different. She was meant to get back to me with a new date for a meet-up but then went quiet on me for a month.

    I didn’t know what to do and admittedly didn’t chase things as my dad’s situation was getting worse – a nurse who visited while he was staying with us said he was in the process of dying, and when he was moved to hospital initially there was a scare which he pulled through. It then later looked like he would be heading back home and would be getting discharged, but would require us to essentially provide round the clock care for him.

    I didn’t know if my life was too hard going for someone else to be a part of, especially so early in the dating stages. But I couldn’t stop thinking about her and got back in touch to see how she was.

    We started talking again, and she seemed happy to hear from me – but something felt different, like she was keeping me at arms length.

    She said she’d like to meet in person still, but things didn’t really progress. We had a date in the diary which she cancelled on the day, and then she tried to rearrange on a day when I wasn’t free.

    She then again went quiet on me for about two weeks and in the end got in touch saying she had a lot going on but did like me, but thought it was best to put the idea of meeting up on hold.

    I told her to take the time she needed and to take care. This all happened between May and September.

    My dad passed away in the middle of September, and while everything was going on I crumbled. Didn’t know how to process it, or deal with anything.

    Around a week and a half after he died I read a message from this girl saying she’d still like to meet up. I cared a lot for her, and really wanted to be in a relationship with her.

    But in that moment, I don’t know what I was thinking, but I felt it was best to break things off.

    I felt at the time I was in an extremely bad emotional state, and I didn’t know how long I would be like that, and didn’t want to keep her waiting endlessly for me.

    I also felt extremely scared of the idea of meeting up with another person while COVID was going on, and wondered if I might never be ready to see her in person for that first meet-up. Plus, I thought I would be living at home with my mum for a long time to help her with things after my dad passed and didn’t know if that would be a turn off.

    I thought I would just end up bringing this girl down, and that she could be spending the time she would be waiting for me getting to know someone else who could make her happy.

    So I thought it was best to end things. But there’s a few specific things I regret.

    I explained to her that I wasn’t in a good state emotionally, and didn’t think I would be better for a long time. I said I thought she was a wonderful and lovely person, and that I had a great time getting to know her – but wondered if it might be better for her to find someone else that could give her what she deserved.

    I did not mean this maliciously, and it was genuinely what I was feeling – I thought I couldn’t make her happy, and would end up being a burden and I should step aside so she could move on and find someone better than me.

    I thought she’d be better off without me. But I can see now that it wasn’t a sensitive or considerate way to express my emotions.

    She was nice in her initial response, was understanding and kind in her reply and in the one previous to that. But after making this decision I immediately regretted it, thinking that she was a wonderful person that I didn’t want to slip away.

    She had initially said she had been happy waiting for me but then I let insecurities and low self esteem get in the way of things. I sent messages again to her – one apologising for suggesting she should move on while I was going through a tough time, and another message saying I regretted what I said and that I had been extremely foolish and apologised for it. I asked if there was any way I could mend things and if there was any chance we could still purse things, and that I thought she a lovely person.

    But the responses to both of these messages were cold, and she said she didn’t want to pursue anything.

    So I left her be. We spoke on and off after that. She sent me a message at Christmas time, and then we spoke again briefly towards the start of this year.

    But that’s about it. A lot of time has passed, and I can see now that I didn’t handle things well. I realise it’s my own doing, but I regret messing up the chance to get to know someone I thought was lovely, and regret saying the things I mentioned above and any hurt that I caused her. That was the last thing I wanted, and didn’t realise at the time what I was saying would sound so bad.

    A year has now elapsed since then, and at the moment in my life I’m very alone. I ended up not being communicative with a lot of friends following my dad’s death.

    Initially I was but then some people said and did things I found hurtful or insensitive around the time leading up to his passing, and in the aftermath, which changed the dynamic of those friendships for me.

    I haven’t aired those grievances to friends yet, but wish I had as it’s been eating away at me.

    I do have a best friend who I spoke to about what other friends did that upset me, and he said my reactions to the behaviour in question was understandable. Which helped me feeling like I’m not going mad.

    But I regret making all these bad decisions while I’ve been grieving. I feel like I emotionally shut down, and everything that’s built up over these past few years has come surging out.

    I’m regretting deeply what happened with this girl, regretting things I said and ways that I acted. I wish I could turn back time and act differently so I wouldn’t do anything to upset her, and would have the chance to have her back in my life.

    But I can’t. I’ve made mistakes and I’m struggling to come to terms with it.

    I realise this is a ridiculously long post, so if anyone reads it thank you. Even if no one does reply it’s helped a bit just writing all of this down so thanks for giving me a forum to get all of my thoughts out.

    #387618
    anita
    Participant

    Dear d85:

    To summarize your long post into five words:  you rejected this woman’s love. My summary may be  incorrect though, Is it?

    anita

    #387620
    d85
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Cheers for your response. I guess that would summarise it, but just wanted to explain all that was going on in my life at the time.

    #387622
    anita
    Participant

    Dear d85:

    I understand. You had a lot going on at the time. The last part of your original post is: “thanks for giving me a forum to get all of my thoughts out“-

    -you are welcome to share all your thoughts about anything and everything here, anytime you feel like it. If you would like my input about any particular item, please let me know.

    anita

    #387631
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear d85,

    I am sorry you are consumed with regret regarding this girl. What sticks out to me is that you struggled with regret when your father passed away too:

    And in the aftermath I emotionally shut down, struggling to deal with regrets, things left unsaid, not being by his bedside when he passed (despite rushing to the hospital and just being too late).

    It appears you were blaming yourself for not having done enough, even though you took good care of your father before he ended up in hospital (I had to help him with day-to-day functions as he could barely move, before he ended up in hospital.)

    With this girl, you felt you couldn’t make her happy and would only be a burden:

    I thought I would just end up bringing this girl down, and that she could be spending the time she would be waiting for me getting to know someone else who could make her happy.

    I wondered if it might be better for her to find someone else that could give her what she deserved.

    I thought I couldn’t make her happy, and would end up being a burden and I should step aside so she could move on and find someone better than me. I thought she’d be better off without me.

    This all shows you think very poorly of yourself, and this is what probably keeps you in this cycle of self-blame and regret.

    You say you’ve been suffering from depression and mental illness for as long as you can remember. Do you know what triggered your depression? If you feel like sharing some more, please do.

     

    #387635
    d85
    Participant

    Dear Anita, thanks for your response and saying you’d be happy to provide input. If you’re happy offering input do you have any advice for trying to get out of a cycle of regret? And any advice for trying to forgive yourself for past mistakes?

    #387636
    d85
    Participant

    And Dear TeaK, thanks a lot for your reply and and your nice response.

    I now need to apologise to you. I didn’t sleep well last night as was worrying about all this and this morning I tried to reply to your kind, in-depth response. I meant to hit the reply button on your post by somehow pressed report instead.

    I’m very sorry about this. I just tried emailing the general Tiny Buddha email address to highlight this, and ask for that to be revoked as didn’t mean to do that.

    But not sure if that’s the correct person to contact. Is there a forum admin I should message? Don’t want to cause issues for you, was a complete accident and I’m very sorry.

    #387637
    d85
    Participant

    In reply to the advice you gave TeaK, thank you for saying it sounded like I took good care of my father. That means a lot.

    You’re right, I do think very poorly of myself and have low self esteem. I’m not exactly sure what triggered it, but I guess during childhood there were some upsetting things that happened at home and with certain family members when I was growing up.

    Plus a lot of bullying at school and not having much luck with relationships throughout my life which lead me to have a low opinion of myself.

    #387638
    d85
    Participant

    Thank you for saying you were sorry to hear I’ve been consumed with regret and for offering your advice TeaK. Apologies once again about the mistake when trying to reply to your comment, really hope that doesn’t cause issues for you.

    #387639
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear d85,

    don’t worry about accidentally pressing the Report button – it happens sometimes, it’s no big deal. I won’t be in any trouble because of it.

    Regarding the rest of your post, I’ll be away from the computer for a while, but will write more later.

    #387640
    d85
    Participant

    Dear TeaK,

    Thanks very much for the understanding about that, I really appreciate it. I’m glad to hear that won’t cause you any trouble. I sent a message to email@tinybuddha.com to say I made a mistake, as was only contact email I could find.

    If there’s anyone else I should message please let me know. And thanks very much for saying you’d be able to write a response later, I really appreciate the input and advice.

    #387647
    TeaK
    Participant

    Dear d85,

    In reply to the advice you gave TeaK, thank you for saying it sounded like I took good care of my father. That means a lot.

    You are welcome. It does sound like it – you helped care for him, you also tried your best not to get covid and infect either of your parents – that shows you cared a lot.

    You’re right, I do think very poorly of myself and have low self esteem. I’m not exactly sure what triggered it, but I guess during childhood there were some upsetting things that happened at home and with certain family members when I was growing up.

    The way we were treated as children affects our self-esteem very strongly. If there were some painful and traumatic experiences, no wonder you’d end up feeling less-than and not deserving, or blaming yourself for things that weren’t your fault. If you’d like to share some more about your childhood experiences and the dynamic you grew up in, it might help us figure out what the key problem is and how to go about it.

     

    • This reply was modified 1 month, 1 week ago by TeaK.
    #387654
    anita
    Participant

    Dear d85:

    You wrote to me: “Dear Anita, thanks for your response and saying you’d be happy to provide input. If you’re happy offering input do you have any advice for trying to get out of a cycle of regret? And any advice for trying to forgive yourself for past mistakes?”

    You are welcome. You wrote in your original post: “I’ve suffered from depression and mental illness for as long as I can remember“- this means that your “cycle of regret” started long ago, before the virtual relationship with your most recent romantic interest entered your life,  before any adult relationship.. before your father got sick and passed away.. before all current events.

    I think that you believed early on, as a boy, that you made terrible mistakes, you terribly regretted them and looked for forgiveness.. mistakes that were.. probably not really mistakes, or they were very small mistakes, not worthy of torturing yourself over them.

    Look at how seriously you took the small mistake of reporting a member for inappropriate content here on your thread: you apologized for it repeatedly through three posts, contacted the site to have it corrected.. all very responsible but also an overreaction.. it was not a big mistake.

    Similarly, I imagine that as a boy you made such very small mistakes, but someone’s reaction to your small mistakes were overreactions, and those overreactions led you to believe that your small (or non) mistakes were big and terrible mistakes. I think that those early life overreactions are responsible to the beginning of your long-term depression and mental illness as well as cycle of regret.

    You wrote in your original post regarding your romantic interest: “I thought I couldn’t make her happy, and would end up being a burden and I should step aside so she could move on and find someone better than me. I thought she’d be better off without me“- this is likely what you felt as a boy (and still): feeling like a burden, feeling that the adults in your life will be better off without you.. because you make such big and terrible mistakes. I can feel the pain of this boy, a boy who is still very much a part of you.

    My advice: quality psychotherapy so to address those small or non-mistakes that you made as a boy, and the overreactions to those small/ non-mistakes. Seeing the truth of the situation where your cycle of regret originated will help a great deal. If you don’t feel like having therapy where you talk too much about your childhood, you can look for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Also, you are welcome to post here anytime. If and when you do, I will be glad to reply to you further.

    anita

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