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Shame & Guilt

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  • #388478
    Abby
    Participant

    I know shame & guilt are normal human emotions that come & go. However I can’t seem to let them go and I’m seeking advice on how to do so, as I feel completely consumed by them.

    Briefly, my marriage ended 2 years ago with ny ex having an affair. He is now in a serious, committed relationship with his affair partner. We have three children together, whom I have 100% custody of. I was devastated and depressed, and spent a year working on myself and focusing on our kids. Some days it took all my energy just to get out of bed.

    Over the past year, after much therapy and support from friends, I finally felt like I was ready to start dating. I had two casual relationships involving sexual intimacy over the course of the year. With both relationships we discussed STD testing and both assured me they were clean & healthy, however I should have been more careful and perhaps less trusting. I have just been diagnosed with an STD, that I will have for life.

    I’m devastated at the thought of this, but also tortured by the guilt and shame of my poor decisions that landed me in this position. I can’t sleep and have very little desire to socialize. I feel guilty every time I see my kids. Aside from that, if I didn’t feel lovable after my ex’s affair, I definitely can’t imagine anyone loving me now, after having to disclose that I have an STD.

    I feel hopeless. Can anyone please share any advice for processing and moving beyond the heavy feelings of shame and guilt?

    Thank you.

     

    #388487
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Abby:

    Can anyone please share any advice for processing and moving beyond the heavy feelings of shame and guilt?“-

    – The Serenity Prayer comes to mind, it says in part: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference”.

    You cannot change lots of things in your life, including your most recent diagnosis of a lifetime STD (not a fatal disease,  but uncomfortable and a nuisance, if I understand correctly?) It is possible to accept such a diagnosis and arrive at some peace of mind about it if you focus on the things that you can change and then go about changing them, including treating and managing this disease best medicine makes possible.

    I feel hopeless“- we feel hopeless when we focus on what we cannot change. When we focus on what you can change and proceed to change them, we feel having some power over our lives, and with power comes hope.

    I’m devastated at the thought of this, but also tortured by the guilt and shame of my poor decisions that landed me in this position“- your position in life is so much more than the position of a woman diagnosed with an uncomfortable STD. You are a mother, and as a mother, you have 3 children whose lives you can change for the better. In doing the best job you can as a mother, you will feel that you are making a positive difference and a sense of pride, I hope, in doing your very best, every day.

    In regard to a future relationship with a man- if you are referring to genital herpes, there are many people who manage this nuisance very well and have relationships as healthy- or not- as anyone who is clear of any STD. Please do not allow an STD (and how it came about that you contracted it) to define you!

    anita

    #388490
    Abby
    Participant

    Dear Anita,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your valuable insights. Very helpful and appreciated.

     

    #388491
    anita
    Participant

    You are very welcome, thank you for your appreciation. Post again if you need to, and I will be glad to reply further.

    anita

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