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Why do I feel so guilty?

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  • #209917
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well!

    I was just looking for a bit of advice on my situation. My ex boyfriend broke up with me in February for quite a large number of reasons (all of which were based around him – he didn’t feel stable in his life because he didn’t have job, he didn’t think we were meant to be, he didn’t want to hurt me with his problems, he didn’t feel he wanted to commit to a relationship anymore/wasn’t sure what he actually wanted from a relationship etc. are just a few of them!). It came as a shock as I had noticed him becoming distant but never thought he would end things between us, plus we’d always had a good relationship and I had always been able to rely on and trust him (we were together for 2 years). I was left in a pretty bad place and spiraled quite badly, losing a lot of weight, quitting my job, and hitting rock bottom with my self-esteem and confidence. He has repeatedly messed me around since he ended things, firstly giving in to my want to see him, basically using me for his physical needs then blowing me off again in the morning, telling me one minute he wants to try and make things work, the next that we just weren’t meant to be etc.

    About a month went by and he messaged me out of the blue asking how I have been as it has been hard for him not knowing. I kept it pretty blunt but still replied telling him I had been OK. I then told him that unless there was a reason for him contacting me, it wasn’t going to make the whole moving on thing any easier. And he said that there wasn’t a reason, he had just missed talking.

    Again about a month after that I get another message, a really emotional one this time. Telling me that he thinks of me everyday, that he can’t move on or throw our stuff away, and that part of him feels he has thrown away something special and he wanted to know how I felt. Due to the emotional state I was in (I was still very heartbroken and not in a good place), I eagerly accepted this olive branch. I waited a few days to reply thinking about what to say, and being wary, I replied asking him what his reasons were for sending me that message. He then replied saying he was very sorry he shouldn’t have sent that message, that he was just having a bad night and the emotions got the better of him, he didn’t want to get back together, he had just missed talking and he always wondered how I was etc.

    That crushed me all over again. I literally snapped because I had hit the point of being pushed over the edge because of being messed around so much since he ended things. I sent a very blunt message stating that I do not deserve to be treated this way and he has no right to play with my emotions etc. He replied basically listing everything that was going wrong in his life with work, family, his own mental health etc. for the reasons why he had messaged me, and how he thought maybe we could give things another try but then he hoped I wouldn’t reply because he realised he wasn’t ready for a relationship (even though he has been on every dating site going since he broke up with me! Confusing much!?)

    Still raging that I had let him in again, and he had hurt me, yet again! I told him that I hoped things got better for him, and that things were ok with his family etc. That I have had my own problems to deal with and he cannot come in and out of my life as he pleases. That I am moving on with my life because I won’t be messed around anymore and that unless it was a need for help, to stop contacting me. He tried to ask me what I have had to deal with but I stuck to my guns and repeated to please stop contacting me now.

    That was 5 weeks ago today. and I haven’t heard anything since, which I know is good because he is respecting my boundaries. But I have this insane sense of guilt for telling him to stop contacting me and it’s really eating me up! I feel like I have abandoned someone who is going through a lot and was always there for me in our relationship. But he broke up with me and hurt me greatly in the process, so why should I stick around when all he has done since is mess me around? I feel so guilty about it and I really don’t know how to deal with it. I have never been assertive and I rarely stand up for myself, even to my own family. But I just hit the point where I’d had enough with his messing.

    I know deep down that I did the right thing to protect myself, I just can’t shake these feelings of guilt!

    Does anyone have any advice?

    Thank you for listening!

     

    #209923
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Winchester1990,

    We (me too!) have never been what you would call assertive. We are totally easy going, so on the very rare occasion we actually use boundaries people are shocked! SHOCKED I tell you! They legitimately can’t get over it!!

    They are the ones who can break up with people and check in when they’re bored, but then we stand up and say “No Thanks” they are STUNNED. You are reacting with needless guilt to his STUNNED feelings! No more, no less.

    My advice would be to brag about your boundary setting with other people Your friends will (SHOULD!) give you a well deserved “You Go Girl!” and a “Good For You!” and even a “You’re my hero!” Then SIT with and RELISH in your own power!

    Send that Guilt packing!

    Best,

    Inky

    P.S. Don’t see your ex in person for at least a year. Everyone needs to re-set here.

    #209925
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi Inky,

    Yes I do think you’re right! I feel pretty empowered for setting the boundary but also pretty terrified as it isn’t something I have put into practice much before!

    Would you call his ‘stunned’ feelings the act of him not messaging again? I kind of thought that was him respecting the boundary!

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Winchester1990

    #209927
    Airene
    Participant

    Hello Winchester 1990,

    I completely agree with Inky.  You set some boundaries, and haven’t heard from your ex since.

    I’m wondering…if your ex were to contact you and want to try to work things out, would you be open to that?

    The reason I ask is because where you say you feel guilt, I wonder if somewhere in all of that is the hope that the two of you will get back together?

    I agree with Inky too, that if your intention is to move on from this relationship, you should stay no contact for at least a year.

    Airene

    #209937
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Winchester1990:

    I think he kept contacting you (and may again) because he is flaky, doesn’t walk-his-talk or talk-his-walk, impulsive, not thoughtful or considerate. This is a very unattractive characteristic, to me. Isn’t it to you?

    You wrote: “I have never been assertive and I rarely stand up for myself, even to my own family”- it is very, very important in life to be assertive with everyone. The reason you feel guilty for having been assertive with your ex boyfriend could be the same reason you felt and feel guilty to be assertive with your own family. Maybe you fear hurting a parent’s feeling if you were to be assertive with him or her.

    Can it be?

    anita

    #209939
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi Airene,

    I honestly do still hold hope because I never wanted to break up, and as much as I tried to show him that when he ended things it just wasn’t enough. So part of me is still holding on, and I think a lot of the guilt does come from that because I feel like I have gone against what I truly want (which is for us to get back together). But then we can’t be in a relationship if I have to convince him to want to be there, nor can he expect me to be there for him when he has broken up with me right?

    So I had to protect myself and tell him to stop contacting me, but these feelings of guilt and worrying that I have done the wrong thing are really eating me up!

    It isn’t really my full intention because I do still love him and I do still hold that hope that he will come back, but all he has done recently is hurt me, so I am really trying to make that my intention. It is just really hard to break that attachment.

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    Winchester1990

     

     

    #209943
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    It is a very unattractive characteristic, you are very right there! I feel like I give him more of a pass because during our relationship he was never any of those things. I feel like he has become a person that I barely recognise since we broke up and that has been quite hard to accept.

    I agree that could be true! I am worrying a lot about how I may have hurt his feelings by telling him to stop contacting me!

    Thanks so much for your reply!

    Winchester1990

    #209945
    Michelle
    Participant

    Please don’t feel guilty. I agree with Anita that this person is flaky and lacks consideration for others feelings. He was using you and disrespectful towards you. And, like many women (myself included as this post REALLY reminded me of my past), we make ourselves feel bad when we demand better. Screw that! Based on what you wrote, this person just sounds like he wants attention (hence him being on dating sites without wanting to make any sort of commitments). That is why he reached out to you. He needed an ego boost and knew you would provide one. Stop that. Leave him in the dust. Move on to something better because you DO deserve it.

    #209947
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Winchester1990:

    The purpose of guilt is for us to examine what we did wrong and correct it. In your case, he did wrong to you. Here is one way he wronged you: using you for his physical needs and then blowing you off in the morning. He has hurt you, yet you feel guilty, believing somehow that it is you who hurt his feelings.

    If you would like to explore the origin of this guilt, let me know.

    You wrote, “I feel  like he has become a person that I barely recognize since we broke up”- how was he different during the two years and were there any incidents of flakiness before?

    anita

     

    #209961
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi Michelle,

    Thank you for your kind words! I agree with you on the ‘screw that!’

    You said that my post really reminded you of your past, from your experience can I ask if you have any advice that you could share about how you moved past your experience, and how you gained that strength to be able to say ‘screw you!’

    Thanks for your reply!

    Winchester1990

    #209963
    Winchester1990
    Participant

    Hi Anita,

    I would like to explore the origin of this guilt because even though I know that it isn’t necessarily rational, it is still affecting me greatly!

    He was always a very kind, selfless and giving person during our relationship, and since we have broken up he has treated me in ways that I would never have expected from him and has become very arrogant. There was one particular incident of flakiness before when he broke up with me for the same reasons, then came back the next day asking for forgiveness and saying he was going to get help for his problems (which he never did).

    Thanks for your reply!

    Winchester1990

    #209967
    anita
    Participant

    Dear winchester1990:

    I need to be away from the computer and will be back in about 15 hours.

    Can you describe to me your relationship with our parent or parents currently, are you living with any of them and how are you unassertive with him/ her?

    I will more thoroughly your recent reply and any additional posts you may add, when I am back.

    anita

    #209981
    Michelle
    Participant

    Hi Winchester1990 – time is the main thing you will need for moving on. It took awhile for me. It’s been just over a year since the end of my relationship (we were together for two). My guy got married two months after I ended things with him, so that added another layer of hurt that has been extremely painful. I still think of him every day but it’s not in a loving way. It’s more with curiosity, like wondering if he’s happy with his choices in life and wondering if he will ever understand how much he hurt me. I want that justice, even though I know I will never get it. I realize it’s something I will eventually need to let go and you will eventually come to that phase too. During this time, it’s important to analyze your thoughts. After doing so, I’m sure you will find that you don’t miss HIM, you miss the (good) feelings he instilled. The good thing is, those can be replicated with someone else and also include the respect and honesty that you deserve.

    One important thing I did was create a list of all the terrible, deceitful things my guy did to me. Then when I started to look back and reminisce, I would pull it out to remind myself of the bad, as well as the good. Time has a way of smoothing those bad things out. You don’t want to forget them and be lost in a moment of weakness.

    Another recommendation that will be very hard is to block him. Block his number. Block his social media accounts. This will help the transition be easier. This was the hardest thing for me to do because I wanted those nuggets of connection. Without speaking to each other but only seeing him view one of my Instagram stories, for example, gave me a boost of self-esteem. I wanted the momentary high it provided. Again, I wanted that feeling to return because that is what I was addicted to. But, like a drug, they became bad for me. Why was I looking for his recognition?

    Instead take the time to work on yourself. Explore a new hobby. Read. Write. Cuddle puppies. Don’t remain dormant. Work on your future, rather than contemplating your past. Think about what could be, rather than what was.

    It’s a terrible feeling, realizing that you were used. We all just want love, honesty and respect at the end of the day and the lack of these things from a supposed loved one is such a blow to one’s self esteem. You start to feel as though you aren’t worthy of those things, or normalizing that the lack of them is common, and this is dangerous. Never justify someone’s poor treatment of you. It is reflective of their character and not your worth.

    My last recommendation is continuing to read the TinyBuddha forums. 🙂  I cannot tell you how much this has helped me. Just knowing that others are going through the same situation – and have the same issues and questions – makes me feel part of something bigger. It’s made me realize that I am not alone.

    If you have any other questions, please post. I’m listening and I wish you the best.

    #209997
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Winchester1990:

    This man has been cruel to you for quite a while following the breakup, if not before. And yet, it is you who feels guilty. Your question, in the title of your thread is “Why do I feel so guilty?”

    I don’t have enough information to answer your question, but reads to me that your guilty feelings, a tendency to believe that you are responsible for bad things happening when you are not, predates your relationship with this man. The origin of such a false core belief is most often in one’s childhood, in context of the relationship between the child and the (most present) parent.

    anita

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