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Guilt & Shame

Posted: Fri Aug 07, 2020 4:50 pm
by Magpie
Feelings are quite heavy today, heavy on my heart and my head hurts from thinking too much.

My sister contacted me last night to say how my dad was upset about the breakdown of our relationships. It’s not the first time she mentioned something like this-she’s said in the past how my mum doesn’t sleep, she cries a lot-ever since I’ve gone low contact.

My partner reminds me that I haven’t done anything wrong but I can’t help but feel like I am. Guilt, shame, grief for a family I use to know—all in one day. I don’t know If she was trying to get to me by saying this things, well it worked today. I feel awful.

My family don’t ask how we are, my mum doesn’t comment on my sons WhatsApp message picture, nothing, I even invited us to meet up for my dads birthday-he said he would see nearer the time-now I get messages saying he is upset?

All I ever did was highlight a pattern in the family I wanted to stop when it came to my son and stand up for what Is right, and because I got a backlash I backed off. Now I get this. I feel like I’m sinking.

Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 1:40 pm
by Crow
Hi Magpie,

I don't know your story but gather that there is a history with your sibling, and that there's some family stuff going on too. Family is tricky at the best of times, but add in a history of abuse and it is so hard!
I can relate to your heavy feelings and a hurting head from too much thinking - I too have spent far too much time thinking lately about my abusive upbringing, and its consequences.

What is really hard is the fact that we have been abused anyway, but add to that more injustice when someone you thought you could trust goes and lets you down. That I find is really hard because I'm already feeling vulnerable, so I feel your pain to an extent.

I'd like to be able to say something that might help you but I really don't know what to say. I'm early in my journey of working through my abuse.
Please stay strong, and know that these feelings won't be forever (I know, I hate when people say that to me too).
Also know that it's okay to feel the way you are - you probably do anyway I would guess. Do take care.

Thinking of you Magpie.


Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 4:40 pm
by Magpie
Thank you, I appreciate the thoughts, anything is helpful if I’m honest even just hearing someone else’s experiences and that we are not alone is comforting.

I think the main part of the guilt feelings is so strong because I constantly doubt if I’m doing the right thing, like why can’t I just get over what happened to me? But I guess that’s not healing or being truthful to myself.

Thanks again

Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Sat Aug 08, 2020 7:46 pm
by Crow
I was told last year by someone that if something isn't helpful then stop doing it. And so the same is true in that if a relationship is not helpful then seriously consider taking a step back. So I thought long and hard last year about whether to cut contact with my mother (my abuser). At that point in time I was still in denial and minimising the abuse, and I suppose I was still (and still am) conditioned to think things are my fault and that I'm the one in the wrong, and so I didn't cut contact. Instead I confronted her - there's a whole other post that I have added to with that story, so I won't put it here.
But the point I'm making is that I think it's quite normal to feel like it's our fault and to doubt our decisions. And maybe this will change as we heal.

I often ask myself why I can't get over what happened to me. I wonder why all of a sudden it's a huge problem for me. Why is it affecting me like this now?! But to 'just get over it' and carry on like nothing happened (for me) would be a barrier to healing and falling back into subtle control and manipulation again at the hands of that person. Some people forgive, and some people forgive and forget (as if that is even possible). And some people hold on to the negativity and relive things daily which just destroys you in my opinion. But, each day will throw up new feelings.
I suppose you have to get to a point where you ask what you want. And also to get to a point of accepting that a relationship (or relationships) is over. You have a right to be in control of your feelings. I'd rather feel guilty of maybe cutting contact with family members than live a life of control (whether it is blatant or subtle emotional control) by those people because they feel they can still treat me a certain way. Either choice comes with pain and its not fair.

I'm just thinking out loud and sharing some of my thought processes. As I said before, I'm early (if any way in) on my healing journey, and so each person will be different. I'm sure there are others on here who have battled through to a point of more experience on their healing journeys than me.

Final point. Guilt and shame are part of the territory with abuse - that is what I am learning. And so these feelings will come up a lot. Self doubt is huge for me and so I understand what you are saying. You have experienced control being taken away in abuse, and so you deserve to take control of how you move forward.
I hope that makes sense. Maybe I'm well off the mark. Just my thoughts anyway. Be kind to yourself (that's what I keep being told). :)


Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Sun Aug 09, 2020 3:07 am
by Magpie
Not at all off the mark Crow, in fact it all makes sense, I certainly resonate with the fact that I choose to control how I feel now, something that was taken away from me in the past. That guilty part kind of sits here, that I choose, something I need to feel empowered and at peace with rather than at war with myself, thanks again 😊

Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 12:06 pm
by Branchlxl
Hi Magpie,

You are not alone. I feel the guilt and shame too, no matter how many times my partner or my therapist tell me that it's not my fault for the abuse, or it's not my fault for asking for help.

The worst is that since I confronted my abuser/ dad, it feels like I have put a heavy burden on my family, especially my mother who did not know about the abuse and she has made similar condescending remarks, about how my abuser has been depressed too since I asked for some space. In my opinion this is my mother just trying to take control of the situation, when I am trying to heal on my own with time and space, my mother might be trying to heal herself/ make it better by taking control of the situation. I don't know if this will help, but I just want you to know that you are not alone with these feelings, and in order to continue through healing, it is important to sit with these feelings of guilt and shame. Sit with these feelings and process them, why you feel this way, and don't try to push the feelings away. You are feeling them for a reason. It is your body's response to the situation because you are a compassionate person who cares for others. It is human nature to feel this guilt and what helps me the most is to know that others in the world go through this too, and that maybe one day I can start to think about ways to help other people lighten their suffering.

You are strong! It is hard to know and take action that you need time away from your family and to process your emotions.


Re: Guilt & Shame

Posted: Tue Aug 11, 2020 9:07 pm
by Magpie
Many thanks, great advice, it’s nice to know I’m not alone and that I have to put my own needs first :)