QOTW: Guilt

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
QOTW: Guilt
4
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 11:46am
Have you ever felt guilty because of how the burden of your past affects those around you? If so, how have you worked through those feelings? What are your thoughts about guilt?
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Registered: 04-09-2008
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 12:27pm
I have felt that way many times. There are days when I definitely don't handle myself as well as I feel I should. I know that that is human nature, but I also know that dealing with surfacing repressed feelings have contributed. My worst time was when my kids were preschool age, from about 3-6 yrs old (they are both pretty close in age). Besides my messed up hormones, I had all kinds of memory triggers and I didn't understand what was going on. I needed time to myself to work through things, and between my husband working all the time back then and having a contrary three-year throwing a full-blown tantrum when he didn't get his way, my frustration level was really high. Also I didn't have a good parenting pattern to follow as far as my mother goes and I knew that, so I was constantly fighting against reacting the way she always did, and trying to learn appropriate parenting strategies. Things that would be pretty simple to deal with were a lot more involved for me. Example: Child throwing tantrum. See my mom in front of my face screaming and slapping me. Tell myself, no, that is not what I want to do. Ask myself: what should I do? Think of suggestions I've read and heard about, use one if I can think of it. If I draw a blank, put the screaming child in his room, raise my voice and tell him that he can come out when he is done. Child is still screaming and kicking the door fifteen minutes later. Out of frustration, raise my voice and spank him. At the end of it, feel guilty. For average fairly educated parent raised in a positive environment: Child throwing tantrum. Parent tells child that they will talk to them when they calm down, and walks away.

I've worried many times that the way I handled things when my kids were small would affect our relationship as they got older. The comforting thing is that we do seem to have a good relationship. I am always studying and learning how to be an effective parent, and I feel that I am doing a much better job. I've also learned to give myself credit for my earlier efforts, because I did do the best I could. And for the most part I have done better than my mom did.

Part of the healing process for me has involved total exhaustion from dealing with the emotions, and sometimes I just need to sleep. I used to feel really guilty for sleeping while the kids were at school. I talked to my counselor about this and asked her whether I should allow myself to sleep when I feel like this, or whether I should just push through it and make myself go. She told me to allow myself the extra rest. It was good to hear someone say that, it was like she was giving me permission, so from there I have given myself permission. The thing is when I felt guilty for resting I wasn't resting very well, so it didn't do much good. Now when I rest I do feel better for having done it.

I think it is important for the people closest to you to know that you are dealing with difficult things. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that my kids are very forgiving and understanding. They will understand more when they are grownups and start asking me why I slept all the time and handled things certain ways, but for now they know what they need to. My dd knows I was violated; it came up when she read a book my therapist gave me to read. I was alarmed when I saw her reading it, but managed to stay calm and asked her how she felt about it. We had a good talk, and I told her that that happened to me when I was young. It didn't shatter her world like I was afraid it would; in fact, she understood me better and now I'm in a position where I can let her know if I am dealing with difficult feelings about it. She read the book several times before I returned it.

I have gotten to a point in the last year where I feel a lot less guilty than I used to. I used to beat myself up constantly, and that just doesn't do anyone any good. It leads to more frustration with yourself and because of that, frustration with others. It was also making me physically ill. I'm glad that I have learned to let go of a lot of that. I'm just doing the best I can. This is the life I've been given, and my best just has to be good enough. I can't do more than that.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 4:38pm


Funny you ask this question because I'd been thinking about this lately. More like ruminating about it, I guess. Guilt is a pretty large obstacle for me right now and I'm really feeling backed up/trapped in a corner. My roommate is somewhat aware of the issues I'm going through and on a few occasions she has said that I should just forget and move on. All that has made me do is retreat from her. I had thought she was a good source of support for me but more and more I'm retreating and I really don't share much of anything with her anymore. The other person I told was my partner and ever since we broke up, I didn't share with anyone else. My old T even said something about how I'm still struggling with my issues and that she wishes that I would move on. I can't remember her words but they were put in a harsh way. I did talk to her a week later and she said she admits that she was harsh but that was how she was feeling at the time. That hurt a lot and of course, all that did was increase my guilt. And my anger towards myself for needing more 'time' to work on these issues. THere's one person I know that knows I struggle with depression and she's been able to pull me out from time to time for dinner or something.

Nowadays, all I want is a hug from someone. But there's no one to hug cuz I'm pushing everyone away from me. I've only got myself to blame for that. Oh gosh, I didn't mean for this note to get so depressing. I dind't realize half of this stuff til I typed it...

Kari

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 7:35pm
Thank you! It is so encouraging to read that another parent/survivor is going through the same issues. I could have written your post! (Esp. the part where you give the two scenarios for how to deal with tantrums. That's when I feel the most guilty. My almost-NINE year old has been having fits lately. I can't believe her & have no idea what's gotten into her, but it's been he** around here lately.) I'm doing my best, though.
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-21-2003
Thu, 05-01-2003 - 7:37pm
Here's a hug from me. ((((((Kari)))))