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Old 01-31-2019, 02:28 PM #1
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Default How do you forgive yourself?

Hey all. How do you forgive yourself for hurting someone? I ask because of this situation and this will be long.

My ex and I broke up 4 years ago. It was my first relationship. She broke up with me because she said she was going to rehab the next day. Instead, she drunk texted me and said she missed her bus to go...I'm not sure if that was true or not but that's what she said. She reached out to apologize but I just couldn't accept the apology at the time so I never responded. Afterwards, I found out that she had a death in the family so I reached out to send my condolences. We spoke for a bit and cleared things ups. Then I stopped talking to her because things didn't really change. A while passed and I felt like I owed her an explanation for disappearing. I apologized, I was honest (told her I still had feelings for her) and that was about it. She reached back out saying that it was okay. We spoke some more...and she ended up telling me she liked another girl but she didn't know how to approach the situation. So I was giving her advice to help her out a bit until I noticed what I was doing. I got a bit upset and told her, "I don't understand why you would talk about someone else you have feelings for right after I told you about my feelings." She said that she didn't even know how she felt half of the time and she asked if I would still be her friend even though she wasn't sure of things. I said I would...and then I ghosted on her the next day. This happened about 2-3 years ago and we haven't been in contact since. I feel so guilty about it as of late. I don't know why I keep thinking about it now.

I've grown a LOT since then. I've accepted the fact that I have flaws and that there are things I have to constantly work on. Therapy has helped and I practice being more self-aware everyday. Instead of responding with anger like I did in that relationship, I step back and try to figure out how I can verbalize things in my head. I still mess up at times, I won't lie. But I've grown since then.

I'm not a saint. There were things I said in that relationship that I shouldn't have said. I kept my feelings inside to the point where they just came out in bad ways. I handled the situation poorly and I should have been open. I deeply regret ghosting on her for the last time and not just saying, "I'm sorry but my feelings are too strong for you and I think I need to focus on myself. I apologize for all of the hurt I've caused you. I truly do. You're wonderful and I wish you all the best. You deserve it." I don't know, something like that? But the time has passed. It's been over 2 years.

I've had people tell me that there's no point in apologizing and I've had people tell me that apologizing might be a good thing. I have to agree with the former. I don't think I should just pop back into her life and apologize. I'm not good for her. We're not good for each other. I trigger her, and she seems to be doing just fine, from what I can tell because we have mutual friends. She's dated other people and the last time we spoke, she was actually sober for the first time in 4 months. I'm proud of her and I don't want to hold her back from improving her life even more.

My main question is: How can I accept the fact that I hurt someone and engaged in such negative behavior? How can I forgive myself? I have all of this guilt that's not going away. I forgive people but when it comes to myself? I have so much trouble doing that. I've learned from this and I know how to handle things in any future relationships I might have but still.

I hope people on here don't view me differently. I don't have too many people to talk about it because people don't take the relationship seriously, considering that it was my first one but short lived.

If you got this far, thanks for reading.
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Old 01-31-2019, 07:39 PM #2
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Smile Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Well... I don't know... self-forgiveness isn't something I have a lot of experience with. In my case, I have a whole ocean liner's worth of things I could use some self-forgiveness for. But I'm not even sure what self-forgiveness actually even entails. I understand the concept of self-forgiveness on a theoretical level I think. But I don't believe I actually know what it entails in terms of the nuts-&-bolts, as the saying goes. Consequently what I strive for in my life is simple acceptance. I did what I did. I can't change any of it, & there's nothing I can do about any of it, so it just is what it is. As a result I simply strive to accept all of it with as much lovingkindness & compassion as I can muster. The practice of compassionate abiding is important to me in that respect.

I do agree with you that just popping back into your friend's life to apologize may not be the best idea. I suppose if it went well it might make you feel better. But it might or might not do something similar for your friend. It could well raise a bunch of issues for her she neither wants nor needs to be dealing with... possibly for you too. I think you mentioned you & your friend have some friends in common. And so it may come to pass that, sooner or later, you & your friend may run across one another. If so then that may create an opportunity to re-visit what occurred. (I doubt it was all just you anyway. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes.)

Here are links to 5 articles, from PC's archives, that offer suggestions for dealing with guilt & forgiving oneself, the first by DocJohn:

5 Tips for Dealing with Guilt

Can You Forgive Yourself?

Let Go of Regrets and Learn to Forgive Yourself

How Do You Forgive Yourself?

How to Forgive Yourself and Why It's Important

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Old 02-05-2019, 03:29 PM #3
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

I need to forgive myself for actions and thoughts I had when I was sick. I know that that was not the real me, but they haunt me still. I try affirmations and know logically that I should not feel guilt/shame but it is hard.
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Old 02-05-2019, 09:15 PM #4
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skeezyks View Post
Well... I don't know... self-forgiveness isn't something I have a lot of experience with. In my case, I have a whole ocean liner's worth of things I could use some self-forgiveness for. But I'm not even sure what self-forgiveness actually even entails. I understand the concept of self-forgiveness on a theoretical level I think. But I don't believe I actually know what it entails in terms of the nuts-&-bolts, as the saying goes. Consequently what I strive for in my life is simple acceptance. I did what I did. I can't change any of it, & there's nothing I can do about any of it, so it just is what it is. As a result I simply strive to accept all of it with as much lovingkindness & compassion as I can muster. The practice of compassionate abiding is important to me in that respect.

I do agree with you that just popping back into your friend's life to apologize may not be the best idea. I suppose if it went well it might make you feel better. But it might or might not do something similar for your friend. It could well raise a bunch of issues for her she neither wants nor needs to be dealing with... possibly for you too. I think you mentioned you & your friend have some friends in common. And so it may come to pass that, sooner or later, you & your friend may run across one another. If so then that may create an opportunity to re-visit what occurred. (I doubt it was all just you anyway. It takes two to tango, as the saying goes.)

Here are links to 5 articles, from PC's archives, that offer suggestions for dealing with guilt & forgiving oneself, the first by DocJohn:

5 Tips for Dealing with Guilt

Can You Forgive Yourself?

Let Go of Regrets and Learn to Forgive Yourself

How Do You Forgive Yourself?

How to Forgive Yourself and Why It's Important

What you said there is really great and it's something I have to keep in my mind. The past is the past and I can't change things. I really think that it's best if I not pop back into my ex's life. She's probably doing quite well on her own. I don't want to mess that up by bringing up old feelings. I don't think that'd be good for any of us. I will try my best to be compassionate to myself and to understand that I'm not a bad person for what I did. Thanks a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by NeedHaldol View Post
I need to forgive myself for actions and thoughts I had when I was sick. I know that that was not the real me, but they haunt me still. I try affirmations and know logically that I should not feel guilt/shame but it is hard.
You're right, it is very hard. I've had this guilt for almost 5 years now. I feel better on some days but other days I feel worse. I think I will get better in time. Affirmations are a good idea. I want to get into the habit of using those. Thanks a lot!
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Old 02-05-2019, 11:35 PM #5
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Help Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Hey Starryprince,

disclaimer: Know that I'm not a doctor and never played one on TV. The following is my personal opinion.Do with it what you want, even if itís nothing, and try not to take offense as that is not my intent.

I can see the pain of what happened between you and your once wife. I also see your pain that you felt for the wrong you have done to yourself.

I canít imagine that how maybe part of personal forgiveness is tied to a more complete forgiveness with your once wife but also yourself. Perhaps working on a most complete forgiveness with your once wife will help with your own self-forgivenesses.

Here is one way to accomplish that. I point you to steps 8 and 9 of the 12 steps which directly address forgiveness.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, (and list all wrongs) and became willing to make amends to them all

9. Made amends to them all expect when to do so would injure them or others.

I donít suggest that you do a global all, but and all of two, your first wife and yourself. Yes, like any human, you have harmed yourself. Maybe by exploring how youíve hurt yourself, in would be enlightening to you and make your self forgiveness easier. Also, maybe exploring more completely the wrongs you've done to your once wife and working toward an amends will help towards your search with self forgiveness.

It is scary to explore one's harm of oneselves. I know because Iíve done it. But behind every harm, lays a reason for the brokenness. Realizing the brokenness can aid in that self forgiveness, realizing the brokenness is more to blame than you in causing the harm.

Lots or words. I hope they help.
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Old 02-06-2019, 07:19 AM #6
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Honestly I cant really see why you have to apologize to her. She wasnt a saint either, and forgiving yourself is the hard part anyway.
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Old 02-06-2019, 08:23 AM #7
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by starryprince View Post
We're not good for each other. I trigger her, and she seems to be doing just fine, from what I can tell because we have mutual friends. She's dated other people and the last time we spoke, she was actually sober for the first time in 4 months. I'm proud of her and I don't want to hold her back from improving her life even more.

How can I forgive myself? I have all of this guilt that's not going away.
I think you can eventually forgive yourself. It takes time to get over such a significant relationship. As Skeezyks mentioned--someday, you may run across each other again. I hope that, when that time comes, rather than being triggered, that you can both find a way to laugh at something that you both used to argue about. There are few people we share this much history with--I hope that you can be friends.
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Old 02-06-2019, 10:16 AM #8
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

I'm so sorry, starryprince I think the key is to just remember that you didn't have any intention to hurt her in the first place. From what you wrote, it sounds like you just didn't know how to handle the situation well. No one is perfect, so don't be so hard on yourself. You've tried, you've made some mistakes, and that's ok. It could have been a lot worse, after all. And you know better, now. In the end, the biggest mistake was probably just going away without telling anything. It's understandable you'd feel guilty, but I don't think it was that bad. Not to mention that time has passed and that she has probably moved on already. I'd suggest to do the same. Mistakes can happen, but we can learn from them as well. You can't change your past, but you can change your future, so try to focus on that as much as you can. Take all the time you need. Take baby steps. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. Sending many hugs to you
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Old 02-06-2019, 11:19 AM #9
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Hey there not sure if this helps or not - but sometimes writing a letter or something like that addressed to the person or people but never posting it or sending it...I find that helps me with all sorts of emotions I have from anger through to apologies & everything in between
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Old 02-09-2019, 11:10 PM #10
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Default Re: How do you forgive yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by bipolarsojourner View Post
Hey Starryprince,

disclaimer: Know that I'm not a doctor and never played one on TV. The following is my personal opinion.Do with it what you want, even if itís nothing, and try not to take offense as that is not my intent.

I can see the pain of what happened between you and your once wife. I also see your pain that you felt for the wrong you have done to yourself.

I canít imagine that how maybe part of personal forgiveness is tied to a more complete forgiveness with your once wife but also yourself. Perhaps working on a most complete forgiveness with your once wife will help with your own self-forgivenesses.

Here is one way to accomplish that. I point you to steps 8 and 9 of the 12 steps which directly address forgiveness.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, (and list all wrongs) and became willing to make amends to them all

9. Made amends to them all expect when to do so would injure them or others.

I donít suggest that you do a global all, but and all of two, your first wife and yourself. Yes, like any human, you have harmed yourself. Maybe by exploring how youíve hurt yourself, in would be enlightening to you and make your self forgiveness easier. Also, maybe exploring more completely the wrongs you've done to your once wife and working toward an amends will help towards your search with self forgiveness.

It is scary to explore one's harm of oneselves. I know because Iíve done it. But behind every harm, lays a reason for the brokenness. Realizing the brokenness can aid in that self forgiveness, realizing the brokenness is more to blame than you in causing the harm.

Lots or words. I hope they help.
Hello! She was actually my ex-girlfriend, heh. And I definitely agree with what you're saying. I've been thinking about how I hurt myself in the process and that has been really helpful for my growth. I feel like I've grown from this experience since I did a lot of reflection. So now I know how I can better handle things in the future. Thanks a lot!

Quote:
Originally Posted by sarahsweets View Post
Honestly I cant really see why you have to apologize to her. She wasnt a saint either, and forgiving yourself is the hard part anyway.
Heh, I agree with the fact that she wasn't a saint. I guess I try to excuse her behavior because she had mental health issues (borderline personality disorder) but I know that an explanation shouldn't be an excuse. Sometimes I agree with you, that I don't have to apologize. Now is one of those times. I tend to switch back and forth but the support from this thread has shown me that maybe I really don't have much to apologize for, like you said. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nowinners View Post
I think you can eventually forgive yourself. It takes time to get over such a significant relationship. As Skeezyks mentioned--someday, you may run across each other again. I hope that, when that time comes, rather than being triggered, that you can both find a way to laugh at something that you both used to argue about. There are few people we share this much history with--I hope that you can be friends.
I think I can eventually start to forgive myself, too. I actually feel like I already have. I have a feeling we won't ever run across each other again because of the distance and other issues but hopefully a time will come when this doesn't cause me much sadness anymore. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by MickeyCheeky View Post
I'm so sorry, starryprince I think the key is to just remember that you didn't have any intention to hurt her in the first place. From what you wrote, it sounds like you just didn't know how to handle the situation well. No one is perfect, so don't be so hard on yourself. You've tried, you've made some mistakes, and that's ok. It could have been a lot worse, after all. And you know better, now. In the end, the biggest mistake was probably just going away without telling anything. It's understandable you'd feel guilty, but I don't think it was that bad. Not to mention that time has passed and that she has probably moved on already. I'd suggest to do the same. Mistakes can happen, but we can learn from them as well. You can't change your past, but you can change your future, so try to focus on that as much as you can. Take all the time you need. Take baby steps. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. Sending many hugs to you
You're right. I think intention is a big part of it. I certainly didn't mean in any harm. I just had no idea how to cope with everything and things were going on in my own life, too. I guess I was giving so much of myself to her and I didn't get much (or anything, really) back. Thinking about it now, I think that's what hurt the most. The feeling of being discarded. I have a lot of conflicting emotions. But you're right. The only thing I can do is move forward. Thanks so much!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by AbladeintheMeadow View Post
Hey there not sure if this helps or not - but sometimes writing a letter or something like that addressed to the person or people but never posting it or sending it...I find that helps me with all sorts of emotions I have from anger through to apologies & everything in between
It's funny you mentioned that because I have a daily journal prompt app and the prompt was "Write a letter for someone who will never read it" and I wrote a letter to her (but never sent it to her, of course) as a way to process my feelings and release any emotions I had at the time. Things like that can really help. Thank you!
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