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Old 04-22-2019, 10:37 PM #1
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Trig What is the right level of guilt? Of sadness?

Trigger warning because I am talking about a situation I am struggling to deal with and it might remind people of their own issues.

The greatest challenge of my depression is I don't know what is reasonable. I don't know what is an appropriate amount of a negative feeling. For example, I screwed up yesterday. I should have called home on Easter to wish my parents well. I didn't. In part because I was having a low moment of depression and anxiety and I needed to deal with that because I have to be strong around my parents. My parents have their own anxiety issues and we tend to amplify each others negative feelings.

However, it was Easter. I should have gutted it out. I should have called so my parents know that I love and respect them.

I called today and my dad told me my mom was upset and didn't want to talk to me. I don't blame her; she was hurt. I want to be accountable for my actions. But I feel so bad for not calling her, and I think some degree of guilt is warranted. But how much is too much? When does it cross into being unwarranted? Also, how do I apologize? I don't want to use my condition as an excuse and make her feel bad. That feels cheap. But I should be honest with my family.

Any advice or comment would be appreciated. Thank you so much.
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Old 04-23-2019, 01:45 PM #2
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Smile Re: What is the right level of guilt? Of sadness?

Boy... you know.... I'm a "senior citizen" now & my parents are both long-since gone. But I got so much of what you described back when they were alive. This whole parental guilting thing really cranks my shaft, to coin a phrase. It's just my personal biased opinion. But I don't think you did anything wrong. And I think your mother not wanting to talk to you is passive-aggressive. And that's not your fault or your responsibility.

So my suggestion here is don't take on the load of guilt your parents want to dump on you. And don't buy into the passive-aggressive dance either. Tell them straight out why it is you didn't call. They can either accept it or not. That's their choice. They're your parents not the other way around. You're not responsible for their feelings. You wrote you should have called. Someone once said: "don't should on yourself." It's good advice.

Here's a link to a brief article, from PC's archives, by DocJohn on the subject of guilt. It provides links to a bunch of additional articles on the subject:

Guilt: Why Do I Feel Guilty? - Psych Central

My best wishes to you...
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Old 04-23-2019, 04:12 PM #3
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Default Re: What is the right level of guilt? Of sadness?

Thank you so much for this Skeezyks. It is a hard thing to do. I can only trust what I feel and hear, but I know my mind is an unreliable narrator of my own life story. When so many of the feedback comes from compromising, contradictory sources (upbringing, social norms, education, professional, etc), it is really easy to believe that worth is defined by others. I am over 35 years old, and I don't know if I have ever given myself the permission to want something without it being influenced by others. I am a loyal person, especially to my family, and it feels like any disagreement is a betrayal by me. Reading the stories in the links of that article helps because it lets me see others in similar situations having comparable responses - I am not so weird after all. It also gives me hope that I can get through.

Overcoming my guilt is going to be difficult, but you helped my day be a little easier; you lightened my load a bit. That is going to be enough for today. So thanks for that.
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Old 04-24-2019, 02:33 AM #4
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Default Re: What is the right level of guilt? Of sadness?

Its such a hard spot to be in. When you are in the throws of a depression episode its so hard to think beyond your own pain. I guess its like being "self centered" but not in the selfish sense. Do you think speaking to your parents would have been triggering and thats why you avoided calling?
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Old 04-24-2019, 11:03 AM #5
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Old 04-24-2019, 01:07 PM #6
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Default Re: What is the right level of guilt? Of sadness?

Quote:
Originally Posted by HeavyBlanket View Post
Trigger warning because I am talking about a situation I am struggling to deal with and it might remind people of their own issues.

The greatest challenge of my depression is I don't know what is reasonable. I don't know what is an appropriate amount of a negative feeling. For example, I screwed up yesterday. I should have called home on Easter to wish my parents well. I didn't. In part because I was having a low moment of depression and anxiety and I needed to deal with that because I have to be strong around my parents. My parents have their own anxiety issues and we tend to amplify each others negative feelings.

However, it was Easter. I should have gutted it out. I should have called so my parents know that I love and respect them.

I called today and my dad told me my mom was upset and didn't want to talk to me. I don't blame her; she was hurt. I want to be accountable for my actions. But I feel so bad for not calling her, and I think some degree of guilt is warranted. But how much is too much? When does it cross into being unwarranted? Also, how do I apologize? I don't want to use my condition as an excuse and make her feel bad. That feels cheap. But I should be honest with my family.

Any advice or comment would be appreciated. Thank you so much.
Honestly - my Dad has no mh issues (at least none diagnosed cuz never been to a psychiatrist) and he outright told me several years back not to call on the holidays or his birthday bc it is "too busy" but rather the day before or after. That hurt me for a time, but then I realized my Dad has his life and I have mind now. We live completely separate lives, completely away from one another. Neither of us knows what happens in the other's life unless we choose to tell each other. Since that is true - I cannot judge him for how he wishes to run his life. Part of how he wishes to do that is by having people call before or after the holidays or his birthday. Why? Because that's him looking out for his mental health by keeping stress level down. That's fine. Part of how you wish to live your life is by being strong around your parents. Why? To keep stress level down. That's fine. Yesterday you could not successfully do that AND keep your stress level down. Looking after yourself is ALWAYS the best choice. So you did what you needed to do to keep your stress level down.

No need to feel guilt for that.

They reacted as I did to my Dad telling me no calls on his birthday or holidays. You should react to them as he did me when I expressed my dislike of it. He simply said, "I have my life to live, you have yours. I love you. You need to live your life." ❤
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