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Still feeling guilty after all this time

Started by raindrops_on_my_soul, January 22, 2017, 09:29:12 am

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Hi everyone,

I felt like writing today about something that still bothers me. I have mentioned before that my youngest became involved with a woman much older than him. At that time he was still living with me and my husband ( not his father ). This was back in 2009, he was 23 years old at the time. He met the woman at his place of employment and she was 40. Needless to say I was really upset about this. I foresaw a future for him that did not look good because I always felt the age difference was going to become a burden at some point. It turned out this was true because he divorced her over a year ago. Anyway, when he was still living with us as I said he was 23 and had a good job but had not yet transitioned into living on his own, which I was fine with until he began seeing her. But he started spending nights at her place when she would allow him to and would stay with us when she wouldn't. Sort of like using our place as a weigh station so to speak. This went on for several weeks and I was becoming more and more upset about it. So I told him to move out immediately, I didn't even allow him time to look for a new place. I really assumed he would be moving in with her right away but as it turned out he couldn't because her aunt was living there and didn't want him living with them. He told me about this but I said to him I wasn't going to allow him to live with us anymore and he ended up having to get a motel room for afew weeks until he could get an apartment. I felt at the time he needed to grow up but I didn't consider that I might end up feeling this way at some point ( guilty ).
I also said some things to him that were probably hurtful. In retrospect I feel I should've  handled things very differently than I did. I feel I should've allowed him to stay with us, at least until he could've found a place and not made him feel alienated. I can't stop feeling so terribly guilty about it all. I know it has been a long time ago ( over 7 years now ) but I still can't help feeling like this.
I have apologized to him for it long ago even though he never acted like he resented me or expressed any hurt feelings about it.  He told me that he doesn't hold any of that against me but I hold it against myself. We have, for the most part, had a good relationship, except for some mostly minor things.
I think what I am trying to say is that no matter all the good things I have done for him over the years I feel this one thing is hanging over my head and has become a part of my permanent record as Mom. And it isn't because I really feel he dwells on that but because I do. He is involved with someone new now his own age and it looks very promising. I believe they are very happy. But I haven't been able to let this go in my own head and I think of it often. I would like to move on from it but I don't know how to forgive myself for that. I just feel like I failed him. I can't really bring this up to him anymore as he assured me in the past that it doesn't matter so I am kind of on my own struggling with it. Advice, please and thank you for listening


Hi, R., my take is all of us have this. I do and I have seen it here year after year. We want to be perfect moms and there is no such thing. We want to be able to look back and get that we were always there...always wise...and we're human. For me, not accepting my humanness was something I had to grow through and out of. It was too heavy a load for me to carry and too hard on those near and dear. Sending hugs...
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


R, I wonder if this is coming up for you again at this time because DS is at the start of a new relationship, as he was with the older woman when you did what you regret.  Is it triggering you in some way?  Perhaps you are holding onto the guilt because you are afraid you might do something rash again and regret it?  It was a learning experience for you 7 years ago and you have grown from it.  You rightly apologized and DS let go of it.  DS is older and, hopefully, wiser too in his decisions.  I think it's wonderful that you have a good relationship with DS at this time. 


No Marina, it isn't because I'm afraid of doing anything rash again at all. And it isn't just now becoming an issue for me. The problem is that shortly after all this happened 7 years ago, after everything had a chance to settle down and I had a chance to absorb everything that I began to feel very guilty about it all and haven't stopped feeling guilty ever since.


Luise you are always so understanding and I appreciate your insight so much. I can tell you are a wonderful woman and I want to thank you for making this the special place that it is  :)


Thank you, R. WWU means a lot to me. I will be 90 in March and love the way we all work together.   :)
Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. Dalai Lama


Hello R,

I totally agree with Luise's wisdom -- we're all human, subject to "less than" choices ...

Over the years, I've had thoughts 'pop up' out of nowhere, taking me down Memory Lane of raising my children,  remembering something I did -- or didn't do/should have done, and, something I said -- or shouldn't have said, and on and on.
And to be honest, some of those times were stupidity on my part.
Then, I'll ask myself: what were you thinking?
To which I respond (and NOW realize): I wasn't thinking at the time!

So, I give myself permission to let myself off the hook. I remind myself at that particular time, I did my best. If I could go back and do it differently, I would. But since it's not possible, I cut myself some slack, chalk it up as being "human" and treat myself kindly.
As Luise says, it's too heavy a load to carry.
And the older we get, if we don't lay down some of these burdens, they will suck the life out of you!

I'm now dealing with the aftermath of my mother's death several months ago.
I was her primary care giver and it was never 'good enough.' But I did what I could.
I'm weary of living in the "Could of, Should of, If only" Land!

We need to talk to ourselves in a kind and healthy way -- not listening to other voices, whoever they may be. (sometimes, it's our 'own' negative voice)

More hugs to you!


Yes, as the mother of an adult child with disabilities, I know about those feelings. They can render you helpless & motionless if you allow them to, which really doesn't benefit anyone.

I'm slowly learning to let go of what can't be changed. Like you, I did the best I could with what I had at the time. I "left it all on the field" as they say after a tough soccer match, lol. Time to also take good care of myself with as much vigor & love as I gave to others!
Respect ... is appreciation of the separateness of the other person, of the ways in which he or she is unique.
-- Annie Gottlieb