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Dealing with Shame & Guilt. :(

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by Huckleberry, Dec 29, 2016.

  1. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    I've recently come to the conclusion that guilt and shame are keeping me in a pretty dark place. I don't know if they are responsible in anyway for my pain but regardless of this I do feel I need to process the guilt and shame I feel.

    Basically my Mother dies about 4 years ago quite suddenly and as an only child I was the sole benefactor of her house. This was sold for quite a substantial sum and I think my Mum assumed I would be sensible and put money away to secure my families future.

    Whilst a lot of the money was used pretty wisely to pay off some debts (in hindsight not the correct debts to clear though) and also for house improvements etc I also managed to fritter away an awful lot of the money. I think the issue was basically that was because I was anxious and depressed and in pain and with an amount of money I had never previously had access to then I just spent money in an attempt to numb my physical and emotional pain.

    A few years on from my mothers death and I'm feeling huge amounts of guilt and shame over how I wasted a lot of this money and how I didn't do the smart thing and put money away for my families future. My mother had an early hard life and worked hard all her life to leave me something and I just feel that I've totally let her down. I feel if she could see what I had done she would be pretty livid and incredibly disappointed in my actions...I don't think she would necessarily want me to live the rest of my days beating myself up over it but I know she would find it hard to forgive me. It has actually recently got to the point when I'm dreaming that my Mother returns somehow, like she hadn't really died, and she asks me for money to put her back on her feet but I have to explain that it has pretty much all gone.

    I really don't know how to handle this guilt? I know what I've done was wrong, foolhardy and selfish and I don't know if I need to forgive myself so to speak but I do feel that I should be punished in some way...the problem is the guilt and shame I'm feeling doesn't really punish me but it does have an adverse effect on my family as it just makes me incredibly sad, miserable and withdrawn and this obviously radiates into family life.

    This is tricky for me. I know sometimes people have guilt over things that they actually aren't responsible for but this is obviously a clear cut case of me screwing up. I know I haven't murdered anyone or commited a heinous crime of some sort but do know I let down the most important person in my life and also my family in the long run.

    I'm just wondering if anyone has had to deal with anything remotely similar and can offer me some advice on how to get past this. My pain started before my Mothers death etc but I'm sure this guilt is probably fanning the TMS flames.
  2. jaumeb

    jaumeb Peer Supporter

    She would have forgiven you. We all make terrible mistakes. Practice forgiving others as that will make it easier to forgive yourself. The past is gone and it cannot be changed. The best thing you can do now is to live in the present. The mind needs to be tamed or it can be our worst enemy.
    tgirl likes this.
  3. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Huckleberry,

    I am sorry about your guilt. I will make a response as best I can.

    First, I think it is important to recognize your guilt for what it is: "superego activity" or Inner Critic activity. Even the fact that it is related to your mother, and that your mother is coming back to haunt you about this points out the clear connection to the "Inner Parent." This inner facet of ourselves "knows more" and is "more powerful" than the Inner Child, who feels smaller. I think it is important to see this common human experience as "guilt which we can all have (based on the formation of the ego) and which is looking for a place to happen." In other words, it is your inner structures which are responding to external events. The external events are not so important to your happiness, as is your inner understanding and self-compassion for your human condition.

    The external events which trigger these feelings of self-deficiency need to have some "validity" in order to activate these patterns pf guilt. There has to be enough reality reflecting our "guilty, wrong nature" in order for us to believe in our guilt and shame.

    So there is a reality which is that you perhaps could have spent the money more wisely. That is a fact. Try to separate this fact from the familiar "ready-to-be-activated-guilt." Regret about past events, grief about loss of money, and a desire to do things differently in the future are all healthy feelings. Normal learning. These need to be explored without the taint of guilt.

    The suffering comes in when we identify as a messed up human being. This aspect needs to be teased out in your experience, and confronted. No, you're not messed up or wrong. These are childhood messages. Do your best to differentiate this experience and call "bullsh-t." You are a loving, feeling, caring, flawed human being, like everyone.

    At some point the work is differentiating from the old self images of child in relationship to parent. This requires strength and boundaries and probably outrage that you are treating yourself this way. "I use my money the way I want to Mom, Back Off!" might be a good start to express this differentiation. This is tender, brave work, and most folks need assistance in the beginning.

    I hope you take some action for yourself and don't continue to live in this low grade hell of self hate. Life is too short!

    Andy B
    Ellen likes this.
  4. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Thanks very much for the replies guys.

    I dunno but feeling maybe this was really journaling material rather than putting it out there...it's totally down to me how I deal with this and move forward. It's almost like I'm avoiding personal responsibility dy asking others how I should be feeling and dealing with the thoughts.

    I'm thinking because I've had a bit of a shitty Christmas period with this pain flare I'm just feeling a bit pissed and doubting myself again...the usual thing of losing all self confidence when things get tricky and starting to TMS over TMS and getting caught up in the thinking rather than sitting with the feeling. With this in mind I think I'm due a forum break...thanks for your replies and all the best for the new year.
  5. Andy Bayliss

    Andy Bayliss TMS Coach & Beloved Grand Eagle

    Hi Huckleberry,
    I was happy to reply. I understand your experience, personally, and wish you the best. Our lives are complex, difficult, and fraught with troubles like you describe. Good luck!
    Andy B
  6. Huckleberry

    Huckleberry Well known member

    Cheers Andy.
  7. wonderwoman

    wonderwoman Peer Supporter

    Guilt and shame also was the cause of my TMS.

    Basically what work for me was accepting that the shadow part of my personality was just as lovable as the parts that I liked about myself. I learned to appreciate these feelings. If I didn't have the contrasts of the shadow part, I would not experience the good parts of myself. In other words, you would not know what hot was unless you experienced the contrast of cold

    Then all my TMS pain went away.
    Ellen likes this.

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