hi all - i'm hoping you can help me. this will be somewhat of a cryptic post because i don't want to get into details, but i believe that the basic gist of it can apply to many situations and i'm hoping it might resonate with someone.
this has nothing to do with IF. something happened in my past that is very painful and that i deeply regret. at the time, it was a decision i had to make. i only shared it with my parents, dh and my BFF. everyone helped me work through it and agreed it was the right decision. on paper, i too feel it was the right decision for my family and our circumstances at the time. however, it goes against who i am and it was very, very, deeply painful. not a day goes by that i don't think about it. sometimes it's a fleeting thought and i can easily get back to my day. other times something will be a trigger, and it will pull me down for moments, hours, even days.
what i'm looking for from you is advice on how to forgive myself and move on in a good way. i didn't do anything criminal and it doesn't go against my core beliefs. meaning, if someone else told me they had the same experience, i wouldn't judge them for it. in fact, i think i would be quite understanding. but it goes against WHO I AM. so it ends up coloring my feelings about MYSELF. and it's a deep sadness.
are you still with me? i know it's hard without knowing the actual details, but i'm trying to find coping mechanisms. is there something in your past that you wish hadn't happened? or you wish you hadn't been faced with an awful decision? and, if so, how do you live with it? in my case, nobody else was hurt so i can't say "i'm sorry" to anyone but myself. except i can't seem to forgive myself. if i tell the people who know that i feel i don't deserve happiness because of this thing, they think i'm crazy and try to talk me to a good place (count my blessings, etc.) and i don't want to talk to anyone new about it. i'm ashamed, so i want to just keep it to the people who i am closest with (parents, dh, bff.)
life is great right now. i have my two amazing miracle children, my marriage is good, etc etc. i feel i'm up against a wall dealing with it on my own, because the few people who know can only say "you made the right decision, you need to move on." i don't want to talk to a therapist, because i don't want to spend what little free time i have rehashing this. i want to put it in a deep pocket of my brain and heart and, knowing that i am a good person who tried to do the right thing, forgive and forget. well, i won't ever forget, but i'd like to think about the positive that has come out of it: that being that it was the right decision long-term.
ok i'm rambling... i don't want any religious advice or anything to do with god because that doesn't work for me, even though i very much respect that it works for others. is there maybe a book out there that could help? i don't know what i'm looking for exactly, i just hate having this "thing" that hangs over me and clouds my days and makes it so that i can't feel 100% happy. if ever i'm having a great day (which is often!) and i feel effortlessly happy, i will then think about this thing and say, "nope, there's still that thing that happened. you can't be completely content."
how do i make amends with MYSELF and not be so damned hard on ME? it basically boils down to this: all my dreams have come true, i'm in such a great place in so many ways, so why do i keep punishing myself over something in the past that is impossible to change? do i just not know how to be completely happy? wtf.
oh and i should mention that at the time, i did seek therapy to help me with the decision... it was nothing to be taken lightly. i tried to tackle all angles. it was nothing impulsive.
i hope this makes some sense or speaks to someone.
ETA: i think if i had to do it all over again, i'd make the same decision as painful as it is. i sometimes fantasize about not having made the decision. but i would have paid a price. basically it was a no-win situation. i pay the price either way. if that makes sense. sigh.