Finding the Right Path After Making Mistakes

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. My name is Mitch, I was blessed and cursed with an imagination. All my life I felt like an outcast or freak to people. Girls never liked me, everyone I know always found fault in me. As a child, I was very emotional, and sensitive. I grew up feeling lost and alone all the time. At 18, I finally found my purpose in life, my ambition, my path. Filmmaking. I worked my butt off in film school and graduated with my B.S. degree. Anyway, after I graduated it’s been difficult for me. A thousand doors slammed in my face, lose of insurance, school debt, living with my folks. I’m struggling for money and my career. I was always a fair man, who always did the right thing, honesty, kind-hearted and loyal. Then one day I lost everything, my jobs, and my ex-girlfriend. I did whatever I could to stay faithful. So I put up with times she’s insulted me, angered me, belittled me and labeled me. But for some reason I got so mad I lost my mind. I betrayed her trust by putting a fake ad online I took it down as soon as I put it up. People all my life have put me down for years, hurt me, insulted me,betrayed me or attacked me for no reason, I never once acted in revenge. But now I did for the first time ever, and it feels horrible. I lost control of myself, leading a double life filled with excess alcoholism and sex. I’ve made the biggest mistakes in my life. I finally told my ex-girlfriend the truth and apologized for everything. I’m still struggling with money and my career, I got what I deserve but I want to change. I got to self help groups for my sex and alcohol problems and pray but I still feel lost. What can I do?

A. Have you tried therapy? Self help groups are good but you may need more intensive one-on-one treatment. Consider individual therapy.

You said that you have made mistakes but it seems that you can still recover from them. You mentioned one mistake in particular, the time you put up a fake ad about your ex but took it down immediately. Luckily, it seems that little damage was done to your girlfriend. No one probably had a chance to read the ad.

It seems that you had a brief lapse in judgment. Please realize that from your account of the story, this was a minor mistake. Very little harm was done and you rapidly realized your error in judgment. Yes, you made a mistake but all human beings make mistakes. It’s how an individual handles a mistake that truly matters. After making a mistake you quickly moved to correct it. This shows that you have the ability to be self-reflective, you care about others and were eager to correct your error. If I were your therapist I would praise you for these actions.

You did not detail any other mistakes that you may have made therefore I cannot comment on these.

I want to also note that you were able to complete a bachelor’s degree in a field that you describe as “your purpose in life.” No one can take this degree away from you. You earned it and it’s yours forever. Now what you need to do is to seek professional help so that you can resume doing what it is that you love to do in life — filmmaking. Good professional therapeutic help could markedly improve your life. I strongly urge you to consider it. Thanks for writing.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 28 Jul 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). Finding the Right Path After Making Mistakes. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 2, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/07/28/finding-the-right-path-after-making-mistakes/