Guilt & Disappointment

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

I recently came to the realization that I carry a ton of psychological issues that stem from my childhood. The issues I am battling are depression, shame, emotional deprivation, fear of intimacy, fear of abandonment and I am very passive aggressive. I have never felt comfortable revealing myself or letting myself feel vulnerable instead I push anyone who comes close to me away. Essentially sabotaging all of my personal relationships. I am aware that my husband is frustrated with my behavior and I have done so much damage, caused him so much pain that it makes me hate myself even more. I don’t feel like I am good enough for him and sometimes wonder why is he with me. My feelings of low self worth were caused by my parents who were very verbally abusive to me. I was also raped as a teenager and that caused my self loathing feelings to spiral out of control (my mother blamed me for the rape and said I must of done something to deserve it). My husband has been extremely patient and forgiving but I feel like it is so hard for me to get rid of these old habits. I have taken the first step of acknowledging my problems and desperately want to lose these paralyzing emotions. I have attended individual counseling, currently taking wellbuterin and am reading a very good book that is offering me guidance in how to to change. The problem is that I have a lot of anxiety. I feel convinced that my husband hates me and wants to leave me. I want to be a loving and trustful partner to him but I am so scared to let my guard down. What if he gets to know my true self and becomes disappointed? We had another fight today and honestly my heart is broken at all of the terrible things I’ve done to him. I can’t stop crying at the amount of pain he must be in. He said he is willing to move on but I feel extreme guilt and am so ashamed. What can I do now to move forward? How can I make these feelings stop? I don’t want to fight anymore. I want to prove to him that I will love him unconditionally.

A. I know it may not feel like it but you’re on the road to recovery. I hope you acknowledge what you have accomplished thus far. You realized that you had psychological issues that stem from your childhood. You’ve admitted this. You recognize these issues are affecting your marriage. You then took steps to correct the problem by engaging in counseling, starting medication and educating yourself about how to change. You have made enormous strides and I commend you on your efforts.

It’s important that you put your progress in perspective, as I have done in the aforementioned paragraph. The flipside is that trying to deal with the issues you’ve faced since childhood is going to take time. It’s going to be difficult and perhaps unpleasant but it is worth attempting and you are doing a great job.

With regard to your husband you should constantly communicate your love for him. Make him aware of the fact that a large part of why you entered treatment is to correct your behavior and to improve your marriage. He should know that you are doing this not only for yourself but for him. You may also want to involve him in the therapy process. For instance, perhaps you can invite him to attend therapy appointments with you or he can attend on his own.

You can’t expect perfection or that you will not make mistakes while you’re attempting to correct the problems that have burdened you since childhood. You will likely make mistakes and you may revert back to old patterns but that is to be expected. The main point is that you are attempting to improve yourself and that is all anyone can and should expect. I wish you luck on your continued success.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Sep 2009

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2009). Guilt & Disappointment. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 26, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/09/06/guilt-disappointment/