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How Do I Forgive Myself?


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How do you deal when you have hurt someone you really care about because of your illness and they won't ever take you back into their lives? I hurt a friend that I was so close to that I considered (and still consider) him like a brother to me. I know that what I did was wrong. I did it because I let my depression and my anxiety disorder get the better of me. I immediately regretted it. I so wish that I could go back and undo what I did, but I know I can't. I don't make good friends easily, and I know he was a real friend and that he really cared about me. I feel like I just made him feel stupid for caring about me as a friend at all, and I really abused his trust in me. I don't know if I will ever be able to forgive myself for that. It has been years now since he has spoken to me, but the pain is still there. A lot of the time I am OK. But if I ever think about things we used to do together, I get very sad. I get sad around my birthday (which was yesterday) because he was the only friend I had who used to actually remember my birthday and always did something for me. On top of all this, a very close friend recently died unexpectedly and this has brought a lot of depressing feelings into the mix. I think about the idea that I will never see my old friend again and I just get so sad that I feel like I am going to die. As I get older I think I may not be here a whole lot longer and how will I feel when I die. I can't put into words how bad it hurts. I cry and cry and it never helps. I have tried talk therapy, online therapy, medication, exercise, socializing, distracting myself and a lot of other things too but the hurt is still there. It just creeps back in. What it feels like is as if my own brother told me he never wanted to see me again. It's like he thinks I can never change and get better. I wish I wasn't so damn sensitive and I wish I didn't care like I do. There is no way I am ever going to be able to make myself stop caring about him as a friend. So how do I deal with this? I hate feeling this way and it is eating at my soul. He says he has forgiven me but he could just be saying that to shut me up. But I know that's all I am ever going to get from him. He will not talk to me, acknowledge me, will not respond to my messages, wants nothing to do with me. I do not know what to do with these feelings.

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The title says you are looking to forgive yourself, from what I've read though it looks like you are looking for forgiveness from others. I remember hearing this: "It is easier to forgive an enemy than to forgive a friend". Also, here's a quote I've always liked from Bruce Lee: "Mistakes are always forgiveable, if one has the courage to admit them.". You have admitted your mistake; so that's something right? :nod:

I can't help feeling that if he was that good a friend, he would forgive you.

I completely agree with Lauryn there. Sometimes forgiveness can be the final stage of a strong relationship, but it can be a hard hurdle to get past.

One last thing, I'm sorry for your loss, I lost a close family member recently myself so I kind of comprehend what you are going through. I hope you start to feel a bit better soon.

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If this were me... I would live my life as though they were still in it. Avoid mistakes such as the one that led to the breakup in you and your friend's relationship.

Be the best genehoke you can be, so that if he gets casual (or other) updates from mutual friends and acquaintances, he might understand that you've changed and perhaps your relationship is worth renewing.

Failing in that, perhaps you can then more easily form another, better relationship with someone else.

You also have to be receptive to that idea. Pick up or devote renewed energy to a pastime or hobby or volunteer work so that you can socialize.

Best of luck.

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Hi, I've had exacally the same thing, accept for the fact that my friend fell out with me when I misunderstood her request and I thought I was helping and she thought I was snooping. I feel the same as you, except that I have too sets of feelings, one that I've lost a wonderful friend, but the other is anger, over the way she's cut me out of her life. She's now for the first time told me not to contact her, or she'll be forced to take action. I don't want to upset her, but the whole thing has caused me to need councilling. I think that if I could stay angry with her, it would cancel out the feelings of the lost friendship, but now I'm worried that if I see her and say anything she'll report me for harassment, even though I've only sent her a few messages in the last three months. So it feels like my hands are tied. So I guess what I'm saying is that if I concentrate on the reality of how badly I've been treated this could cancel out the good feelings I have and help me deal with loosing her. It sounds bad, but it's really standing up for myself and not taking the punishment. Maybe looking at this from the point of view of how badly you've been treated can help you see that, you've only lost a poor friend, as a good one would forgive you. My friend wouldn't forgive me, even when I asked her to.

This is just my idea, it may not work, I'm no expert, just trying to help.

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Hey everybody, thank you so much for all of the input. These are some great ideas. I've been really thinking about this, and I did contact my friend. He assured me that he has forgiven me and does not hate me, and wishes me the best, but that given what happened between us he thinks it is best if we don't resume our friendship. That it is as much for my own good as his, because he does not want to take the risk of something like that happening again and him having to hurt me again. I do understand this. Of course it still hurts and I still miss our friendship. I don't think it would help me to try to make myself feel bad about him. I have too many memories of things we did together, he was in my wedding, we took many trips together, I have no doubt that he was a good friend but I feel I just put him in a bad situation and he had no choice but to let me go. I'm going to do what Ratboy says and just concentrate on being the best I can be, because if I do maybe at some point in the future he will feel it's OK to take that chance, and that I have really changed. And I have social anxiety, so it's sometimes hard for me to let people in, but I have been making efforts and I have to continue that. Developing a well rounded support network would enable me to feel better about myself and put some of the negative feelings behind me.

climber1, I identify with what you are saying. For quite a while I was very angry and had almost convinced myself I hated this person. But when I thought about it, I realized that anger and hate are only hurting me and not him, and I don't really wish to hurt him anyway. To make myself hate him would only serve to cancel out the positive things that were there about our friendship, and make me bitter, as well as destroying any possible chance for reconciliation in the future. Sometimes it takes a really long time for someone to let you back in after you've hurt them. It sounds like he may be softening a little and I am just going to give it time and work on myself. Of course, it sounds like your situation is different from mine in that I do feel I lost control of my emotions in a way that was unfortunate. A real friend is always going to forgive you for an honest mistake IMO.

Edited by genehoke
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