How do I forgive myself?


#1

Back in high school when I met my hubby he had a friend with him. This friend ended up dated one of my best friends and we all hung out together and had many great times. He had a difficult home life, his dad drank too much, his mom had chronic depression and was hospitalized at the time of his graduation. My husband and he had a falling out after school and we lost touch.

We just recently reconnected on facebook. Back in our high school days after his relationship ended with my friend I found out he had developed feelings for me through a mutual friend. I never let him know that I knew and he never came out and said anything. He wasn’t very kind about my husband I marrying back in the day as teenagers -he said it wouldn’t work and he wasn’t the only one.

Anyway as I said we recently reconnected on facebook. We made small talk, exchanged old high school pics -I was happy to renew our friendship. One night he left a very strange message on my facebook. It was very disconnected and hard to follow but what I could make of it was something about my husband doing something to make me mad and me ending up with him. I deleted it and replied kind of made a joke of it keeping it light but letting him know my heart had always belonged to my husband. I really thought after 18 years an old high school crush would have faded. We messaged occasionally after that never discussing what he wrote.

I made a point of posting pics of my hubby and I, and making positive comments about my hubby on facebook. I wanted to make the point that we were happy.

Well two days before Christmas he drank himself to death. His sister sent me a sweet message about how highly he thought of me and how he spoke of me often. She said he had mentioned he felt bad about something he said to me recently. She ended it by saying that I had touched his life and he thought I was wonderful.

I am falling to pieces right now. I am so far from wonderful its ridiculous. I knew he had nothing. His marriage had failed & he had no children, both his parents were dead, he was estranged from his older brother and only had a relationship with his younger sister. He lived alone. Instead of having compassion I stuck our happiness in his face. I wanted him to see he had been wrong about my husband and I. It was selfish and prideful. I have been given so much and I flaunted it, instead of being sensitive to someone who has had a lifetime of struggles. Now he’s dead. I can’t undo it, I can’t take it back. It was a horrible thing to do, after all God has given me, to be so prideful and cruel.

It’s not like I can learn from my mistakes and move on. Somebody died, he’s gone, I can’t go back and fix it -his sister has lost both her parents and now her brother. I just don’t know how to deal with the horrible guilt that I have.


#2

Wow I am so so sorry that is really sad. I am not sure how to answer your question, but I think if you went to confession and discussed your feelings with a Priest that would help. That and praying. I find that prayer is the best way to know what to do and talking to God. He knows everything.I will keep you in my prayers. God Bless!!! Faustina


#3

God bless you. This must be a very difficult time for you and all I can do is add a few thoughts that I hope can help. First of all, don’t feel like you were not compassionate to him, you simply wanted him to know that your husband is a good man and you are happy. It is not a sin to be happy. Whatever you wrote to him did not cause him to die. Death from drinking does not happen overnight, nor do the problems that led him to that point. Rather than looking at his death as happening because of you, it sounds like you were the only bright spot in his life. You may have brought the only true happiness that he knew. People like you are sent by God to people like him to help pull them up from their depressions by giving them happiness. Have a mass said for him, pray a chaplet of divine mercy, and be at peace by knowing that when his life was cloudy and troubled, you were the one ray of light.


#4

What an experience to have to weather. Having a part in the final step in this life of another.

You could not undo his tough upbringing; you could not undo his drinking… even to excess. You did make him happy in some ways (as you could in your circumstances), enough for him to tell his sister (Quote:“She said he had mentioned he felt bad about something he said to me recently. She ended it by saying that I had touched his life and he thought I was wonderful.”). Even as he ‘felt bad’ about something he said to you… that was done by him, and maybe was not the cause of him drinking that far.

Your part in this seems very admirable… considering. Each of us makes life-choices, some with vows, that determine what happens next. I know the feeling you have here, since it became what it did… the finale. I have been a part in others ‘final-step’ also, some which I could only watch; some which I could try and stay uplifted; some of which I caused directly (in war)… and all of them are not pleasant. The ones I caused where the toughest to bear, even with confession, and rationalizing the circumstances… something deep inside still bugged me. But realizing that I too will someday make that final step… and it will be mine to make, not anyone else, it becomes a more personal thing. The longer we live, the more that take that step before us… then it will be our turn, and no one can stop it, not even the one doing it.

If nothing else that I learned from this, it is to be grateful for everything one has (as given by God… IT IS!). And the bottom line, it’s other people that mean the most… treat them as God would, yourself too. Isn’t this then following Christ’s example… and being Catholic (Christian)? Relationship’s, on the various levels that they are, are usually VERY HUMAN and have a variety of sides to them… remember the nice sides. We all sway between naughty and nice in our seeking of perfection. Learn from the naughty, practice more nice…


#5

God bless you, rayne… my heart goes out to you :console:

In reading the response of the other posters… I would have to agree with them.

There was nothing prideful or cruel about you making it clear to your friend, that you and your husband are happily married. Your friend made an unfortunate remark, probably “born” out of his own lonliness; and which he seemed to regret… later. Poor soul.

But that doesn’t mean that you, in any way, contributed to his death. I have known two people in my life, who have died from alcohol consumption… and it is usually something which occurs over a period of time (liver disease, etc.).

From your own words… you did attempt to “reach out” to him, in friendship. Sadly, it became necessary for you to admonish him. But it sounds like you did so, with great gentleness, tact and compassion.

Perhaps, it would help you… to arrange to have Mass offered for your friend. And maybe you and your husband can pray, together for him. God bless you and give you comfort.


#6

that would have made me uncomfortable straight away.

Anyway as I said we recently reconnected on facebook. We made small talk, exchanged old high school pics -I was happy to renew our friendship. One night he left a very strange message on my facebook. It was very disconnected and hard to follow but what I could make of it was something about my husband doing something to make me mad and me ending up with him. I deleted it and replied kind of made a joke of it keeping it light but letting him know my heart had always belonged to my husband. I really thought after 18 years an old high school crush would have faded. We messaged occasionally after that never discussing what he wrote.

you handled it well and even continued to contact him, which is more than most would.

I made a point of posting pics of my hubby and I, and making positive comments about my hubby on facebook. I wanted to make the point that we were happy.

this was the right thing to do, for the sake of him and your marriage. To let him know where you stand with your husband while keeping contact with him and supporting him in that way was an admirable thing to do.

I agree with the others that you did nothing wrong, but acted in an honourable way. I can’t see that you need forgiveness for anything. Would making out that you were miserable with your husband have helped him? Obviously not. He may have got the wrong impression and thought you were inviting him to get closer. You were both truthful and supportive with him.

I say don’t worry, but second the idea of discussing it with a priest to help clear your conscience :slight_smile:


#7

You were honest with him and you were a friend but not in a way that he may have wanted or needed.

Your obligations are to your husband and family. You could not have gone to him in the manner that he may have wanted. IF you had started a relationship with him, it would have been seriously wrong and you both would have suffered more because of it.

For now the best that you can do is to pray and remember him and his family in your prayers.

It’s telling that both he and his sister think of you as being a friend. So you touched his life in a very positive way. Sometimes that is the best that we can do. His life may have been even more miserable if you had not shown him some kindness to begin with.

He made his own choices, and his regrets are consequences of his own life. Some times being a friend or an ear to listen is the best that we can do.

I once had a friend who became confined to a wheel chair. His life was almost the complete opposite of mine. He was uneducated and worked infrequently until he was well past 30. It seemed like all the blessings in life I had and he did without. He stayed a bachelor and later had a stroke which left him partially paralyzed.

I helped him a bit but our lives went in opposite directions. It got to the point where prayers was about all I had to offer him. I visited or saw him a couple times a year, but for the most part I had a family and concerns of my own. He converted a few years before he passed away.

Looking back, he just did not have the same ambitions or motivations that I had. He also did not have the same opportunities nor was he given similar support from family. He had no interest in education until much later and his poor early choices left him financially strapped.

He got plenty of advice and encouragement from friends, but he made his own decisions. I think he knows he made poor choices and he does not blame anyone but himself. I think your friend also knows he made poor choices and he obviously does not blame you (because he still thinks highly of you) and you should not blame yourself either.

God gives each of us some blessings and problems to deal with. I have no idea why it seems like some of us handles things well while others struggle and do poorly.

One thing about my friend in the wheel chair though, was that he was one of the nicest folks you could ever meet. He had a boatload of friends from all kinds of backgrounds. He died virtually penniless, but in that he was one of the richest folks I’ve known.


#8

May your friend rest in the peace and mercy of God.

You are not responsible for your friend’s decisions and the way his life turned out. Alcoholism and depression ran in his family–it seems he suffered from both, which colored his thinking and his actions. You did nothing wrong. In his state of mind he wanted you to do what you couldn’t do, and you are not to blame for that. Don’t be hard on yourself. And don’t take the blame for this man’s life and death. He made his choices and didn’t get the help he needed–help you could hardly have known he should have had. Many people who suffer from depression and/or alcoholism need professional help, which they are unable or unwilling to receive. His psyche was a deep hole which you nor any other mere human being else could have filled. So, be at ease in your mind about this and don’t let his mistakes spoil your happiness.


#9

Thank you all for your comforting words. It does help -I’m slowing working through it. Praying to God for direction.

I’m now still reeling from the funeral today. The embalming job was so bad it was disturbing. I’ve seen recent pictures of him and he didn’t look like that. It didn’t resemble him at all. I think he’s being cremated because the casket didn’t look like a real one. It was gray, felt cover and extremely simple -and not new looking. There were very few flowers -the viewing was only an hour and then there was a service and and then the funeral directors basically ushered us out. I think the family didn’t have money and did the most basic thing that they could afford. It was a sad ending to sad life.

I feel so bad for his sister. She’s lost both her parents and now her troubled brother. His older brother was there, mostly looking irritated. His brother and sister never stood together, never talked and sat on opposite sofa’s during the service. I spoke with his sister and she said her brothers rarely spoke to each. My friend’s brother didn’t understand his depression and thought he should just pull himself out it. Just a sad situation all around.

Please pray for his sister, she was very close with her brother. I know she is grieving terribly.


#10

How do you forgive yourself?

What is there to forgive yourself for? Seriously.


#11

If you continue to be bothered by this a talk with your priest about it might be helpful–or a good counselor. :slight_smile:

I’m now still reeling from the funeral today. The embalming job was so bad it was disturbing. I’ve seen recent pictures of him and he didn’t look like that. It didn’t resemble him at all. I think he’s being cremated because the casket didn’t look like a real one. It was gray, felt cover and extremely simple -and not new looking. There were very few flowers -the viewing was only an hour and then there was a service and and then the funeral directors basically ushered us out. I think the family didn’t have money and did the most basic thing that they could afford. It was a sad ending to sad life.

That’s too bad. It puts me in mind of Lazarus sitting at the gate of the rich man and dying in poverty, forgotten and uncared for by any man. But God cares about your friend even if the funeral director didn’t care enough to give him the dignity due to any human being. That’s sad.

I feel so bad for his sister. She’s lost both her parents and now her troubled brother. His older brother was there, mostly looking irritated. His brother and sister never stood together, never talked and sat on opposite sofa’s during the service. I spoke with his sister and she said her brothers rarely spoke to each. My friend’s brother didn’t understand his depression and thought he should just pull himself out it. Just a sad situation all around.

Please pray for his sister, she was very close with her brother. I know she is grieving terribly.

I will keep his sister in particular in my prayers, and also his brother who couldn’t cope with his brother’s problems. A lot of people can’t face things like this–they’re afraid they’ll end up the same, I suppose, so it’s understandable, if not entirely excusable. But one bright spot in all this is that you can be a friend to his sister, at least. We can only do what is possible for us to do, with God’s help, not what was beyond our power to do. You couldn’t have saved your friend–he was too deeply into his destructive behavior for an ordinary person to help him. :console: He needed professional help, and for one reason or another didn’t get it. You can remember him and pray for his soul, which I’m sure he greatly appreciates even though he isn’t here to say it.


#12

Oh man, I can’t imagine.

I’ve had to deal with forgiving myself before. I couldn’t stop beating myself up because, I felt, others had suffered because of my weakness.

You did nothing cruel. It doesn’t sound like you were mean-spirited at all. It’s like Dr. Phil says, “Life is all about intentions.” You certainly didn’t intend to hurt him. When someone makes the decision to take their life, they are not in their right mind, plain and simple (and I can say that with some authority). Your friend, as harsh as this is going to sound, was to busy feeling sorry for himself and clinging to the past he couldn’t appreciate what he still had, like your friendship for example. What he did was about him, not you. One is entitled to feel sorry for themselves every now and then, but it becomes a vice when we allow it to destroy us. Do not get stuck in the same trap that he did. What happened was beyond your control, and nothing can undo death.


#13

Rayne, I really appreciate your post. You have a very compassionate heart that is open to God. Nobody is perfect. I really admire you for seeing something that few people can see. You looked into your heart and examined your own motivations.:clapping: Wow…that’s really hard to do. You saw an opportunity to have more empathy that you missed, but that is a grace from God, not a condemnation from God.

Of course you were not responsible for his death; but you, because of your compassion and loving nature were able to see how you could have, should have done something differently. Wouldn’t that apply to everyone and anyone, no matter what they said, and how they dealt with that situation?

The only person who would have known how to respond in a way to this man that would have lead to his healing instead of his death was Jesus. You cannot hold yourself responsible in any way for his death. Continue to pray for him and his sister. I think you are very blessed by God to have had this insight.


#14

Depression is not a vice, it is a disease that is outside of the control of the person who is depressed. Unfortunately, when people believe they are just feeling sorry for themselves they label being depressed a “vice”, and begin to think they can “just snap out of it.” That mindset often lead to death for them.

But of course, it still not Rayne’s fault in any way, and she probably never could have prevented it.


#15

You couldn’t have known what was to happen as a result of his own actions, which we Catholics know through Church teaching that God will take into account this persons mental state. His “exile” is over and his purgation perhaps was complete. We must render unto God the things that are God’s.

You did the kind gentle nudging that is godly in nature. Should leading someone on in the name of kindness or wondering if you should entertain someones advances in case something bad happens to them, you, or yours, is not reasonable.


#16

.Hi! i have noted the main points and I think maybe you might look at them with different eyes after thinking of this.
On many times are these points all directed against your own relationship with your husband. The main points (three of them) are directed by him against you r relationship. Your telling him the good points were not to put him down but to tell him that his negative points were futile and that he had no reason to poke at you. This person as you mentioned had not let go. In the bible Jesus tells all people “thou shalt not covet your neighbours wife” in all truth DID HE??? the answer is yes.

***He wasn’t very kind about my husband ***
he said it wouldn’t work
was something about my husband doing something to make me mad and me ending up with him.

***B]*The end product was that his own words worked against him, remember Moses told Pharaoh that if he spoke against the Jews it would go against him and pharaoh called for the Jewish children to die and the same happened to the Egyptians children ******* ***

His marriage had failed & he had no children
both his parents were dead,
he was estranged from his older brother and
only had a relationship with his younger sister.
He lived alone
Instead of having compassion I stuck our happiness in his face.
I wanted him to see he had been wrong about my husband and. It was selfish and prideful.

***Don’t be so hard on your self, God is in charge not you. Tell me (tell yourself) what compassion were you going to offer him with what he offered you, hearing only negative against your marriage. If he were still alive would he have still been persecuting ***
It seemed he was not interested in listening to you and only seemed to have negative against your marriage. Where you went wrong, if you did was to carry on writing.

I can’t undo it, I can’t take it back.
It’s not like I can learn from my mistakes and move on. Somebody died, he’s gone, I can’t go back and fix it -
I just don’t know how to deal with the horrible guilt that I have.

***AS christian you can go on, people live the way they do different to others and that is their prerogative and no other person can do any thing about it. I know I have been there and 15 years latter I am now free.
After forgiving the person who murdered my daughter, then hung himself in front of her children, and the woman who did all she could to stop me looking after the five children because of jelously, consequenty they were sexually molest by those who were supposed to have looked after them. As a christian i forgave her the man and myself for beiing caught up in the mess. I let go all to the feetof Jesus on the cross. I then asked the Holy Spirit to fill me to take the place of the pain ***

*****You can be free have you not read how Jesus dies for EVERY persons sins and He meant it.
I have been set free from the situations by firstly realising that the whole situation is built around NOT being a blame setting. ( You might be doing just this which is why it hurts so much) I had to forgive the main person and that was ME. To forgive my being caught up (as you were) in the situation. 2 then to forgive him for his part of the situation and tell Jesus that you lay it all down at the feet of Jesus feet on the cross.
Get some other person to take you through this forgiveness pattern. *****

I will not go further but will answer questions if you wish.
It does work.
Godbless


#17

Satan uses these feelings to undermine faith, don’t give in to that. Perhaps you could increase your faith by a spiritual book by one of the many saints. St. Francis De Sales’ “Introduction to the Devout Life” from the 1600’s is better than most things of more recent authorship, especially of liberal inclination.

Faith that God has taken this person into heaven and thanking Him for this is the kind of faith we should all have, put this into use right now. I am sorry for your loss.


#18

May Our dear Lord grant her… and all of you, healing and comfort at this terribly difficult time. God bless.


#19

Rayne, you did what you thought was the right thing at the time. Hindsight is cruel. But I don’t know if the following prayer can help. I wrote it one time I felt I’d badly failed someone…thinking too of St Peter who failed Jesus at the worst possible time in His worst hours. I directed the prayer to Jesus because any failure is a failure to Him. But Rayne, you’re human, and you were doing what you thought right. How many of us wouldn’t have done the same?

Peter’s regret

Jesus, I know the regret of one who fails to serve the need in another person, perhaps even in one’s most-loved. I have experienced the remorse of those who wound another, however unintentionally. Afterwards, there may seem no redress? The damage perhaps seems irreversible. The other’s heart or mind may seem unapproachable due to their nature or attitudes; or one simply lacks courage to risk the other’s anger or reproach?

When we bless others, we bless You, and when we wound them, we wound You… Thus, in Your weakest moment I left You desolate. In Your greatest need, I abandoned You—although in my confusion and loss I feel that You deserted me. Nothing can expunge your hurt then, in that time. I ask forgiveness, and You forgive. Yet the moment cannot return and you are gone. Not gone, but changed…beyond my touch and understanding?

The scars remain, burned in Your feet and hands, and in my heart. Yet You loved and chose, and gave Your life for me—although my weakness, fear, and sin betrayed and denied You. Now, in recompense made fit by Your pure sacrifice—again and again** I shall serve and pray for each brother in his weakness and need, as You have done for me. Thus may I watch with my Lord, sharing a-hundredfold what once I denied You**.


#20

At the same time I wrote the following, for the same reasons

In failure
Jesus, I put my trust in the apparent failure of the Cross, for You are condemned to a criminal’s execution and it seems that Your mission has failed, You who alone could redeem humanity.

Who can accept that it is God-incarnate whose sweat and blood drips into the dust, from Your drained, dishonoured body! Yet Your human cry of abandonment by the Father is belied by the triumph of love and faith in Your final confident submission. You die, but You have not betrayed the Father’s trust.

Jesus, to my sadness, I fail in many ways and sin against others by my failures. Have I betrayed Your will or mistaken Your purpose? Will You restore me to grace now, Jesus? To do what? Will You show me? Will You fuse together the broken pieces—of my life, of my service—to make a new and better creation? Am I to step around the fragments and to pass another way?

I ask to walk with certainty along the path of holiness that You choose uniquely for me. If not, then please allow me the certainty of buoyant faith. I ask courage to continue through the enveloping fog, trusting each small moment to the illumination of faith and grace.

Jesus out of my failure and sorrow You will bring healing and goodness luminescent as priceless pearls grown around grains of suffering, for Your glory, and for others’ remedy and blessing.


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