The past coming back

So, I am a young man just about ready to graduate college and I have a weight that I am carrying that I can’t seem to get rid of. While at school I gained a lot of experience dating as well as made a few mistakes with girls. Suffice it to say that I got a little too close to a couple of them (arguably sex, arguably not), and I feel as though some of the mistakes I have made still haunt me. I am a recent ‘revert’ to the Church so I have Confessed all of these faults and turned away from this sinful part of my life, but images of these situations often pop into my head and leave me with a lasting, intense feeling of guilt that I don’t feel like I will ever be free of. I am worried that this intense guilt will follow me into future relationships and possibly into marriage, where I would guess that it would cause some problems in the relationship that I will have with my wife.

At this point I’m not exactly sure in which direction I should proceed, I offer up daily Masses for it and have prayed plenty over the matter. Does anyone have any experience with this type of situation and would be able to offer up some advice? I appreciate it.

I’m sorry to hear you’re having problems with guilt over your past actions. Believe me, you are definitely not alone in this.
The way I have dealt with such attacks is to think of a prayer or scripture and whenever the thought recurs to me, repeat the prayer. Something like, “thank you, Lord Jesus, that you paid the price for my sins and have forgiven me for them. Have mercy on any others who may be tempted to such sins and deliver them also.”

The way I look at it, the evil one tries to undermine our faith by reminding us of our sins, but if his every attack elicits such a prayer, he will soon back off. Now I could be way off base, but replacing a painful thought with a holy one can never do any harm.

If you know a holy, wise priest you could also considering counselling with him.

Let it go, God has.

Christopher West speaks about his past experiences during his younger days, and also how he has accepted God’s forgiveness for his sins. Perhaps you might want to get his CD on the Theology of the Body. I am not sure if he goes into it in his books because I have not read his books in their entierty but have seen him live at his seminars and on CD.

I’m just having a bit of trouble doing it in the orthodox ways. I’m going to be more diligent with my prayer and whatnot as well as read Chris West’s book. Thanks for the help.

244 Rocket told me this and everytime that I felt this way i say it in my head. “A priest once told me some good advice: Let go, let God!” Go to the prayer forum and let people pray for you it really helps. I am praying for you also.:signofcross:

You already did it the orthodox way, you confessed.

What you have now is a self imposed guilt, that undermines Jesus and his sacrifice for you on the cross.

Jesus died so that your sins would be forgiven. If you continue to live in guilt after confession, then you are saying that his suffering on the cross was not enough for you.

Feeling this guilt is actually a little selfish and self absorbed. You are saying, “its all about me, and how I feel.” When really, the Christian attitude should be all about God and gratitude for his mercy. You should be doing less penance, and more praise “Thank you God, for giving me life! Thanks for sending your Son, to die for my sins. Thank you for your mercy.”

Then live your life with joy, as God intended.

Regret is part of repentance. You realize why you would not do it again.

Perhaps, what you are feeling… is it more regret and not really guilt? If so, then I think that is normal. Keep dealing with it in the healthy ways you have been, and over time, these occurences will happen less often.

If you are paralyzed by actual guilt, unable to move on at all, then I agree that is inappropriate, as you are forgiven. Maybe when that happens, reminding yourself, God has forgiven me, will help you. Each time it comes up, say to yourself, “God has forgiven me for that” and force yourself to focus on something else. It’s training for the mind, and can take a while, but you can form new habits.

One of the few pieces of real wisdom my mom managed to pass on in this area was that even after God forgives us, the hardest part is forgiving ourselves.

Hi there,
the others have given good advice already, I’ll include you in my prayers for your struggle to get past your past.

Blessings on your day!!

I had “fun” in college… too much actually but as a Protestant at the time, even a Youth Minister shortly after, I just asked for forgiveness and never worried about it.

Now that I’m Catholic I to pay more attention to Sin than I ever did but I hope to be able to teach my 3 sons no to be too hung up on them… it’s a fine line.

I tell you about my past because even today, 20 years later, some thoughts still pop into my head… but that’s because I’m human, I’m fallible and will always be to some degree.

The GREAT news is… that’s ok. :slight_smile: As Fr Serpa has said on the Apologist section, we can’t control things popping into our head. It’s what we do with those thoughts afterwards that matters. This is the same thing my other Christian friends and I discuss often. Through His Grace not only can we help to decrease the number of those instances… but more importantly,

He has truly forgotten them, we still having those lasting effects, that is why mortal sins are mortal, but once absolved - take great comfort in knowing that God sees them no longer!


Hi BC,

“Let go and let God” is easier said than done. I’ve been where you are. I sat on my “indiscretions” for over 30 years. Even after I went to confession and released it to God, it darn near destroyed me. I had to face my daemons.

First, God has already forgiven you. Now, you have to forgive yourself. The only one stopping you from receiving this precious gift of self-forgiveness is Satan. He is causing doubt and fear in your mind.

You did what you did, you can’t change that. You are what you are, that you can change. (I have a long sermon that goes here, but I’ll keep it short). Use the “expierences” of your past to teach other on how to avoid them.

As my other brothers and sisters here have said, “let it go”, but you have to also forgive yourself and ask forgiveness(if possible) from those you’ve hurt.

May your journey to true peace be swift and painless,

God Bless,
(a fellow traveler)

Yes… I have been in your exact situation. And believe me… It does get much better. Time is a healer as well as God… and as well as focusing on the new creation you have become. Seize the life of the man you have become; a man with renewed purity, self respect and chastity as his lifestyle.

When the flash-backs come into your head then dont suppress them violently - doing so can lead to anxiety and psychological issues later on - but let them fly through peacefully while firmly deciding not to look at them or dwell on them.
After a sexual relationship its very natural that the intense sexual urges take time to diminish and the pictures are frequent for a while. You then feel lust and you become ashamed. Think of this painful shame as part of contrition…
I assure you that the flash-backs diminish as time goes, and though it takes a while you will become more and more pure in your mind as you go about your days in peace with God and living in chastity in all areas of life.

Praised be the Lord for He has done great things to you :slight_smile:
Dont weep nor despise your self. You are precious to Jesus and the more you now look at Him the more He will transform you in His purity and peace :slight_smile: … a few years from now you can tell your future wife: “I sinned but I turned my life around and have been chaste for the last years since then…” What matters to her is whom you have become. Don’t loose courage… … its the devil who makes us despair over past sins…

Look ahead… a new and better day has begun.
I suffered what you now feel, for about 6 months after an intimate wrong relationship. So I know what you feel…
But, you have been given a second chance …this time, when you find your future bride, you will do things right. The best is yet to come. Isnt that great?

Halleluja :slight_smile: We are happy to have you back in the Church of the Lord… :hug1:

but let them fly through peacefully while firmly deciding not to look at them or dwell on them.

*Do not be afraid, little flock, for *your Father has been pleased to give you *the kingdom. *

i think you’re experiencing spiritual oppression.

the devil is furious you’ve repented. he’s trippley furious that God has been ***pleased ***to give you Mercy.

his furious intent is to keep us from experiencing God’s love-- one way or another. if he can’t keep us separated from God through sin, he lies and tells us we are separated from God through unforgivable guilt.

through repeated, peaceful acts of will (as described by poster above), and through prayer, you’ll be relieved of this. pray the prayer to Saint Michael Archangel. ask a priest to pray over you to relieve you of spiritual oppression.

I hate to simplify things too much, but get over it and move on! Coming from someone with a checkered past, I can promise that if you continue to allow these things to haunt you, they will. Learn from your mistakes, don’t be held hostage by them.

You have gotten such great advice, I don’t know that I can add anything to it. Remember to be thankful! Thank God for His Mercy towards you. Ask the intercession of St. Augustine, who rose up from a dissolute life to become a great saint. Pray Psalm 32. God bless you!

Yeah I would say that’s a much better word for it, I am not feeling as guilty as I am regretful.

I know that I have been made pure in Christ, but purity isn’t necessarily what I am worried about now. I am worried about these images popping in and ruining a moment that I have in my future relationships of purity.

This hasn’t been following it constantly since these things happened, they just got brought up in a conversation recently that got me thinking about it again. It makes me feel like I have not yet completely forgiven myself for them but instead have just been covering it up.

I love a guy’s approach to it :slight_smile: Thanks for this, really.

Thank you guys for all your help, I truly appreciate it. Hopefully I can forgive myself soon and rid my head from thinking such things!

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