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Old 03-02-2005, 07:29 PM
missbella missbella is offline
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Default feeling guilty and can't let it go

I need your help please. I have been married for almost 3 yrs and just before our wedding I started suffering from panic attacks. I have been on medication for almost a yr now and it has really helped with the anxiety but now I can't seem to quit thinking about a mistake I made before I was married.
I fooled aroung with my husbands best friend and feel terrible about it. At the time that it happened we were drinking and I felt terrible about it right away but couldn't say anything because we are all friends. A few days after that I basically forgot about it and life went on. But now, more than 3 years later I can't seem to forget about it. I think about this mistake all of time and can't seem to let it go. I don't want to tell my husband because I don't want him to leave me, I love him so much and we have a great relationship and also, his friend is married now with 2 kids and I don't this to wreck his life either.
Please tell me what the best thing to do is and give me some type of guidance here. I'm losing it and I don't want to go back into my anxiety and depression again.
Please help ASAP
Thanks
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Old 03-04-2005, 12:54 PM
Dr. Joe Dr. Joe is offline
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Okay, you did something you regret, and the problem now is that you canít get beyond this mishap. It sounds like you canít forgive (and forget) yourself because your insecurity is insisting on some form of perfection, i.e., you are not allowed to make mistakes, you need to be without blemish, etc. Insecurity can play with something like this and turn it into a monster of a compulsion, which you alread know.

Panic is an expression of losing control or not being able to handle something. In your case, you fooled around. Once this happened you felt out of control, ìWhat did I do?î Or ìWhat if my husband finds out?î Whatever the case, you convinced yourself that you had irrevocably spoiled/tainted everything good in your life (i.e., your upcoming marriage). Your insecurity began to build a foundation of guilt that torments you to this day. Of course, Iím speculating about how you felt, but assuming this is close to what happened, it would seem to me that you need a bit of Self-Coaching. First off, I suspect thereís a bit of perfectionism and compulsion related to what happened, i.e., youíre not allowed to make mistakes, you should have know better, etc. The truth is we all make mistakes. Some mistakes are more regrettable than others, but the bottom line is that no one is immune to lifeís potholes. The key is to learn from our mistakes and turn the mistake into a tool to become a better person.

In your case you had this slip. Perhaps it had to do with the drink or the upcoming commitment to a lifelong partner, or some ëlast flingí kind of experience; whatever it was, it was just a mistake! Donít allow your insecurity to dictate with all this, telling you than now you can never have peace of mind. You can. You just need to stand up to insecurity and reestablish self-trust. Youíll need to see this for what it is and recognize that itís up to you to actively coach yourself towards a more rational, reasonable way to finally forgive yourself, to recognize that this was truly an anomaly in your life and to move forward with the confidence gained from what you now know to be important, i.e., your marriage and family. I suggest you consider getting a copy of The Power of Self-Coaching and go through my five step Self-Talk program. Especially steps 3 and 4 (learning to stop listening and let go of the reflexive, insecure thinking that running and ruling your life.).

Disclaimer: The diagnosis of clinical anxiety or depressive disorders requires a physician or other qualified mental health professional. The information provided is intended for informational purposes only. Please understand that the opinions shared with you are meant to be general reference information, and are not intended as a diagnosis or substitute for consulting with your physician or other qualified mental health professional.

Yours,
Dr. Joe
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