earlier this year, i wrote a few posts on guilt. this turned into a case study with one of my readers where over the course of a few months, we sent emails back and forth. this reader, let’s call her carla, has agreed to publish some of our emails. of course, we’ve changed some of the identifying characteristics of the story to protect carla’s identity.
we hope that this will help some people who are dealing with guilt to find inspiration, and i also hope that this can be a bit of an illustration of how i help people in online consultations.
we’ll present this in a series of two or three posts.
carla, tell us a little about yourself:
i am a married, 60 year old mother of three, and grandmother of ten. i am a christian, though not in the traditional sense. i work full time, and i love to spend time with my with my grandchildren.
what interested you in the initial blog posting about guilt in the first place?
my own battle with guilt, for over a year of my life prior to reading the blog posting i was plagued with feelings of guilt.
how would you describe your state of mind when you first read that post?
plagued with thoughts and feelings of guilt which made it difficult to think of much else. that caused me to feel pretty depressed, and overshadowed any feelings of happiness. i felt extremely sad, and cried a lot.
how would you describe your state of mind now?
i am definitely a happier person, more at peace, feeling like i may finally be able to forgive myself for the mistakes i made with my family. however, i still struggle with placing blame on myself for mistakes they are making in their own lives, like they really didn’t have a good foundation to build upon. i have come a long way toward accepting my failures, but i still try to make up for my failures as a mother, in whatever way i can.
i am able to see myself more objectively, with a degree of understanding that i didn’t have before, and would not have thought i deserved to have. i can now accept that i failed, not because i wanted to (on the contrary, i always wanted to be a good mother to my children). i now see that i didn’t have those skills i needed to be as nurturing and loving as i wish i could’ve been. a lot of that was through no fault of my own. (my mother left us when i was 10, and my father was emotionally distant). i think i may have struggled with some degree of mental illness, and perhaps still do.
this is part one. in the next post about carla’s progress we’ll show you some of the questions i asked carla, and how answering them was helpful for her.