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Have you ever had to make a decision that was the only option at the time, but you still feel guilty over it?

Asked by Pandora (22723 points ) December 13th, 2013

I was retelling the story of the time I decided that I would never date a really tall guy. Long story short. I had a really tall male friend who liked me but I simply wasn’t interested in him. I made it clear but he insisted that he understood the situation and that we would only be friends. Never anything more.

When he invited me to meet his family and specifically his sister, I told him that maybe we shouldn’t hang out so much any more. He asked me why and I told him that he was reading too much into our friendship. He had the mind mentality of a child. He was very much like an innocent giant teddy bear. Well, he instantly went from innocent tall teddy bear to killer bear. He grabbed my arm and squeezed so hard that he left a bruise outlined like his hand on my arm for weeks.

The look on his face was so twisted that I was sure he was going to kill me right there. I yelled at him to let go of my arm and he didn’t so for some reason I started to hurl insults. It was a mixture of fear and anger. I felt like a trapped animal.
He was so hurt by what I said and then I saw how he realized the pressure on my arm was causing me immense pain, and he let go.

Ok, not a short story. But in retelling the story today, I realized that I still feel guilty for hurting him and his sister.
She later called me that day to curse me out because her brother was so upset at what I had said. I then told her how he hurt me and I could tell she was upset that he had done that. I don’t think she thought he had it in him. I told her that her brother was a monster and that if he ever touched me again that I would be sure to call the police next time. She apologized in a broken voice and promised to make sure he never went near me again.

I know there was no other way and I was just trying to survive the best I could, but it still bugs me till today, over 30 years later. So how do I shake the guilt?

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7 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

Yep. I had to give up my step-children after my wife died. Had to send them to family that they really did not want to go to, and it has all ended up the worst for everyone. At the time, though, I had no choice.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Hey, you did what you had to in a bad situation to keep it from getting worse. “Some times the right thing and the hardest thing are the same.” edit The Fray. got to keep my bands straight.

anniereborn's avatar

Having to stop taking care of my mother in her own home, which caused her to have to leave her home of 35 years. She wanted to remain there the rest of her life. But she has Alzheimer’s, and I could no longer physically care for her. Even though I know there was nothing I could have done to change that, I still get the guilties for not being “good enough” sometimes.

drdoombot's avatar

Just over one year ago, I couldn’t handle the pressures of my life, which included my girlfriend at the time, so I let her go.

One year later, I would do anything to take that decision back.

LilCosmo's avatar

About 25 years ago I had a friend who was an energy vampire. She always seemed to have a dark cloud over her head, sometimes because of decisions she made and sometimes because life dealt her a rough hand. She had cancer that was in remission, a nutty ex-husband, mentally disabled twins, a cocaine habit, and a hoarded house. She was always broke and I lent her money many times. I loved her dearly but the energy I had to put into our friendship just got to be too much for me. I finally just had to cut her loose. I still feel guilty to this day, but she just took too much of my time and energy and I had to do it.

As for how to let it go, if you figure it out, let me know.

josie's avatar

More than once.

linguaphile's avatar

Some time back—I non-officially fostered an 11 year old boy. He came from a terrible home, his dad was in prison. His grandmother was his main caretaker- she was bedridden, sick, grossly obese, on oxygen and still smoked 3 packs a day- she spent money on cigarettes and cereal.

The boy was stealing food to survive, never had on clean clothes and was riding his bike around a 70,000 pop. small city from sunrise to late night. He was grossly neglected. One day, he befriended my son while playing outside, came over to play everyday, then eventually would ask at 4pm everyday if he could stay for dinner.

So, I ended up with another kid around all the time—his grandma didn’t care and said keep him. He stayed with us 80% of the time- I fed, clothed, disciplined and educated him. He rode himself back to his grandma’s once in a while when he disagreed with my rules, but most of the time he was around.

Unfortunately, my own environment was extremely toxic—I could not stay. It was literally life or death for me and I had to move away. I asked for full custody but his grandma said, “NO! I love him!” Watching him chase my moving truck on his bike in the side mirror still breaks my heart to this day. I tried for 2 years to gain custody of him but never succeeded.

He found me on Facebook a few years ago and we are in touch. He didn’t have much of a good life, but it’s getting better and he’s still somewhat ‘my kid.’

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