I spent a great deal of time being consumed by shame and guilt. It lasted way too long, and it has hindered my recovery to keep walking around with these horrible feelings.
I felt so much shame that I had allowed a psychopath hide me away as though I were too horrible for public viewing. I felt so much shame that I had allowed myself to be manipulated, abused, and used. I felt so much shame because I reacted to the abuse in ways that made me become someone I didn't even know. I felt so much shame that I had essentially begged for a crumb of human decency rather than walk away at the first sign of trouble. I felt shame that I let my physical and emotional self suffer. I was ashamed because I didn't tell people who could help me anything about what was happening to me. I was ashamed because I knew people who mattered to me wouldn't find him likeable at all, and I was in love with him. I felt shame that I literally told myself to just "shut up" rather than argue with a psychopath over everything from the most trivial subjects to the most important. In the aftermath, I felt shame that he had smeared me as a "crazy" to other people. I certainly felt crazy. I felt so much shame that he had devalued our relationship to others as me simply being his "bookkeeper". I felt ashamed because I bonded sexually to him but I was nothing more than an easy and convenient vagina for him.
I felt so much guilt because my career suffered. My children suffered as this man took up my whole world. I let relationships with others fall to the wayside because it was easier to let it go rather than stand up to his devaluation of those people. I feel guilt because I put his needs above everyone else's, even my own. I let everything in my life go but him because I was consumed with trying to manage a fake relationship with a disordered person.
I've learned some things in the last year and a half. The shame is not mine to bear. I was a woman willing to commit to a good and healthy committed relationship and I was constantly being hooked and re-hooked by a man who wasn't willing to admit he had no such noble intentions. It wasn't me who was being abusive and manipulative. It wasn't me who was a pathological liar and manipulator. The shame of being in a relationship with a person so much less than me isn't mine to carry. He had something good, almost certainly better than anything he had before, and he fucked it up. Why on earth should I be ashamed? All this shame belong to him, even if he never accepts it.
I made amends to others for the wrongs I laid on them. I apologized wherever I could. The people who mattered the most knew that I did the best I could with what I had to work with and they accepted the hand that was extended to them. I've done all the right things and now that guilt isn't mine to sustain.
The ones that never understood, the ones who refused to see how much I suffered because their own needs always come first, the ones who trivialized the things that happened to me - those are the people I needed to forget because no matter how much I did it would never be enough. It was those kinds of people who helped set me up for a relationship with a psychopath in the first place, and I refuse to feel guilt that now they're gone.
Letting Go of Guilt and Shame
The people who mattered the most knew that I did the best I could with what I had to work with and they accepted the hand that was extended to them.
Article Author: DawnG