Guilt

Guilt is one of those things that some of us feel more than others. I think people with depression and anxiety (among other things) are probably more likely to feel guilt in situations where a “normal” person wouldn’t.

For me, whatever I do, unless it turns out perfectly, I feel guilty. Who have I let down? What problems have I caused? And it’s all my fault. I must take all the blame and guilt and carry it around with me.

Even when it isn’t my fault, I often blame myself, and feel guilty. I have started to notice more where I shouldn’t feel guilty, and where it is not in fact my fault, but someone else’s. For example, I have come to realise that the way I was treated by the ex was not my fault, but his fault. And it is not something I should feel guilty about (but I do) and something HE should feel guilty about instead (but he doesn’t.)

But the problems arise when there is a situation which I feel guilty about, and I don’t know whether or not I should feel guilty. There is an internal argument. There is worry, guilt, changing-of-mind, and complete confusion in my brain…

And so, it is at this point that I am bringing the issue to WordPress. I want to ask my lovely readers for their opinion on the situation. I want to ask 3 questions:

1. What would you do?

2. What should I do?

3. Should I feel guilty?

I would really appreciate people’s opinions… and please be honest! I have asked people in “real” life, and they say I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I can’t tell if that is what they really think, or if they are just being nice!

So, here is the situation… (Beware: This is very long! – If you want to skip the long story, there is a very short version of events at the bottom!)

A couple of months ago (maybe less) someone started to talk to me on Facebook. I will call him X. Now he is someone who I have as a “friend” on Facebook, but don’t know very well. I have met him a couple of times, and the way I met him was though the ex…

So X started talking to me on Facebook. First it was quite normal (other than the fact that it was completely out of the blue, and we hadn’t seen each other in a couple of years!) and we chatted a little bit. I replied, although I thought it was a bit odd, because I didn’t want to be rude! We were chatting quite a bit, and at one point he asked for my number so we could text, and again, not wanting to be rude, I gave him it*.

So then, fast forward a bit, everytime I went on Facebook, he would pop up in chat and talk to me, as soon as I logged in. It was starting to get a bit irritating, but still not wanting to be rude, I went along with it. Then, if I didn’t reply instantly, I would get texts saying “why aren’t you replying Ellie**?” He also continually asked questions about what I was doing, who with, where etc all the time, despite the fact that he has never been to Lancaster, so wouldn’t know ANY of the places I was talking about.

As time went on, I started to get a bit annoyed, as he would not leave me alone. I felt like I was being controlled all over again… He would tell me how lonely he is, and that he doesn’t have many friends and that I make him so happy and he’s so glad that he has me to talk to… This of course induced massive guilt, and so I kept talking to him.

He would constantly say things like “you’re so beautiful”, and when photos went up on Facebook, before I had even seen them, I’d get a text saying “You look beautiful in your photos!” And one time, I told him I was going out in the evening, and he said “Send me a pic before you go.” Now at this point, it freaked me out. But on the other hand, he was only trying to be nice – wasn’t he?

Eventually I told him it made me feel uncomfortable, and he stopped, but made me feel bad by saying he was only trying to be nice etc.

At one point, he asked if we could meet up in the holidays. This was a few weeks before the holidays, and not wanting to be rude (noticing a theme here!) I agreed, although we didn’t make any plans, so I thought it was just one of those things you say – “oh yeah we should meet up”, “yeah”, and then you never do.

I got home and he kept trying to organise meeting up. I didn’t want to, and part of me (the paranoid part) thought/thinks this has something to do with the ex. So I made excuses, and eventually told him that I don’t have the time to meet up. Then he said “I could come and visit you at uni.” At this point, I drew the line. This was weird. I don’t even know him, and he’s trying to invite himself to stay with me?!

Again, when I made excuses, he made me feel guilty, saying how he doesn’t have many friends and people always let him down etc. At this point I told him that we aren’t friends, I don’t know him and I don’t have any loyalty to him. It was very distressing to me, and of course I felt really awful and guilty about this, but everyone said the best thing to do was cut him off before it got worse…

Then Christmas came, and he texted me Happy christmas, and sent me Facebook messages etc. Being Christmas, I decided to reply – just saying Happy Christmas.

And it all started up again. Once, I went on Facebook on my phone (so I wasn’t on chat) and he sent me a message, and I didn’t reply. I then got a text asking why I didn’t reply. I was getting annoyed now, as I had already told him he is too full on and I felt controlled. One day, I posted a status on Facebook, and less than a minute later I received a text about it.

Then, the day before New Years Eve, he asked if I would go out somewhere with him for NYE. I said no, and that I was staying in with my family. He would not take No for an answer, and continued to tell me “You have to go out on New Year” and that he had no one else to spend it with.

I told him I had already said no, and he kept begging me to go out with him. I told him I don’t like NYE, and that I don’t want to go out. And at one point I said “You obviously don’t understand depression if you won’t let it go.***” He responded saying “How can you say I don’t understand depression, just because I choose not to go to the doctor…etc.” After continuing to make me feel incredibly guilty, and to the point where I wanted to cut myself because of it, I eventually said “Leave me alone.”

Now, I am ignoring his messages. And despite the fact that I have clearly (on more than one occassion) said that I don’t know him, I’m not his friend, and to leave me alone, I still get messages saying “why aren’t you replying?”

(End of the long story! – If you read that, thanks! And well done!)

The Short version:

Someone I have met  a couple of times (through the ex) has started talking to me, and despite numerous attempts to get him to leave me alone, he still keeps messaging/texting me. He keeps making me feel guilty, and because of his strange behaviour (constant texting/messaging/asking why I’m not replying after very short amounts of time/asking what I am doing all the time/continuous attempts to make me spend NYE with him despite me telling him I have plans etc.)  I have now decided to ignore him.

End of the short version – Wow that’s much shorter!!

I feel incredibly guilty. Part of me wants to talk to him because I would hate to feel so alone if it was the other way round, but part of me thinks it is really strange that he is being so extreme in trying to create a friendship that doesn’t exist.

I really don’t know if I have done/am doing the right thing. I only spoke to him in the beginning to be polite, and he now seems to think we have this amazing friendship. Now, it is stressing me out, causing worry, annoyance and (of course) guilt, and considering the low point I am at now, I don’t see why I should have to deal with it. (Others have told me that it isn’t my problem.) However, I feel guilty about it because it would hurt me if I were in his position and I acted how I am…

So to recap, 3 questions:

1. What would you do?

2. What should I do?

3. Should I feel guilty?

What do you think?

Please help!!

EDIT: And I just realised I forgot an important (?) detail – I think he has some form of mild autism, which would explain not understanding boundaries etc. but at the same time I don’t know if that should make a difference/is important.

*This was possibly a big mistake, but I didn’t want to be rude!

**Obviously it didn’t say Ellie, but my real name!

***This, I definitely shouldn’t have said. It is not for me to decide whether or not he has depression. He kept trying to tell me he understands depression etc because he is going through it, yet he would not understand that I didn’t want to go out, and on a previous occassion, he didn’t understand why I didn’t want to see my friends. To me, it seems like it is unlikely he suffers from major depression. Maybe he does, and he just doesn’t show it, but it infuriated me that he kept claiming to understand, and yet wouldn’t accept that I am not able to do everything because of depression/anxiety.

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22 thoughts on “Guilt

  1. Bubble Gum says:

    This is complicated! Time to investigate some reading on codependency. We love Codependent No More by Melody Beattie and The Enabler: When Helping Hurts by Angelyn Miller, but there are a lot of great books out there. The feelings of guilt about pleasing another person (who seems unable to hold their center, or sense of well being when they feel rejected) is an issue of codependency. Sometimes guilt is anger masquerading itself. In this case, you probably have some suppressed anger that this person doesn’t understand your boundary and can’t take “No” for an answer. How many times do you have to say “No?” This person’s well being doesn’t hinge on you (unless you’re their parent, which we know is not the case). If this were some unfortunate situation like a date, and you kept saying “No,” In the US., he’d be going to jail for forcing himself on you.

    Investigating Codepency can help you understand the root of your guilt as to why people pleasing is was you lead with, rather than being angry that this guy doesn’t respect your voice, which is has clearly stated “No.” Doesn’t matter how vulnerable, or depressed, he seems– he is being passive aggressive which is a subversive form of control. If he’s truly struggling with mental health issues, he needs a qualified mental health professional and not to disown his own well being by implying that you could fix it with your attention. Not your job to determine if he has depression, keep the focus on your own well being. We can only heal others and the world through healing ourselves. Good luck!!

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks for your reply 🙂 And I just realised I forgot an important detail – I think he has some form of mild autism, which would explain not understanding boundaries etc. but at the same time I don’t know if that should make a difference. And thanks for the info – will definitely look into that!! xx

  2. theartistryofthebipolarbrain says:

    I don’t think you should feel guilty at all. He appears to be guilty of manipulation if nothing else. The fact that you have told him to stop contacting you and he hasn’t is not a good thing. Stalking for $200, please, Alec?
    For me, I gave gotten pretty hard-hearted over the years. You need to find what will work for you, but I would cut ties and unfriend the guy. Investigating why you feel such a large amount of guilt could be important, too.

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks for your reply. You’re right, I shouldn’t feel guilty, but I have a very overactive conscience. I don’t think he is purposefully being manipulative, but the outcome is the same – he is making me feel uncomfortable, so I am now ignoring him, and will soon block him on Facebook (I am waiting a while so that hopefully he won’t notice!) I think I will mention the guilt thing to my therapist/doctor too! xx

  3. Juliet says:

    Seriously… this would creep me out so bad. And as you’re asking for my opinion: What would I do? I’d block him on facebook. I might even try to get a new number for my mobile. What should you do? Well; it is your decision; I won’t tell you what to do.
    Sweetie, there is, however, no need to feel guilty about this. You tried to be nice and that was good of you and very caring. But this person doesn’t accept your wishes amd your boundaries. And it is so important that you are safe. And I don’t know what his intentions are… but the way he keeps pestering you worries me. A lot. He may be lonely and depressed but he definitely seems to know how to make you feel bad about your actions. He is manipulating you.
    Maybe I am oversensitive, maybe I’ve met too many creeps in my life but… honestly? Already the fact that he is an acquaintance of your ex frightens me. Why would he message you out of the blue? Do we really know his true intentions? …
    I don’t want to scare you… but please stay safe, Ellie.
    Love to you x
    PS: It is not your fault.

    • Juliet says:

      I’ve been thinking about this comment and I’d like to add some things: I’m sorry if I come off harsh. I didn’t intend to. Also, I know that the things I said are easier said than done and from the outside you just generally have a different perspective…
      But I’d like to repeat this again: Not. your. fault. None of this. xx

      • anxiouselephant says:

        Thanks Juliet for your reply, and no it doesn’t sound harsh – don’t worry! I have come to the conclusion that the best thing to do is ignore him, and eventually he will leave me alone. If he doesn’t soon, then I will look into blocking his number. I don’t think he is dangerous, just lonely, and he probably doesn’t realise how manipulative he is being. I think he has mild autism/something similar, so that would explain his lack of social understanding and boundaries, but like you say, that is not my fault. So I am ignoring him, and trying not to feel guilty! Thanks again xxx

  4. Hellosailor says:

    Ooo Juicy. This is why I don’t understand men or relationships. Its all too complicated.

    Long version –
    I’m with you on question 1. I would’ve done the same. I would’ve been nice at first, because I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings. I think with us sensitive souls, we really try not to hurt other peoples feelings because we are hurt so easily ourselves, so we know how it feels and then we feel guilty, where as other people don’t give a stuff. Again, I would’ve done the same thing, tried to taper the messages off and hope he moved on to someone else. Once he got all obsessive this would have scared me off miles and I wouldn’t have replied at all. Sometimes I think this is all you can do because when you reply it is like supplying them with ammunition.

    What should you do? I don’t know. I don’t think you lead him on, I think he’s got the wrong idea and that sometimes happens in life. We all speak the same language but sometimes the message sent is lost and the reciever doesn’t translate the message as it was originally intended. It’s like we are all the same species but some people understand each other more than others. Some people we like and get on with more than others. You don’t like him as much as he likes you. It doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you different. I think maybe you should stop feeling guilty because you didn’t do anything wrong, humans are all different and all a bit strange, it’s just finding the people who are strange in the same way as you 😉 Also consider that if he does get attached to people quickly, it probably means he gets over them quickly too. Next week he’ll find someone else to obsess over.

    Short version –
    You did the right thing. You don’t need to do anything else. Don’t feel guilty.

    xox

    • behindthemaskofabuse says:

      Hey Ellie,

      This guy is very dangerous! Please don’t feel guilty!! He is trying to contol and manipulate you. I would remove him from FB, even change my number and never have anymore contact.
      He’s a stalker. There’s a reason he is alone and it has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault. He has zero right to ask you anything or know anything about you. In fact it’s likey dangerous if he does.
      Please take care of you! xo

      • anxiouselephant says:

        Hi Zoe, thanks for your comment. I don’t think he is dangerous, and I don’t think he is trying to be manipulative, however he IS being manipulative (whether he means to or not) so I am now ignoring him, and if it doesn’t stop soon I’m going to get his number blocked. I’m waiting a while and then will delete him off facebook (I think if I do it now then it will just make him text me more!) Thanks again xxx

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks Sailor, for both the long and short version 😉 I am now ignoring him, and even though I feel guilty I think it is the right thing to do because it is just stressing me out, and I can’t be doing with extra stress now! xxx

  5. artyelf says:

    Gosh, this situation sounds so familiar to me, I have just dealt with something very similar.
    I agree with all these comments. This guy is a dangerous creep who is manipulating you, and feeding off your kind soul. You don’t deserve to have the stress of this guy in your life.

    Block him straight away, from FB, your phone, everything.

    He is in the wrong, not you. He is using you and hurting you, and that’s not acceptable.
    I think sometimes we fall into that trap of ‘not wanting to be rude’, not wanting to hurt others feelings, because we are trying to keep ourselves safe. We think if we keep everyone happy, then hopefully they won’t harm us. But people like this guy can take advantage of your goodness.
    You have done nothing wrong. These situations take on a life of their own, and it can be very hard to stop these predatory people.
    I hope all these answers above convince you not to feel guilty. This guy is a creep.
    Take special care, I know this situation must be very distressing for you xox

    • anxiouselephant says:

      It is a really horrible situation, but I am now ignoring him because like you said, it’s not fair on me! I am going to delete him off Facebook after a while (I think if I do it now, it will cause more texts!) but I don’t think he is trying to be horrible, I think he is just lonely and doesn’t understand what is socially acceptable/boundaries! I am trying not to feel guilty now, but it is hard! Thanks for your advice 🙂 xxx

  6. WeeGee says:

    Sorry a bit late getting to this. Is it all sorted? If not here’s my advice. Be polite but put yourself first. If that means being slightly blunt so be it. Don’t make yourself uncomfortable for the sake of being overly polite xoxoxo

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks WeeGee! I have now decided to ignore him completely, and will be deleting him off Facebook eventually, but don’t want to make him text me even more by deleting him now! I’m trying not to feel guilty, but it’s very hard! xxx

  7. Brandon Bored says:

    I feel I can relate to the guy on this, actually. I’m not as ‘persistent’ but, with May, I’ve been one to send regular texts messages (no more than one a day, without a reply) and, now I have a smart phone and she is (was) one of my ‘close friends’ on Facebook, I (used to) get an instant notification each time she uploads a photo, adds a status, etc. I do often look as soon as it comes through but, I generally tend to refrain from commenting or liking immediately, unless it came up during or after a conversation we’d had.

    It is possible he has a form of Asperger’s or similar, for the lack of social understanding, as you say. I think I’ve met people like that but, it’s also prevalent in people who distinctly lack social interaction (how I used to be).

    He’s coming on too strong, very strong, and I guess you feel guilty because you genuinely don’t want to hurt anyone. I think you’ve already made your decision but, again, you don’t wish to hurt him.

    May has told me to ‘leave her alone’ on at least two previous occasions. She’s never apologised for it but, with her depression, I can see that she needs time alone and doesn’t want people getting too close in that state. What happened on Thursday was an exception though. At the very least, I think it would take more than a couple of days (which have already passed) before she’d let me back in…

    On Facebook, you can add someone to a list that means they can only see your ‘limited profile’. I do this with my dad because he used to comment (in real llife) on EVERYTHING I posted and I couldn’t handle it. Now, I post more frequently and he never says a word unless a mutual friend mentions it. They’re unaware of the change, where as blocking or unfriending is hard to avoid. You can block numbers on some phones but, with most, you need to contact the network provider/operator.

    You have got to think about yourself sometimes. I blogged about this recently but, for all the time I’ve known May, I’ve shut others out, pushed them away and almost ‘clung on’ to her in hope. At least now, I’ve had a little time to step back and realise this. I’ve already seen one friend socially since Thursday and I hope that this guy can gain a similar perspective for the sake of you and anyone else. He doesn’t mean any harm; I imagine he sees it as an opportunity to feel better within himself.

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks for your reply, I think you’re right – he doesn’t mean any harm and he probably doesn’t realise what he is doing. It has got to the point where he has texted me 8 times in one event (with no reply) which I think is definitely taking it too far! I do feel bad because of him being lonely etc, but I think it’s now at the point where I have to be selfish and look after myself, because I’ve tried to look after other people, and I end up not looking after myself! Hope you are ok BB! xx

      • Brandon Bored says:

        Wow, I think even three texts without a response is too much!!

        It’s not selfish to stop and look after yourself but I also know that feeling. We don’t look after ourselves enough but there could be any number of reasons why.

        I’m holding on, just trying to get through another week before I attempt to contact her again. Thank you for your concern, Ellie. 🙂 x

  8. gruks.info says:

    The manic “episodes” as they are called, can last anywhere from one day to one week.
    Call someone-a friend, family member, counselor, clergy, or suicide prevention hotline-that is capable of listening with supportive attention.
    I always had a thinking that I was one of those people that
    did not matter.

    • anxiouselephant says:

      Thanks for your reply. I have spoken to the doctor about whether it is mania and I have been told it isn’t; hypomania has to last at least 4 days, and mania has to last a week. I am starting therapy next week, so hopefully that will give me someone supportive to speak to. Hope you are doing ok, why do you think that you don’t matter? You do xx

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