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?
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.