Conundrum about Guilt

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Conundrum about Guilt

Post  Paradox on Sat 10 Sep 2011, 9:23 am

This weekend I visited a dear old friend of mine from youth. He was my best friend from the time I was 10 until my mid 40's. I have many fond memories of my childhood with him and consider him my family. My folks are dead and I am not close with my sister. This person represents my childhood.

We don't talk much any more. He remarried and his new wife does not approve of me.

Anyway, while we were visiting this weekend, he told me he was in AA. That for 37 years he has hidden behind drugs and alcohol and that its time for him to find out who HE is. I told him I was proud of him and his sobriety.

He said as soon as he figures out his life, he needs to make amends with people. And then he added that I will be one of the people.

Honestly, I don't want to hear it. As I said, I have fond memories of this man. I do not want to hear about things he may have said or done behind my back so the he can feel better and I can feel like crap. He always said he loved me "Then, Now and Unconditionally". And his actions made me believe it. What if he feels the need to tell me it isn't true?

Sorry, I'd rather be dumb and happy. He and hold on to his guilt, I don't want it.

Another friend told me once that they had had an affair. The affair had been over for years, but my friend felt so guilty that they felt they had to confess to their spouse. My friend said they would never do it again. It transferred their guilt to hurt on the spouse.

They say confession is good for the soul. But is it when it relieves your soul but makes someone else who did absolutely nothing wrong feel terrible?

Curious as to what you think.
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Re: Conundrum about Guilt

Post  Cluelesskitty on Sat 10 Sep 2011, 2:14 pm

This is very interesting Char.

I always thought in a relationship honesty is most important, but I can see now how it can be also further unfair for the cheated person
to be suddenly cruelly burdened with the truth, maybe unwanted?, while the offender not only had all the fun,
but now is being happily relived of the accompanying guilt. what the hey???

Is it really always such a good thing to confess? I am not sure now...
Like you say, the cheater feels relief, the cheated feels horrible and now has to carry the consequences. How is that fair?
then what is right, to confess or to carry the guilt forever - maybe this eating alive guilt it is a form of just punishment?
an eternal torment for the dastardly deed?


And likewise, in the case of your friend making "amends" - this is two edged sword. I am already anxious for you Charlotte
for what are you going to hear.
I don't know, on one hand I understand the need to come clean in order to be able to continue therapy to be successful,
on the other it's like you say - you were living in blissful, ignorant, happy memory - why ruin it for you?
So your friend can be "healed"? Is that REALLY necessary?

Yes, but what about you, indeed?

Risa


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Re: Conundrum about Guilt

Post  milo on Sat 10 Sep 2011, 5:36 pm

How about setting a clear limit with him up-front? "_______, you and I have been friends for ______ years and I consider you family. I cherish our memories and am afraid your need to make amends will change those memories. I don't feel the need for you to make any amends with me, and am worried that what you may tell me will change the fond memories I have of us."

Seems fair to me. I guess his amends may just end up being an apology for what he felt was mistreatment of you. Regardless, I'd feel the need to set limits with him in this situation because you fear that what he has to say may alter your idea of him.
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Re: Conundrum about Guilt

Post  Paradox on Sat 10 Sep 2011, 7:59 pm

I imagine that will be the route I will take Milo. Because if he were to tell me that he is sorry for abandoning our friendship because his wife didn't like me, I would GLADLY accept that apology.

Being philosophical on the affair part. If hubby had an affair that was over years ago, I would NOT want to know about it now. Especially if he was telling me to make his life easier Evil or Very Mad Let HIM live with his guilt, I don't want it.

IF I had an affair, and that's a big IF folks, there is only one circumstance under which I would confess. That would be if hubby straight out asked me. I would not play with his mind and lie to him. Yes, by not 'fessing up I'd be lying by omission. I realize that. But, out and out lying if asked by him? Nope. I wouldnt do that. If he found out or knew I lied he would never trust me again. Or, at least that's how I would feel. I think with counseling I could forgive him having an affair. But I would have a much harder time forgiving and building trust if he lied to my face.
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