Feel guilty about everything
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Physical & Mental Health Issues Marriage and relationships are difficult by themselves, but coping with physical or mental health problems can make things even more difficult.

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Old 04-22-2010, 06:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Feel guilty about everything

I suffer from anxiety. There have been 3 times in my life in which the anxiety was really bad and consumed my life for months at a time. I am currently recovering from the third episode. This one and the last one have been about my relationship with my husband. The first one was about something different.

Although I am doing much better than I was a month ago and I feel like I have a better understanding of anxiety I still have one problem.

Ever since I have been married I feel like I am always doing something wrong in my marriage. Almost anything I do feels wrong and I feel guilty and I won't feel better until I tell my husband. He knows when I have something to tell him because I become distant from him.

Here are some examples of things that I feel guiltly about and have to tell him. If I find another man attractive. If I jokingly make fun of him with my sister about typical husband stuff. If I take too long to do something for him. If I masterbated to something weird when I was a teenager. if I have a random sexual thought about someone that is gross (which can happen with anxiety as well). If I lie to someone else. If I don't get every detail of a story right when I'm telling him. If I choose what I want over what he wants even if he doesn't care. For example, what movie to rent. If I choose to hang out with a friend instead of him even if he doesn't care.

As you probably can conclude from this, I feel extremely guilty a lot. I realized that I have always been this way with him, but with this 3rd episode of anxiety it is really bad.

He does not want me to feel guilty or tell him every little detail about myself, but I can't help it. He hates to see me feel so guilty. So its not like he is pressuring me.

I know a large part of it is my anxiety, but I also believe it has to do with my view on marriage. I started feeling this way the day after we got married. I realized that I had an extreme view on marriage. I feel like anything I do that is not in favor of him or our relationship is wrong. Not a mistake, but wrong. Its like I'm trying to be a perfect wife which I know is impossible, but I don't know where to draw the line. Some of the things I have told him in the past months are really embarassing and I feel defeated when I tell him. It makes me feel weird like there is something wrong with me. Like I'm an inherently bad person.

Once again I know that this has to do with my anxiety and the low self-esteem that comes with it and I feel like I have a good understanding of that. The part that I don't have under control is what's right and wrong in a marriage. Where do I draw the line if there even is one? How do I stop trying to be perfect?
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Old 04-23-2010, 02:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feel guilty about everything

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Originally Posted by kahlan View Post
Here are some examples of things that I feel guiltly about and have to tell him. If I find another man attractive. If I jokingly make fun of him with my sister about typical husband stuff. If I take too long to do something for him. If I masterbated to something weird when I was a teenager. if I have a random sexual thought about someone that is gross (which can happen with anxiety as well). If I lie to someone else. If I don't get every detail of a story right when I'm telling him. If I choose what I want over what he wants even if he doesn't care. For example, what movie to rent. If I choose to hang out with a friend instead of him even if he doesn't care.
In my opinion, none of these things are abnormal or wrong in a marriage.
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Originally Posted by kahlan View Post
The part that I don't have under control is what's right and wrong in a marriage. Where do I draw the line if there even is one? How do I stop trying to be perfect?
Just some food for thought...what if a bit of mystery turns out to be great for a marriage...keeps the husband excited and interested? Would that encourage you to keep some things to yourself? In addition, what if these thoughts, especially those of when you were a teen and not even married to him, have helped you to become in touch with your own sexuality and made you a better lover to your husband? Maybe there are positives that outweigh any negative (guilt) where your marriage is concerned?

Bottom line...perfection is subjective...when I was a kid I would consider myself a perfectionist....my mom split the garden in half and gave my sister (very scattered, artsy type) and I flower seeds. She took about 10 minutes to turn over dirt and toss in the seeds. I spent hours getting the soil broken down finely and neatly planted the seeds in rows according to the package instructions....

When the flowers bloomed, hers were all over the place, beautiful colors everywhere & mine were little rows of flowers...different type in each row....hers blew mine away!!!
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Old 04-23-2010, 10:46 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feel guilty about everything

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Originally Posted by kahlan View Post
Where do I draw the line if there even is one? How do I stop trying to be perfect?
i think you have to start by finding out what your real motive is for compulsively confessing all these details. Is it really because you want to be perfect? I dont think so. Because if that was the real motive, you would clearly evaluate the results- that to you its making you very imperfect. Even though you dont think you should act how you are, you want to. figure out why you want to.
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Old 04-28-2010, 11:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feel guilty about everything

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Originally Posted by swedish View Post
In my opinion, none of these things are abnormal or wrong in a marriage.

Just some food for thought...what if a bit of mystery turns out to be great for a marriage...keeps the husband excited and interested? Would that encourage you to keep some things to yourself? In addition, what if these thoughts, especially those of when you were a teen and not even married to him, have helped you to become in touch with your own sexuality and made you a better lover to your husband? Maybe there are positives that outweigh any negative (guilt) where your marriage is concerned?

Bottom line...perfection is subjective...when I was a kid I would consider myself a perfectionist....my mom split the garden in half and gave my sister (very scattered, artsy type) and I flower seeds. She took about 10 minutes to turn over dirt and toss in the seeds. I spent hours getting the soil broken down finely and neatly planted the seeds in rows according to the package instructions....

When the flowers bloomed, hers were all over the place, beautiful colors everywhere & mine were little rows of flowers...different type in each row....hers blew mine away!!!
Great insights here, thanks swedish.

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How do I stop trying to be perfect?
My belief is that perfection is about performance: pleasing your spouse, parents, etc. No one that I know of is perfect outside of the Jesus of the Bible.

I would encourage you to accept yourself just as you are. While it would be nice to have it from others, ultimately, if you like you, you will stop trying to be perfect in order to feel good about yourself. (At least this is my experience and what worked for me.)
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Last edited by created4success; 05-06-2010 at 09:40 PM.
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Old 11-24-2010, 08:24 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feel guilty about everything

Kahlan,

Thank you for the post/thread. I am not married, but I have been dealing with this compulsive confessing for about two or three years now. It really shows up when I feel a strong connection to someone. The most random things will pop into my head about some "shameful" thing from the past, or a comment I made about them to someone else, or if I don't get the wording to an explanation or confession right, and I HAVE to tell them. If I try to hide it/work on it without telling them, they can tell something is wrong because of a wall I put up or my inability to look at them in the eye in the same way I do when everything is fine.

I logically know that I don't need to tell them these things, and wrestle with myself and expend tons of energy and time, only to end up having to tell them. So, yes, there's a feeling of weakness over my own body/emotions, and a feeling of defeat (as if somehow they or some controller outside of my will won, as if they "got it out of me"-even if they didn't want it).

And it's driving me crazy. Almost all my important relationships have been blocked by this distance of me trying not to tell them something that I most likely don't need to say.

I am seeking a therapist now. I can't take it anymore. Another therapist from a few years back didn't really know what was up, but I know that I'm not alone now that I've read your post and a few others I've seen online. Though I've not found many at all.

I would say that what I've been able to understand so far is that the only thing that perfectionism has to do with this situation is that I want to keep the slate clean---spotless. With no desire for build-up of feelings of guilt or "what-if-they-knew"s. That to me is not a desire to be perfect, but a desire to be as open and authentic as truly possible. It is ALSO a deep, deep desire to be loved and accepted no matter what. So all of these things that I could be hated for or rejected for or yelled at for start to come to the surface. What it feels like to me is a test. A test for them. And there is a proctor of the test who lives inside of me that feels he MUST give the test. To see if I really am loved. And it is the proctor of the test that I'm fighting with:

Me: "No, I don't need to test them with this."

Proctor: "But how do you know that they love you if you don't divulge this?"

Me: "I know they love me."

Proctor: "Good, then I WILL make them take the test to show you how right your are...or wrong. This one thing could be the straw that breaks the camels back..."

It's also a test for me. Can I find out how to appease the proctor before the need to tell becomes unbearable? (I often feel a lot of pain in my body, if I don't tell/confess).

Telling all of ones secrets could also be a sign of what I may expect out of my loved ones. Everything I'm saying to you, that's the kind of thing I want to know about you, on that level of intimacy.

However, I think the bottom line is about love. The amount of license/power I give to someone else to let me know that I am loveable. Even wanting to tell everything about myself could be seen as an act of love ("I'm giving you all my secrets-that's how much I trust/love you"). And even DEEPER than that is trust. Knowing where to draw the line is a matter of personal trust. Can I trust myself? That is the most essential question for me. Even before, "can I love myself?". Because it is my trust in myself that enables me to trust that I am lovebale. How do I cultivate self-trust? THAT is the question I really am trying to find the answer to.

Those are my thoughts on this issue. I hope that they add to this thread in a positive way.

Best,
CrystalGaze

Last edited by CrystalGaze; 11-24-2010 at 08:28 PM. Reason: for to put "I" in the second paragraph beginning
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Old 11-27-2010, 11:16 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: Feel guilty about everything

While I don't believe in keeping secrets from your partner, I also feel that there are limits to what you are obligated to divulge to them. Things that happened as a kid, that have no impact on my life today, I don't feel I need to tell him about, unless he specifically asks me or asks a question that in some way makes those things relevant. So, for example, your "weird masturbation" as a teenager...if it's not something you're into now and want to explore, then unless he specifically asks you what you masturbated to as a teen, it's not necessary to tell him.

I don't know that you necessarily are trying to be perfect, but that you take being open and honest to an extreme. Maybe you've seen a relationship blow up catastrophically because of dishonesty, or someone's been very dishonest with you, and so you now go to the other extreme to ensure it doesn't happen. I know, for my boyfriend, he once dated a girl who lied to him constantly for 2 years, about anything and everything, big and little. So, now, even a tiny little white lie that truly wouldn't hurt anyone and would have no effect on anyone's life, would drive him insane and cause him to end a friendship or relationship, if someone told it to him. Maybe that's where you're at, but instead of the lie being told to you, you're afraid the perceived lie would come from you, so you feel the need to share everything, no matter how trivial or irrelevant it may be.
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