Let It Go: Getting Past The Guilt When Pain Stops You

Let It Go_ Getting Past the Guilt“You’re a warrior Baby.” My eyes filled with tears once again as my husband said this to me. I sure didn’t feel like a warrior; I felt utterly defeated, with a heavy mantle of guilt laid squarely across my shoulders.”If I am a warrior, I sure am a wimpy one” I replied.

It had been a hard day and I was an emotional mess.

The day started with waking up to a full-on fibromyalgia flare and an almost overwhelming feeling of grief for my dear friend and her children, who were burying their husband/father that day. After the funeral our Sunday School class was providing lunch for the family. Normally I would have helped set up, serve, and clean up, but with my pain levels where they were, there was no way I could help do any of that. I had to leave right after the service. As if that weren’t enough, that evening, my husband had to facilitate the class we normally facilitate together because I wasn’t able to go. The guilt of having failed to do two things  in one day was almost unbearable. Mentally, I knew I shouldn’t feel guilty because I can’t help being ill, but emotionally, I just kept beating myself up. I kept wondering if I should have just “sucked it up” and done it anyway. I wondered if I was just being a wimp. It’s hard to be objective about things when you’re so emotionally invested.

The next day I was able to look at things a little more objectively and as my husband and I talked about my feelings of guilt, he said something to me that kind of shocked me. He said, “I’m not sure you believe you’re sick. If you had the flu or a broken arm or something, you wouldn’t be feeling so guilty about not being able to do things. What makes this different for you?” He made a good point, and although I assured him that I do know I’m sick, sometimes I wonder if I’m just being wimpy about my pain and that I don’t hurt as much as I think I do. In my mind I know that’s not true, but sometimes I have trouble getting the truth through to my heart.

The truth is you can’t take responsibility for something you can’t control. You just have to let go of those feelings of guilt and concentrate on things that serve you better. These are some things that might help:

  • Acknowledge your feelings. Trying to stuff them down or hide them only allows them to grow in your mind and make things seem worse than they really are.
  • Realize that you’re not choosing not do do something; your body is choosing it for you.
  • Find other things that you can do. Maybe you can’t serve lunch, but you probably can send a card, or make a phone call, etc.
  • Be kind to yourself. Give yourself some grace – if you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, don’t say it to yourself. No negative self-talk!

Feeling guilty about things you can’t control only keeps you from moving forward and doing the things you are able to do, so if you struggle with this also, I encourage you to let it go!

Blessings,

~Terri

42 comments

  1. My condolences. What a heartbreaking experience.

    This post is so incredibly relatable. The guilt is the silent monster in the room. Learning to pace and have self compassion have been incredibly difficult for me too, but my body is giving me little choice. Very unfair, all of it. It sounds like you have a gem of a hubby though, that’s a silver lining for sure.🌼

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Thank you for this! I love what your husband said, “I’m not sure you believe you’re sick.”

    This is so me! I suffer with Rheumatoid Arthritis, fibromyalgia, neuropathy and a host of other issues. At times, I just pretend that I don’t have any issues (and sometimes don’t think they’re that bad) and push through but end up paying for it in a major way, which usually means bedridden for about 3 days.

    I know that guilt feeling but try to remember that it’s ok to say no and take care of myself first. Sometime difficult but doable.

    Hope you are feeling better!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. “I wondered if I was just being a wimp. It’s hard to be objective about things when you’re so emotionally invested.” So very true. Fantastic post, and even though it’s harder said than done, it’s so important to be kinder to ourselves, to move away from the guilt and look at the things we can control and manage. Great post, Terri! x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terri, a great post that really describes the psychological battle that travels alongside the physical struggles of ME/CFS/FIBRO. A turning point came for me following a four day Adlerian Summer School Workshop in Ireland. I was trying to ignore my illness for years and suffering the consequences but that workshop helped, I learned to listed to my body and realise that I am good enough as I am. The acceptance of self that came with that was amazing and has made life easier for me and everyone around me. Thanks for sharing your experience and your tips!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Marie! I think the psychological battle has been much harder for me than the physical one. I’m learning acceptance, but it’s definitely a process. I love what you said about realizing that you’re good enough as you are. May we all get to that point and let go of the guilt!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome Terri! It’s a good feeling to know you love my comment about being ‘good enough’, It certainly made sense to me at the time and quiets that troublesom inner critic! I think sharing experiences has powerful learning potential. I know I am learning so much from fellow bloggers. Again thanks for a very honest and thought provoking post!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. This I feel is so true if you had a visual illness you think everyone will understand and accept but because the pain lies within you feel guilty, drop that guilt this minute, WE KNOW ITS REAL and that’s hard enough to deal with without guilt sat on top.

    Ask yourself Terri, would you judge another so harshly …. no ….. so why hurt yourself. Keep going, keep resting, keep loving, keep being you 🌹

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Elaine. You’re absolutely right that I would never judge anyone else so harshly. I’m learning to accept my limitations, but it’s definitely a process for me. The good news is that I am learning. I hope by sharing I can help others see how useless carrying guilt around is and maybe shorten their learning curve a little.😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I love this post, I HAVE to share. And… you ARE a Warrior! I think guilt is a BIG one for us, I’ve had a post I’ve been trying to put together on this very topic… I can’t get it right and that is becuae everyday I look on the mirrow and think, Well, you don’t look sick. I am my onw worst enemy… maybe there is my beginning. This is beautifully written and will forever be saved on Stone in the Road, a collection of stories. ~Kim

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much Kim! You know, I can definitely relate to what you said about having such a hard time getting your post on this subject right. This is the one I’ve struggled with writing more than any other so far….Like you, I’m my own worst enemy. Let’s decide today that we’re going to be our own best friends. Hugs to you! Thanks for the reblog!

      Liked by 1 person

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