I understand that I have to forgive myself, but how can I for a decision that ruined my life?

David1959

Confident
What I have heard over and over again in Therapy is that my not telling anyone that I was groomed and abused between 10-12 by a professional pedophile (family acquaintance) is not my fault. The problem is, I may be able to understand that from an academic perspective the voice in the pit of my stomach knows that had I ssaid anything it would have ended and I would have been saved but I said nothing.

I am suffering from deep seated blame for not protecting myself and the result is my life has not been what it should have been and I am swimming in a sea of self doubt and shame for my inaction.

How does one forgive themselves for an action, or better put "inaction" 50 years ago that I failed to take to prtect myself?
 
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Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
@David1959 have read two posts of yours and I resonate with the one where you spoke about vulnerability.
It’s a tough one, and I understand, have got no advice, just that I always struggled with words like forgiveness/ responsibility or acceptance. At times it’s like>>>> right now, I cannot even try to see any picture, it’s so hardwired, convoluted and everytime someone tells me about forgiveness it’s like well... then I repeat all the Buts in the world. Sometimes I have to work with what’s right infront of me, that’s what you are doing here, we are talking and finding out. It’s not a helpful post here, just to say: I’m in it too.
 

David1959

Confident
It wasn't your job or responsibility at the age of 10-12 to protect yourself.
I understand this on an academic basis and would not hold my children responsible for anything they would have done or not done at that age, but that knowledge does not reduce my feeling responsible. I am learning that this has been my position on many things and I have blamed myself for various failures in my life even though some were clearly not my fault or responsibility, doesn't matter.

I do appreciate all the kind words from all here and I hope to someday be on the other side helping others escape the strong gravitational pull of self blame.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
I had a reply all written out, but it didn't quite express what I was trying to say. It did get me thinking about "forgiveness" though. I'm not sure I've ever felt "forgiven" in my entire life. What would forgiving yourself for this perceived mistake feel like? What's keeping you from doing it? You said you think you could forgive your own kids. What would that be like? What would you tell them?
 

Rani G2

MyPTSD Pro
'Nothing can agree more with the nature of any thing than other individuals of the same species.-Spinoza

A child will also go very far to get that consent from another human being, that’s primal, instinct, it’s life holding on to life.. yes I know words /logic lingers in the intellect and it won’t permeate the heart no matter what is being said, preached or shown.
from deep seated blame for not protecting myself
Sometimes blame/ to be held accountable for is the opposite to being helpless or to be at the mercy of somebody else. So guilt, blame is telling the story from a different perspective.
 
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David1959

Confident
What would that be like? What would you tell them?
Interesting path but I believe what I might tell my kids I am unable to say to myself or believe. If I forgive myself for this and other ramifications that followed in my life then it leaves me in limbo, I have to admit my own responsibility for not trying to protect myself.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
I really don't understand your train of thought. So if your or someone else's kids were abused, then from your point of view, 'that would also be the children's fault' ? That they didn't have the knowledge/power or skills to tell someone or to say no?
 
I suspect the reason you didn't say anything at the age of 10-12 is that you were afraid of what would happen if you did. You could have been killed. Your family could have been killed. You could have been made into a pariah. Or maybe no one would have believed you.

You had many good reasons not to tell. Don't judge that 10-12 year old based on what you know now as an adult.
 

David1959

Confident
I really don't understand your train of thought. So if your or someone else's kids were abused, then from your point of view, 'that would also be the children's fault' ? That they didn't have the knowledge/power or skills to tell someone or to say no?
Of course they would not but that is the nature of being a survivor things don't make sense

I suspect the reason you didn't say anything at the age of 10-12 is that you were afraid of what would happen if you did. You could have been killed. Your family could have been killed. You could have been made into a pariah. Or maybe no one would have believed you.

You had many good reasons not to tell. Don't judge that 10-12 year old based on what you know now as an adult.
All of above is very possible, honestly my memories do not allow details into thinking at the time. My memories are more images that flash across my mind for a second or two followed often by very sick feelings. In working with my T it is becoming apparent that I was likely drugged so my memories are fragmented, of course my disassociation did not help
 

Warrior Chicken

MyPTSD Pro
It might not be so much about forgiveness or stopping the self blame of not protecting yourself at this point in your journey. It’s difficult, if not impossible to do that when memories are broken/fragmented or interpreted using what we know now as adults and applying them to what limited bits we have of that period in our childhood.

Perhaps before getting to release the belief we failed, first we have to understand those fragments and the pain from them.

I still don’t know how to do this myself, other than being curious about the sick feelings that come after the flashes (sometimes all I can do is just survive those feelings, other times I can try to be curious).

The logical part of it kicks my ass quite often, yet I can’t seem to get to accepting/allowing myself to believe I didn’t fail myself. When this happens it’s like never having been in deep water before and jumping in expecting that you’ll know how to swim with ease.

Hope some of that makes sense....& is helpful.
 

scout86

MyPTSD Pro
My own particular spin on why bad stuff happens is that it must be because I was bad (and then, obviously still am) because people get what they deserve in life. Except that I actually know better, now. I've had a certain amount of success in changing my perception just by repeatedly confronting the facts. It kind of grows on you, if you let it. Letting it grow on you isn't necessarily easy and the process isn't necessarily fast, but working on being open to the possibility the the perceptions of a child might not be accurate seems to help.
 
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