I hate that I feel guilty all the time. I was raised by a mother who used guilt to keep me from doing things. Mom was my best friend and I loved her dearly but she certainly knew what to say to keep me from doing this or that and this went on for my whole life. I did what she wanted me to do because I didn't want to disappoint her because that would kill me. I embodied that guilt and that need to not disappoint others and because of this I have been taken advantage of.
When my mom passed away my best girlfriend started asking for financial assistance because with the death of my mom I received an inheritance. I helped her because I could and I wanted to help her out. However, I started feeling used and taken advantage of - in the 4 years after my mom's death, I had given her a car (that I had paid off) and a lot of money (we re talking like 5 digits here). When I stood up to her and told her NO MORE, she called me names, she told me that I was a horrible friend and that she was disappointed in me because she would help me if I needed it, She then shut me out of her life and blocked me on everything.
I feel great about standing up for myself because I was not obligated to help her and I was tired of being taken advantage of... but... I still feel a little guilty that I let her down. I feel that maybe I was being selfish because I decided to take care of myself.
Towards the end of my relationship with her, I bought a house for me, my best guy-friend and his boyfriend. We had all agreed to how things would be done and that we would each pay a third of the house payments and other bills. While they did pay for the house payment and bills they didn't contribute anything to the renovations nor the new HVAC system that was put in. They didn't even offer to up the mortgage payments to help cover costs over a period of time. In dealing with the house, money became a huge issue for me because the burden was solely on me and that wasn't fair. On top of that, I was made to feel like a guest in my own home, I was "tolerated" while there and a lot of times I was dismissed, disrespected and ignored. They complained about both me and my dog. I was not allowed to talk to my best friend because it put him in the middle but the boyfriend could bit@h and moan about me all he wanted. My best friend allowed his boyfriend to talk bad about me because he was afraid to stand up to him because he didn't want the boyfriend to break up with him. They made my life miserable there, I was so unhappy and then I finally broke down and left and got myself an apartment. I left the house I owned instead of standing up to them because I didn't want to make them mad or hurt their feelings. After I moved out, I regretted it; I never should have left. I mentioned to my best friend that I was worried about things outside the home not panning out and that I saw the house at my safe place to fall. He responded, after a 30 min pause, "You chose to move out." It was like a punch to the stomach. I said, "You are absolutely right I did" and my heart broke, I knew that meant that I was not welcome to move back into the house that I own. Since they moved into what was my bedroom (the master) and changing their room into a guest room I had nowhere to go and I was not welcome to go back there. After sitting on that for a few days and talking to a friend of mine, I decided that I was going to give them notice and get them out of MY HOUSE. I set up a meeting with them and told them that I was going to sell the house and they needed to be out by the end of September, which was a 40 day notice but told them if their move in was a little after that, we could work it out because I wanted to make the transition smooth. When this discussion happened they told me they were not mad at me, not angry with me, that they loved me and they understood. Since that day neither one of them have initiated communication with me at all. The boyfriend has literally said nothing and the best friend replies to me only if I ask specific questions but offers nothing else. This tells me that they are mad, they are angry and I seriously doubt there is any love there.
So.... I bought us a house, I renovated it, I upgraded it, and I paid my third of the bills but I am not welcome to move back into the house that I own and I feel guilty. I feel like I disappointed them, like I am forcing them out of their home for my own benefit, which is true. My heart hurts because I know I have lost 2 more friendships because of money and because I stood up for myself by not allowing them to take advantage of the situation by pushing me out of my own home. Losing the boyfriend is really no loss because we had to walk on eggshells as to not upset him because he would melt down and either blow up or break down... but losing my best friend who has been a part of my life the last 17 years hurts. I know I deserved to be treated better but I feel horrible that I have hurt 3 people and made them angry.
How to I let go of the guilt? How can I be okay with hurting others? The girlfriend that shut me out is a little different because I had my walls up going in and knew that there was a possibility that she would take advantage so I was kind of prepared for that but it still hurts. Looking back at the situation with my roommates, it feels like they "put up with" me or tolerated me because financially I could and would buy everything we needed and they could skate by and live in the house knowing that eventually I would get fed up and leave giving them the house for just them, which totally happened. Why do I still feel so guilty? How do I let go of the guilt? How do I let go of this feeling that I am a horrible person and friend for disappointing these people?
I would love to hear from all of you about what think and how you think I can get beyond this.
Thanks for listening... lisa
Lisa, I am so sorry you've endured these experiences. I've got four words for you. It's not your fault.
I'm sorry, but you allowed some very toxic people in your life. Instead of guilt, you should feel pride. You finally valued yourself more than people who took your kindness for weakness.
Taking toxic people out of our lives is something to celebrate, not feel guilt. Guilt is actually an inappropriate reaction, Lisa. Finally, you came to your senses, realized they were not healthily serving you, and moved on.
Look at it this way. If you had a car that continually broke down on the highway, would you keep it? You would say, "I cannot continue to put my safety in jeopardy with this car; I need to get rid of it."
Would you feel guilty about taking that action? No.
You have friends who used you and mistreated you, so you said, "I cannot continue to put my mental and financial health in jeopardy with these friends. I need to get rid of them."
I'm not saying it won't hurt, but guilt has no place here. You finally took care of yourself, and you deserve it.