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how do you deal with guilt over being RIGHT?

512 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  clear umbrella
Even when I know that I am right and that someone has wronged me/is treating me terribly, I wont say anything if I know that that person loves me. I am so afraid of hurting other people's feelings that sometimes I wont even come to defense for myself(even when i really should) because I dont want the other person to feel bad. I think this comes from growing up with 2 addicts as parents. I always knew, and still do know, that they love me more than anything, and that they have never wanted to hurt me, but they did anyway. their guilt over this is so bad that when my sisters or i mention anything about what we have gone through its either instant sadness and defensiveness(especially "its not my fault" and blaming other people)(my mom) OR its just straight up aggression to try and mask (a still very obvious) hurt(my dad). because of this, it always hurt me and made me feel guilty after i called them out, even if it was necessary. so whenever they do something wrong, i dont say anything because i dont want them to be hurt. I was always the bigger person as far back into my childhood as i can remember. I grew up really young so that i could take care of them and therefore myself. the problem is that because of this my parents never really grew up.

recently, i have started being more assertive with both of them when they hurt me(they're never together, they havent spoken since i was like 6). Their responses are still so bad that the same old guilt immediately comes back and eats at me. but after finally standing up for myself, i dont think that i can go back to being overly submissive anymore. Both of my parents are responding to this as if I am attacking them, or as if I am the problem in our relationships. The worst is that they both think I am wrong for standing up for myself, but I just dont think I am. (I mean, I get into some pretty crazy screaming matches with both of them because I let anger build up in me until I pop, which is obviously my problem and I'm not trying to deny that) I am also at fault for our issues due to the way that I respond to them. I take responsibility for that. But thats just the thing. I'm willing to take responsibility for myself, and I want to move forward in our relationship(s), but I cant do that if I'm the only one trying. Part of it is my fault, but part of it is theirs too. and currently(as well as in all of my past) I'm the only one who will admit to my part.

...Well this got really long and rambling. I apologize...

So I guess what I'm really having a hard time with is reconciling my not wanting to be hurt by others(by not standing up for myself) and not wanting to hurt others(by vehemently standing up for myself). I just cant seem to find the right balance...
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I used to be this way, and sometimes even these days it hits me a little... But there's nothing wrong with being right. To think so is illogical and foolish.
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I have had to deal with parents like this my entire life. So here's my advice to you.

It looks like the main problem is that you're not getting the right responses.

It is necessary to stand up for yourself.

And instead of nurturing that aspect of you and instead of acknowledging your need for respect, your parents pull back in hurt. At the same time, they don't have the experiences or emotional resources to help you.

You've already taken the needful first steps of standing up for yourself. Now, the next thing you need to do is to accept that your parents may never be able to give you the responses that you need. This cannot be done overnight. You need to accept this fact every hour, every day.

If possible, gain a little distance -- physical and temporal -- from them. Having time and space to let your situation sink in without them triggering painful thoughts and emotions will lend you greater clarity.

And remember, standing up for yourself doesn't necessarily mean you have to hurt your parents in the process. If you are, you know it's not intentional. But there are also gentle ways to deal with them. For example, if your dad blames you for his financial state, then tell him in a very calm (but not cold or overly rational) voice, "You feel upset at me for being a financial burden. There is nothing I can say to change your mind right now, but I love you." Then walk away. Don't make this about you being right, just acknowledge their pain, and move on with your life. It's the only way you'll get to live a more normal, emotionally-healthy life.
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