Dear Mom Struggling with Guilt and Shame,
I don’t know what brought you to this place. It might have been some form of domestic abuse, financial problems, homeschooling woes, public schooling woes, health concerns, family issues, choices your children have made, choices your spouse has made, choices you have made. There are a million ways to get to this point—the point where guilt and shame are eating you alive. You want to crawl into a hole. You don’t want anyone to know what you’ve done or what you’re going through. You have isolated yourself to the point where you feel more alone than ever—and with all those overwhelming emotions!
I understand. I’m walking that road myself. The isolation is about to do me in. It’s time for us to come clean, to tell a few trusted people who will pray for us and support us. There is a life past the guilt and shame if we’re willing to do the work to get there. We’ve got to end the isolation, develop a plan to get past where we are, and move forward.
Maybe you didn’t bring this situation on yourself, and you’re dealing with the consequences of someone else’s actions. That’s hard. It’s unfair. But we can do this.
Maybe your actions are exactly what brought you to this place, and you’re suffering the consequences of your choices. That stinks, but there is a way to move past it!
We are not the situation we find ourselves in today. We are loved. We are worth more than we can imagine. (And yes, that’s true even if the people around you don’t see that or tell you otherwise.) We are beautiful, despite our mistakes, faults, and whatever other “warts” we may live with.
There is help, and there is hope for something better than this. Something better than guilt, shame, despair, fear, anxiety. But we’re going to have to let someone else in. We’re going to have to swallow any pride we have left – those feelings that tell us if we tell someone what’s really going on that they’ll think even less of us than they do now. Trust me, I know.
I have found an amazing group of women in a weekly support group I attend. There is a common thread that ties us together even though our situations and stories are different. There is no judgment there, even when we make stupid choices. We’re all doing the best we can, and we extend grace and love to one another. Were it not for our circumstances, I doubt that any of us would have ever become friends. But there we are every week, rejoicing when one of us celebrates a victory, crying when someone else is suffering. I didn’t find this group by accident. I found it when I reached out and told someone how I was feeling, what was really going on. It was then that I discovered I’m not alone.
You’re not alone either. Whatever the cause of your emotional distress, there are others going through it too. When you step outside the isolation, you’ll find your people, and they’ll become family. It’s an amazing and beautiful thing.
There’s no shame in seeking help. It doesn’t make you weak or incompetent to admit that you’ve come to the end of yourself and need help, whether that comes in the form of seeing a doctor, counselor, pastor, or someone else. The support, encouragement, and accountability will make you stronger.
You can do this. We can do this. Don’t struggle alone with the guilt and shame any longer. Find someone you trust and open up. There is hope, and better days are ahead for both of us.
To read more heartfelt letters to moms from the moms of iHomeschool Network, visit Dear Mom, (goes live on Monday, November 9, 2015, at 6 am ET).