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Overwhelming guilt over past sexual behavior...


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Hi, this is my first topic (despite the new member presentation).

First, I apologize in advance for any grammar mistake as I'm french.

The background :

I'm 29 years old male, have been by loving parents, the only problem is that I never had a proper sexual education, because my parents, as very open they where on many subjects, sexuality as always been a sort of taboo, don't know why.

I've always been the kind of very shy guy in high school and middle school, always secretly in love with the girls, but never been the one who dated them because I did not have any self confidence in this time.

So in my whole life I only had 4 girlfriends, and with the last one, we stayed together for 3 years, my first long term love story.

But sadly, last year she dumped me.

The problem :

One month after she dumped me, I had a memory of something I did to a very young cousin when I was a teen, something I've always been very ashamed of, but never bothered me that much as it was the past, and I thought, this memory would be gone the day after.

But no, I began to obsess over it trying to forget it without any success.

Then I began to feel very tired, and began to have panic attacks for no reasons, I thought I was sick, so I saw a lot of different doctors, made blood analysis, but there was nothing, my health was ok, and actually got very good results from my blood analysis.

But I remained very tired, feeling very weak, and after a huge panic attack, I decided resign from my work, and come back to my hometown, and live by my mother, while looking for another job.

I decided to see a CBT Therapist, and this is where I made a big mistake I think, because I felt the urge to confess to him the sing I've done to my young cousin, and he reassured me.

But this has triggered an infinite digging into my past where I looked for any other inappropriate sexual behavior toward children, or weird sexual fantasies, etc that I may had in my past, and I ended up remembering things that now brought me a huge amount of guilt, and I'm now feeling that I don't deserve any happiness, I see myself as a sick pervert and it's killing me.

When I take each memory independently, I can criticize them, and don't feel so much anxiety (except some) but when I think of the whole package, I feel totally lost and anxious.

And sometimes, I can tell myself that this was nothing and everyone makes mistakes, but as soon as I think this, I can"t enjoy the thought, because I fear that if I'm happy and let my past go, then I might remember something similar I would have done when I would be between 18 and 25 and it would drive me crazy, because the teenage years would be no more an excuse.

Thanks for your help...

Edited by captainanxious
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Hi CA, :)

I'm pleased that you have now found that courage to start a thread up - I know it was not easy for you - so well done.

Your English is actually really good :)

I know you have tried CBT therapy - this you found was unhelpful to you, but there is other forms of therapists that might be worth a try. One type of therapy does not suit everybody. Personally, I have had many types of therapy over the years, some have helped me more than others.

You cant change your past CA, no-one can. But we can learn from it, and move forward, knowing not to make those same mistakes again.

I hope that you learn to forgive yourself :)

Take care

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Hi CA :)

Many people have trouble with coping with guilt and being able to forgive theirelf for things from their past. Some times these feelings are miss placed, and we tend to blame ourself un-necessarily.

You say that when you look at each memory independantly, you are able to critsise them and that you feel much less anxiety.

Could you maybe just try to concentrate on the smaller picture, rather than overwhelm yourself, until with therapy you are able to look at the fuller picture ?

What can you do to maybe feel less anxious ?

What are your ways of coping with anxiety ?

Have you tried visualisation techniques, or maybe meditation ?

Hope that you are being kind to yourself today, and that your day is kind to you :)

Take care

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I went this noon to the restaurant and it was ok, I had anxiety of course, but I forced myself to communicate with my siblings and it went ok.

Though, I still have the underlying anxiety that a new forgotten memory could pop up, one where I could be older and where being a teenager, discovering sexuality would not bet an excuse anymore.

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I still focus and ruminate about things I've made, inappropriate sexual behavior toward children when I was a teenager, weird fantasies I had until recently, too much porn viewing, etc.

What bothers me is why I never obsessed about all these things before ?

It's like I'm discovering that in fact, until now, I was just a sick pervert, and that because of this discovery I feel so bad to the point of not wanting to see my family, my friends, not enjoying anything I like, and worst of all, avoiding my new girlfriend who is a wonderful woman.


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Hi CA,

Correct me if Im wrong, but didnt the therapist that you saw, say to you that this was normal teenage behaviour, and only natural. Im sorry if Im wrong, but I'm sure I read that somewhere in one of your introduction posts.

Have you mentioned how you are currently feeling, and how it is affecting your life, to your therapist ?

Take care

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Hello again Captain :)

Maybe this could be a good time for youto try and think of what you value as a person and the person that you want to be. You could try and see where you were wrong but you dont have to continue to do things that you dont agree with. I dont think you need an explanation for every bad memory that may come up. Try to give yourself alittle time to process things if something comes up suddenly and starts to feel overwhelming.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 2 weeks later...

Hi, it seems my obsessions returned to sexual issues because I feel totally desperate...

I remember when I was 25 that I used to go to one porn site (legal), that featured "teen" girls, and the girls, even being 18, looked like 14 or 15 years old, with young girls clothes, brace on her teeth etc. And I enjoyed it...

And I don't know why I kept masturbating to this material because even at the times I remember that thought that they look young...

I show this website to my therapist and she said the girl looked very young too, and she thought they were not 18, which obviously freaked me out more.


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  • 1 month later...

Well I think everyone makes mistakes, and yours were in the past. What's done is done. You say you critically analyze every sexual action of your past and I think that's the problem. If you analyze every little detail of your life, not just sexually, you'll always see things where you went wrong or mistakes you did. If you accumulate of these little and really small mistakes together, it'll make it seem like you're wrong when you're not at all. EVERYONE makes mistakes everyday and even in their sex lives, so don't think you're bad.

Also, maybe it would help to talk to this cousin of yours that you had relations with in the past. It seems as though you've been haunted by these memories with your cousin, but how does your cousin feel about it? If you ask them maybe they'll also realize what's past is past and to move on. Maybe gaining acceptance from this cousin will help you realize that what you did was a mere mistake, and you should move on. You now longer have these desires, so you shouldn't beat yourself up anymore.

I hope this helps.

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