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Extreme guilt and disgust over past behavior


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About 25 years ago (I'm in my 40s) there was a female friend living in my house who I was attracted to. I would fantasize about having sex with her... not that unusual, I know. But somehow I came up with this idea to make a "masturbation brush" with pubic hair of hers I found in the shower. If that isn't disturbing enough, I went into her room once and got some from her underwear. I can't believe that I did that, I seriously cannot wrap my head around that. It doesn't seem real.

Anyway, I think I repressed the memory for years. But now it is constantly in my mind and it is making me sick and severely depressed. I keep telling myself that I am not that person anymore, and that I think I was suffering from sexual addiction... still the memory persists and I don't know how to cope with it.

I have been in the hospital several times with depression caused by this (and other things I did in the past) and have attempted suicide. While I have been doing better for some time, I feel like this memory is going to take me down again.

While I am thankful that I have evolved as a person, to do such an insane and improper thing wouldn't even occur to me today, the fact that I ever was like that, and the memory of it, are making me feel crazy.

I can't believe I did such a perverted thing. How do I move on from this painful memory of my impropriety?

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Why do you find it disturbing? When your young your brain isn't fully developed you didn't do anything bad really if anything you cleaned her drain and underwear for her. ;) Have you ever tried telling this person what you did and maybe apologizing for it? Might make you feel better about it all, she might not even care really. Forgive yourself man...

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Mmm, I know it probably won't help, but think how much worse happens all the time. You didn't attack her, or pull out the hairs yourself. Believe me, people do much worse than you did, all the time. That isn't an argument that something is okay, of course, but you're treating yourself as if you did something horrible to someone. As far as I can tell from your description, the only person who has ever been hurt by this is you. Is it okay to forgive yourself, some day?

I would also suggest that the recurrence of this thought, along with the big flood of negative emotion, makes it sound a bit obsessive? Is that something you have been, or would be willing to try to be, treated for?

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The problem, though, is that any obsession can seem trivial to others despite being deadly serious to the person suffering from it. And I use the word "deadly" advisedly; people who don't get help may end up suicidal.

So rather than minimize the person's very real suffering, I think it's more helpful to suggest things that might divert them, say, or get them to seek out the appropriate professional.

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