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Author Topic: Do you have any regrets?  (Read 313 times)
Feeling Better
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« on: December 01, 2018, 11:02:31 AM »

On the face of it, I like this idea, live my life, be kind to others and do whatever I want to do in life. Live my life with no regrets, no wishing I’d done something different or said something different. But life is not like that, not for me anyway because I do have regrets.

I am surprised by my current regret because it came to me out of nowhere.

I realised today that I regret never asking my dad why he used to give my mother the silent treatment. I never asked to hear his side of the story, always believing whatever my mother told me. I had no reason to disbelieve what she said, why would she lie to me? The evidence was there for all to see. My dad was “sulking”.

A much wiser me now wonders whether my dad used to do this for self preservation. I will never know, he passed away over twenty years ago.

Do you have any regrets?

FB x
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« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2018, 02:01:26 PM »

Yes, I do but I don't dwell on them. I don't see them as mistakes but learning experiences. I hope we can avoid major regrets, but I think we are all human and will slip from time to time.

I was naive about BPD when I first started to set boundaries with BPD mom and I entered the drama triangle with my parents. As a result, my relationship with my father was affected. Yet, I don't regret having boundaries with her. It was a necessary growth and learning process for me. We can only do what we know how to do at the time.

You may have asked your father, but he may not have been forthcoming with you. I wish I was able to discuss my mother's BPD with my father. I knew he knew, but wouldn't discuss it. One one hand it is good he didn't triangulate against her, but I would have welcomed the honesty instead of having to pretend all was normal when it was an elephant in the room.
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« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2018, 02:15:56 PM »

Hey, Feeling Better. I guess that I’d like to address the title of your post first. I don’t know. I am trying to figure this out as well. I once confronted my parents and was gaslighted. I have to come to my own conclusions there.

I realised today that I regret never asking my dad why he used to give my mother the silent treatment. I never asked to hear his side of the story, always believing whatever my mother told me.

You shouldn’t have had to ask for one side or the other. You were a child. Plain and simple. I understand your confusion, but that confusion doesn’t belong to you. It was placed on you just like it was placed on me. It’s not our’s.

Of course we believe what our parents, especially our mothers, tell us at a young age. We’re supposed to listen to mom. She was our go to for everything. Our Bible, so to speak. She was Gospel. It’s supposed to be that way. Right? Mom is supposed to guide us. Well, unfortunately the old norms don’t fit what we’re talking about.

Are you missing your dad? Perhaps he was sulking. Maybe he stuck around because he loved you and was looking out for his little girl in the best way that he knew how.  What do you think?

You’ve mentioned regret. Why do you feel regret over something that you had no control over? You’re not responsible for your parents actions. However, you do have a feeling of regret. Let’s explore that. Can you share more on this feeling?
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« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2018, 03:09:19 PM »

Hi Feeling Better!  

I have regrets, especially now as I am healing more and learning more about myself, how I react vs. respond both in the past and in the present.  I think the regret is more that I didn't know then what I know now with a bit of magical thinking that seems to creep in at times.  As if my parents would not have been exactly who they were if only I had been able to respond better.  And then I tell myself what WTL said here... .I knew no better.  I realize I am not being fair to myself.  

That is until I remember the few times where I very consciously and deliberately pushed away awareness that things were messed up and that I needed to get away.  I can remember my thought process quite clearly and it was very much a choice on my part.  Conscious denial that then faded into unawareness.

I regret those times and wish I could have a do over.  I can't say though that I was strong enough or had reached my limit at those times of awareness so I have no idea how things would have turned out if I had taken action.   I might have jumped straight into a much worse situation than I did with my ex several years later.

I can keep myself going in circles thinking of all the possible outcomes.  

Good question FB and thank you for coming here.

In a larger view of "live with no regrets" sometimes I think I twist it a bit.  I am not sure if living a life that is authentic and full can be one of no regrets.  Maybe for stuff like "I wish I did not decline that invitation" or "I wish I went hang gliding", then I think yeah, no regrets.  But for the big complicated sticky great love and great pain events of life?  I think the only way you can not have regrets or at least wonder 'what if' is if you held back.  So in a way, living a life to have no regrets almost guarantees that you will have regrets - at least the way I look at things.
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2018, 09:02:56 AM »

Notwendy
I’m with you, I don’t dwell on regrets either, it’s pointless in my opinion and like you I also think they can be considered a learning experience. In fact life in itself is a whole great learning experience.

Yes, it did cross my mind that had I thought of asking him he most probably would have told me that it was none of my business. Things like that were kept private, people didn’t speak so much about feelings back then. People generally made the most of what they’d got and just got on with life.

I get the pretending all is normal when, as you say, there is an elephant in the room and in fact growing up I thought it was normal as I didn’t know anything different. Like so many of us here.

WTL
Some people like to say that they live/have lived their lives with no regrets, I used to think how great that they could do that and wonder if I could do it too. In reality, for me at least, I know that it’s not an option. I think, to some degree, to not have any regrets indicates a possible lack of concern to others, that they will do whatever they want/need to do to fulfill their own wishes to enable them to have no regrets. Not sure if that makes sense, it’s just my opinion.

I get what you are saying about not having to ask for one side or the other when I was a child, but later, in my teens and when I became an adult I was more aware of the behaviour but I guess I just accepted it because I’d grown up with it.

Sometimes I miss my dad, when I think back he was more empathetic than my mother ever was, and yes, I do remember being his little girl, but little girls grow up and tend to gravitate more towards their mother. And yes, he may have just been sulking, it’s just that my counsellor suggested he may have been protecting himself. A lot of time in counselling was taken up discussing my mother’s behaviour towards me so I do consider it a possibility that my dad used it to protect himself. The thing is, I never really witnessed what led up to the silent treatment, and especially after I’d left home. My mother would just tell me that he wasn’t speaking to her, she used to come to me crying and really upset so naturally I would comfort her and believe whatever she told me. Over the years, and more so since my dad passed away, I have come to realise that my mother uses tears to gain attention and make things be all about her.

I think my feeling of regret was just a fleeting one, as I said, it just came out of nowhere, probably more of a wish I’d said something than a regret. Or is that the same thing? Thanks for your concern WTL I really do appreciate it. I think that I am currently at a place where I am able to accept that what was... .was, and what is... .is, however, things can always change.

What about you? Do you have any regrets?

Harri
Yes, I see where you are coming from and I feel that your feelings of regret are more difficult to deal with than mine, as I said to WTL, my regret was a fleeting feeling, your regret concerns your whole childhood. I think that it’s only natural that you feel regret as you learn more about yourself and continue to heal, it’s all part of the process.

I understand your wishing at times to have a do over, life is full of “what if” and “if only”,  who invented the word “if”? Acceptance can be very hard and especially difficult in circumstances like the ones you have had to face. 

I’m definitely on the same page as you regarding living a life with no regrets, you articulated it very well, thank you so much.

FB x
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« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2018, 09:40:14 AM »

Hey, Feeling Better. I’m going to bluntly agree with you. I personally don’t agree that it is possible for a person to not have a single regret. That speaks of perfection, and there is no such thing. My two cents.

to not have any regrets indicates a possible lack of concern to others, that they will do whatever they want/need to do to fulfill their own wishes to enable them to have no regrets.

I couldn’t agree with you more.

As far as accepting the behaviors, how couldn’t we? We know what we know. We needed mom and dad to be a compass for us. Unfortunately their compass was broken. Fortunately, though, we were somehow gifted with self awareness. Sometimes I ask myself if it’s a blessing or a curse because the path that self awareness has me on is a very hard one. That’s me being a bit selfish. The path is necessary to break the ugly cycle. The path is necessary for my child. He deserves better than I had. That’s it.

There’s a good possibility that your dad was protecting himself. People can only be beaten down so far. That’s no secret for you. I imagine he became very tired. If you never really witnessed what lead up to the silent treatment, maybe he was protecting you too. Just a thought. Speculation.

I do have regrets. The biggest one being that I wish I could’ve nipped this stuff in the bud earlier in life. I knew what happened to me and somewhere inside knew that it had profound effects on me. What I didn’t know was just how profound it really was. It eventually came out. Now, it’s on the surface. I wish I had found this place and the knowledge that I have now before I had my Son. Perhaps I could be managing a relationship with his mother had I been proactive with my own well being. I regret not being more forthright with my parents when it came to holding them accountable for their actions. I regret not being a stronger person overall. Thank you for asking. I needed to say that.

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« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2018, 08:39:23 PM »

Hi FeelingBetterWelcome new member (click to insert in post)

I was wondering if there is anyone you can talk with to find out some clues that may help you with your wonderings? Do you have older siblings, aunts and uncles who were your dad's siblings, or did he have any close friends that he may have talked with?

When I've read the book Surviving a Borderline Parent, there is a chapter in which the authors encourage you as an adult to seek out those you can, such as family members, to ask questions. We heard one point of view from our mom, and now as an adult, we get to chose what to believe, and we can seek out answers and understanding from others. I made a trip to see my aunts one summer and filled them in about our family, and there were things they never knew. They also shed some light on my childhood from their perspective. It helped me a lot to see through the glasses that I held up, not my uBPDm's glasses.

 
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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2018, 07:29:28 AM »

Hi FeelingBetter, I am sorry to hear you are feeling regret for those things in regards to your father. Regret is a hard feeling because as much as we all try not to or are able to not think of it, when we are alone have time to think it can creep up on us - don't you agree? I try not to dwell either because it is can drive you crazy about what I should or shouldn't have done. The truth is that we must keep reminding ourselves that "we did what we did because we only knew what we knew at the time!".

As I discussed in the thread i started (https://bpdfamily.com/message_board/index.php?topic=331540.0), I mentioned that my mother cut off my family when I was 8 years old, no contact uncles, aunties, cousins, grandparents etc. When I was 27 years old, living out of home and going to therapy, I decided to get in touch with family for answers about my mother and her behaviour and rebuild those relationships on my own. I tried to prepare myself to find out that maybe my grandparents had passed on by now, but to my surprise they were alive - however my grandmother has some form of developing dementia, and my grandfather is 90, skinny and probably won't be with us for long.

For me, it was great to connect with them again after 16 years - but my regret comes from not connecting with them years early, especially after the age of 18 and got more time back. I wish I had figured out these issues with my mother sooner and reconnected with my family sooner, built those relationships. But i have to remind myself about the situation i was in, that i was living under my mothers roof, that she held the power over me and everyone, that I didn't question her - I was a different person.
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« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2018, 06:32:23 PM »

WTL
Sometimes I ask myself if it’s a blessing or a curse because the path that self awareness has me on is a very hard one. That’s me being a bit selfish. The path is necessary to break the ugly cycle. The path is necessary for my child. He deserves better than I had. That’s it.

This is all so true. After many years of me suppressing my feelings and making allowances for other people and continually blaming myself for the actions of others, it was a revelation for me as I became more self aware. I get what you are saying about it being a blessing or a curse, having to learn to accept things about oneself and the people closest to us, it’s hard. I don’t know about you but gaining more self awareness gave me back some of the confidence that I had lost. I don’t see you as being a bit selfish, you know what you need to do both for you and your son. I see it as an act of kindness, to yourself, as well as your son, so that you can be a better dad to him and give him a better life than the one you had.

Excerpt
I do have regrets. The biggest one being that I wish I could’ve nipped this stuff in the bud earlier in life. I knew what happened to me and somewhere inside knew that it had profound effects on me. What I didn’t know was just how profound it really was. It eventually came out. Now, it’s on the surface. I wish I had found this place and the knowledge that I have now before I had my Son. Perhaps I could be managing a relationship with his mother had I been proactive with my own well being. I regret not being more forthright with my parents when it came to holding them accountable for their actions. I regret not being a stronger person overall. Thank you for asking. I needed to say that.

Thank you for telling me about your regrets, I’m sorry that you have them. Do you think that you feel some guilt along with your regrets? I too used to wish that I had found this site earlier than I did, but I didn’t, my uBPD son had already gone NC with me seven months before I arrived here. I am grateful for being here, learning to try and find ways to reconnect with my son, understanding what it must be like for him and learning new life skills for myself. I am glad that you are embracing the knowledge that you have found here, you are giving yourself and your son the chance of a great relationship and a great life together. We can’t change what happened in our past but we can use it to change our future.

Wools and Daniel H, thank you both for your responses. I have run out of time right now and I will be back tomorrow to continue.

FB x
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« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2018, 09:18:54 PM »

Sometimes I've regretted not going NC with my mother as I wanted to do 29 years ago.  But I think I would have regretted that more. 

Part of me regrets not ignoring my ex's invite to a date-not-date invite to a movie in 2008. This was after one official date after which she said that she wasn't ready for a relationship (? I thought it was only a date) instead of telling her no thanks.  But then I wouldn't have the two lovely kids I have today,  settled down from my previous nomad lifestyle. 

I read this in a book today: “People would rather spend their lives regretting than planning ahead.”

I think little plans us for the experiences that bring us here.  We don't know what we don't know. 


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« Reply #10 on: December 06, 2018, 06:40:09 PM »

Wools
I was wondering if there is anyone you can talk with to find out some clues that may help you with your wonderings? Do you have older siblings, aunts and uncles who were your dad's siblings, or did he have any close friends that he may have talked with?

Oh I wish I could ask other family members, my mother turned 90 this year and she is now the only one left out of that whole generation. The notion of BPD came into my life just 2-3 years ago and prior to that I had never heard of it. I had always accepted my family as they were, recognising that we are aIl different, and still accepting them nonetheless.

I’m really pleased for you that you got to ask your aunts about your childhood and that they managed to shed some light on your childhood, and I’m glad that you found it helpful. Are you still in touch with your aunts?

Just wondering too, do you have any regrets?

Daniel H
Thank you for joining my thread
Regret is a hard feeling because as much as we all try not to or are able to not think of it, when we are alone have time to think it can creep up on us - don't you agree?
Yes, it can creep up on us, particularly if we are ruminating, I also find that things can pop into my head out of nowhere too just as this feeling did.

Thank you for the link to your thread, I read it three days ago when you posted it, I will take a look again as I see that it’s been updated. What struck me the most when I read your post (and I hope I’m remembering this correctly) was that you wrote that despite how your mother treated you, you still felt love for her. Wow! Your mother is so lucky. There was a hint of poignancy for me as I always did my best to be a good mother but my son who has undiagnosed BPD traits has turned his back on me and has gone NC. So I really admire you, that despite everything, you can still say that you love your mum.

I am glad that you decided to get in touch with your long lost relatives, and that it was a good thing for you to do, and I do understand your regret that you hadn’t done it sooner. You did it though, and I hope that you feel really proud of yourself for taking that step. Did you manage to locate aunts and uncles as well as your grandparents?

Turkish
Sometimes I've regretted not going NC with my mother as I wanted to do 29 years ago.  But I think I would have regretted that more. 

I believe you Turkish, you probably could have regretted that more, we have to go with what feels right for us at the time.

Excerpt
Part of me regrets not ignoring my ex's invite to a date-not-date invite to a movie in 2008. This was after one official date after which she said that she wasn't ready for a relationship (? I thought it was only a date) instead of telling her no thanks.  But then I wouldn't have the two lovely kids I have today,  settled down from my previous nomad lifestyle. 

This made me smile, I get what you are saying about the regret but you know, some things are just meant to be and you have your two great kids to show for it.

Excerpt
We don't know what we don't know. 

How very true, but we can all be open to learning and when we know better we can do better.
Thanks Turkish

Ok, so I’m wondering, does anyone else have any regrets that they would like to talk about?

FB x


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« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2018, 11:28:22 AM »

Do you have any regrets? Yes, I have many regrets, especially that I just did not get it about the people with BPD/NPD in my family, and have wasted most of my life trying to be loved by people that do not have the capacity to love me. At the same time, I am truly grateful that through years of therapy and questioning, I now fully understand the truth and have healed to the point that I can have loving relationships and enjoy life. I realize that I am one of the lucky ones, as I have seen so many of my family members never understand the toxic family dynamics and die without ever healing.
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« Reply #12 on: December 08, 2018, 07:02:13 PM »

Hi Feeling BetterWelcome new member (click to insert in post)

[q]Are you still in touch with your aunts?

Just wondering too, do you have any regrets?[/q]

Yes, I'm still in contact with my aunts. In fact one of them is the one who took me on the trip to CA with her this fall. I treasure every moment I get with them. I keep learning from them, and I wish I had had more time with them. I regret that my life was so affected that I missed out on over 35 years of relationship with them. There is a certain comfort in knowing that this is my family, one that connects me to a past from long before my uBPDm. The history of our family farm and the little Quaker cemetery connects me to the same land since 1833. These things and my new discoveries connect and help to ground me.

Sometimes I regret not having known and started T when my children were little. But God knew when I would be ready, and He had reasons why I didn't understand sooner that my mom was BPD. I choose to trust in His time being perfect, but sometimes I wonder if I would have been a different parent. I know that now, as adults, I am able to walk alongside them and support them and encourage them in ways that I was never able to before.

I do not regret that my uBPDm is gone and that I cannot ask her questions. My fear of her is still deep enough that were she alive, I would not yet be able to do anything but remain very LC. As we know from our conversations here on PSI, no conversation would have enlightened her or changed her. I am content that she has passed away.

 
Wools
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« Reply #13 on: December 08, 2018, 09:13:22 PM »

I just read this:

 Regret, or the fear of regret is a strong motivator. Sometimes regret isn’t only about you and what you didn’t do. Most of the times it’s about who you didn’t do something with or say something to  You will still lose people, and you will always have something you wish you told them or did for them.

Whether I did or did not do something, or said or didn't say something is past. The past is past and immutable.  Maybe it's ok to regret,  especially if we learned from it. 
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« Reply #14 on: December 09, 2018, 06:09:44 AM »

Hey, FB. Thanks for the insight and kind words.

Do you think that you feel some guilt along with your regrets?

Yes, along with shame. I just feel like I should be a better person overall sometimes. I feel like I could’ve made better decisions along the way, but how does one do that when their self awareness is so lacking? I’m speaking of the part of the path that is behind me now. I guess it’s these questions that have me awake at 4 a.m. on a Sunday. I feel like I’ve wasted a lot of precious time blocking out what I’ve needed to face along the way. Now, the years have passed and it has all inevitably surfaced. It’s overwhelming sometimes, but it is what it is now.   Good thread, FB.
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« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2018, 06:16:51 AM »

Turkish, thanks for posting this.

Regret, or the fear of regret is a strong motivator. Sometimes regret isn’t only about you and what you didn’t do. Most of the times it’s about who you didn’t do something with or say something to  You will still lose people, and you will always have something you wish you told them or did for them.

I don’t want to hijack the thread, but this spoke to me. Yes, interaction, lack there of or not knowing how to interact are basically the roots of my regret. Looking deeper, all of that was ultimately in my control when it comes down to it. Hmm.
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« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2018, 10:01:04 AM »

You talk of shame making it hard to move past the regrets. This is something I think most of us experience when we have been abused. Know that it is possible to get to a point where you are no longer hindered by shame, and will have compassion for your courage in working through all that you have suffered. You might like to read or see some of Brene Brown's books or videos, who is a well know expert on helping people heal from shame. Keep posting here until the shame is gone, whenever the feelings of regret come up. There is no such thing as posting too much. Shame thrives when feelings are not expressed, and shame is overcome when shame is expressed and fully processed.
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« Reply #17 on: December 11, 2018, 06:28:54 PM »

Zachira
Although you have regrets, and I am truly sorry to hear of your regrets, your response is inspiring. How sad that you feel that you have wasted most of your life trying to be loved by people who have no capacity to give love. Yet you have managed, through therapy and questioning to heal your scars from the past and build a good life for yourself. Thank you for sharing.

Wools
How lovely to hear that you are still in contact with your aunts and I loved reading about you finding out about your family’s history, that must have been something really special for you.

I think it’s natural to wonder whether things would have been different had we known back then what we know now and I’m also inclined to believe like you, that some things happen when the time is right and also for a reason.

I am glad that you are at peace with your mom’s passing 

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