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Need to Forgive Myself

Question

Hi Lisa…I am a mother to 3 children and have been happily married for 21 years.  2 years ago my middle son became very ill and needed a bone marrow transplant.  I was working full time at the time and needless to say, it was a difficult time.  My husband and I have always had a good, close relationship and although, we remained so during this time, we weren’t able to give each other much (or our marriage) much attention.  After the BMT, I went back to work and my boss began to show me extra attention which eventually turned to text messages and became personal.  He told me I was attractive, sexy, etc.  I felt happy and important.  I was eventually intimate with him twice.  That was a year and a half ago.  I took a year off of work to care for my family and put things back together, but I never told my husband-I didn’t think that it would bring anything but sadness.  I am not back at work (with the same boss) & your relationship is cordial and professional, but I can’t seem to let go off what happened.  I feel guilty and like a horrible person!  I’m not sure how to bring closure to this incident-it was so out of character for me and although I can see how it happened, I really wish that I wouldn’t have let it.  Any advice?  Thanks so much!

Susan 

Answer

Yes, you do need to forgive yourself.  There’s no need to be continually beating yourself up about this.  You were feeling particularly vulnerable and you made a mistake.  You realize that this was a mistake, and you corrected it.  You learned from the situation, and you won’t repeat it.  Now you have to move on.

I think what is probably difficult is being at work with your boss, because even though it is professional and cordial, it is a reminder.  I think it would be healthier for you to be in a different work environment.  Start looking for another job and see what happens. Even if you just move to a different department within the same company, that puts a little distance between the two of you. Like the saying goes, “it takes two to tango” and your boss took advantage of you when you were going through a very difficult time in your life.

Guilt is not productive.  And you are not a horrible person.  Take steps to remove yourself from being in daily contact with your boss and it will be a lot easier to put the whole incident behind you.

We’re often harder on ourselves than we are on other people.  If this had happened to a dear friend of yours and she confided in you, what would you say to her? You’d probably say, it’s okay, you’re doing the best you can, you are not a horrible person.  Be a friend to yourself and cut yourself some slack.  Life is all about learning and growing and you have been through a lot.  Be grateful that you and your family have gotten past your son’s illness, that he is okay and your family is intact.  Give yourself some credit for helping to make this happen. 

Love,

Lissa