The Guilt that Haunts Me

Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?


Elise fought the memories day and night.  During the day, she had to deliberately block them from her mind, replacing them with other thoughts.

At night, though, when she was asleep, there was no defense.  Over and over again, she struggled and tossed and turned through the events, waking up in a sweat, often with tears pouring down her face and onto her pillow.

Jed, her husband, didn’t have a clue.  She’d never told him, never revealed what it was that so often tormented her dreams and robbed her of sleep. She shrugged off her miserable nights with, “Just a bad dream.  I don’t even remember what it was.”

The lie compounded the guilt, of course. Jed didn’t deserve to have such a weak, deceitful woman for his wife.  He was a strong, godly man; a man of character and infinite patience.

“Elise, there’s something.  Something you’re not telling me, something you  need to tell me.  The sooner you do, the sooner we can get past this nonsense.  Why can’t you trust me?  Don’t you know that there’s nothing you could tell me that would stop my loving you?”

The tears would flow afresh, and she would always burrow her face into his broad chest so he couldn’t see the pain and confusion in her eyes. He would hold her, comfort her; but she began to feel a distance opening up between them. She knew she was the one who had to bridge the gap. Finally, one night after the dream was particularly vivid, she broke.

“All right!  All right, I’ll tell you, but you’ll never be able to love me again, and you’ll never want me in your life.  You just don’t know. . . .

“I was raped when I was 15 years old.  It was my own fault.  I went sneaking out with a man who was 25, and my parents had forbidden me to see him.  One night, when I met him at his apartment, he’d been drinking.  I didn’t know anything about that, because Dad never drank.  Anyway, we started to make out, and I was so dumb. . . .I really didn’t get what was happening.  When he started pulling at my clothes, getting really aggressive, I tried to tell him to stop.  It enraged him.

“It was awful.  He really hurt me.  And after it was done, he pretty much threw me out and told me never to come back, that I was just a stupid little girl and he needed a ‘real woman.’

“So now you know.  If you want me to leave, I will.  I wouldn’t blame you.”

Jed was silent.  He gathered her up against him, gently but firmly.  She could feel his chest heaving, then felt the hot tears he was shedding as they dropped onto her head and her face.  She was shocked!  Jed was crying?  Why?

“Elise.  My poor Elise.  It was NOT your fault!  Sure, you were wrong to disobey, to sneak out, to meet that jerk.  But it was HIS choice to rape you, and HE is the guilty one.  We need to talk more about all this, and if you think it will help we can go to the pastor or a counselor and get you some help to get past this.  But know this:  I will always love you.  You are not defined by what someone else did to you.  This changes nothing between us, except that I’m glad you finally told me.”

It took time.  Months.  But gradually Elise was able to forgive her attacker, to let go of her guilt, and to trust in the love of her husband and her God.

No guilt has to be permanent.

6 thoughts on “Guilty!

  1. This is another sad one that’s hard to LIKE. But it’s well told and has a happy ending. Especially this part about forgiving.
    I had no counselor to help me work through some “incidents” that happened when I was seven, and yet I’m thankful the Spirit of God did guide me toward forgiving the offender. I’ve seen people caught for years in a pit of anger and revenge, refusing to forgive, and it warps them.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Un-guilty conscience. | The Hempstead Man

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