I read your response to H and seems you think I was saying you are emotionally stunted or stuck at sixteen or something similar and that is not at all what I meant.
I read your story about your brother. Maybe this will be more clear. I’m an addict in recovery, 6 years. The exercise I gave you was one I’ve been given in situations during step work (step 9, making amends) when someone comes up who is not available for me to directly make amends to (maybe they died, or interaction with them is unsafe).
Addicts (and humans, to a lesser extent) have usually caused harm to lots of people. Every act was only an instant in time, and yet, the more “instants” we have spent causing harm, the smaller our world becomes, and the more things we hide from. We don’t want to go to the store because we yelled at the checkout girl last week; we can’t go to our usual bank because we got called out there for being high, etc.
The reason we atone for those things is so that they cease having power over us. At some point, we know we can once again walk freely, into any room, anywhere, with anyone in it, with our head held high and without feeling guilt or dread (this is sort of re: your brother article as well. addicts disappear because of shame. they make it look like anger or like their tough but they’re usually filled with incomprehensible demoralization of character).
Your situation IS NOT THE SAME in that you did not intentionally cause harm. However, it is the same in that you have adjusted your behavior, and learned everything you’re going to learn from it, and at some point giving the negative side of it some sort of emotional or mental shrine, and shedding tears over what you’ve effectively atoned for and moved on from is a step that isn’t necessary anymore. If it serves a useful purpose for you, then by all means, continue. There’s nothing wrong with that. If it’s in any way preventing you from being the absolute happiest and most fulfilled that you can be, or if it stands in the way of your usefulness to your fellow man, then I was just giving you a tool to alter its effect on you.
it is a tool you are under no obligation to use. It is a gift, for you to do with as you wish.
it is possible to be stuck on an instant in time, like a little hiccup, in that when you recall the event, you also recall the emotion that accompanied it.
that does not mean you are stuck, or delayed, or wrong, or broken. there are just some things you don’t have to keep feeling if you don’t like the feeling.. it isn’t as if you’re going to forget the lesson if you stop feeling the sadness. I hope this explains better my motivation.
I had to step away to think because when I don’t , sometimes I say things I later regret. Then *I* have to make amends. It’s easier just not to say the shitty things in the first place.