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polymath
Newbie

Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 4
Forgiving myself and moving on...
      #248103 - 10/21/09 12:39 AM

I've been positive 9 years this November. On a day to day basis, I don't even really think about the illness much. In fact, I've tried very hard to not let it define who I am and how I live my life.

However, lately, I've been struggling tremendously with the subject of forgiving myself. I can't seem to find it inside TO forgive myself and move on with my life.

I keep telling myself that I'll be able to forgive myself once I am settled in to a solid loving relationship. Once someone else sees me for who I am totally, accepts my illness and loves me for me as a whole, then *I* can forgive myself.

When I tell those closest to me this, they don't buy it. They think I should just stop regretting and start living.

The HIV prevents me from even TRYING to have a romantic relationship because I just feel like when someone begins to get close to me and it's time to disclose, they will look at me as some sort of lying fraud.

I feel like I'm dragging a ball and chain that I can conveniently hide behind me when a person first sees me, but eventually it's going to be seen and the person will decide 'better' and run off.

There's been one man in my life who's accepting of my illness and I've been clinging to the hopes that we can one day have a loving relationship. I've been waiting for this man for 5 years. I've waited through a marriage of his, and his last relationship (which ended several months ago). He is my best friend in the world, we talk every day, have been intimate already, and has finally expressed a vague interest in possibly pursuing a deeper relationship with me. But, the whole thing is only an 'if' right now.

But, if this relationship doesn't come to pass, I feel like I need to just give up because there isn't an understanding man that will spark my interest and that I'll really click with out there. I don't want to be pigeonholed into dating another person who's "like me" and has HIV because that's what people want of me. I want to be free to choose who *I* will love.

My last relationship ended 4 and a half years ago, and it was with the man who infected me. He has since passed away 3 years ago. I've met a few guys and most of them are scared of my situation, even to the point of telling me they weren't strong enough to handle it. And, I tell myself that there is no one else I even remotely want but my best friend.

So, in conclusion, how do I begin to forgive myself without using a man's love to do it?

It's getting extremely painful to keep holding this in inside. And as I sit here trying to wrap things up, I find tears just streaming down my face and just feel such pain, shame and embarrassment.

I just need some advice.

Thanks for listening.

Polymath



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OobiemoObie
Regular

Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Hawaii
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248156 - 10/24/09 11:17 PM

Hi,
Very touching, and I don't really have an answer... but this might seem weird but who knows... it seems like you really love your best friend, and I assume he really cares about you. My question is, did you know that your former partner was positive before you were infected? It seems like that answer could really affect you in many ways. If you didn't know, its like trying to forgive yourself for falling for someone who betrayed your trust. That is sometimes the most painful. Has this happened a lot in your life? For some people it has, they feel they always fall for the "wrong" people, and end up getting hurt. Its a pattern, and it seems the best way to break out of any kind of pattern really, is to do something about, when things are going well. When things are going bad, we can't help but feel the only option is to repeat things, things that make us feel better but end up hurting us once its over. Another answer might be you DID know about their status, therefore you feel you betrayed yourself. Its extremely hard I know... and since your best friend is the love of your life, my idea would be, to not be intimate with them, to start your relationship over again in a way where you are really building a relationship with yourself. I heard of this book called secret survivors where it was all about stories of incest victims, where their therapist simply listened, and had them go through 3 steps, 1st I believed they talked about it, 2nd they re-lived the incidences (whether it was visually or just emotionally remembering), and 3rd they had to set boundaries for themselves, but at the level they were at when the abuse started happening (say they were 9,so no more than holding hands with a partner). From there they re-built themselves in a way that they finally had control. It might be extreme in your situation I don't know, but it makes sense to me if you feel you lost a part of yourself, before you can forgive yourself, you need to learn how to trust yourself again... If this helps, awesome, if not...:-)


--------------------
-OobiemoObie

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rm8471
Member

Reged: 04/13/09
Posts: 11
Loc: United States
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248167 - 10/26/09 02:56 PM

You are working from an incorrect premise, which we are all inclined to do.

I remember when my late sister exclaimed that a man who actually abused her made her feel good and that her pain "inside" of her "went away" because of him. Not because of the abuse, she abhorred that, but because of what she mistook for love.

I told her then, what I say to you now, we each must find within ourselves our own sense of purpose, importance, reason for being, etc. We cannot be reliant on any one person to do this for us.

We cannot be happy until we get over ourselves, and truly love ourselves.

Only then, can we love others, unconditionally, as well as ourselves.

If you wait for a "man" from somewhere out of the blue to "fix" how you feel on the inside, it isn't going to happen.

You must learn to forgive, and love, yourself.

I know of what I speak, being HIV positive, and now wearing oxygen 24/7. I know that I made foolish decisions, which have brought me to where I am at: I trusted someone who repeatedly betrayed that trust, and repeatedly did so, despite all of the evidence in front of me, for many years.

The results? HIV.

I smoked for 20 years, knowing the extreme risk especially to ME, being a premature infant at birth with poor lungs to begin with, prior to smoking.

The result: Oxygen 24 hours a day, a BiPap machine (similar to a Cpap) at night, and disability.

I had to leave the work force at age 49, while I was still very young.

I am now only 52, and must face the fact that in ever sense of the word, I am not a "marketable" object in the gay single scene.

And I have had to face the fact that I brought these things on, knowing better. I was raised better than that, than to take such emotional abuse over & over & over as I did when I got repeatedly betrayed.

I was a RN, too. I knew how extremely risky smoking was for ME.

But I gambled, and loss.

I had to forgive myself, and it was not easy at all, but I had to, to survive.

It can be done.

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Christa1
Member

Reged: 10/06/09
Posts: 24
Loc: Durban, South Africa
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248199 - 10/28/09 01:43 AM

I am so sorry for the pain you are feeling. As someone also living with HIV I can relate. What worked for me is facing that, I had a hand in being infected. I should have not used my heart only, in trusting my partner who infected me. I should have stuck to information I had to consistently use protection. He never forced me, but I accepted him without a condom in some occasions. Now I say this of course not knowing how you got infected. I believe you should trace the pain back from where got infected. Don't dwell on what could have, should have, and just face what was your responsibility, if any.

The next thing I had to sort of 'kick' myself for being stupid. Then I had to ask, 'yes, Christa, things are like this now, now what? , what are u going to do?' This whole process took 4 years for me. I blamed and finally stopped blaming. Take a decision what are you planning to do with the mistakes you have made, if it was your mistake. Remember we all make mistakes, then focus on what are you planning to do with this 'mistake/HIV which has landed on your lap.

I think you should remove the man in the picture. Start with you. Doing this is important whether you have a partner or not. I believe it is important to stand on a firm ground 'cause the world is judgmental on people like us. Believe that is enough, u don't need to judge yourself as well. You need to love yourself.

I know it is not easy, but remember life has no guarantees. Focus on you first, enjoy the friendships around you, sometimes they are more real than the physical relations with partners. Enjoy the company of your friend, but don't rush into a relationship, if it meant to be, it will be. Focus on you. I wish all the luck, God bless.

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Angel_Ronnie
Guru

Reged: 06/01/06
Posts: 256
Loc: Gauteng, South Africa
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248201 - 10/28/09 07:56 AM

Christa you have come a long way and such true words from you is encouraging I'm poz for just a bit more than 3 years and must say I had the same emotions and dealt with it the same way as you have. asking myself " now what? you just gonna sit there and feel sorry for yourself or are you going to stand up from the floor and live life be who you always have been to others" and it worked for me placing myself first for the first time in my life I am number one then the rest will fall into place.

--------------------
"Live for today, because what you do today is what you use to make your future"

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ausguy
Newbie

Reged: 11/01/09
Posts: 9
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248242 - 11/01/09 09:16 PM

I was diagnosed about just over a year ago and am still dealling with a lot of emotional baggage - kind of like an atomic bomb was dropped on my life. Not quite sure what the future holds...

To your point about forgiveness...I must confess, I don't carry a lot of guilt about this. We are sexual creatures and I bet everyone has had unprotected sex at some point or another making them vulnerable. I've stopped playing the rewind "what-if" game and have simply accepted I love sex and I'm in a high-risk population. I was unlucky. So be it.

I spend most of my energy trying to figure out how to now live with this condition - and what the future may hold. How to deal with the horrific stigma attached to this both in and out of the gay community.

I also look at other conditions. I look at 300lb diabetics....well, they did it to themselves, right? Or the alcoholic with cirrhosis. Not being unkind here but maybe it's just a matter of time before we "get something".

Maybe your guilt is related to the negative stigma associated with HIV. If you were obese and diagnosed with diabetes, would you carry this guilt nine years later??

Not sure if I'm helping, just providing a different perspecitve.

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OobiemoObie
Regular

Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 31
Loc: Hawaii
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248250 - 11/02/09 01:11 AM

Yes that is different... but surely not everyone is "doomed" to fail...

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-OobiemoObie

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polymath
Newbie

Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 4
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248318 - 11/07/09 01:54 AM

Thank you to all who responded.

Since this post, I've did terrible things like read my best friend's facebook account because I had this feeling he wasn't being truthful with me.

I found out he's dating someone and when I confront him on this, he blatantly says he's not. (I can't tell him how I most certainly KNOW he is because then he will be furious that I was reading his account)

So, now I'm crestfallen because I had HOPE that we could actually try to make things work and how can I trust a person who on one hand tells me they want to TRY a relationship with me and on the other hand is 'seeing' someone new because he's too insecure to be alone.

This doesn't help my process of forgiving myself!



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polymath
Newbie

Reged: 10/21/09
Posts: 4
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248319 - 11/07/09 01:57 AM

I'm sure guilt comes from the fact that I KNEW the man who infected me was HIV positive and I ended up with this.

I didn't think I was invincible. I didn't think 'it won't happen to me'.

My partner was physically incapable of having sex when a condom was involved. He could NOT sustain any erection at all when condoms were involved. So, we ended up having unprotected sex most of the time.

I knew there were risks and I ended up with HIV. It's partly my fault but I can't seem to forgive myself for THIS mistake. I've learned to forgive myself for other mistakes I've made in life, but this one just won't seem to dissipate.

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Christa1
Member

Reged: 10/06/09
Posts: 24
Loc: Durban, South Africa
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248320 - 11/07/09 07:46 AM

Focus on you, and leave everyone else out, whether they love u or not. Love yrself enough to forgive yrself without anyone' acceptance.

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jmiami
Newbie

Reged: 12/13/06
Posts: 8
Re: Forgiving myself and moving on... new
      #248565 - 11/23/09 07:50 PM

Be careful of "friends becoming lovers scenarios" because there is a VERY fine line you must walk - once you cross over to the lover section - you cannot turn back for better or worse.
EVERYONE makes mistakes big and little and some much worse then getting HIV. Accept that you are human, you "fucked up" and move on - obsessing about regrets makes you live in the past and makes your present miserable.

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