Q. I stopped looking at forbidden pictures a while ago. But they are still in my memory. Even if I do teshuva my aveiros can never be erased completely. The eraser marks will still be there. The images are implanted in my memory and will never go away. I'm sick over it. I feel sorry for my children. They deserve a much better parent than me. Their neshamos are so innocent and pure. I was given a pure neshama at birth and will be returning a war torn, weary, battered shmata when I go back.
Your website is like a rope being thrown to a drowning person. But it will take a lot of convincing for me to believe that there's hope. I want the memories erased. I want all my past mistakes erased. Erased without a trace. Like a brand new piece of paper. I don't think that's possible.
A. Just the fact that you had the will power to stop looking at forbidden things shows you have greatness inside you. How many people are willing to work on themselves and admit their past mistakes in today's world? This is very precious in G-d's eyes.
Chassidus teaches us that a Jew has to look at the past and future as out of their hands, and to see what you did in the past as what G-d wanted to happen. Strange as it may seem, your sins of the past were G-d's will. Only the present is in our hands. In the present, it is in our hands to decide if we want to change, and do Teshuvah on the past. That means that the situation you are in at this present time, is exactly the situation G-d wants you to deal with. Look at it as if you were born at this moment, with all the images and memories already engraved in your head. G-d wants you to deal with this situation, and davka this situation. And this is also a chance for greatness, to be able to serve G-d with joy even though the brain was already influenced by the past.
Those who were born with pure minds and never sinned don't have the opportunity for growth that the Ba'al Teshuvah has. The Ba'al Teshuvah paves new paths of recovery with their struggles and gives G-d true joy. And that is what we are here for.
In this past week's Haftora we read about Rachav HaZona - Rachav the famous prostitute. She became the wife of Calev and the mother of 10 Kohanim! This can give us all a lot of hope because whatever she had done in the past must have still been in her memory, and yet she still achieved these great heights. The mere fact that she had "her past" still in her memory and was still able to achieve such lofty heights, this is indeed proof that davka such a person can reach the greatest heights by uplifting their past to a level that even Tzaddikim can not always reach.
Your children are lucky to have such a parent. You are paving a spiritual path that will effect their neshomos and give them the strength to overcome as well, if they G-d forbid ever fall (even if they don't know what you went through). Also, that which we do not succeed in fixing, is often passed on to our children to continue working on. However, if you succeed in doing a true Teshuvah on this, your children will be saved--G-d willing--from these great Nisyonos of our generation.
See also here for more Chizuk on dealing with sexual fantasies that remain as a result of past sins...
May G-d be with you!