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Written on Erev Yom-Kippur

I have done some bad things. I am not entirely sure why I have done them and I am not entirely sure that I could have not done some of them. I feel that life is bigger than me. I feel like I am bigger then me. I am not entirely sure if I can handle all of this and I donít know where it is going to go, I donít know if I can make it go the right way. There are so many things I donít understand, so many things that seem to have a mind of their own, so many things that have a control over me, so many things that I find my self doing, knowing that I shouldnít be doing them, not wanting to do them but powerless to decide not to.
I am scared, life scares me, my struggles scare me, this challenge you have set before me I think I am failing at. I donít want to fail, I donít want to let you down I donít want to cause pain to the people I love the most, but I feel that I am caught in a maze of illusions, turning a corner thinking I have gotten out only to find another distortion of reality. It is all bigger than I and I am not sure what to tell you, what I can say to you, I am not sure of anything, I donít know, other than I love you and I am sorry.
I am afraid of who I am. I am afraid that if I look inside I will discover my worst nightmare, that I am corrupted, this is why I donít let you in, or anyone else for that matter. I donít feel as if I am a worthy individual, I feel like I am broken and I donít know if it can be fixed. How can I stand before you and say I am sorry, it will never happen again, when I know it will. How can I be happy, knowing that my happiness rest in doing what you want, when I know I will end up doing not what you want. I feel I am caught in perpetual cycle of an apologetic relationship that never seems to mature into something genuine and real. If I could run away from you I would but I know I canít, for being in a relationship of pain and doubt with you is better then not being in one at all. At least then I may have a glimmer of hope in making it real and genuine. It seems that if I allow you in, everything just gets confusing. Doubts of loyalty, commitment, sincerity, I discover that I am really not that good of a person, that there is a lot wrong with me and the during the long time that it takes to make it right, even if I do succeed in making it right, a lot of damage would have been done and a lot of pain caused. Maybe it is better to ignore and not try at all. If I let you in, then I must contend with the contradiction of causing pain to the one I now love the most. If I donít let you in, then the pain I cause you, the regret of which I donít have to feel, at least not consciously. If I let you in then my waking hours are a room of torture for my actions will not match the love I will have and I donít know how to deal with this, I donít know what the answers to this are, I donít knowÖ.. I donít know that if I let you in I will stop, and letting you in and not stopping is infinitely more painful than running away and still doing it, at least then I have an excuse. I did it because I was running away. What will I say to you if I let you in and discover that I am the worst of the worst, that I am so corrupted that I will carry on despite your presence with in me, what then? What hope will there be for me then? One final demonstration of how much I want to be that person who obeys you and does right by you, taking the responsibility by ending it all. This would be my reality if what I think I will discover turns out to be true.
I am in the corner of the room, in darkness curled on the floor, afraid, beaten, cold, crying and alone, I am lost, I have nothing left, I donít know what to do.
And what of asking for your forgiveness? Is this not the very thing that I wish to avoid? The very thing that I am so afraid off? Asking for you forgiveness means that I wish you to return to me, or I to you, to open the door to invite you back in, you forgiven me by walking in, but it is You living in me, allowing you in that I spend my life running away from. 24 hrs of bashing my self, pretending to crying, moaning kevetching and knowing all the time that this is not what I really want, wanting you to forgive me but not have you around, 24 hrs of asking for that which I least want. For that which I am most afraid of. Letting you in. And here is the contradiction again, the pain of knowing this but still having to do it, am I not going to fast? Am not going to go to shul? Of course I amÖÖof course I will stand there because I canít live without youÖI am going to insincerely pray to the thing I love the most for thing I am most afraid of, the thing I least want. I canít do this anymore, I canít lie anymore, I canít pretend anymore, but I canít leave and so, If I am going to have any vestige of virtue, sincerity, realness I would have to accept all of this and understand that my prayer, this year, will have to be a request to teach me how not to be afraid.

Answers from the Forum

I hear your pain. I have been there too.

Many have begun, like you have, by being honest with ourselves.

Then I told my story, it started getting me out of the cycle of shame. We found a friend to be accountable to, someone who will listen, someone who could share the struggle, someone we could trust.

It sounds like you realize that strength to get over the fear of stepping out of the shadows has to come from Hashem. Ask for what you need. You may not always get what you want.

It sounds like you also don't want to burden your wife. When the time comes, with some help from others, you can disclose to her. It will help her understand HER life, and how you hold yourself accountable for its impact.

That's a beginning. The journey begins from there. Hashem can lead us out of our spiritual Mitzrayim even though we have reached the lowest, 49th rung. We have to pick ourselves up and leave it behind though.

The whole life-long process of leaving the shame starts with the next right thing to do. If you fall down again, you don't have to stay there. The point is that you're making progress.

Hashem only asks us to be the best self, not the best somebody else. That's all that anyone asks.

May your prayers be answered speedily and soon.


Honest heartfelt tshuva is immediately accepted by G-d. Getting overly down on yourself is the yetzer hara. Don't be more stringent than G-d. Obviously you are confused.
At this point you need to follow the advice of a Sage who can guide you out of your darkness. Find yourself a Rabbi or Torah scholar or perhaps someone in this Forum who has been in your shoes and made a new beginning, and then follow his advice. The Talmud teaches that a prisoner cannot free himself. Put your trust in someone and let them help you. You are too confused right now to help yourself and your willpower is probably too weak from being entangled in sin. If you want to break free you can - with the help of a fellow Jew. Don't be ashamed. Start now. Pray to G-d to lead you o someone who can help, and He will answer your prayers.