I Acted Terribly in February of This Year and Still Do Not Know How to Deal With My Guilt and Shame

Within the period of time in question, I had decided to attempt to move away from my childhood home – a setting which had been rife with emotional, mental, verbal, and, at times, physical abuse – after my efforts to improve the situation there did not seem to work. I ultimately ended up temporarily moving in with a previous friend (“previous” for reasons which are unrelated to this incident) of mine. Despite this unspeakably kind act of theirs, I still felt as though I could not trust anyone, like I was only hateable. At the same time as all of this was going on, hostility (i.e., hissing and trying to start fights) between a semi-unsocialized feline – who had suddenly changed environments after her previous owner died and transferred the responsibility of taking care of her to my friend’s family in their will – and other cats was capable of cropping up at any time, day or night. Even after I attempted to break up these moments and encourage her to socialize with said cats by shooing her away from me to keep her from staying around me to stay away from them, they continued to occur. Eventually, I irrationally thought that I could prevent these instances of hostility from happening by getting the cat who had tried to interact with her the most to hate me and stay away from me and, thus, her, all by going to him while he was sitting still and gradually pushing a flask down on the end of his tail. He, thankfully, showed no signs of pain during this moment and anytime afterward, but they stared at me in such a way that it seemed like they were asking me, “What are you doing?” I was horrified at what I had done. The next day, I apologized to his owners and my friend, as well as did what I could to say, “I am sorry” to him, even though he neither appeared to be angry at me nor scared of me, and my apologies were accepted… yet the guilt and shame stayed with me, nevertheless.

Today, proceeding a three-month-long stay at my all-but-physically-abusive grandparents’ house and a brief stay at a homeless shelter, I am back at my childhood home, as I did not have what it takes to sacrifice a lot to create a new life for myself independently. This home has changed in certain ways, though I still interact with my family as little as possible since I cannot bring myself to trust them. In spite of this, I have strived to make up for what I did through altering my mentality by recording my thoughts on each of my days for thirty days in a digital journal, reporting cases of possible animal abuse to my local authorities, notifying my area’s local animal shelter of stray cats who need help before it gets even colder (cats who brought my guilt and shame to the surface after it was suppressed for so long), and thinking about volunteering at an animal shelter. However, I still view myself as a monster who can never be trusted to interact with any animal ever again, nor meet new people/talk to my current friends without feeling as though I am deceiving them by not telling them what I have done before saying anything else to them. I would try to engage with therapy once again if it was not for how my previous therapist never came up with a safety plan, resulting in my choice to be honest with her about the fact that I was feeling suicidal landing me in a dehumanizing stay at a psychiatric ward after she involved my family in my mental-health matters against my will, who heard what was going on from her and contacted the authorities after they could not contact me while I was focused on taking a mind-clearing walk.

At this point, I do not know what to do. I do know that what I did was and will forever be terrible, and I do know that I have taken some steps to be better, but they do not seem to be working well enough. What else can be done?


I’m sorry you’re holding this guilt and fear in yourself.
Sometimes we just act out on things and those actions may feel like we are doing them for the better, or we may not even realise why we really do them. Perhaps some of the guilt you feel is because animals can’t fully understand why we do things.
One thing I still feel guilt about is when one of my cats had a lump under her arm. I didn’t notice for so long and I thought the little stains on the bed were her drooling or leaking wee. I felt so bad I hadn’t noticed this sooner and took her to the vet. I had to leave her at the vet overnight and the look she gave me was heartbreaking. She ended up passing away while she was there and I carry this guilt that I didn’t do enough to help her or that she died alone and scared.
Another time when my male cat used to go outside all the time, he would go onto the roof. It was a very hot day and I was worried about a black cat on a hot roof.
He’d been up there for hours, so I decided to see if squirting him with the hose would encourage him to run down.
Turns out, he actually couldn’t get down himself, and I felt so guilty and bad for doing that to him. He had no way of knowing why I was doing that. But honestly he carried on and forgot within a few minutes. He was back inside and happy to snuggle on my lap.

It’s easy to hold more guilt than we need to. You’re not a bad person, and I am so sure the cat is fine and going about their life as usual.

About your family, I’m so sorry. This has god to be so much pressure on you. You don’t deserve to be treated that way. And it’s hard to go out on your own and live independently. It takes a lot of cost and time and energy, so it’s not that you don’t have what it takes, it’s that perhaps resources were limited and you did what you could with what you had available to you.

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Hey friend, first off, it took guts to write about such a loaded topic and to open up about what you did. It’s not easy for anyone to admit they have acted violently because… we all do. At one point or another, we punish ourselves for it, which is acts of violence in itself. If you feel guilt, that’s one direction to take, it means you have the empathy needed to one day do better than yourself. It’s constructive shame. But you know you felt bad about what you did, hopefully you’ll be down a path that makes you proud of yourself one day.
Letting go is not easy, we hold on to too much, and define ourself with it. Preventing change, preventing happiness. If you’re looking for permission ; here is permission. You can let it go and become a better you. Every day.

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Thank you for sharing those experiences with me. Whilst I still feel a need to continue to try to be better than who I was earlier this year by volunteering at a shelter or someplace that revolves around assisting animals, said experiences have reminded me of how the cat from my post did not exhibit signs of pain when I visited my previous friend again once I returned from my attempt to live independently. I should still strive for compassionate, level-headed improvement since I could have hurt him, but since I luckily and thankfully did not when all that happened and long after it all occurred, I feel like I can rest a bit easier now.


Thank you for your support. Although I am not sure that I deserve it, knowing that others can still offer me another chance has given me enough breathing room to have a little bit of hope that I can improve myself without feeling nothing but shame.


I believe it has nothing to do with deserving. You don’t deserve love, you have it, no matter what you do. The rest is to live your best life. If you think killing people is good, you might be put away for life, depending on society. But if you feel bad for having done something; why wouldn’t you get forgiveness? If you’re ready, you might wanna try forgiving yourself. Without minimizing your action, by still forgiving yourself for it and moving forward in a more peaceful way. It’s all about choices in the end. Do you choose a peaceful way from now on? Good luck!

How are you going? Thank you again for being here with us and sharing your heart. I do hope that it’s feeling a little lighter x

Expectedly, things are still going rough for me, but not as much as before, for I have since applied for a volunteer position at an establishment which revolves around helping adoptable homeless animals to start to make up for what I did, as well as downloaded an application for therapy - BetterHelp - to improve my habits and attitude once I can afford to use it, hopefully reducing my odds of performing actions that could hurt others again.


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