I’m carrying about so much guilt. I hide it from my parents, but am I wrong for doing so?


For some time, I have carried guilt for many things; guilt which I am not often able to suppress. I am a fifteen-year-old girl and my life hasn't exactly been a box of roses. Within the first three years of my life, I was fed lies by my aunt, by my mother, and I was sexually molested by my grandmother's boyfriend. The lies of my aunt continue, but my mother's lies have stopped and I haven't seen my grandmother's boyfriend since I was eight years old. So, as a young child, I was constantly angry with everyone for absolutely no reason at all and I would lash out because it had been all I had been taught. I didn't understand the world and I didn't understand why I had been hurt.

In my lashing out at everyone, I did multiple things wrong. I hurt so many. I constantly yelled at my mother and my father and from my example, my little brother has followed said path. He's not a well-behaved child at all and he's becoming worse than I was. I began stealing, lying, and cheating. Yet, my parents did nothing, but tell me that they hated me and scream bad words. My parents aren't bad people. They just didn't know how to handle me.

When I was eleven, my aunt died of a horrible disease that causes tumors to rapidly grow throughout the spinal column. Two weeks later, my grandpa died. I thought it had been my fault that my aunt had died, for reasons I will not currently say, as it is unimportant at the moment, but given this, I became a very different person. I fell into depression and have been there since. My head was constantly filled with every thought imaginable and in the midst of it all, I began to reflect upon my horrible past. I knew I had to change, so slowly, I did. I stopped the cheating, stealing, and lying. But, the lying that I stopped was only the lying for personal gain. I still continued to tell lies in order to protect my parents from the horrible things my past contained.

I am now in high school, and I still lie, but only to protect them. I don't know if this lying is wrong, but I think that it is. So what do I lie about? I lie about the way I feel inside. They don't know that my virginity was taken from me because I know if I told them, they'd blame themselves, and it's not their fault. They don't know that I am miserable all of the time. They don't know that the medicine the doctors put me on to make me better has only hurt me, and I have stopped taking it, but I tell them that I do only because it gives them hope to know that I am on those anti-depressants. They don't know that I used to steal, and cheat, and lie for personal gain because I'm afraid to break their hearts. I'm not afraid of the consequences because I know I deserve them, but I am afraid to hurt them. They don't deserve that hurt. They don't know that I've been suicidal or that I cut myself when the pain gets too bad because I'm afraid that they would feel guilty, which they do not deserve. They don't know that I've been starving myself because I am simply to make them happy, and I don't want them feeling guilt. They don't know that they've hurt me in ways they could never imagine, but I don't tell them because they'd only be hurt. I don't tell them any of this. And part of me knows this is wrong, but part of me believes that this is somewhat right. That is my first question. Is this wrong?

My second question is one which I am not sure I want the answer too, but I must ask. A man e-mailed you, asking if it was wrong that he wished to be spanked. And you said that it was because what he was displaying was masochism, not contriteness. And this is why I am afraid to ask my question because I am afraid that you will tell me the same thing that you told him. I too wish to be spanked. And I know it will hurt, and it will sting, and I will cry, and I'll hate the feeling of it while it's happening, but it's just… I've carried so much guilt for so long; guilt that I can't stand to continue to carry. And I feel that I deserve the pain of such a punishment, but not the guilt which I am currently carrying for sins I have committed in the past and the lying I currently continue to do, even though it is for my parent's good. In my opinion, the true masochism would be to not want the spanking, but rather to harbor the guilt because guilt hurts much worse than any physical pain ever could. And in trying to turn to God, I feel always lost because I know I have done wrong, and I have not been punished for it and I feel as though He will never forgive me. God punishes those who go unpunished. So, is this want of mine wrong?

I know that this has been long, but for so long, have I carried these questions, and I just feel as though I need an answer from someone close to God.


You've given me much to cover. I might miss a few things, but I'll try to do my best.

First, let me express a concern that I have. It appears you've been seeing a psychiatrist or psychologist because you pin blame on your behavior, in part, on things that happened before you were three. Since I know that people don't have extensive knowledge of their infancy, I must conclude that these are "implanted" memories.

Second, I'm sorry that you were sexually molested by some bum. But all guilt for such incidences lies with the man who did these things. None of it was your fault -- you were a child. These were things done to you and they do not define who you are -- unless you let them.

Third, you could not have caused your aunt's death. No one has the ability to give another person cancer. You are again assuming guilt where none exists.

So we come to the actual question regarding lying. I'm glad you are aware that you haven't been living right and that you are making corrections.

One of the mistakes some people make is to think that every truthful thing must be said in order to prevent lying. But nowhere in the Scriptures does God tell us that when we meet an unattractive kid that we need to say, "Hey man, I think you're UGLY!" It might be the truth, but it doesn't benefit the person. "Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers" (Ephesians 4:29). Some things are best left unsaid.

But some things need to be said because they impact the decisions another person must make. Your parents, like it or not, are responsible for your health and well-being for the next few years. If the medication the doctor gave you is causing harm, then they ought to know. If for no other reason than why have them pay for something that you are not using or send you to a psychologist who isn't benefiting you? I will readily admit that I'm not a fan of psychology and believe they rely far too heavily on drugs which merely mask symptoms of problems. There are cases where drugs are called for, but it strongly appears that they are being overused in our society. If you are doing alright without the antidepressants, then simply tell them. They are adults. They should be able to handle the information. Besides, your actions speak volumes. If you tell them how long you've been off the antidepressants and they look back at how you've been doing, they will likely conclude that the drug isn't necessary, just as you have done. But they also need this information in case you take a turn for the worse. They might miss the symptoms because they are telling themselves, "Well, she on medication, so this should be happening."

Your parents do need to know that you've been suicidal and that you've been cutting yourself. Neither of these things is beneficial to you. They are responsible for your health and safety. If they don't know you are in danger, they can't get you the help that you need. By the way, did you know starting and stopping antidepressants encourages suicidal thoughts? I'm pointing this out because it is possible that the source of the problem isn't you, but the medication you've been taking and then not taking. Why don't you ask your parents to help you find a psychologist who prefers not to use medication -- they do exist.

By withholding critical information from your parents, you are not shielding them but making their job harder. If something happened to you, they would be hurt and guilt-ridden wondering why they didn't see it coming -- the very thing you want to prevent.

Though you are making it sound as if you are being noble by hiding your problems from your parents, I think you are really just trying to avoid the grief to yourself. You don't want to face the questions that are bound to come or the possible pressures of making changes.

I'm particularly concerned that you are cutting yourself over unspecified "pain." This tells me that you are not handling the day-to-day difficulties of life. Most people learn to deal with problems as they come up, but a few people push them to the side and try to ignore them. But ignored problems don't go away, they just build up. Cutting yourself inflicts pain and your body responses by sending out natural painkillers to deal with the pain. So in an odd, round-about way you are getting temporary "highs" by cutting yourself. But those highs are very temporary and the cuttings do nothing to solve problems, it is simply another way for you to push them aside and pretend they aren't there for a few moments.

Instead of going for the pretend methods which solve nothing and adds additional problems and guilt to your already burdened life, let's be more practical. Let's look at the problems in your life and learn how to deal with them. Not all problems can be solved, but all problems can be managed and dealt with. It is just a matter of you learning how. "You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them. We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God" (I John 4:4-7).

In your case, spanking -- just like the cutting -- is not going to solve your particular problems. At the root of your problems is a misunderstanding. You are assuming guilt over things you are not guilty of doing. There have been things that you've done wrong, but you are not completely dealing with those issues. Instead, you've been seeking your own solutions and are upset that they aren't working. You are looking for punishment, but you are wanting punishment that you don't necessarily deserve because the guilt is misplaced. You want punishment for things you are guilty of doing, but it isn't the solution to the problem. Punishment is to make a person aware they are in the wrong. It is not a solution to wrongdoing.

God will one day at Judgment punish those who refuse to change. But again, even that punishment will not solve the problem. It will only bring a conclusion to problems which people refuse to solve. "The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (II Peter 3:9). God doesn't want you or anyone else in Hell. He wants to help you and welcome you back home. He's offering you forgiveness of all your past wrongs (the real ones, not just your imagined ones), but you have to be willing to do things His way -- but that is because it is the only way to bring about a real solution.

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