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How do I deal with difficult feelings like guilt or shame?

For example, you might be feeling guilty, ashamed, confused or embarrassed about what you’ve done.

To find out more about dealing with guilt or shame, see our page on dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviour.

Dealing with regrets about harmful sexual behaviour

If you’ve been involved in harmful sexual behaviour, you may be struggling with difficult emotions. Find out ways you can deal with regrets about any harmful sexual behaviour you’ve been involved in.

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All these difficult feelings about your harmful behaviours can make it harder to be honest about it with yourself and other people. You may also worry about what other people, like your family and friends, will think of you and how they’ll react. You may be scared about what could happen to you if you tell someone, including whether you’ll get into trouble with the law.

You might also find our page on managing difficult emotions useful.

Managing difficult emotions

If you’re worried about harmful sexual behaviour, whether it’s your own or someone else’s, you may be experiencing some confusing emotions. Find out how to manage difficult emotions and get support for your mental health.

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In the short term, you may try to manage your worries by just denying what’s happened, or claiming it wasn’t all that bad. But in the end this can leave you feeling very alone. You may find you end up shutting yourself off emotionally from other people, or feeling annoyed or angry. 

Even if you feel really anxious about telling someone what happened, it’s usually the best way to get the right help.