January 10, 2015

When Does The Guilt Begin To Go Away?

It has been almost 18 months since I resigned from my Law Firm as my misconduct was beginning to come to light. At that time I was in a state of panic and depression. I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame.

I have made amends as best I could with my remaining resources. I have apologized to anyone who would listen (many would not).

After 18 months, I must confess that I still carry substantial guilt and shame. My actions hurt a number of people. First, My Clients (many were friends) were shocked and dismayed by what had occurred. They could not understand how I breached their trust in me. My ex-colleagues were equally upset. I caused them financial harm and embarrassment.

The damage did not stop there. My family was stunned. They were still reeling from the death of my oldest son and my conduct simply devastated them. I cannot imagine the full extent of the shame I have caused them. My friends could not believe that I engaged in such conduct. Nor could they believe how I had placed myself in such a dire financial situation. A number of friends are now “former friends”. When you harm and disappoint so many people on so many different levels it is hard to insulate yourself from the guilt and shame.

Confessing my wrongs in Court, in Private and in Public has relieved part of the burden. This was a necessary step to take and it was recommended and supported by both medical and religious counselors. It is the first step I took in trying to forgive myself. Until you forgive yourself, there is no relief from the guilt and shame you feel.

I have made some progress in trying to forgive myself. I still have a long way to go. I hope to make additional progress in this area because You cannot properly function in the world carrying around the guilt and shame that necessarily flows from misconduct like mine.

Ken Flaska

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