Here I am, back to myself!
It’s been a while since the last time. I visited some friends in the musical world and now it’s time to go on with our journey.
Let’s get straight to today’s topic: guilt.
We all have to deal with it sooner or later. Where does it come from? Education, submission, feeling faulty, doing wrong things, not being able to say sorry, not taking responsibility for our actions.
How many ways of manifesting guilt are there? What is the difference between an imposed guilt and one that arises from our mistakes? When is it useful and when not? When is it fake and hides the trap to put the other person in the position of comforting the “guilty” one?
Let’s have a look at all these different situations!
Imposed guilt as a preventive measure
This is the mother of all guilts. You feel guilty even though you haven’t done anything wrong yet, but you know that if you do, someone will suffer immensely. And guess who it is? Your mummy, of course!!!
“Please don’t be late, it makes me so anxious!”
“Last night you didn’t eat anything, I turned and tossed all night thinking about it… are you all right?”
“You won’t abandon your mummy when you grow up, will you?”
“Now comes the summer, I hope that someone will come to see me, so I have a bit of company, too.”
Does this sound familiar? If adolescence did not help you to rebel properly, remember that it is never too late and that the person who manipulates must be re-educated with many NO’s.
The sense of guilt when we do wrong
Ok, we made a mistake, a little one, a big one, with consequences just for us or for others too. Depending on the character of the person, the risk is that we see this mistake bigger than it really is and that we feel paralyzed. There is nothing wrong with feeling guilty, but if the anxiety does not go away and we see no way out, it is better to seek help immediately.
Too often there is no proportion between the burden we feel and the mistake we made. Guilt gets tangled with other troubles hidden in our subconscious mind and this confuses us even more.
The useful guilt
It is normally about practical things, oversights, distractions. If it happens on several occasions, use guilt to stop at the very moment in which it occurs and find a solution. If you don’t, it will happen again and it will be no use to weep about it.
The needless guilt
In my opinion this is the most devastating and the one you need to rationalize as quick as possible. It happens when we cannot stop thinking about a word we spoke or did not speak to someone who is no longer part of our lives. Bear this in mind, we do not have this omnipotence. Even in the most tragic cases, it is no-one’s fault. If during an argument you insult a person and she/he has an accident, it’s not your fault; if she/he disappears from your life and you don’t see her/him anymore, it is not your fault; if she/he takes revenge, it is not your fault.
The sense of guilt trick
This is used by skilled manipulators in order to obtain the forgiveness of the wronged person and thus get rid of any feelings of guilt.
Let’s take the boyfriend who is late to the appointment and does not warn you. He leaves you waiting and when he arrives he overwhelms you with all his sorrow: “I’m sorry baby, you have no idea what a day I had … I was ready at the right time, you know, but then I met my boss… and I was there thinking of you here waiting all alone… I felt terrible, but I could not tell him to get lost, you know? I felt really guilty and when I got in the car I did not want to waste a second on the phone and I arrived as soon as possible.” How many times will the answer be:” Yes… I understand love. Don’t worry…”?
Or the couple of friends with their son who are all ready and willing to take your child with them: “Come on, we will take your child with us to the park, so they play a little together!” And then they lose him and when they tell you what happened, they describe how scared they were, that once also their child got lost and how troubled they were that they even could not sleep the following night… How many times will the answer be: “All right, come on, all is well that ends well …”? (subtitled “You forget it I’ll ever let my son come with you again!”).
Guilt is terrible and should not affect our life. Here I have addressed this issue in a light way, to play it down, but not to ridicule a feeling that can even make us sick.
If this list has made you smile and you have found helpful suggestions, I’m happy, but if you realize that you are paying too high a price for any mistakes you may have made, do not delay, ask for help.
Until next time!