Guilt is supposed to happen. Very young children feel guilt. I notice my dog seems to feel guilt as she slinks into a room she knows she is not allowed to go.
Guilt dictionary meaning http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/guilt
I believe guilt is a motivator for correcting, apologizing or taking responsibility for something I did wrong or hurt someone else. It is important to feel guilt. Psychopath feels no guilt. I believe guilt is healthy when it helps me correct my actions and become a better me. When it doesn’t help is when I spin-out on a guilt trip of self condemnation over events or actions that I already corrected. It doesn’t help when someone else projects their guilt on to me and expects me to feel guilty for their wrong doing. It doesn’t help, when I feel the guilt and chain myself down with the weight of my poor choices until I can no longer move forward because I am carrying this horrible load of guilt. Guilt used to improve and correct my course is healthy and healing. Guilt heaped on me from past mistakes and collected and kept like a spiky jail, is twisted thinking that my counselor helped me unravel the knots.
I spent years sorting out what I did wrong, what I was blamed for, and what I could or could not do anything about. There was many events that I felt were my fault in reality I was blamed but I did nothing wrong. I was highly amused when I found the quote:
I didn’t say it was your fault, I said I am going to blame you.
I now wish I bought the t-shirt. I need a visual reminder that not all things are my fault. I do need to take responsibility for my actions, however, I need to let others take responsibility for their actions. While looking up the word guilt I came across this link to an article on how to handle guilt: http://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2007/11/27/5-tips-for-dealing-with-guilt/
Survivor’s guilt hit the headlines during the 9/11 attacks. Why did I survive and the person 3 steps behind me didn’t? It also applies to survivors of other types of trauma. Another article I found addressing PTSD and trauma guilt suggests using Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT. http://ptsd.about.com/od/relatedconditions/a/guilt.htm When my counselor did this with me, he pointed out I was small, the adults were big. I did not control the situation. Nothing I could have done would have changed the out come. It was powerful for me to finally understand, “It was not my fault and I had nothing to feel guilty about.” There are more than enough things for me to feel guilty about that I did do. Choosing to set down the heavy burden of guilt for surviving was difficult but I felt like I dropped a boulder out of my backpack. I’m thankful for the counselor that helped me unpack some of my unneeded baggage.