Guilt vs Guilt

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

noun
1. the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability:

He admitted his guilt.
2. a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.
3. conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of 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.
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