The Guilt that Haunts Me
Share a time when you were overcome with guilt. What were the circumstances? How did you overcome you guilt?
I have lived with shame for much of my life. It is based in the belief that when I was young the choices that I made and the consequences were all my fault. Basically my boyfriend raped me, there was torture and mental abuse over a period of time. It messed me up and I blamed myself for it.
The being overcome with guilt was crystallised in the moment when I asked my first counselor if I had been raped. It did not feel real to me and how was it rape if it was my fault? I was really mixed up and the guilt was making everything even more murky. I nearly drowned in the frozen moments of guilt that I felt drenched in, let alone having to deal with the rape, etc, itself.
Since then I felt guilty if I did something wrong or I was criticised. The pattern of the past meant that I was unable to process either of these in a healthy way. Inappropriate guilt has marked my life but no more. I am still in the process of changing my thought patterns but counselling has been instrumental in my overcoming what has happened to me and the hardened responses that developed in the aftermath.
I now examine the feeling of guilt for the authentic origins. If it is an appropriate feeling, like I did make an error, then I address it immediately. No more smoldering lumps that grow mould and infect everything. If it is inappropriate guilt, I track the source and deal with that. Not suppressing it but facing it and assessing its ongoing validity within my life.
Guilt can be insidious if left unchecked. I now try to live my life with no lies and no unresolved or unidentified guilt.