This is the fourth in a seven-part series of articles on dealing with guilt. Please read the preceding three articles before reading this one. Written by a psychologist.
Guilt-inducing ploys mislead or misdirect you. Because many irrational beliefs lie behind guilt, you may be unable to sort out the dynamic, much less your feelings. Speaking of feelings, the primary one underlying most of these manipulations will again, be anger, but be on guard for hurt, sad, and others. It is important to be objective with yourself when you are experiencing guilt. Be sure that your decisions are based on sound, rational thinking. In other words, make sure you are squarely aware of the ruse, your feelings and the alternative third standard.
What irrational beliefs or negative self-scripts are involved in guilt? Here are some examples. Beware of those who would try to elicit these to control you with guilt.
• I do not deserve to be happy.
• I am responsible for my family’s happiness.
• I am responsible if either positive or negative events happen to the members of my family.
• If my kids fail in any way, it's my responsibility.
• My children should never suffer in their childhood like I did in mine.
• My kids should have more material things than I did.
• There is only one "right" way to do things.
• It's bad to feel hurt and pain.
• It is my fault if others in my life are not happy.
• It is wrong to be concerned about myself.
• People are constantly judging me, and their judgment is important to me.
• It is important to save face with others.
• It is wrong to accept the negative aspects of my life without believing that I am responsible for them myself.
• I must not enjoy myself during a time when others expect me to be in mourning, grief or loss.
• I must never let down my guard; something I’m doing could be evil or wrong.
• I must always be responsible, conscientious and giving to others.
• How others perceive me is important as to how I perceive myself.
• No matter what I do, I am always wrong.
• I should never feel guilt.
• If I feel guilt, then I must be or have been wrong.