Conned by Guilt

Feeling guilty? Many of us do. Some people are wired to in fact, more often than others. It’s in their temperament. This guilt nips their heels, urges them to attend birthday party’s, call their in-laws, respond to emotionally based petitions. You don’t have to be a Mom to imagine how kids can work it!

Paul Zak PhD believes that the hormone, oxytocin, is a key player in our emotional decisions. His book (The Moral Molecule) will be published in 2012. Oxytocin levels might even predispose us to being conned.

How bout us? Are we being conned by our guilt? Please let me know what you think….

But to be useful with this idea, what do we do with it? There’s nothing like the led weight of guilt to slow our steps, dim our lights and disinterest the once lion-hearted.

1st ask if the guilt is appropriate. If you can’t clearly sus that out, than run it by someone(s). After all, good science is one that demonstrates something that can be repeated. If more than one person tells you yes, than it’s more likely to be true.

In the situation that it’s not appropriate however, what now?
2 moms sitting on the step. Kids in a play-date in the background making noise. Their conversation turns to taking care of themselves and how guilty they feel just running errands without the kids, let alone taking time to exercise, a shower, a doctor’s appointment…. The conversation swivels through what to do with that guilt? (Let me clearly state we’re talking about the inappropriate type of guilt here.) Is there any hope?

Inappropriate guilt isn’t good on many levels.
1st off, you suffer.
But secondly and often less obviously, your “other” suffers – your kids or spouse or whomever is in the space of it’s heroic bleeding path. Frankly, it’s too much emotional responsibility for anyone to be on the receiving end for. People are grateful when you take care of yourself and leave them out of it. However, when you can’t, everyone suffers rather than benefits. It’s counter-intuitive to the giver but what comes from guilt is not a gift.

Insight helps. Personal support helps. Self-care helps. But what if it persists? Inappropriate guilt is common in many emotional illnesses, but especially ones involving mood and anxiety. If this guilt is building up a stink in your life, you may want to consider a medical reason.

Self Care Tip #18 – Do it for the right reasons. Be a friend to yourself.

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