The More Knowledge You Have,
The Better Choices You Can Make
Do you know the difference between 'healthy guilt' and 'false guilt'?
You can't change what you don't know or understand. Here,
I'll explain the profound differences between true and false guilt,
so you can begin today liberating yourself from the torment of
emotional bondage caused by guilt.
On This Page . . .
- Tired of Being Imprisoned by Guilt?
- Healthy Guilt
- Life Cycle of Healthy Guilt
- False Guilt
- False Guilt in Childhood
- Characteristics of False Guilt
- Where Does False Guilt Come From?
- Life Cycle of False Guilt
- Can EMDR Help with Excessive Guilt?
- Free Yourself from Guilt Today!
Tired of Being Imprisoned by Guilt?
Do you feel emotionally burdened but don't know why? Do you
feel emotionally numb? When you feel the slightest hint of anger,
sadness, disappointment or guilt, do you turn to food, drugs, alcohol,
shopping or other forms of self-soothing behaviors for comfort?
If so, you may be emotionally imprisoned by guilt. Depression,
addictions, eating disorders, and many other emotional problems
are often rooted in underlying guilt.
Guilt is one of the most painful of human emotions,. One of the
most disturbing features of guilt, is we often think we have no
control over it. Guilt can be a life-long tormentor when we don't
know how to resolve it.
By the time you finish reading this page, you will a clear picture
of the difference between true or healthy guilt and false guilt.
I will give you a powerful exercise you can do to begin today
to free yourself from guilt.
What is Healthy Guilt?
well- developed conscience. It is the voice inside of us that helps
- Healthy guilt is a strong emotion which comes from a
control our behaviors.
work together. Using the Ten Commandments as a guideline can
- Our country and communities have 'moral codes' which
be a good source for true guilt.
well organized manner so we can get along.
- Healthy guilt is what keeps our societies functioning in a
so there is not chaos and disorder.
- Healthy guilt provides us with 'rules for living' together,
we've been hurtful, destructive or deceitful to another.
- For most of us, we value the importance of being reminded
Life Cycle of Healthy Guilt
Below is an outline of the life cycle of healthy guilt, of which we
have all experienced in our lifetime. Healthy guilt has stages
and has an end:
minutes, hours or days, depending on how strongly and how long
- You do something morally, ethically or legally wrong. Within
you can keep the demons of true guilt out of your head, the emotion
takes over your thinking. The more you try to silence the screams
of guilt, the louder they become. You cannot run. You cannot hide.
Healthy guilt shouts until you do the right thing.
until addressed. There isn't enough alcohol, drugs, money, or
- You might try to deny guilt, but healthy guilt is meant to linger
shopping to numb the haunting chase of true guilt, though many try.
Healthy guilt is meant to bring you down. After all, you did
something wrong against another person or society. Many 'defense
mechanisms' are used to try to deny true guilt: rationalizing,
justifying, minimizing, distorting, intellectualizing . . . better
known as excuses, excuses, excuses.
So true guilt makes it's blaring emotion known until you can deny
no more. And that's healthy.
Based on your perception of yourself as an upstanding citizen with
strong character, you make the right decision. Your admission of
guilt leads you to feel remorseful, and remorse prompts you to
express your feelings to the one you harmed. Two simple words
"I'm sorry" have healed many hearts.
You recognize you are truly sorry
and had a lapse in judgement. You have learned a lesson.
Redeemed, you move on with your life. You have made amends.
You are at peace with yourself. Emotional
freedom is experienced, increasing your personal power
and the freedom to be who you are in relationships. You have
renewed energy to think clearer. Most important, you are
being true to yourself.
The cycle of healthy guilt ends. You are given
the gift of forgiveness and the ability to forgive others, now
free to move on.
What is False Guilt?
False guilt has a few different names: neurotic guilt, unhealthy
guilt, and over reactive guilt, but the definition is all the same:
proportion to the event.
a child's development and normal daily living, diminishing the
quality of life.
False Guilt in Childhood
Since false guilt provides no way out, no resolve, and no end
to the madness of confused emotions, it can cloud a child's
thoughts and feelings, and interfere with emotional and relationship
development. This interference with a child's development may
cause serious relationship problems in adult life. The following
relationship issues are often rooted in false guilt:
- Confusion About Right and Wrong
- Distorted Emotions
- Lack of Boundaries
- Confusion About Safety Issues
- Low Self Esteem
- Co-dependency Issues
- Lack of Assertiveness
Characteristics of False Guilt
If you suffer from false guilt, here are a few of it's characteristics you
- Low Self Esteem
- Weight Issues
- Compulsive Behaviors
- Obsessional Thoughts
- Relationship Issues
- Take responsibility for everything that goes wrong
- You are a People Pleaser
- You are the Peace Keeper
- You want Everyone Happy
- You hold in your anger nd usually take it out on yourself
Where Does False Guilt Come From?
False guilt usually originates in childhood and can come from
different sources. Here are a few:
One of the most powerful modes
- Guilt induced by parents.
of controlling children is by guilt induction. Spilling the milk at the kitchen
table becomes a mode of angry expression by a parent
in order to control the child in the future. "How stupid can you be?
You are so clumsy!" The child believes he has done something
morally wrong instead of having a simple accident, and confusion
about emotions are instilled.
When children hear put downs daily, they come to believe they are
- A child who learns to assume responsibility for everything.
responsible and feel guilty for everything that goes wrong. Not
learning the difference between true guilt and false guilt, these
children feel guilty for everything that goes wrong in the household.
Because it is impossible to deal with false guilt (there is no end),
children often look for dysfunctional ways to deal with false guilt.
Classrooms can be a source of humiliation and embarrassment if
- Induced guilt by teachers or adult authorities.
the teacher uses guilt to control students. Excessive practices and
techniques can induce false guilt. When a child is taunted on the
playground further by bullies or unkind children, these actions
often induce further emotional problems such as shame. Children
rarely know how to defend themselves against these intensely
Accidents are a part of learning in the life of a child. When a child is
made to feel guilty for spilling the milk, or for every small accident,
they internalize the message "I am bad", instead of having the
opportunity to learn from the mistake.
not necessarily grounded in morals, ethics or wrong doing.
- False guilt originates from another person's opinion,
Grandma said "Eat every morsel on your plate, since children
are starving in Africa." Your mother told you growing up "You
were the cause of the divorce between your parents." Because
your 'jock' father did not respect you not wanting to play sports,
he made fun of you and called you a 'sissy'. Children often
internalize and believe the opinions and judgements they hear
about themselves from people they love.
Life Cycle of False Guilt
Just as true guilt has a cycle, so does false guilt:
However, the act is not a moral, ethical, or legal issue, and not
- You engage in a particular behavior.
related to wrong doing.
but are not able to recognize it as false guilt, so you believe
- You feel the intense emotion of guilt,
you have done something wrong.
You're tormented. There is no resolution in sight.
You have no way out.
You can't sleep. You try to deny, cover up, numb yourself.
Nothing works. The painful feelings of guilt become unbearable,
effecting every area of your life.
and choose one of the following in hopes of ending the torment:
- You discover ways to temporarily numb the pain,
overeating, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, compulsive
hopping or gambling.
but comes with additional problems such as weight issues, gambling,
- The cycle of 'false comfort' has now begun,
addictions, spending and more. The problem of false guilt is
now an emotional monster as you continue to deny, run, and distort.
Months or years down the road, you now have behaviors and
experience symptoms you never had before. You have trouble
sleeping, feel anxious, and are tormented by uncomfortable
thoughts. You can't focus, you're sad . . . you're depressed.
In the first session, the therapist gives you feedback based on
listening to you carefully and what you shared about your life.
The therapist says, "I think you're angry." You would have
been insulted if it hadn't have hit a nerve. "I am angry"
you confess. "But when I feel angry, I feel guilty."
The cycle-with-no-end can continue for a lifetime.
You decide you've had enough of the pain
and make a different choice.
You begin to realize there is an end to the madness of the false guilt
- You can learn the differences between true guilt and false guilt.
you've been carrying around for years.
Can EMDR Help With Excessive Guilt?
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing), is a powerful
and often rapid therapeutic technique, and can be used by a trained
EMDR therapist to help you effectively deal with the emotional
pain of guilt. If you suffer from unresolved guilt, anger, loss or past
disturbing memories, EMDR is extremely effective. EMDR is a
breakthrough therapy technique for dealing with many emotional
issues, and information is on this website.
Free Yourself From Guilt Today!
Here's a powerful exercise you can do to begin to break the cycle
of false guilt. Make a list of everything you feel guilt about,
starting back in your childhood. Don't worry about if it's true guilt
or false guilt, just write. When you can't think of anything else to
write, go down the list and put a star by each item you believe
is 'true guilt'.
Remember, true guilt has an end by asking for forgiveness. If you
need to make amends for anything you think you have done to hurt
another, do it today. The time is always 'right' to ask for forgiveness.
You can do this by writing a short letter to the person. You don't
need to hurry. Take your time. You might find you need to take a
few days or even a few weeks to complete this exercise.
The items remaining on your list are false guilt. Go down the list
and make a notation of 'where' or 'who' gave you this belief,
idea, or opinion. Challenge its origin, and think about how old
you were when you first believed it. Then, cross it out. It doesn't
belong to you and never did.
Serves as an
is an Appropriate
Making Amends or
Have to Carry
|I Can't Feel.
Guilt has Eroded
I Can't Love.
I Can't Cry.
Guilt has Frozen
I Can't Pray.
Guilt has Kept
Me From God.
Who You Are,
Cling to Hope.
GUILT . . .
GUILT . . .
Free Yourself From Emotional Bondage
Free Yourself From Emotional Bondage
How Guilty Are You?
|We Must Make
Our Real Selves.
|Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Serving Orange County
Tellone Professional & Medical Bldg.
6200 E. Canyon Rim Road
Suite 212 (Inside Canyon Wellness Center)
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
SKYPE Sessions Now Available!
|False Guilt . . .
For My Soul.
For My Heart.
Changing Words. . .
Please Forgive Me."
SKYPE Sessions Now Available!