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
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.
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?
  • Healthy guilt is a strong emotion which comes from a
      well- developed conscience. It is the voice inside of us that helps
      control our behaviors.

  • Our country and communities have 'moral codes' which
      work together. Using the Ten Commandments as a guideline can
      be a good source for true guilt.

  • Healthy guilt is what keeps our societies functioning in a
      well organized manner so we can get along.

  • Healthy guilt provides us with 'rules for living' together,
      so there is not chaos and disorder.

  • For most of us, we value the importance of being reminded
      we've been hurtful, destructive or deceitful to another.

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:

  • You do something morally, ethically or legally wrong. Within
minutes, hours or days, depending on how strongly and how long
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.

  • You might try to deny guilt, but healthy guilt is meant to linger
until addressed. There isn't enough alcohol, drugs, money, or
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.

  • You feel remorseful.
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
might experience:

  •     Low Self Esteem
  •     Depression
  •   Weight Issues
  •     Anxiety
  •     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:

  • Guilt induced by parents.
One of the most powerful modes
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.

  • A child who learns to assume responsibility for everything.
When children hear put downs daily, they come to believe they are
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.

  • Induced guilt by teachers or adult authorities.
Classrooms can be a source of humiliation and embarrassment if
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
negative emotions.

  • Unintentional accidents.
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.

  • False guilt originates from another person's opinion,
not necessarily grounded in morals, ethics or wrong doing.
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:

  • You engage in a particular behavior.
      However, the act is not a moral, ethical, or legal issue, and not
      related to wrong doing.

  • You feel the intense emotion of guilt,
      but are not able to recognize it as false guilt, so you believe
      you have done something wrong.

  • You can't let it go.
      You're tormented. There is no resolution in sight.
      You have no way out.  

  • The burden gets heavier.
      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.  

  • You discover ways to temporarily numb the pain,
      and choose one of the following in hopes of ending the torment:
      overeating, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, compulsive
      hopping or gambling.

  • The cycle of 'false comfort' has now begun,
      but comes with additional problems such as weight issues, gambling,      
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

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 can learn the differences between true guilt and false guilt.
You begin to realize there is an end to the madness of the 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
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.
False Guilt. No Way Out
True Guilt
Serves as an
Indicator and
Inhibitor of

True Guilt
is an Appropriate
Response to
Hurting Another.

True Guilt
is Resolved
Such as
Making Amends or
You Don't
Have to Carry
to You
In the
First Place.
You Can
Change Your
One Step
at a
False Guilt.
to Nowhere.
I Can't Feel.
Guilt has Eroded
My Emotions.

I Can't Love.
Guilt has
My Heart.

I Can't Cry.
Guilt has Frozen
My Tears.

I Can't Pray.
Guilt has Kept
Me From God.

False Guilt.
No Matter
Who You Are,

No Matter
What You've

No Matter
What You're
Going Through,

Nothing Can
Keep You

Cling to Hope.
GUILT . . .
GUILT . . .
Free Yourself From Emotional Bondage
Free Yourself From Emotional Bondage
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Serving Orange County
6200 E. Canyon Rim Road, Suite 212
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
Call 714-883-9722
Lynne Logan Ph.D., M.F.T.
Serving Orange County
6200 E. Canyon Rim Road, Suite 212
Anaheim Hills, CA. 92807
Call 714-883-9722

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True Guilt Has a Solution
False Guilt. A Journey to Nowhere
Guilt Has Kept Me From God.
End False Guilt. One Step At A Time.
You Don't Have to Carry Guilt Anymore.
How Guilty Are You?
We Must Make
Enable Us
Our Real Selves.

Thomas Merton
Make the Choice to Help You be Your Real Self
False Guilt.
The Pain of False Guilt. No Rest for My Soul
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Never Give Up
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
Call 714-883-9722
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False Guilt . . .
No Rest
For My Soul.
No Peace
For My Heart.
Seven Life
Changing Words. . .
"I'm sorry.
Please Forgive Me."
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