How to deal with guilt and not get overwhelmed
Per le personalità passivo aggressive il senso di colpa è un’arma (abbiamo descritto i passivo aggressivi QUI). Per altri il senso di colpa è un fastidio passeggero presto dimenticato. Per altri ancora è un macigno che trascina i pensieri sul fondo limaccioso di un mare di rimuginio, blocca i movimenti per ritornare a galla e impedisce una vita serena.
In questo articolo parliamo di quest’ultimo caso.
Il passato: le radici del senso di colpa e la chiave della sua gestione
L’origine del senso di colpa è sempre precedente rispetto ai problemi che ne derivano. Possiamo paragonare il senso di colpa alla carta moschicida che usiamo per catturare gli insetti nelle dispense. Gli insetti sono i nostri pensieri che vagano a zig zag nella nostra mente fino a quando non restano incollati al senso di colpa. Da quel momento sono incapaci di volare, restano fermi lì, fino a quando muoiono.
Il senso di colpa è un inganno che porta nel presente qualcosa che si è consumato nel passato.
It could go back to school, when the teacher or the parents said to you: “You should be ashamed of what you have done!”. You were ashamed then and continued to be ashamed for a lifetime. Even if the reason for the reproach was an insignificant thing, the decisive words of an authoritarian figure have a very amplified effect in the mind of a child. He is so small, they are so big.
Those who learn to feel guilty risk doing it for life.
Locus of control: what is my contribution to the things that happen
A child or adolescent who grows up in a context that feeds his guilt feelings may develop a dysfunctional form of thinking.
“They are the cause of the bad things that happen to me . ” This attributive style combined with “beautiful things happen out of my control” is the cognitive launching pad for falling ill with major depression.
Guilt, like any type of dysfunctional or functional thought, can be trained. Those who are used to taking on everything that goes wrong around him from an early age will remain a slave to this way of thinking.
The truth, however, is another. However distracted, disorganized and incapable we may be, it is not always our fault. Everything, both those where we commit ourselves and we believe we have under control, and those that we deal with absent-mindedly, in a good percentage goes by chance, that is, it escapes from our control.
If something goes wrong, you must at least share the blame with bad luck. Same thing if something goes as you wish. The things you don’t control don’t go wrong, they go at random, so as bad as good, just like what you control.
What are guilt feelings
From a visual point of view, the sense of guilt is a pressure on the chest, stomach pain, a severe headache and an annoying contraction of the cervical muscles.
From a cognitive point of view, the sense of guilt is obsessive brooding around an unpleasant thought. They are thoughts of self-reproach, aggression and agitation. All accompanied by low self-esteem and self-appreciating thoughts: I don’t deserve what I have.
Those who suffer from guilt feel the responsibility for errors and failures even when it is not his. Sometimes, in a completely irrational way, he attributes to the other faults they don’t have. That is, he uses the same way of thinking with them that he uses for himself, in order to dispel part of the guilt.
Rethinking guilt to overcome it
# 1 Combat mental stiffness.
Bertrand Russell said: “I would never die for my ideas, because they could be wrong.” The first step in overcoming guilt is to accept that the world is not only black and white, but has many nuances. Then accept the possibility that these nuances we are not able to grasp them all. We are much more imperfect when we think of when we act.
# 2 Find the causes of guilt
What are the irrational ideas that feed my guilt feelings. Maybe I think that every mistake I make will take away from me the possibility of being accepted by others? Maybe I think I have to be perfect? Maybe I think we can control the case / chaos of life? It seems to have to accept the unacceptable, but it can be done.
# 3 After the blame plan the solution
In the past, we will never find the answers on how to move forward. If we have done something and now feel guilty about our actions, the only thing left for us to do is to plan how to move forward. The winning weapon against guilt is always to plan the future.