Forgiveness versus Acceptance Part 3; Catalyst of Unhealthy Guilt


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“Catalyst of Unhealthy Guilt”

 

It is often said that forgiveness is a healing process, healing within itself is for those who seek it. Forgiveness can be the ultimate sacrifice one does to alleviate pains of sorrow. A sorrow so deep at times it can feel unbearable until one can release this pain.

Then there is another kind of forgiveness that we sometimes seek that can drive a wedge between those we love. The “unhealthy guilt” , sometimes called “Irrational guilt” where it’s not ones to own. Where we mistakenly take on other people’s guilt because the pain can feel horrendous. Pain that can be misplaced where one can only assume this to be true if we didn’t recognize the difference.

[In other terms this can be best described as “Irrational guilt” that leads to “doubts about oneself” and “irrational shame” that is displaced. Hallmark features for anxiety and OCD.]

When we don’t know the difference between healthy forgiveness versus unhealthy or irrational guilt we may unintentionally place a wedge between those we love and drive them away.

The catalyst of unhealthy guilt; the straw that broke the camel’s back…

Before we go further one must ask themselves,

·         Why am I seeking forgiveness?

·         What do I wish to gain when asking for forgiveness?

·         What action do I wish to receive from someone else in return?

·         When does asking for forgiveness become too much?

 

The healing of our own emotions can only be done through first healing ourselves. This is especially true if you have carried the burdens of unhealthy guilt. But many similar emotions we feel can lead to unhealthy guilt if one suffers from grief or loss, anxiety, depression, etc. But grieving a loss does not necessarily mean the death of a love one. There are many factors in life where one may grieve and most often related to unresolved emotions steaming from circumstances beyond control. Where we feel this lack of control in our lives may become the hindering addictions we seek externally.

Like any addiction, unhealthy guilt can feed into the notion that what we are feeling or what we might be saying to ourselves must be true. The catalyst of an unhealthy guilt can lead to years of chaos in our lives if we do not seek the underline source of our emotions. Unhealthy guilt leads like an addiction and spreads like wildfire through the trees and plains that have become out of control.

 

Perhaps there were times one found themselves apologizing over-and-over asking for forgiveness believing past circumstances warranted this to be factual right down to the core of one’s conscience state of mind.

My proposed question is to ask “What if there is nothing to forgive?”

In many stages of forgiveness or however one convinces themselves at times by being repetitive in nature to sorrows, it often may drive opposite action upon others we are seeking forgiveness. Perhaps one may become consumed by the “what ifs” in thoughts of sorrows with unhealthy guilt and self-doubts. This combo is like mixing magnesium sulfate and carbonated beverages. Sooner or later it will fester and explode. This course of actions does more harm than good.

Most importantly, sometimes thoughts serve no other purpose than to simply be thoughts.

There comes a time in a person life that one may need to reexamine the situation and ask themselves “why is it that I feel so compelled to seek forgiveness?” Perhaps unhealthy guilt could be the culprit of another’s wrong doing. People generally don’t like to live in past tense and at times this pattern of behavior can hinder one’s ability to move forward into a healthier state of mind. At times communication barriers have taken a toll on others we seek forgiveness. To a sense where one asking for forgiveness hasn’t grasp another’s forgiveness to them.

Is it possible for one to misinterpret such compelling words by repeating the same thing to such great overabundance?

Absolutely, this can happen for several different reasons. Communication can drive a wedge when we misunderstand things. Perhaps someone had said forgiveness isn’t necessary because they felt there wasn’t anything to forgive. At times repeating and saying “its fine or everything is ok overwhelmingly to where a person becomes pressured to reassure another’s pattern of behaviors. This can drive a person away like salt on open wounds; the instability of irrational guilt’s, leaving feelings of hopeless about situations. This kind of repetitive behavior often creates problems by stirring up emotions that may have never been there to begin with.

However just like many addictions unhealthy guilt can become an unhealthy behavior. There have been many discoveries through science and psychology, how the pathways to our brains can change when we change our actions. This is especially true to changing behaviors. Like any addiction or habit the changes start within us. Many addictions and mental health situations are not circumstantial, nor do them fade by the changes we make within ourselves but rather things may become much more manageable as time passes. But only through time can we see these changes as they accrue. Most often great changes can take years to accomplish as we begin recognize what it is we are trying to change. The same is true for unhealthy guilt.

You cannot make up for lost time, nor can a person change what has already been done. We cannot own or accept other people’s faults, nor can we change others wrong doings. The only thing we have in our lives where we can maintain control of circumstance is the control we have within ourselves. Our own emotions, thoughts and our own actions will lead us down a path of choices. It’s that choice we make now, currently in plain view that we may come to embrace towards our future. Like any kind of addiction this too, unhealthy guilt comes with emotional pain when we choose to let go. Because with any uncertainty there is fear and fear can be a powerful motivator.

After all time doesn’t stand still for anyone and neither should you. What we can do is seek a brighter future, take leaps of faith and drive it towards more positive outcomes. When we learn to let go unhealthy and irrational guilt, the chain may become undone and one may no longer be hindered by the inability to move forward but rather gain insight.

 

Marsha Beede

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2 thoughts on “Forgiveness versus Acceptance Part 3; Catalyst of Unhealthy Guilt

  1. Pingback: Forgiveness versus Acceptance Part 3; catalyst of unhealthy guilt | Marsha Beede

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