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how do you stop feeling guilty?

(8 Posts)
eddielizzard Tue 28-Jul-15 14:47:18

i feel guilty for everything. it's getting ridiculous, i can't ever remember not feeling guilty. or maybe it's anxiety. but i'm so fed up - i feel guilty for not being a better parent / wife / friend / not keeping the house clean enough / not stimulating my kids enough / not weeding the garden enough... maybe it's my catholic upbringing, but i'm soooo tired of it. i want to be a better person and to do this i think i need to stop feeling so guilty about everything. i want to be happy, and i should be happy, but then i'd feel guilty for feeling happy!

arghghgg any tips, or am i on my own out here in guilt land?

Lottapianos Tue 28-Jul-15 16:41:14

No, you're not alone, I hear you. Being brought up Catholic definitely does prime you for a boatload of guilt, and its really not easy to shake off. I'm not sure where guilt ends and anxiety begins either, maybe they're really bound up together?

Professional support has been invaluable for me. I see a psychotherapist and I can recommend it very highly. A therapist would help you to unpick the root of all this guilt - its not hard wired, there's a reason why you have learned to feel this way. And if you want to stop, you can - but it takes time and involves learning where all of this guilt comes from for you. You use the word 'enough' a lot in your post - it sounds to me like you have doubts about whether you are good enough. This is tough stuff to go through on your own. You're right - you deserve to be happy, but not everyone can get there by themselves!

Joysmum Tue 28-Jul-15 16:54:47

I'm going through therapy to deal with this at the moment. I carry a lot of guilt and I self sabotage when anything good happens to me.

It's because of something in the past that I can never make up for as much as I try.

eddielizzard Tue 28-Jul-15 18:58:31

thanks both. i think you have something there Lottapianos. I don't feel good enough.

i also don't think i have the strength to go to counselling. it will just be too painful. i tried a group therapy thing a few years ago for 2 days and it took me a while to put myself back together! i don't want to go through that again.

i was hoping someone would just say 'oh do this and it'll all go away...'

Joysmum, how do you get over that then? how do we move on from the past?

Lottapianos Tue 28-Jul-15 22:09:56

Yes, it can be very painful indeed. However, you're in pain already aren't you, from giving yourself a damn good kicking however many times a day?
God yes, I wish there was a simple solution to emotional stuff- it would be so much easier! Sadly it just doesn't work that way though

Joysmum Tue 28-Jul-15 22:24:59

Tbh I don't know. I nearly stopped going because, as you said, I felt like everything I could rely on was been torn apart not just the things I needed help with. In the early days I wasn't given the tools to cope with moving forwards and I think last weeks session was the beginnings of that so it's still very early days for me yet.

I do think I'm doing the right thing though and have faith things will improve. I got to because I wasn't coping before. sad

It's just

goddessofsmallthings Wed 29-Jul-15 01:10:27

No-one notices the cobwebs in a welcoming home that's filled with love and laughter and, as far as I'm aware, no-one's last words have been 'I wish I'd done more weeding/housework/ironing/cleaned the oven every week'.

Some find it easier to open their hearts and accept others, with all of their peculiar foibiles and idiosyncrasies, than it is to accept themselves for the equally unique and marvellous individuals they are .

We move on from the past by leaving it behind and separating our true and constant selves from our transient thoughts is embodied in the Buddhist practice of mindfulness which is now extolled by the NHS:
www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/pages/mindfulness.aspx

CBT and talking therapies can be effective tools in resolving feelings of guilt but we can go some way to shortcut longer processes by wholeheartedly embracing the fact that we are works in progress for whom perfection is an unattainable goal - those who are perfect (in their own minds) are invariably crashing bores that people cross the street to avoid grin

Feeling 'good enough' is about accepting that we are no less worthy than anyone else and that we are occupying our rightful places in this world, just as they are doing.

Those who haven't set out with malice aforethought to cause harm to others, and those who haven't accidentally caused harm to others by committing an unlawful act such as drink driving, have nothing to feel guilty for and, providing we learn from them, minor misdemeanours rarely warrant more than a few minutes of remorsefulness and a resolve to avoid repeating the behaviour.

Once we've begun to kick the guilt habit into touch by identifying, exploring, and dismantling our fears we may find ourselves feeling guilty for not feeling guilty, but once we've embarked on the path of liberation that leads to a guilt free state of mind our increasing heightened awarerness will serve to ensure there's no turning back.

Given the human condition, this is not to say it's possible to reach the end of a long life without having experienced feelings of regret but we should be able to reach some accomodation with them whereby, as the song says, they're too few to mention.

eddielizzard Wed 29-Jul-15 07:13:36

Lottapianos, i guess i am giving myself a kicking but then i also think i deserve it deep down!

Joysmum - were you going to say something else? are you ok?

goddessofsmallthings thank you very much for your post. you make a lot of sense. i just don't think i can stomach going to any sort of therapy. the thought of it makes my palms sweat so i think i will try mindfulness.

i have seen an awful lot of positive press about it recently and that is something that can fit easily into my life, although perhaps not so much in the holidays!

i think the hard thing about the things you say, which are things i've told myself, is to apply them. how to actually think them?! how do you actually go about 'identifying, exploring, and dismantling our fears'? i think i go round in circles.

well today is another day and another opportunity. thank you very much for listening.

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