Technically, Guilt is "proven", or admitted legitimate ownership of, or responsibility for,
some action, deeds or words. However, in a fear and shame based culture, it is often
used to place undeserved "blame" for things that are not actually yours to take  
ownership of. To give in to that, creates irrational beliefs and mental anguish.

This is a resource acquired from many sources, and is still in process of being edited.
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Guilt is:
  • Feeling of responsibility for negative circumstances that have befallen yourself or
    others.
  • Feeling of regret for your real or imagined misdeeds, both past and present.
  • A sense of remorse for thoughts, feelings, or attitudes that were or are negative,
    uncomplimentary, or non-accepting concerning yourself or others.
  • Feeling of obligation for not pleasing, not helping, or not placating another.
  • Feeling of bewilderment and lack of balance for not responding to a situation in  
    your typical, stereotype manner.
  • Feeling of loss and shame for not having done or said something to someone who  
    is no longer available to you.
  • Accepting of responsibility for someone else's misfortune or problem because it
    bothers you to see that person suffer.
  • Motivator to amend all real or perceived wrongs.
  • Strong moral sense of right and wrong that inhibits you from choosing a ``wrong''
    course of action;  however, you assign your own definitions to the words.
  • Driving force or mask behind which irrational beliefs hide.

How do others play on your feelings of guilt?
People can and sometimes will:
  • Make you believe they will suffer greatly if you do not respond positively to their
    request(s)
  • Call on your guilt to respond to their requests, even when it means violating your
    rights.
  • Respond to your irrational self by reinforcing your irrational thinking, giving you a
    sense of blame, for past, present, or future actions.
  • Build up a verbal or imagined scenario that portrays you at fault for inaction, thus
    guaranteeing your sense of guilt and your willingness to do anything to alleviate it.
  • Accuse you of misdeeds, words, or actions to arouse your sense of guilt and make
    you believe you are the one with a problem in an interpersonal relationship   
    difficulty. (This effectively takes the pressure off of them.)
  • Reinforce your negative self-perceptions, encouraging you to be guilt ridden and  
    self-judgmental for their benefit.
  • Build a case with moral absolutes to convince you of the ``right way'' to do   
    things, avoiding that negative feeling of guilt for themselves.
  • Set up situations for you in which you will believe your alternatives are limited to
    that which results in the least sense of guilt.
  • Feign or fake hardship, illness, discomfort, unhappiness, incompetence, or other
    negative behavior to arouse your sense of guilt and have you take over those    
    tasks, or duties bringing imagined negative consequences for them.
  • Threaten negative consequences, like going to jail, to the hospital, to the juvenile
    detention center, failing school, dying, or divorcing you. This manipulation uses  
    your guilt to benefit them..

What can guilt do to you?
Guilt can:
  • Make you become over responsible, striving to make life ``right.'' You overwork.
    You over give of yourself. You are willing to do anything in your attempt to make
    everyone happy.
  • Make you over conscientious. You fret over every action you take as to its possible
    negative consequence to others, even if this means that you must ignore your  
    needs and wants.
  • Make you over sensitive. You see decisions about right and wrong in every aspect  
    of your life and become obsessed with the tenuous nature of all of your personal
    actions, words, and decisions. You are sensitive to the cues of others where any
    implication of your wrong doing is intimated.
  • Immobilize you. You can become so overcome by the fear of doing, acting, saying,
    or being "wrong'', that you eventually collapse, give in, and choose inactivity,
    silence, and the status quo.
  • Interfere in your decision making. It is so important to always be "right'' in your
    decisions that you become unable to make a decision lest it be a wrong one.
  • Be hidden by the mask of self denial. Because it is less guilt inducing to take care  
    of others first, instead of yourself, you hide behind the mask of self denial. You
    honestly believe it is better to serve others first, unaware that "guilt'' is the  
    motivator for such "generous'' behavior.
  • Make you ignore the full array of emotions and feelings available to you.    
    Overcome by guilt or the fear of it, you can become emotionally blocked or closed
    off. You are able neither to enjoy the positive fruits of life nor experience the
    negative aspects.
  • Be a motivator to change. Because you feel guilt and the discomfort it brings, you
    can use it as a barometer of the need to change things in your life and rid yourself
    of the guilt.
  • Be a mask for negative self belief. You may actually have low self-esteem, but claim
    the reason for your negativity is the overwhelming sense of guilt you experience.
  • Mislead or misdirect you. Because many irrational beliefs lie behind guilt, you may  
    be unable to sort out your feelings. It is important to be objective with yourself
    when you are experiencing guilt; be sure that your decisions are based on sound,
    rational thinking.

What irrational beliefs or negative self-scripts are involved in guilt?
  • I do not deserve to be happy.
  • I am responsible for my family's (spouse's) happiness.
  • There is only one "right'' way to do things.
  • It's bad to feel hurt and pain.
  • My children should never suffer in their childhood like I did in mine.
  • My kids should have more material things than I did.
  • It is my fault if others in my life are not happy.
  • If my kids fail in any way, it's my responsibility.
  • It is wrong to be concerned about myself.
  • People are constantly judging me, and their judgment is important to me.
  • It is important to save face with others.
  • It is wrong to accept the negative aspects of my life without believing that I am
    responsible for them myself.
  • I am responsible if either positive or negative events happen to the members of   
    my family.
  • I must not enjoy myself during a time when others expect me to be in mourning,
    grief, or loss.
  • You must never let down your guard; something you're doing could be evil or  
    wrong.
  • I must always be responsible, conscientious, and giving to others.
  • How others perceive me is important as to how I perceive myself.
  • No matter what I do, I am always wrong.
  • I should never feel guilt.
  • If you feel guilt, then you must be or have been wrong.

Suggested steps to overcome guilt
Step 1
: You can recognize the role guilt is playing in your life by choosing a current
problem and answering the following questions in your journal:
  1. What problem is currently troubling me?
  2. Who is responsible for the problem?
  3. Whose problem is it, really?
  4. What did I do to make this problem worse for myself?
  5. How much guilt do I feel about this problem?
  6. How much does the guilt I experience exaggerate or exacerbate my problem?
  7. If I felt no more guilt what would my problem look like then?
  • If the answer to question "g'' is that your problem can be solved by reducing    
    guilt, go to Step 2.

Step 2: Redefine your problem with the absence of guilt as an issue.
In answering the questions in Step 1 you recognized that guilt was preventing resolution
of the problem. To redefining your problem, answer the following questions in your
journal:
  • How insurmountable is the problem?
  • Is this problem an interpersonal or intrapersonal problem?
  • If it is interpersonal: Can I help the other person and myself to set aside guilt and
    resolve this problem?
  • If it is intrapersonal: Can I set aside guilt or the fear of it and resolve this problem?
  • Does this problem have more than one solution? Can others and myself experience
    satisfaction, comfort, and resolution with a minimum of debilitating guilt?
  • Whose problem is it, really?
  • Is it my problem or another(s)?
  • Am I taking on another's responsibility?
  • Am I trying to keep another from experiencing pain, hardship, or discomfort?

Step 3: If the problem is really someone else's, give the problem back to the person(s)
to solve and to deal with. If the problem is yours, go to Step 4.

Step 4: You must confront the real or imagined guilt or fear of guilt preventing you  
from either handing the problem back to the person(s) whose problem it really is     
(Step 3) or from handling the problem on your own. Consider the following:
  1. What fears are blocking me at this moment from taking the steps I need to resolve
    this problem?
  2. What are the irrational beliefs behind these fears?
  3. Refute the irrational beliefs
  4. Initiate a program of self-affirmation as presented in the "Self-Affirmations''
  5. Use an imagery scenario with "guilt'' as an object you packaged in a nice box. It is
    brought to a mountain top and thrown off a cliff for good.
  6. Affirm for yourself that:
  • You deserve to solve this problem.
  • You deserve to be good to yourself
  • You deserve to have others be good to you, too!

Step 5: If your guilt is not resolved after completing Steps 3 and/or 4, return to Step 1
and begin again.
~ Source Unknown
GUILT
Dawn Cove Abbey
_______________________________
Roadside assistance For Your Journey Through Life
- Dedicated to helping people return (and maintain) sanity and decency to life -
________________________________________________________________
From the eBook: "One! The Journey hOMe", by Klaas Tuinman MA, © 2007-2017

Questions and comments welcomed.