Managing your Conscience © Martyn Carruthers

Online Coaching, Counseling & Soulwork Training

Is guilt a sign of responsibility – or depravity? Many people feel paralyzed by guilt.
Do you want to untangle the feeling called guilt, and its consequences?

Your guilt was probably caused by hurting people,
failing your obligations or unconscious entanglements

If you do not resolve your guilt you may feel depressed, overwhelmed
or dissociated – trying to live a life that does not make sense.

A native Hawaiian healer, Papa Henry Auwae, told me that the
average tourist carries enough guilt to kill a native Hawaiian.
Many people try to manage their guilt with alcohol – or by
ignoring, dissociating or medicating their unpleasant feelings.

Guilty or Not Guilty?

For most people, guilt refers to unpleasant lasting feelings about suffering, injustice and a lack of balance. Many people use guilt, shame and regret feelings to manipulate or control other people – especially their children!

Guilt may communicate:

  1. I have been manipulated
  2. I abused or violated someone
  3. I have manipulated someone
  4. I regret real or imagined mistakes
  5. I see people suffering but I do not help them
  6. I feel responsible for someone’s pain or suffering
  7. I feel confusion for not responding to a situation in a better way
  8. I feel remorse for egocentric, aggressive or critical communications
  9. Someone I identify with should feel guilty … so I carry that guilt instead
  10. Someone I am bonded to did something wrong – and I carry their burden

A sense of justice seems to be part of a sense of life and desire for happiness. Often, guilt includes a sense of justice that limits our choices until we amend the injustices. But if guilt causes people to hate themselves or to deny reality, then that guilt may lead to depression or withdrawal.

Guilt is associated with depression, obsessions and compulsions. A lack of guilt may result in people being called psychopaths or sociopaths … but who decides when you have suffered enough?

We help people resolve guilt by rectifying unfulfilled obligations, having hurt people and unconscious entanglements – which often includes dissolving fixations, enmeshments and transferences. We help people grow up and enhance their emotional maturity.

Guilt, Manipulation & Influence

Guilt is often used to manipulate or influence people. Some people seem to have studied and used Applied Guilt either as an art form, a hard-science discipline or as a social-engineering tool.

Some people may have used guilt to manipulate your thoughts, feelings and behavior (and perhaps you have influences other people in similar ways). People manipulated by guilt may believe that:

  • they must sabotage their own success
  • they are responsible for relationship problems
  • someone will suffer if they do not fulfill a demand
  • they must fulfill demands, even if they do not want to
  • they should feel bad about past, present or future actions
  • they must perform tasks that are not part of their responsibilities
Avoid Guilt … or Resolve Guilt?

Some distractions that people use to avoid resolving their feelings of guilt are to:

  • overwork
  • become perfectionist
  • avoid making decisions
  • retreat to inactivity and silence
  • ignore your own needs and desires
  • ignore most of your emotions and feelings

Guilt can be a useful barometer of your need to live life based on rational thinking. People who try to avoid feeling guilt may successfully avoid feeling any emotions. They may lose their ability to learn from internal feelings and lose contact with their emotional identity. We often call this Identity Loss.

Guilt & Beliefs

We help people change beliefs by which you may attempt to rationalize your feelings. Forgiveness is rarely the answer – until you can truly forgive yourself. Do you try to take one step from sin to forgiveness, without repentance and restitution? It doesn’t work. Unresolved guilt returns as shame or depression – and although roots can grow deep in the dark, why extend your darkness?

Do you suffer any of these common guilt-ridden beliefs?

  1. I do not deserve to be happy
  2. It is my fault if others are not happy
  3. I am responsible for my family’s happiness
  4. I am responsible for anything happens to my family
  5. I must not appear happy when people want me to suffer
Can you Forgive?

For me, forgiveness is a  highly abused word. If you are told to forgive someone … what does that mean? When I teach in Catholic countries – I usually ask the class HOW to forgive someone who has hurt you. The most common answers I hear are typically;

  1. Lies: “I will pretend to forget your behavior!
  2. Devils’ Deals: “I won’t remind you of what you did if you don’t talk about what I did.
  3. Spiritual Ego: “Because I am such an enlightened being … I forgive you.”

For me – to forgive means to not punish. It does not mean to forget or to be superior to. A more important concept in my work is to atone … we often explore how people can atone for their actions … what can they do now to balance hurtful actions in their past? Inner balance leads to inner peace.

Solutions for Guilt, Shame and Regret

These are some general steps for resolving guilt.

  1. Who have you hurt … exactly how did you hurt that person?
  2. Decide whether your actions were appropriate and acceptable?
  3. If so, acknowledge your behavior – do your guilt feelings diminish?
  4. If your behavior was appropriate and you still feel bad – we can help you.
  5. If your behavior was unacceptable, what you can do to rectify the situation?
  6. What can you learn from this experience that will help you be a better person?

Do you want to move on with your life?

Guilt and Maturity

Maturity isn’t an award given to good children or for high school graduation. Some people develop maturity, while other people avoid it. We can help people check if their reasons for feeling guilty are valid. And then we help people resolve any hurtful decisions. Some questions to consider:

  1. Responsibility. Was it really your responsibility or fault?
  2. Reality. Can you overcome your feelings of guilt, regret and shame?
  3. Analysis. Can you learn from consequences and let remorse be constructive?
  4. Forgive. Normal healthy people make mistakes. What will you do about them?
  5. Motivation. If you harmed someone, is their suffering is a result of your actions?

The consequences of guilt may not fade away. If you hurt someone, guilt can depress your life, even if you forget or hide the memory. Guilt can trigger depression, lost sense of life, self-sabotage, psychosomatic symptoms or even suicide. Do you want to:

  •  avoid repeating regretted actions
  •  forgive themselves … and understand other people
  •  remedy relationship damage or emotional consequences
  •  change behavior by changing their communication or focus
  •  resolve abuse, abandonment or betrayal in ways that end guilt

Guilt will not alter your past, nor will guilt make you a better person. However, you can learn from your past and not deny nor obsess about it. We coach people to dissolve guilt, manage shame and end regret, and end the unpleasant consequences of guilt to themselves, their partners and their children.

Do you want to try a little paradoxical coaching? Make yourself feel as guilty as possible about some trivial memory for a minute or so, and notice what happens to your emotions, your memories and your desire to blame or criticize yourself. Then return to your normal state and notice the liberation.

Invite us to help you take steps towards a guilt-free life.
Act now – experience how our coaching can improve your life.

Categories: Aticles