Hi, my name is Krista, and I am addicted to guilt. I’m not sure how long that has been the case, but in a nutshell, I am ruled by feelings of guilt and inadequacy. I still feel badly about things I did years ago—something as simple as letting a friendship slip away, a result of merely growing older and growing apart. But still, I blame myself and hold onto the idea that I could have done something differently.
I feel guilty for not having closer relationships with family members, even if I don’t particularly enjoy their company. They’re still my family, and so something inside of me says I should want to be with them, and if I don’t, then there’s something wrong
I don’t know about you, but parenting is my number one source of guilt. I see other moms that always seem to have children with clean faces and matching socks, and worse, their kids always seem to mind. I catch myself wondering why I can’t make my oldest listen—she is so free spirited and wild, could it be something I have or haven’t done? Is it in some way my fault? And if it is, how will that affect her in the future? Will she be stunted emotionally because of something I failed to teach her?
Another one is finances. Though I know I am contributing to my family by being a full time caretaker, house wife and student, I also feel guilty when we’re having money problems. I reason that if I worked, that probably wouldn’t be the case, right? I have turned guilt into an art form, and I know I am not alone. From what I have read, this is fairly common for women. Guilt has been called the “women’s disease”. Maybe some of you are nodding your head right now, or thinking, yeah, that’s me. But why would guilt be more common for women than for men?
Simply put, because men are more selfish by nature. We’re wired to feel differently and thus react to things in an entirely different way. Women tend to internalize anger over something that they perceive as a failure and beat themselves up again and again. We don’t seem to have enough time for the cooking, the cleaning, the job and the kids. Someone suffers, and then we get angry at ourselves.
Men, on the other hand, don’t tend to dwell on things that don’t affect them directly. Can you think of a time where you were angry at your partner, and he just didn’t seem to care? My hunch after learning this information is that it’s not that our men don’t care—they just don’t see what some of our complaints have to do with them. They don’t let feelings like inadequacy get to them, so they don’t understand why we do.
The trick to letting go of your guilt is honestly just realizing that you’re not perfect, you’re never going to be, and that—surprise, surprise!—no one else is either. All we can do is our best, and we can’t turn back time no matter how hard we try, so we have to accept our past and move on. As for the future, that is one thing you can be happy about, because the future is left up to you!