Wallowing in Guilt

No one heaps guilt on himself or herself when they don't have to do so. Right? Actually, there is much to gain from wallowing in false guilt.

* You gain control over others. You are telling others to orient themselves around your need for 'restoration.'

* Removes responsibility from your shoulders. They can’t expect much from you when you are broken and bleeding, can they?

* You get attention. "Look at me! Don't pay attention to others. Focus on me! See how guilty I am?"

* Get others to pump you up. "I'm so bad." "Oh no, you're a wonderful person.."

* You do for yourself what you wish others would do to you "I wish other people would punish me because I don't feel worthy of good things happening to me."

* Youavoid resentment. It’s easier to admit guilt rather than resentment. What you’d like to do to someone else (punish them) you do to yourself.

* You may have an inadequate view of God. To hang on to your guilt, you distort the truth of forgiveness.

* You may have false guilt because of expectations. You could be trying to live up to everyone’s expectations-and, of course, you can’t. Or you might be trying to live up to a peer group’s expectation.

* You may have a fear of repeating a wrong or the fear of being tempted toward it.

* You may be following some unhealthy teaching. You may have been taught to feel bad over wrongs you’ve committed.. forever.

* Your family has been inconsistent in forgiving you and only showed you conditional love.

* You are trying to fulfill unhelpful injunctions you heard from people in childhood. Others may have tried to motivate you by guilt by getting you to focus on the negative aspects of yourself.

* You could be covering up feelings of anger with feelings of guilt.  Perhaps you are not making a distinction between guilt and disappointment.

* And finally, you may have done something wrong and are experiencing true guilt but want avoid dealing with it.

Stephen Goforth