We often think that others are responsible for making us feel guilty. This is not true. 

Others may try to manipulate us by saying certain things to make us feel guilty and at times they are very effective in causing us self-doubt. However, the reason that manipulators are able to make us feel guilty is that a part of us agree with their message and the doubt already exists in our head. 

For example, if you are trying to set boundaries with a particular person and you have said “no”, yet they continue to ask for that something, and you are just not sure you made the right decision, guilt can show up. If you have been raised in a family that “others come first” when you begin to establish healthy boundaries, feelings of guilt can surface.

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Guilt comes from our early socialization process. Guilt feelings can appear even if we haven’t done anything wrong, yet from early childhood experiences it can cause us to doubt our decisions. Of course, if we do something wrong by hurting someone it is important to examine our actions and rather than feeling bad about it, acknowledge it and address it with that person.

We have been taught to put others' needs first before our own. Even this simple internal belief can cause guilt when you try to challenge this internal message. Therefore, thinking that other people cause you guilt can be an inaccurate message.

The best way to overcome guilt is to carefully examine your actions and think it through rather than react. Oftentimes when we become reactive, it is more about us than the other person and it has a lot to do with the past. 

No one can make you feel guilty without your permission, just like no one can make you do anything without your consent. 

It always takes two people. Blaming someone for “causing you guilt” is more about you than the other person. When we are blaming others for how we feel, we can no longer see our part in it because we are focused on the other. It is basically a distraction for us.

At the Hellenic Therapy Center, 567 Park Avenue, Scotch Plains, NJ, we are currently offering Zoom, Phone or FaceTime sessions. Call us at (908) 322-0112 or visit www.hellenictherapy.com or Facebook.