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guilt

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Dec. 20th, 2011 | 10:57 pm
location: the mirror
disposition: guiltyguilty

It doesn't really count as an epiphany if someone had to explain it for me to get it.... and someone did. I have been accused of guilt tripping many times, I just never understood what it meant or agreed that I was doing it.

But I have been... a lot, with everyone, and for a long time. I know, I already said that about insecurity, being demanding, and dependency so I think these things all come bundled together with me.

The word is manipultion. I alwasy said that I wasn't manipulative or that if I was, I wasn't very good at it, because at the time in whatever context or limited perspective on reality I had, I thought that I wasn't getting my way. Maybe I wasn't getting everything I demanded... but I was definitely getting people to do things they didn't want to do. What's scary is that I never knew I was doing it.

I want to change. I want to be better. I'm hoping to make good on my promise to "never treat anyone like that again," but the new light on this has me wondering if I know what to do at all. I have an insightful friend who explained it to me and maybe that will help. I will make it a priority to talk about in therapy. But what else? Do I need to read a book?

I have been thinking about this all week and dwelling on it pretty hard today... you might even say feeling guilty... since, you know, I actually am guilty. Here's some of what I'm thinking. If anyone reads this and wants to correct me or add to it, please do, but as usual, I'm hoping there's some therepeutic value in writing about it and explaining it to myself.

Guilt is like an exploit.

There is a basic kindness and desire to be good in almost everyone. When people care about someone, there is even more of that. They may feel an attachment, kinship, or closeness. They my also feel responsible or obligated and sometimes those feelings may have their own origins.

Guilt trips discover these feelings of love and kindness and uses them against the bearer. When the kindness and love are exposed, guilt infiltrates and then drops a payload of demands that imbed and attach themselves to these feelings. It transforms love into obligation and kindness into regret.

As I've said before, I have been stupid and selfish. When I should have nurtured the love I craved so badly, I did this. I turned that love into something else and now I have no one but myself to blame.

Why?

I'm still figuring it out. I know that somehow this internal feeling of loneliness I have wants validation, affirmation, and evidence. I demand things because it sometimes temporarily makes me feel loved or cared for. It has sometimes soothed that ache and often concealed its consequences and side effects. My current view is that guilt tripping and demanding are both under the umbrella of manipulation. They stem from the same sources and seek the same short sighted goals.

I do it automatically. I do it unknowingly.

Then I'm told that I'm doing it. Externally, I deny and make excuses. Inside, I rationalize, justify, and confuse myself.

I bend the golden rule. I would love to be told that I am missed, that someone hurt when I was away, or that I was needed. I only wish someone would beg me to come home for Christmas. I project my desires and then allow that to shape my actions. It creates loose or non-existant rules for interaction.

Please come home. Please don't go. You are the center of my world. I don't want to live in a world without you. I need you. Please don't leave me. The words I say are the words I long to hear. What better rationalization could there be?

If it isn't bad enough that I demand actions... I demand feelings too. You should feel guilty because I think you should feel guilty. Of course you feel guilty, because what you're doing is wrong. I would feel guilty if I did that, so you should, too. Whatever you may have done for me, that was then--this is now. Whatever I haven't done for you, it's probably because of something you did. I project my expectations on you. In some psychotic way, I even think it's a compliment. After all, I've set such high standards for you because I think so highly of you, right?

If I'm scaring you a little then imagine how I feel. That's me up there. I do this to the people I love and care about the most. Then they run away. Then I have no one. Eventually... finally... I see myself and I see what I've done.

As awful as this is to see and have to believe about myself, I have to believe that this understanding will give me the ability to change it. I have my cognitive work cut out for me. I have to teach myself to acknowledge when I'm having the thoughts and feelings that prompt me to do these things. I have to swallow my words while I redirect my thoughts and find better ones. I have to be able to truly place myself in someone else's perspective rather than expecting someone to be the way I optimistically like to imagine that I would be. This is going to take work.

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