In this post, I highlighted “The Power Of Guilt” in point #6. Guilt is something we’ve all experienced to a degree or another. What some discover is how it challenges us—invites us—to be more honest.
Honest to others and especially to ourselves.
However, for some individuals, guilt becomes a chronic and toxic by-product of consistent poor choices. Especially greedy and selfish choices. In today’s article, I want to focus on how you can use guilt to empower yourself and use it to your advantage.
1. Guilt Is Secretive
“What’s done in dark, always comes to light.” Secrets are what build the energy behind guilt. It can be a secret we hold from another or a secret we are keeping from ourselves through denial.
When we bring our honesty forefront and into the light, we invite healing and closure.
This looks like owning up and expressing a needed apology; owning our story in full; accepting and embracing responsibility without hesitation; telling the truth in a constructive way; etc.
Honesty is the antidote to the toxicity of guilt.
2. The Difference Between Chronic Guilt & Acute Guilt
Acute guilt is a sudden realization and awareness of our offense and immediately owning up to it. The offense can be large or small, but the importance is in the speed of awareness to it—as well as the desire to urgently remedy it.
Chronic guilt is developed through time, choice after choice. It’s like an infection that leads to another infection: a domino effect. This is the more interesting of the two, because of what it does to the carrier of it.
Some people’s entire lives are defined by choices from chronic guilt.
3. Chronic Guilt In Relationships
I’m fascinated by what chronic guilt does to an individual, especially in relationships. By nature, human beings desire to be accepted, validated, and connected.
It’s a survival mechanism to have skillsets to build reliability in a tribe.
Whether in an intimate relationship or in a group of friends, largely people do NOT like to associate themselves with liars, deceivers, manipulators—someone you cannot depend on or trust.
Carrying chronic guilt is harmful to both parties: 1) directly to the carrier, and 2) the other party being duped.
4. Chronic Guilt Is Usually Bottled
People who bottle their emotions are immature as it’s destructive: they allow their feelings to fester and they rob any opportunity for their counterpart to engage in constructive ways to address the issue.
Even more insidious is when guilt is combined with long-term bottling.
This is equivalent to not allowing your bowel movements to occur and holding all that waste in until constipation occurs…what do you think happens when you hold in all that waste? It becomes toxic and you go into sepsis. Eventually total organ system failure and death.
The SAME happens to our emotions. When we hold in toxic emotions, we shut down and create blockages from ourselves being healthy: emotionally AND physically.
5. Chronic Guilt Causes Physical Manifestations
There is science behind the mind-body connection. Look up “psychosomatic illness”. When we hold in traumas, or self-inflicted traumas (like chronic guilt) by not expressing outwardly our experiences in healthy ways—getting the energy out of ourselves—we cause dis ease.
It can start off as constant anxiety. Then depression. Eventually spiraling into self-destructive behaviors (i.e. substance abuse, gambling addictions, sex addictions, etc.)
Because thoughts fuel feelings. Feelings fuel beliefs. Beliefs fuel actions. Actions changes your world—and the world—around you.
6. Chronic Guilt In Long-Term Relationships/Marriage
The guilty party—especially if they have partaken in cheating or action of equal offense— will always give it away through their behaviors. Always.
Remember, guilt is not easy to be alone with.
They will always try to find comfort either by being really attentive to you more than usual (as they continue to take part in the offense). Or their initiation to physically touch or be intimate wanes. Touch is important because it releases oxytocin.
Guilty parties always try to lessen the release of oxytocin by touching you, because it makes them feel more guilty. They are recalibrating their own inner chemistry to make them more comfortable with their guilty actions.
7. Guilty People Will Try To Equalize You
Guilty people will try to get you to “experiment” or invite you to partake in the same behaviors they are. They might encourage you to flirt with others if they are secretly doing so; they might encourage and push you to do things that make you uncomfortable—so they can be comfortable with themselves.
You’ve heard of the saying “Misery loves company”? This is why guilty people try to bring you down to their level. Because nobody likes to be left behind.
Guilty people are afraid of those with integrity. Because people with integrity reflects their severe lack of it.
8. Utilize Integrity To Shatter A Guilty Person
If you’ve discovered you’ve been cheated on, don’t cheat. End the relationship, but don’t cheat. If you’ve dedicated yourself to a person—be it a friend, a business partner, or anyone with a degree of importance—who has betrayed you, lied, or dishonored you…don’t react at their level.
“An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.” Instead, utilize the power of integrity.
Be the person they missed out on. Not the crazy person who left their life. It simply requires NO reaction, but ALL action: dissolve the relationship immediately and cancel your subscription to their dysfunction. Period.
*Side note: always know you have the law on your side. Know your rights.
9. Because Guilty People Don’t Handle Breakups Well
This holds true for friendships and relationships: the guilty party ALWAYS has the hardest time in a breakup. Because it is very uncomfortable and hard to be alone with guilt.
Hold true to your integrity. I will always advise keeping your hands clean when others play dirty. It’s insurance for your healing journey to be easier and quicker.
You are gifting yourself the ability to look back with zero regrets. They don’t have that gift. And unless they are willing to make drastic changes, they usually quickly find comfort in the next opportunity (person) to operate their dysfunction.
10. Facing Chronic Guilt
It’s quite easy to face yourself through an episode of acute guilt. Not so easy facing yourself with chronic guilt—this would need the assistance of a professional.
Healing from our traumas is an additional side adventure in life. Sometimes it completely takes us away from our main road, but it’s necessary to do if we desire to change the experience of our lives.
Because the one thing we bring to every aspect and facet of our lives is: ourselves.
We can change our environment, people, appearance, etc. But if we don’t allow ourselves to be receptive and open to exactly who we are, we can bring especially our traumas to everything we are bound to experience. And lessen the degree of our fulfillment of those experiences, as we haven’t fulfilled ourselves.
Chronic guilt is a disease and incredibly toxic to the human mind and body. One can argue there are those who feel no guilt at all. They may exist but are incredibly rare. You wouldn’t want to engage with those types of people anyway: the psychopaths and sociopaths.
If you’re looking to enjoy a fulfilled life, always use the power of integrity—especially against a guilty person.
It’s not about making a guilty person feel bad. Because more than likely, they won’t feel bad initially. Remember, for guilt to take its full detrimental effect, it takes time.
And it serves you no good waiting around for time to pass to see its detrimental effects on the person who has lied, hurt, manipulated, or dishonored you.
Give chance to those who have the capacity to approach acute guilt. They are able and willing to take accountability for how they made you feel through words or actions. We absolutely all do make mistakes—and we all have the capacity to own up & fix them.
Know your value. Know what your standards and needs are in any relationship. And have the courage to make affirmative decisions for your happiness.
You deserve it.
Be Well & With Peace,