Understanding Guilt…

Someone I got to know recently got me flowers yesterday… it was a thank you he said. Well, he didn’t say why, but I think maybe for helping him out with a conversation he was afraid to have and/or maybe also because I got him to his first yoga class, which he dreaded to begin… I don’t know, but what the fuck. I have friends and none of which ever got me flowers!

It made me feel wired, like a huge fucking burden of some kind! Ok… I don’t like flower bouquets, don’t get me wrong… I love having flowers in the house and love flower fields and plants but, anyways… that’s not the point! It should feel nice to be thanked for something, it should feel nice to be gifted, I should feel the warmth he was trying to convey and gratitude for such a gesture no matter what the gift was, but I didn’t. All I thought was, why would anyone feel the urge to get a friend flowers as a sign of gratitude, when a mere thank you would suffice? And… why does it feel like such a burden?

As I am writing this, I realized two revelations and a probable lifetime pattern of mine… It took me a bit to close down on the exact feeling and I think it is guilt. I hope I could explain it well enough to actually learn it:

  1. Maybe that burden comes from feeling somewhat guilty that I sense he viewed or values me differently than I him, especially with all his compliments and praising and now the flowers made it worse… I was nice to him because I felt he needed to vent and now receiving the flowers might convey that I reciprocate the same view of him…  and I don’t and I don’t want to be dishonest… and I don’t want to feel obligated to open up to him just because he has to me nor do I want to feel bad that I never will.
  2. I probably put up with a lot of my husband’s shit, because, I deep down inside felt that I never really felt for him, the way I thought I should ideally have, stopped feeling any passion towards him years ago and maybe that is actually the root cause that made me feel like I owed him something all those years and hence the tolerance of abuse.

So what is guilt? Freud, explained guilt as a reaction to violations of superego standards, which happens when unacceptable ego-directed behaviors or id-based impulses conflict with the moral demands of the superego. He nevertheless, has linked the feeling of guilt to the Oedipal stage of psychosexual development. Other than Freud’s psychodynamic theory, there is also the cognitive description of guilt, which explains guilt to be an emotion that people undergo, because they feel that that have done something harmful or feel responsible for someone else’s hardship. According to psychology, there many different kinds of guilt: 1. Guilt for something harmful you have actually done. 2. Guilt for something you wanted to do, but haven’t actually done 3. Guilt for something you think you did, and as irrational as that sounds, many cognitive theories of emotions explain that a lot of the unhappiness we experience results from our own irrational thoughts about situations. 4. Guilt that you didn’t do enough to help someone (Compassion fatigue) and 5. Guilt that you are doing better than someone else…

There is a lot of articles and books and research on guilt, however not to divert from the flower subject, Guilt in layman terms; is an emotion one feels when they have violated their own moral standards and their own chosen values. However, if you do not have that value, you would not feel guilty committing the act.

That somehow makes sense now… apparently, it is this internal feeling of being dishonest about reciprocating feelings, even if platonic ones, is what’s making me feel guilty and feels like a burden of some kind and has made me feel guilty in similar situations in the past… and has been one of the reasons why I let people walk all over me or lead them on to feeling that I reciprocate their feelings. I have probably dated a few just out of that guilt… However, when was I obliged to feel the same towards anyone? Empathy, weakness, low self worth… maybe. My Oh My… if that AHA moment have come to me years ago, maybe much of my behaviour towards people as well as my reactions would have changed.

I got flowers, which I ended up giving to my mother and which unfolded a pattern I never understood until now…

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