Why Do I Always Feel So Guilty?

Standard
Why Do I Always Feel So Guilty?

Lately, it has become more and more apparent to me that I’m being mean and unfair towards myself pretty much all the time. I seem to be stuck in a never-ending cycle that I’m having trouble getting out of. You see, I feel guilty almost all the time. It can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a mother, it can be that I don’t feel like I’m a good enough a wife, or that I’m not efficient enough in my studies, or that the house is always a mess, or, or, or… I always feel like I have to be doing something and when I do, I always feel like it’s done at the expense of something else I should or could be doing. It’s a vicious circuit that leads nowhere. It’s a fight with my unconsciousness that I can’t win!

I’ve often wondered “Is it just me?!?” …or something related to the fact that I am a woman and that we tend to do this to ourselves. Whatever the reason is, my husband certainly does not seem to have this problem. Most of the time, he seems blissfully guilt-free. And while I try my best to feel happy for him, it annoys the hell out of me! I’m petty enough to envy him for it! And yes, of course that makes me feel guilty! How twisted is that? Like I said, I can only lose! And it seems to me that no matter how much I try to be more efficient, It’s never quite enough, I always feel a little behind schedule and end up being completely exhausted mentally and in desperate need for some me-time. And of course – yes you guessed it – the me-time only leads to more guilty feelings! What can I say, I’m a lost case!

I know I’m being completely ridiculous, which makes it even more of a problem. I mean, if I know it’s there, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal to rid myself of it, right? I’ve talked about this with my husband and he has the simplest solution: “Just let it go, no one expects you to do everything”. Well, if it only was that simple my love. The fact is that I myself seem to expect me to be capable of doing it all. I seem to expect myself to be the super mom who is a perfect caretaker for her two autistic kids while managing to have an exciting career, eating healthy and stay in shape, is the fun and sexy wife, attentive friend and daughter who keeps a clean and lovely home, everything done with a smile on her face. Not living up to this standard is a failure, right? …a natural reason for feeling guilty, right?

Well, I went online and started to investigate and guess what I found? This does indeed seem to be a women’s problem. I found a lot of articles about how women in general, seem to expect a lot from themselves and when not living up to those pretty unreachable standards, become consumed with guilt. I guess we aren’t very nice to ourselves, huh! In my search I stumbled upon Vickie Champion’s website, that I really recommend you take a look at, and hope that with my extensive linking and name-dropping, she’ll be fine with me quoting some of her very good points.

Amongst many other things, Vickie made a wonderful list of 10 popular things women feel guilty about (I highly recommend it!) and I for one, made a lot of nodding while reading it over. So here is her list of popular things that make us feel guilty:

  1. Eating forbidden foods
  2. Being a working mom
  3. Doing nothing
  4. Eating chocolate
  5. Relaxing
  6. Not having a knock-em dead body
  7. Spending too much money
  8. Not doing more to take care of her and her husband’s parents
  9. Spending money on self-growth, hobbies, or self care
  10. Receiving praise we feel is undeserved

Anyone else but me nodding??? Yup, thought so.

So what is there to do about this? Well, Vickie is not just about making lists about the problems, she has advice too, in this case namely about how to get rid of guilt. The first thing she points out is that “guilt is nothing more than making up a rule or belief we think we need to follow and then breaking itAs an example of this is the rule: “good parents spend time with their kids”. Although we all know this to be true, sometimes, this rule can be difficult or even impossible to follow. As an example, the workload at work might simply be too much and for a period of time, you might need to spend some extra hours at the office, reducing the time you have with the kids. This often leads to guilty feelings, particularly for women. So what Vickie advices is that you make up a new rule to follow, and in this case it could be: “Good parents love their children”. This fact is no less true than the previous but should have the effect that the guilt releases – at least to some extent. For more advice, please go to Vickie’s webpage.

I have always assumed that there was not much to do about my guilty feelings but maybe there is. Maybe it requires me to rethink the norms that I’ve been setting for myself and seriously acknowledge the fact that it is simply impossible to do everything perfectly. I can of course try my best, but maybe I shouldn’t be so hard on myself if I don’t manage do live up to the glamorous super mom image that I’ve put on a pedestal. After all, I’m only human. So maybe it’s time to stop feeling so frigging guilty all the time!

Woman Feeling Guilty

Woman Feeling Guilty

Thank you for reading. As always, commenting and sharing is more than welcomed! -Ragga

28 responses »

  1. I no how you feel about 5 weeks ago I got that bad I just gave up I have 4 kids one autistic 2 that are ADHD and the other is a self harmer I got so bad with guilt and not enough time in the day and a single mother I just stopped my whole life just came to a end I didn’t want to carry on my youngest is 9 my oldest is 21 and it does get to the point were you think enough is enough I can’t do it anymore I really believe that I kept the guilt in for 10 years and just carried on and kept thinkin it was normal until recent but I’m glad to say I’m tryin to get back to been the way I was which I no is going to take time but it is really hard tryin to be supper mum all the time

    • Good for you to be trying to get a grip and doing something about it. I think it’s time I do the same. It’s not healthy for anyone living this way so I hope we’ll both succeed…

  2. Vá hvað ég kannast við þetta – svo þegar fólk kemur upp að mér og segir “ég bara dáist að því hvað þér gengur vel að vera einstæð móðir í fullu námi langt frá fólkinu þínu og það bara virðist allt ganga upp hjá þér” (og btw. ég hef alveg fengið þetta hrós oftar en einu sinni og oftar en tvisvar og satt best að segja þá á ég það alveg skilið) og það fyrsta sem ég hugsa er “ef þú bara vissir hvað ég eyði miklum tíma í ekki neitt, ef þú bara vissir hvað íbúðin mín er mikið á hvolfi, ef þú bara vissir…”

    Ég held að fyrsta skrefið er að átta sig á því að þetta er vandamál, næsta skrefið er að hlusta á hrósin sem maður fær og virkilega hlusta á þau og svo reyni ég að hafa forgangsröðun sem ég get verið sátt við. Það er ansi langt síðan var hægt að borða af gólfunum hérna en ég get amk sagt að ég hef eytt góðum og verðmætum tíma með Hrafnkeli – tíma sem ég hefði getað eytt í að skúra…

    • Hárrétt hjá þér Edda Rós að maður þarf að læra að forgangsraða og sætta sig við að ná kannski bara atriðum 1-7 á listanum en ekki alla leið upp í 15 ;) …og að meta það sem maður gerir og jafnvel bara stundum klappa sér á bakið fyrir þó það sem maður gerir – sem er kannski ekkert svo lítið! ;)

  3. Great blog about ur guilty feelings.
    Racing to get everything done and if u don’t you don’t like ur self.
    Guilt seems to be the problem however it seems to be the guilt around not been able to control what happened regarding ur sons autism. By trying to be a great wife, mother,house cleaner, fitness and healthy u are losing the important things in life.
    You do however question ur self and why you feel like this so not all is lost however if it continues you will get into issues that you won’t need in ur life.
    My advice if u want it is slow things down for ur self ur world is nearer than u think.

    • Thanks for your good points Ray – I am trying… believe me. Or as my mom told me: “cherish all the little moments in your life” – smart woman she is.

  4. I made myself ill a couple of years ago because i was trying to be supermum, and trying to do it all, but feeling guilty it was still never enough. I still do get a lot of guilt and anxiety but I’m better at dealing with it now as I am more aware of the affect it has if I let those feelings take over too much. I also know what you mean about the men-folk. I sometimes want to shout at my OH because he just comes out with some incredibly sensible answer, like ‘don’t worry about it because we can’t do it all’. I know he means well, but just because he says it doesn’t matter it doesn’t stop me worrying and feeling guilty. Thanks for writing this. I might check out some of those links if I get time. xx

    • It seems a lot of us do this to ourselves! Why oh why, it’s so bizarre … and yet we have trouble stopping. I wonder if it’s just us women or if there are also men out there that feel the same. I’m sure there are some – we’re not all wired the same way you know…

      Thanks so much for the comment and take good care of yourself Violet. How about we both do? ;)

  5. Já Ragga, ég gæti haldið heila ráðstefnu með þér um þetta mál !! Ég er markvisst að vinna í að “fækka” samviskubitunum…. Pistillinn er sem sagt skrifaður eins og úr mínu hjarta fyrir 3 mán…ég er að komast aðeins áfram í þessari baráttu en á samt heilmikið eftir !!

    • Vel gert Ása! …endilega sendu mér einhver góð ráð ;) …er sjálf að reyna að vinna í þessu og ÆTLA mér að takast það. Þetta gengur ekki til lengdar!

      Baráttukveðja!
      Ragga

  6. Vá takk fyrir þetta, þetta er “homerun”! Ætla að taka þig til fyrirmyndar og vinna í þessu máli. Hjálpar engum og síst manni sjálfum að líða svona!

    • hahaha “homerun” er klassíker – takk fyrir það. En hárrétt hjá þér, lætur okkur bara líða illa og þar með öllum öðrum í kringum okkur! “If mommy ain’t happy, nobody’s happy” ;)

  7. When I was in college, I went through a year of therapy after becoming overwhelmed by the “shoulds” in my life. My social worker helped me to see that my mother wasn’t always looking over my shoulder. This simplifies it somewhat, but the essential truth is that these “shoulds” are ingrained in us from birth. It is part of the development of our conscience, but sometimes this conscience can become u

  8. unhealthy. We have to choose our battles. I have decided that I will just have to live with unfinished, undone projects. And concentrate on the important things. I have to live with some angst. It’s Okay. I can do that…and comfort myself with the fact that the important things are done. I can’t control everything. That may be some of the problem as well.

    • so true! I guess part of the solution lies in the fact of admitting that it’s impossible to do it all and learn how to live with that realization. Thank you for this Ann

  9. frábær færsla! ég er með einn punkt sem mætti bæta í þessa frábæru umræðu sem ég er svo hjartanlega sammála, ég hef lent í því að fólk hrósi manni fyrir að vera með allt á hreinu; að maður sé actually með skínandi hreint heimili, nægan tíma með börnunum, að maður hafi tíma til að sinna kroppnum osfrv. og að sjálfsögðu er maður ekki með ALLT á hreinu, en það getur verið að það líti þannig út, og þetta gerir pressuna enn meiri! það er nóg með að maður sé með háar og óraunhæfar kröfur í eigin garð, en þegar fólk í góðmennsku sinni segir að maður sé “súperkona” eða “súpermamma”, sem er að sjálfsögðu meint sem hrós, þá eykur það á pressuna og kröfurnar… vona að þetta skiljist ;) svo ég tekið meðvitaða ákvörðun að hrósa fólki aldrei þannig, að segja fólki ekki að það sé “fullkomið”, “súper” hitt eða þetta osfrv. því ég veit að auðvitað er enginn fullkominn ;)

    • vel mælt Unna og góður viðbótarpunktur – þetta er alveg rétt hjá þér að þó svo að fólk meini vel þegar það hrósar manni, þá setur þetta samt ósjálfrátt enn meiri pressu á mann að halda áfram að líta svona vel út útávið…

      Það er vandlifað í þessari veröld þegar fólk má ekki einu sinni hrósa manni lengur án þess að það sé tekið og yfirfært sem eitthvað æðra markmið sem verði að nást hér eftir sem endranær! ;)

  10. I felt like this years ago. It has gotten better as I have gotten older. When I was younger I was almost frozen because of feeling guilty. This was a good post.

    • Thank you Mylinda. I hope I will grow out of this nasty habit as well. I’m trying to be more aware of this and stop my mind of spinning out of control when approaching these kinds of thoughts. I hope it will work out…

      xx Ragga

  11. I always feel guilty that i’m not doing enough or good enough or something or sometimes being neglected from my.attention. I am a single mom of two girls and it’s nice to know there are other mom s out there experiencing same thing just hope it’s possible to overcome.

    • I hope so too. I have to say, since I wrote that post I’ve been trying to work on things on my end and give myself a little break. I still feel guilty but not in the same way I used to and I think that is a first step. Trying to remember that although I might be able to do a lot, I can’t do everything and I need a breather just like everyone else makes me relax a bit. Maybe it would help you too?

      Best,
      Ragga

Leave a comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s