Dealing With Severe Guilt
Ann surely needs help in dealing with severe guilt. A few years back, she swung out on to the outer lane to overtake a slow moving van and collided head on with an oncoming truck. Her husband was killed on the spot and her son was paralyzed waist down. Years later, her sense of guilt continues to blame her cruelly over her fatal error of judgment. A feeble and pained voice within her keeps rejoining with the truth - that it was just a momentary mistake, which could have happened to anyone.
It was just one thoughtless, but awful mistake. Each time Ann opens her front door and feels the emptiness, each time she glimpses her child on the wheelchair, the painful voice returns, hurting her with its relentless logic. Her stern guilt and despair poison her career and the upbringing of her son, transforming her life into a living nightmare. In dealing with severe guilt, Ann needs to get her shattered life back to even keel. She needs to realize that she can learn to control the evolutionary neural mechanisms, which torture her. She can calmly come to terms with her guilt, which is merely a social emotion, triggered by her nervous system, to control her behavior.
- Science suggests that guilt causes intangible pain.
- Your common sense is your immensely wise conscience. Its judgment triggers your guilt emotion and your pain.
- Self awareness can kill an emotion.
- The mind control tips in this website can still the emotions which trouble you.
- Guilt also serves a social purpose. Listen to your conscience.
- Mirror neurons trigger compassion and, often, needless guilt.
- This self improvement plan can deal with such troubling issues in your life.
- Avoid guilt about your bad habits by taking control of your mind.
Dealing With Severe Guilt -Emotions Controlled Animal Behavior
As Ann's nervous system evolved over millions of years, nature developed increasingly complex control systems to enable survival. The early reptilian brains responded to smells, or to fear and anger. Smells decided whether an object could be approached or avoided. Fear and anger decided whether the animal should retreat, or attack. Those control decisions supported individual survival. Further evolution led to the mammalian brain, where social emotions controlled herd behavior. Guilt and shame punished any selfish behavior, which broke the moral code of the group. The emotions triggered drives, which opposed unsocial actions and compelled members to act for group benefit. Pain, at the prospect of social rejection, became wired into the system.
Dealing With Severe Guilt - Guilt Causes Pain
Eisenberger's research at UCLA confirms activity in the neural pain circuits, when a person suffers social rejection. A person suffers pain, when damaged skin cells cause nociceptors (pain nerve cells) to fire. Such pain processing is reported to have two parallel channels. The first causes the sensation of pain and the second, a feeling of being “hurt.” The “hurt” experience is more disagreeable than the pain sensation. Fear compels an animal to escape from, or to avoid a source of pain.
To enable animals to remember and avoid pain, “speed dial circuits,” persist over the years in the amygdala, the organ associated with fear. Those circuits trigger distress, when they recognize any pattern remotely linked to original source of pain. Eisenberger suggests that the same circuits are activated in the case of guilt. Ann cannot run away from her misjudgment. So, the drive triggers internal voice circuits, accusing her of her guilt, on recognition of any associated pattern. When dealing with severe guilt, Ann needs to understand the reality that pattern recognition and speed dial circuits are also the reasons for her punishment.
Dealing With Severe Guilt - Common Sense Is Ann's Conscience
Evolutionary development led to RI, the prefrontal human brain. Scientists are surprised that a bunch of nerve cells can have a conscience. But, they acknowledge the vast extent of knowledge in the DNA molecule in each living cell in the human body. If inscribed into 500 page books, the programmed DNA codes in the human body will fill the Grand Canyon 50 times over with those books! Nerve cells contain similar masses of code in their combinatorial codes.
The prefrontal brain contains the accumulated wisdom of millions of years and the memories of a lifetime of sensory and emotional experiences. That brain has the wisdom to know what is right and wrong in the vast turmoil of human relations and social responsibilities. When RI tells her that she made a wrong decision, which caused grievous harm, RI is right. That judgment of RI triggers her overactive guilt and pain circuits. But, her RI will also tell her that that mistake could have been made by anyone. That she should accept her error and move on. In dealing with deep grief, Ann should understand that the speed dial circuits always enhance her pain and still the small inner voice of RI reason.
With Severe Guilt - Self Awareness Is The Key
can never hope to argue with her feeling of guilt and win. In
reality, her actions were wrong. But, she can switch off her guilt
circuit. She can use a foible of the nervous system - when the
attention of the mind is directed to the onset of an emotion, the
emotion is instantly stilled. The attention of the mind is the
attention of RI.
Normally, when an emotion takes over, RI is
only an observer, who feels the pain. But if you consciously begin to
observe your mind, RI will take over. It will be able to see the
onset of thoughts triggered by lower level animal emotions from the
mammalian part of the triune
RI will become able to identify the sharp accusing voices of guilt
and still them through mere observation. It is similar to the age old
advice to count upto ten, before you speak harshly. Shift
the attention of
your mind and anger will disappear. Ann should know that self
not come overnight. In dealing with severe grief, it will require
observation over a period of time for her to become familiar with her
troubling thoughts, just the way she knows her annoying
With Severe Guilt - Put Common Sense In Charge
Buddhists discovered the path of self awareness and mindfulness
meditation, which grants control of your mind to RI, your common
sense. It is a powerful investigative intelligence, which “sees the
flower as being neither beautiful nor ugly.” To an unemotional RI,
it is just a flower. The mind
control tips in
this website suggest a few mental and physical exercises to put RI in
charge. Those exercises can still your animal instincts, with their
speed dial circuits, which respond to every hint and shake you around
like a puppet on a string.
In time, the practice of those
routines will transport your mind to a calm neutral territory. In
successfully dealing with severe guilt, these practices can enable
Ann to live sensibly with her disastrous mistake. With its immense
inherent wisdom, her RI knows it was a mistake. It also knows of the
fallibility of humans and of the need to move on beyond disaster. Ann
will view of the problems ahead and the mistakes of the past to be
“like birds in the sky.” They are there, but do not
Dealing With Severe Guilt - Practice Self Compassion
love emotion activates the affiliation network, which can still the
pain of guilt. Self compassion training grants sufficient control of
the mind to enable a practitioner to consciously switch on the
network. The initiation creates a powerfully positive attitude. A
loving acceptance of the pain of the self takes place. The guilty
person will feel compassion for the poor suffering self, which will
act to reduce the pain of guilt.
With Severe Guilt - Remember That Guilt Also Helps
stable social life requires ways to deal with conflicts and events in
which people inadvertently (or even purposefully) harm others. If a
person harms someone, guilt causes him to express regret and sorrow
and is likely to be forgiven. In this way the chances of retaliation
are reduced and the community fares better. A person, who feels no
guilt is likely to harm others and be destroyed, in the end, by
society. At one time or another everyone makes a mistake, commits an
error of judgment, or says or does something wrong.
awareness can make each person listen to the voice of conscience.
Remember that it is an immensely wise intelligence, which triggers
your feeling of guilt. Act to remedy the situation. Apologize to the
person and express your sorrow at your error. Avoid repeating the
behavior. Each such incident will improve your sensitiveness to
people and prevent serious deterioration of your personal
relationships. You may not be dealing with severe guilt. But you can
use guilt as your wise guide and counselor to grow, learn and
With Severe Guilt - Empathy Also Triggers Guilt
minds contain a neural subsystem, which senses the feelings of others
and makes us feel the same emotions. These neurons are called mirror
neurons. This system makes us feel the sufferings of others and
triggers the compassion emotion. The emotion triggers a drive to make
us act to mitigate the suffering. When we are unable to help,
feelings of guilt are triggered.
People, who are sensitive to
these feelings are likely to be cooperative and to be altruistic.
But, they also are more likely to suffer from anxiety and depression.
Such suffering is intensified by the conviction of RI, their common
sense, that it is their duty to help. Peace of mind can come only
when RI systematically evaluates all options and makes a competent
value judgment for the circumstances around each such periodic pang
of guilt, which overtakes them. Each person has to make a choice
about the extent of altruistic behavior that can be afforded in the
turmoil of every day life.
With Severe Guilt - Deal Also With More Subtle Guilt
improvement plan in
this website offers a method ofhandling the subtle emotions, which
may trouble you. Once you practice self awareness, you will slowly
become aware of discomfort over some event during the day. To follow
this plan, you can write down all your thoughts about this issue the
way you would write a shopping list. Your mind has the capacity to
search through its vast memories to bring you all the thoughts around
this concern. The plan offers a way to organize these thoughts and
enable your RI to understand your concern.
may not have the time or resources to improve a situation.
may have chosen a career instead of staying at home.
may not be as good as some one else in dealing with the problem.
may not achieve the perfection in work, which you expect of
may have felt anger towards someone you care for.
may have forced you to accept help.
your behavior may cause you too much distress.
may not be able to change a mistake in the past.
may have acted wrongly with the only information available to you.
problem could have occurred regardless of all your efforts.
it down will bring out the many conflicting views within your mind.
The plan enables you to make your choices. Knowing the rationale of
your choice will prevent this sense of guilt from coming up again.
You will not feel trapped. Your RI will have understood and made its
choices. Your behavior will slowly be modified to meet your decision.
When dealing with severe guilt, it is also important to tone down
such feelings, which may run in your subconscious.
With Severe Guilt - Guilt About Your Bad Habits
common sense , RI, knows whether you smoke, or eat too much. It knows
that regular exercise is good for you. You feel guilt, when you act
against the judgment of your common sense. You may have always
intended to break your bad habit, or to begin good ones. Yet, when
you get down to it, you lack the will power. Actually, you fail in
this conflict between RI and your animal instincts, because emotions
control your life. Your nervous system always switches
your most powerful emotion. When hunger pangs, a need for a smoke, or
sheer tiredness overcomes you, you will give in to one of these
self awareness can still an emotion. If you become conscious of the
emotion, it will be stilled. Do not argue with an emotion. When you
are about to indulge yourself, think “what do I feel?” instead of
thinking “I should not do this.” Recognition of the physical
symptoms of the emotion, which misdirects you, will kill the emotion.
Your guilt is continually warning you. Use self awareness to take
your life. These practices will always assist you, even as you work
on dealing with severe guilt.
This page was last updated on 31-Dec-2013.
JUST THINK... What happens when you begin to talk? Your nervous system has picked an emotion. It has articulated an idea around it, chosen apt words from a vocabulary of thousands of words, arranged them in lexical and grammatical order and adjusted the pitch of your voice. Before you speak you've no consciousness of the words you will use. Who's actually in charge? This question leads to the question "What is consciousness itself?" Is consciousness a spirit living in a human body? Is it a mystical life form that emerges from the nervous system? This is the hard problem of consciousness.