You are right, I don’t often feel guilty, and when I do I suspect there is a good reason for it.
The only exception to this is that I am easily manipulated in very specific situations: when people hurt me and then make me look like I was the bad guy and that I deserved it. I then get very confused and feel guilty although I know that I am not guilty. This comes from the dysfunctional relationship with my father, I understand that well. I was conditioned to feel this way, and all of the family members are exactly the same when it comes to him. The reasoning is that he simply can’t be at fault, therefore we must be.
Any suggestions on how to develop this particular dealing with guilt?
Well, if it helps, even people who have good relationships with their dad fall for that one. Manipulative people aren’t out looking for people with a difficult past. They’re looking for anybody they can con…and because of the Fall, most of us when in the wrong will start to run a con game. It is the nature of fallen mankind…“Why did I eat the apple? Well, this woman whom you gave me, you see…” Think about that. Adam thought he could run a con on God! There are people out there for whom manipulation is their bread and butter, but there are also people who are tempted to take Adam’s tack when they have no case in their own defense. Your dad wasn’t original on that one. And, hey, if God himself has people trying to run these cons past him all of the time, obviously it is something that can happen to a good person!
I guess it helps to look at feelings not as actions, but as indicators. There is nothing to feel guilty about for feeling a feeling. It is what you do about the feeling that is in your control. I guess I’d look at this habit you and your family has not as a character flaw, but as you would if you had a physical scar, like a bad back or a trick knee. Work around it, don’t punish yourself for finding it frustrating, if you can’t do such and so without hurting, then count that as the price of such and so and proceed accordingly, and don’t spend any time in the past regretting how it got that way. Do what you can today.
Oh, and when you learn to look past people’s efforts to make you feel guilty, you still feel it. It kind of makes one mad, but unless you totally see past the pitch from the beginning, they get the hook in a little. That is not a bad reflection on you that you feel that. Your job is what you’re going to do with the feeling, not that you feel it. Figure out how to deal with it, and the feeling will decrease in intensity, most of the time. It won’t go away, but it will be a tall annoying hairy thing instead of a monster. That makes a difference, I think.
I’ll part with this: Dare to be your own authority on the topic of you. You don’t have to always be right, but you are the one entitled to an opinion. If you’re wrong, you’re the one dealing with it. If what I suggest doesn’t help you, ditch it. You can do this. You have the wisdom in there, somewhere. You’ll not finish the work in this life, but you’ll get a long ways in the right direction, I know you will. Hang in there!
Contra, I want to send you this hug :hug3: because I’ve had something similar. Good friend in my case, like a sister to me, helped me through some exceptionally bad experiences. Then, after not seeing me for many years contact was renewed, she observed some things, made judgement, never asked for context or perspective, sent a most horrible, judgemental letter which shocked the people who had a more up-to-date perspective on the situation. I did manage to forgive her, even had lunch with her and her husband, but the damage to the friendship was done. I have not had any contact with her for the past six years (one of my daughters is still in regular contact with her) and I do not regret removing that friendship from my life.
Please keep your ‘toxic’ ex-friend out of your life, for your sake. This is one of those cases where you forgive what has been said, but you do not forget in the sense that you acknowledge that this is a relationship to let go of because you know the pain it will cause you at some point if you don’t.
And I do love this from EasterJoy (I need to print and keep this to remind me too):
Yes, the damage has been done for sure. It was done a long time ago but I am one of those silly loyal people who never give up. She was also supportive when things were tough and maybe she thinks this allows her to talk about it whenever she likes, to try to convince me of her version of events and to tell me what to do. This is a topic I simply can’t discuss with people and for that reason I can’t imagine talking to her again. She has no self control, I know she would bring it up again, so I don’t trust her. At least I know I’ve done my best here.