Freeing Yourself from Unhealthy Guilt
Parents generally have a very sincere interest to raise their children in the best way possible. Yet,
parents get tired and overwhelmed too; they too have their own challenges. These are the reasons why they sometimes resort to parenting techniques that they don’t know can cause emotional issues with their children, such as false guilt.
If you have been raised by parents who use it as a tool to keep you well-behaved, there can be a good reason to look at it in a new light. One, excessive guilt is unhealthy. Two, you need to free yourself from it. Three, and if you are using it as a parenting tool, you would want to stop it so as not to distress your children any further.
The Effect of Parent-induced Guilt
Though unintentional, it doesn’t change the fact that the guilt caused by this parenting technique is unhealthy. Growing in an atmosphere of hypercritical upbringing, you’re bound to feel unworthy and believe that your every move is being watched. Too much parent control is, after all, the hallmark of false or excessive guilt.
According to a study by Aunola et al. (2013),”The use of guilt-inducing parenting in daily parent-child interaction causes children distress…” Thus, if a child gets a daily dose of guilt-inducing parenting, it can impact their state of emotional health, self-esteem and thinking, even beyond childhood.
Carrying the Guilt Beyond Childhood
Why are you still shy, indecisive and unsure now that you’re already an adult and a parent yourself? Clinical psychologist and author Patricia Farrell, PhD, says,"Timid, insecure individuals may be victims of excessive guilt and constant 'second guessing' of themselves and their actions.” It is a fact that the subsequent years beyond childhood cannot mask those guilt-ridden experiences you had when you were young.
This is the effect of parent-induced guilt that was used on you as a child by people you look up to as authorities - your parents or your guardians. In addition, if you have been an anxious child, or
anxiety exists in the family, you are also prone to developing false guilt, long after you have left your home or childhood.
How to Free Yourself from Trap
When the feeling of guilt has never left you, it could be a dangerous companion all through your life. You may not have a happy adult life. You may not be able to reach your full potential, dropping in every race you join. You may quit reaching for “your stars.” If you have a child that you are raising using guilt as a tool, you may be making him/her just like yourself – trapped in unhealthy guilt.
It is not too late to break free from the bonds of guilt. Freeing yourself may not be an easy thing to do on your own. Reach out for help. Call Carolina Counseling Services in Fuquay-Varina, NC. If you can successfully break free from guilt with a therapist from CCS, you will not only be able to pursue your life and goals, you may also become a better and empowered parent for your child.
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