The Psychology of Guilt
What is guilt? The symptoms vary but usually include an uneasy feeling, accompanied by anxiety and conflict. The conflicts might not be within your awareness, hence the difficulty resolving the ambivalence. Yes, guilt is a form of ambivalence--a more painful form than procrastination, but usually not as deep as the deeper form of ambivalence, forgiveness. Resolving ambivalence is no easy feat, but understanding this underlying dynamic is necessary if you want guilt (or procrastination, or forgiveness problems) to go away.
I highlight the good and bad aspects of guilt. Yes, there are actually a few good things associated with guilt, but these are not the main focus of this ebook, because we all tend to focus on the uncomfortable parts. There's a discussion of guilt in the literature, divided into four parts--Evolutionary, Neurological, Social and Clinical.
What is the difference between guilt and shame? Guilt and Procrastination? Guilt and Anxiety? What are its specific dynamics? (Think sins of omission and sins of commission). I discuss common situations that create guilt--how others create guilt in you--and how to think about them so that guilt is just one possible experience, not the only one. I list at least a dozen irrational beliefs that make you vulnerable and another ten or so questions you can ask yourself to make these conscious. Then I list another dozen or more approaches to guilt described by other psychologists. (I didn't think of everything myself...) What are the functions of punishment? Pennance? Rationalization? Denial? Assertiveness? How do you sabotage assertivensss? (I list eight ways.) And last, I talk about guilt in relations to religion.
Most importantly, I tell you how to stop feeling guilty. That's the reason most people need this ebook. It isn't as obvious as you think, but then again, nor is it as difficult...