False Guilt: What it Is,
How to Overcome It
In this post we will distinguish false guilt from true guilt. Then, we will discuss how to overcome false guilt by understanding the unconscious purpose of false guilt in your life.
You feel true guilt when you violate your own values. It’s appropriate when you have done something wrong to feel remorse. When you correct your mistake, you feel relieved of the guilt. This is an important aspect of true guilt. It goes away when there is no longer a legitimate reason to feel that way.
False guilt operates differently than true guilt
False guilt is a tendency to feel guilty even though you have not violated your values. You feel bad even though you have done nothing wrong. How is this possible?
To understand the purpose of false guilt, we need to realize the outcome of the guilt. What do we do or fail to do because of it? Then, we will be able to deduce its purpose.
Because of false guilt, you tend to:
• Avoid doing things for yourself, even though they take care of others
• Find it hard to be close to people because you don’t feel worthy
• Fear taking bold action because you fear success (issue of deserving)
• Explode with defensiveness when accused of something, avoiding solutions to problems
• Feel mildly paranoid, as if you are being judged by others
• Find some way to sabotage your success, regardless of what you want
To sum it up, false guilt keeps you trapped in a place of deprivation, where many of your needs as a person are not met. You can live there for a lifetime, unless you intervene.
Is the purpose of false guilt to keep you trapped in deprivation, then?
False guilt blocks you from leaving that familiar, deprived place. As soon as you attempt to stop depriving yourself of love, success, respect and fair treatment, you begin to feel guilty. The guilt spoils things and you end up deprived again.
Deprivation is a psychological attachment. Babies and young children whose needs are not met become accustomed to deprivation, build a tolerance for it, and even attach psychological pleasure to it. As a result, you learn to unconsciously seek the deprivation to which you are accustomed. Your feelings and behaviors become a self-fulfilling prophecy that lands you in deprivation over and over.
False guilt is an unconscious tool to keep the deprivation alive. It boils down to self-sabotage, learned at a young age.
Bundrant, M. (2013). False Guilt: What it Is,
How to Overcome It. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 4, 2015, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/nlp/2013/03/false-guilt/