I often feel guilty about other people’s emotions and situations for no reason. I’m trying very hard not to feel guilty about something unless there is a reason. My husband came home in a bad mood last night and I really didn’t want to feel responsible for his emotions when I know I’m not. I don’t know how to do that, so I just stayed quiet and kept to myself. I do that with anyone, not just my husband. When people are upset, I either take on their emotions or I get completely quiet.
I tend to go from one extreme to the other. I know that there’s a middle ground between feeling guilty and not talking at all. I have no clue how to find that balance or how long it will take for me to find it.
We all know the story of the boy who cried wolf. Well, that story has just occurred in my life. Someone I know was just admitted to the hospital, but no one believed him at first and no one wanted to visit in the beginning. He is always going to the hospital for things like a stomach ache. So, we all figured that it was the same type of thing. However, we found out that this is something serious. We plan on visiting him today. I feel bad for not believing him or visiting sooner, but that’s how it goes when you cry wolf all of the time.
When I was a kid, I was bullied by kids, but I also bullied other kids. For some reason, I didn’t put it together how hurtful it was to be made fun of, so I mocked other kids. The first time I remember being made fun of was in kindergarten, and it still affects me to this day. I remember being laughed at in my Halloween costume by upperclassmen. I go back to those feelings of embarrassment and misery every year at Halloween. I was made fun of at various times from kindergarten through high school. I was even made fun of while I was in the popular group.
I’m ashamed to admit that I bullied other kids, but I need to be honest. When I was bullying others, it was because I thought it was going to make me feel better and increase my self-esteem. I wish I could go back and tell myself how much harm I was doing to others, and that the kids who made fun of me were doing it for the same reason I was. During high school, I was made fun of because I was different from the other kids. I didn’t quite fit it and it was because of the symptoms of bipolar disorder. I feel horrible and guilty because I was hurtful back to those that hurt me. I think more about the harm I did to others. I wish I could take it all back, but I can’t. Bullying is permanent; once you emotionally hurt someone, the damage is done.
I don’t know why I feel guilt so often. If someone is upset, I feel as though it is my fault. Not only do I feel guilty, I feel as if I am responsible to resolve the situation. This is an exhausting and daunting task. I’m trying to fix this by not responding to someone when I know I am not at fault. I can say, “I’m sorry you are struggling.” However, I don’t need to take over their situation. I think my husband was the first one that pointed this out to me. I ignored it for a while because I thought he was wrong. However, I’m starting to realize that he is right. It’s not necessarily about what I say to others about feeling guilty, it’s about how I feel internally.
The feeling of guilt is overwhelming and onerous. Does anyone have other suggestions? I’m open to any ideas.