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GUILT the tormentor

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Guilt in my opinion originates from a factor in our childhood. I dont think its hereditary but if our homelife includes generations of narcissistic behaviour then it could feel like its passed down.

I know its not passed down because although I am a child of a narcissistic mother (and a nurturing one) I stopped the flow on to my children by refusing the trend of becoming a controlling parent. If hereditary I couldnt have succeeded. So why did I end up suffering guilty intrusive thoughts?

As my father worked 14 hour days 6 days a week, our mother was our prime parent. She didnt work. Outsiders never knew. Its what went on behind closed doors that scarred us forever.

As a young child, there is a huge difference between control and guidance. As teenagers there is a gap between a parent with recommendations and domination. As we arrive in our 20's we cant deal with our bossy parent any longer and fight back against what is by now manipulation and a gang mentality...even emotional blackmail.

The narcissistic parent is clever. They'll use any means at their disposal to control. In my case turning our loving father and relatives against us. They can be possessive of your friends and even try to coerce you to choose a partner preferring one that can be "moulded" into their deputy...more control.

If you've read this far you might also be a victim. What can you do?

Im 61yo. Right up till 54yo I tried everything but nothing worked. My sister and I broke off all contact, put "return to sender" on letters from our mother and as she had ruined my first wedding in 1985, got a court order so she couldnt ruin my second wedding (her threat)

It is highly unlikely a relationship with a narcissist of little contact will work as the control they lust for isnt with them, its with you. How dare you control your own life!

So guilt forms in ways like being told- they are never wrong, you are at fault, you make poor choices, if you do that I'll do this, if you do that I'll ruin your life, etc

Add to that some anxiety if the narcissistic parent is a "yeller". The expectations are too great as to your immature capacity to "be a good boy". You are their robot.

I attended a psychologist. I'll never forget his words at the last session "do you think you need her permission to live without fear?"

That was the light that sparked me realising her hold was a firm grip.

Demand to yourself the basic right to mental freedom. Walk away, get help to repair the guilt wound ..into a scar.

Tony WK

45 Replies 45

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi White Knight.

I know this feeling only too well. First both parents and older brother they were always right (they couldn't do anything wrong) and I was the cause of all trouble I was to blame. Then an extremely dominating abusive husband who was a perfectionist everything had to be 100% correct. Oh yeah he could do no wrong I was always wrong. Living for so long within this atmosphere a seed gets planted deep within your brain at a very very young age there it grows with every single wrong thing you say do or told you done until it grows so large that it is the way you are. You Then live your life afraid of a simple thing like talking to people if you say the wrong thing and they get upset well then you are constantly feeling ashamed (guilty). Then avoid that person again. You're afraid at what to wear in case it offends someone a simple meal gone wrong when and if you have visitors over again your feeling bad (guilty) it never ends I even feel guilty that hubby died and I'm still living it's there always planted deep down inside the brain

I'm thinking it's not heiredetory that your not born with it but it's like teaching a young child how do do maths or read once a young child learns his timetables they never forget it's embedded into there mind I think this is how guilt is Once put there at a very early age and your living with people who make you feel guilty for over 55 years it remains there to destroy any and everything you do and say and your constantly walking on eggshell it's not a good way to live

sorry White Knight I had to get that out that's my understanding of what guilt is

Community Champion
Community Champion

Oh my goodness White Knight something I read just triggered so many emotions when I wrote that post just disregard it.. i should have tried to settle myself first..

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi Ggrand

Yes I've known about your guilt and members like you prompted me to write about it. Unfortunately many of our members suffer from it.

We went to our neighbours last night for dinner. The lady had one dessert in the oven and one outside the oven. Both apple pies.

After main meal she realised she burnt the first one so put the second one in. I asked her why she had two "because I'm always forgetting about the oven, burn the pie AND FEEL GUILTY...so I have a spare pie. If I didnt burn it I'd freeze the second one.

It sounds silly but it worked. There are ways to cushion guilt.

At gatherings I used to feel guilty not having asked others how they are. Instead I'd waffle on about myself. So, when people first arrive I spend at least 5 minutes asking them how life is going...no more guilt.

There are many occasions my guilt overflows while speaking on the phone. So I use text more often and re read it before sending.

I have an older cousin, my mothers favourite nephew. He used to make me feel guilty about how I treated my mother. In the end I had to say "I dont get involved with you and your mother, back off " my mother would load him up with how bad I was and he felt obliged to attack me. Needless to say I dont see him anymore either.

Disowning some opinionated relatives is part of the safety process.


Topic: fortress of survival- beyondblue

Thanks Ggrand

Tony WK

Guilt is not only the product of bad parenting but can develop for other reasons. My parents were very loving & supportive. They celebrated my successes regardless what they were. My brother left school early as he hated school but my parents celebrated him getting his first job. The goals I set were my own encouraged but not pressured by my parents. I sometimes feel guilty when I read or hear others stories thinking I have no excuse for not coping as I was brought up by good parents.

My problem was bullies at school & feeling unwanted outside of my home. This has left a legacy of feeling not good enough & needing to be productive or useful to feel I have any purpose in society. If I can't keep up with my own standards I feel guilty & useless. My psych today commented that I have a bully inside my head constantly providing negative comments including guilt.

Hi Elizabeth cp

Fabulois informative post

"My problem was bullies at school & feeling unwanted outside of my home. This has left a legacy of feeling not good enough & needing to be productive or useful to feel I have any purpose in society. If I can't keep up with my own standards I feel guilty & useless. My psych today commented that I have a bully inside my head constantly providing negative comments including guilt"

Great info

Tony WK

l suffer from a lot of guilt , always have.

lt seems when anyone else just walks through life not feeling a thing about anything or even noticing, for some reason l'm still always feeling guilty and usually it's not really even my fault anyway.

lt reminds me of the scape goat in a family ,l was in another thread where people were complaining about being the scape goat. Always got the blame even if the weren't even there or in china at the time haha.

Growing up in a huge family , 12 , l was in the middle. l think that's where l learnt to yell louder but l always seemed to end up the guilty one , even if l was on the moon at the time.

lt's taken long enough , early 50s now , but l think l've worked it out.

Most people are basically just selfish underneath and so if your the one with a heart - it's like opening the welcoming mat ot scape goatusm and they pick it up , believe me , l've watched it. Ad they jump on it.

Cure , just be selfish yourself , seems to work wonders.

Save your good heart for those that deserve it , like your women or your kids .

Or those few extra special people you might be lucky enough to know or come across, that have a heart too.

ps , that second post is a follow to my first but l think they're still checking the other one

Hi randomx,

Thete is merit in your conclusion to develop a defense from people by acting like them which involves a level of ruthlessness. If not they will run over you by capitalising on your vulnerability.

Its covered in

Topic: fortress of survival- beyondblue

Tony WK