West of Sunset - When I think of F Scott Fitzgerald, I think of Gatsby. How could I not? It is one of my all time favourite books, and possibly the only one I have read mult...
Wednesday, June 12, 2013
G is for Guilt
Do you remember what it was like before you had kids? You didn't feel guilty in those days. And then again, the first four years of mother hood were largely guilt free too. You went out to work, but Angel had a wonderful childminder, who we still visit, and you were pretty sure that you were a 'good-enough' parent, and that she would turn out fine. And so she has.
It was the arrival of special needs and the break up of your marriage that led to you being dished out an extra large helping of guilt, perhaps to make up for what went before.
Now you have it in spades. You carry your guilt around with you like a bag of stones on your back. Guilt over not doing enough for your kids, even though you know that you will never ever be able to do enough. Guilt over feeling sorry for yourself when you know that so many people are so much worse off. Guilt over writing this instead of doing something useful.
Yet you know that guilt is usually a pretty useless emotion. After all, your counsellor says so. Oh yes, and you feel guilty about going to counselling too, it feels like a indulgence when there is so much else that you think needs your attention.
She says it's very simple. If you feel guilty, can you make amends? Or if not, can you forgive yourself? Whichever, you need to move on, as guilt can stifle your life. Maybe for some it's a safety blanket. Their guilt is an excuse to stay where they are.
Guilt is also used by the state, especially towards women. Just keep stoking up the conflict between stay-at-home and working mothers and neither group will question what is society doing to support children. It's a tool of control. And when we make others feel guilty, is it often about ourselves? About absolving ourselves of responsibility, or about revenge.
You didn't feel guilty when you were a child, when you were a wayward teen, or when you were young, free and single. It's only now, when you do less for yourself than you ever did in your life, that guilt is always there beside you, tapping on your shoulder.
G is for Guilt, but it also stand for Good, Glad, Glamorous, Gorgeous, Generous, Grand and Glorious.
Why don't you choose those G-words instead?
Written at the request of a wonderful new blogger Mrboosmum. Head over to her blog here to read more letters on giving up guilt.