Tag Archives: Self-punishment

Feel Guilty About Enjoying Yourself?

A profound sense of guilt and of worthlessness can develop within us if we experienced significant trauma during our childhood as has been written about extensively elsewhere on this site. One way in which this can manifest itself is that it can make us feel guilty and undeserving about experiencing good things in life such as relationships, career success or simply enjoying ourselves.

Occasionally, a kind of irrational, superstitious belief system can develop around this; for example, an individual might think something along the following lines : ‘if I dare to enjoy myself something bad is bound to happen to me.’ Indeed, such  faulty thinking can take on dramatic dimension, such as, ‘there’s no point in me trying to form a relationship with someone – if I do, I’m bound to be immediately struck down by terminal cancer.’

The guilt we feel that produces such distorted thinking is very likely to have its roots in the childhood trauma we experienced; specifically, we may consciously, or subconsciously, irrationally believe that the bad things we experienced in childhood ‘were our own fault.’ This phenomenon is sometimes referred to by psychologists as ‘MAGICAL GUILT.’ (Click here to read my article about overcoming guilt that is linked to the experience of childhood trauma.)

 

guilt_self_sabotage

 

SELF-SABOTAGE

If we do become successful, and such guilt has not been resolved, we may unconsciously punish ourselves by, for example, by becoming depressed or developing psychosomatic illnesses. In my own case, as I have written about elsewhere, I gambled away the money my father had left me after his death almost immediately upon receipt of it (click here to read my article about this experience).

 

SURVIVOR GUILT

Another cause of this ‘magical guilt’ may be that we feel luckier than another member of our family. For example, if, say, one of our parents is suffering from serious clinical depression during a period of our lives when we feel relatively well, we may develop the false belief that we are only well at their expense. Again, this leads us to believing we are not entitled to our relative good fortune.

 

THE BURDEN OF GUILT

The burden of guilt that we take on in the ways explained above leads to us constantly denying ourselves pleasure or unconsciously spoiling it should we inadvertently stumble upon it.

 

RESOURCES :

STOP SELF-SABOTAGE – CLICK HERE

 

David Hosier BSc Hons; MSc; PGDE(FAHE)