Releasing guilt (or showing it the door)

When we seek to make positive changes in our lives that are in line with our personal truths, others that are close to us may respond in ways that are less than supportive. Some responses are downright mean and nasty. For example, a son has a parent that is a crazymaker and has always been. The son is unaware of this and has spent his entire life bowing to the needs of this parent, disregarding his own. Time goes by and the son hopes in vain that things will change. This is his parent – he is supposed to love his parent. Otherwise, he is a bad son.

The situation continues until the son experiences a personal crisis that causes him to question his current belief system. He seeks out new knowledge and begins to understand himself with a clarity he’s never known. He discovers that he has put himself, his dreams, even his family, in harm’s way of a crazymaker parent. Every aspect of his life has been wounded in some way. Son sets out to change his patterns and to set boundaries to protect himself and his family. Crazymaker does not like this. Crazymaker is accustomed to Son dropping everything and attending to their demands and proceeds to heap guilt on Son. Over time, Son learns to withstand the guilt directed by Crazymaker and resumes living his life. What he is unprepared for is the guilt his own mind inflicts on him.

Guilt for feeling anger at Crazymaker, guilt for not being the good Son, is soon overwhelming and he turns to numbing behaviors to deal with the pain. Eventually, Son realizes the guilt he is feeling is not his to bear. Son realizes the inner messages driving him to numb and self-sabotage are messages placed there by Crazymaker long ago and are not Truth. Through difficult inner work, Son learns to erase the messages and to replace them with Truth; he begins to heal. In the process, Son finds peace he has never known. He finds strength within himself that was there all along.

“Crazymaking confuses, causes paranoia and makes you doubt your perceptions. Crazymakers do this because a weakened victim is easier to control.”

Trying to heal from emotional wounds with a crazymaker in your life is hard. REALLY hard. It is difficult to look at this person who should have been the one to love you first and best and come to the painful realization that they have inflicted most of the wounds in your life. It takes great courage to set healthy boundaries in your life and say “No more.”

Guilt is insidious. When making positive changes in your life, you will inevitably encounter guilt in some shape, form or fashion. It is sometimes faceless entity that shows up in your mind out of nowhere and leaves you shaken. Sometimes it wears a face and you know exactly who it is, but is no easier to deal with. Sometimes it will come as an overt attack from someone you know. By changing your beliefs and behaviors, you are deviating from known patterns. Their attack on you is a fear response, their fear response. You are not responsible for their reactions. A positive way to view this fear response is confirmation that you are on the path that aligns with your truth.

Setting boundaries requires you to stand up for yourself to someone whom you’ve always given free reign. It’s probably the hardest part of this process. Because, guess what? More guilt! Not only is the there guilt from outside forces for not following the status quo, but also internal guilt for not being a good child, spouse, co-worker, etc. It is a preprogrammed response embedded in you long ago. You can change that response because this is your life. You are in control! And I promise, if you stay on course and continue to follow your truth, this part gets easier over time.

There will be curve balls. You may get blindsided by a phone call or email. They may show up at your door and deliver an attack personally. This is where the benefit of healthy habits comes into play. Whatever you do, whether it be meditation, running, yoga, journaling – keep doing it. Even when you don’t feel like it or feel like things will never change. Especially then! These habits will give you the strength to keep your boundaries strong, to stay the path.

I’ve read meditation is most effective when done in the same place, at the same time, every day. Regardless of what your routine is, continuing with your chosen wellness tools will save you during times of unwarranted doubt, shame or guilt. It will help you avoid self-sabotaging behaviors that so many of us are familiar with. Be gentle with yourself on days when you struggle. There will be days when you feel like you can’t move forward. That’s okay – on days like that, just be still. Remember where you started and recognize your progress. When you learn to love yourself, even on your worst days, that is exponential growth and something for you to be grateful for.

I wish you well on your journey.

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