Copyright Steve Bevan. AMSOSA UK
Before you read any further down the page, please avoid getting confused by levels of GUILT, SHAME OR BLAME, because they are all inter connected and all of them lead to increased levels of BLAME, SHAME AND GUILT.
So having read that, please consider this.......When you look back at your previous behaviours, and look at a violation of your, or societies moral standards, your basic belief has to be:
"I shouldn’t have done that”This leads to your thoughts being occupied with
“If only” “but” “I should have known better” “I should have stopped myself “ etc., etc....
If you are still spending time thinking “Why”, “I’m a bad person, “Evil person” etc, the only answer I can give you is that you are still pre-occupied with an event that has been put in the past - purely by time.
By that I mean that the previous events has passed into time, left behind, and often forgotten by others, yet you still dig it up and feel bad about it
If you had the knowledge that you have now, you may have been able to prevent the guilt, the memories and the shame you feel now.
As you did not, a possible way forward is to:
1. Acknowledge, and accept that you acted and behaved in a way that you now consider to have been wrong.
2. Identify, challenge, and then accept your guilt-creating demands, e.g. that you shouldn't have acted the way you did, and that you are basically a bad person.
You're not, and never were!
2. Realise and accept that what you may have did was based upon the situation you were in, at that time, & the knowledge you had at that time.
You know differently now, but still feel that you should be guilty for an event that happened, and has been finished with by almost everyone else but you..
What you are doing is living the past, and in doing so, creating more guilt that you can cope with.
To continue inflicting pain, caused by the behaviour created by yourself, others or perhaps both, is not only harmful to your development as a person, but also to any further relationship you may be in already or looking to find in the future.
You need, and have to forgive your actions, even though it may seem impossible to do so, otherwise the guilt you may feel now is nothing like the guilt you may have felt at the time.
To explain that better, consider how you felt as a child, and feel now as an adult, with far more insight and knowledge of what really happened.
With time to consider your actions, and with some recovery behind you, coupled with the questions and answers you’ve possibly received, has anything enabled you to see the reasons why you behaved the way you did.
Is there a possible way forward, and give yourself space and time to consider that you are not as bad as you originally considered yourself to be.
Look at why you feel guilty, is it due to something that you had control over at the time, or due to an abusive history that you had no control over?
Were you able to handle situation differently, but chose to behave the way you did, regardless of the circumstances?
Is there a realistic way of resolving your guilt feelings?
e.g. can you honestly make amends, or do you have to accept that the problems caused at the time are beyond redemption, and therefore finished?
You really need to stop feeling that guilt, otherwise you will lose the ability to think logically, and will be back where you started, perhaps even worse than before, having acknowledged the guilt you’re carrying with you!
Having considered the issues of guilt, and having re-experienced it all again, maybe it would be a good time to explore those issues.
I have to say that this isn't a cure for the guilt you carry, but can enable you to look at those areas of guilt in a different light, and maybe, just maybe, forgive yourself for the shit you have caused or been through
As always, the choice is yours,and you need to decide what you do with it now, before the guilt reappears.
NEW RULE 1.
NEW RULES TO LIVE BY
It's very scary for your inner child to break the old rules, especially the “no talking” rule that has been imposed upon you since being abused.
You, and only you, must now decide to give yourself permission to feel what you want, and re-teach yourself that feelings are not right or wrong. You also need to have clear guidelines on expressing those feelings.
It order to do so, your inner child needs to know the difference between expressing a feeling, and acting on a feeling. It will save you a lot of grief if you spend some time now, and learn how to do this in the future, when it will become second nature to you.
NEW RULE 2.
This new rule counteracts the "toxic shame" related to your needs and wants. Your inner child doesn't believe that he has the right to want anything, but you can reclaim him by listening carefully to what he needs and what he wants.
You may not always be able to give him what he needs and wants, but you can learn to listen to and give him permission to want it.
Without any form of desire or want, your inner child gets crushed. In addition, you need to teach your inner child that your feelings are part of your personal power, and is the fuel that moves you to get your needs met. They also signal danger, when you are being violated and when you have lost something of value to yourself.
NEW RULE 3.
This new rule counteracts delusion and lying that occurs in dysfunctional families. e.g. you heard your parents fighting, but when you asked what was wrong, you were told "nothing". Messages that convey the wrong image can cause you to doubt the validity of your parents.
Your inner child doesn't believe he has the right to want anything, so listen carefully to what he needs and wants, but also be aware you might not be able to give him what he needs or wants.
Messages that covey the wrong meanings can cause you to doubt what to believe, or listen to in the future, & will cause you to doubt your own feelings too.
It can also cause you to doubt your feelings or even shut them down completely.
NEW RULE 4.
This one is about playing and having fun. Playing is a way of just being. Learn to take time out to play, regardless of what you're doing. Go fishing, play football, go for a swim, or just no nothing in particular. Even that helps.
Another good form of play is sexual play. The best form is when the adult self shuts out the parent self, and allows you to let your natural child out to play. As the child, you will enjoy touch, taste, smell, and will be able to explore yourself and your needs fully. No, I'm not talking sexually, that's down to you to work out if that's what you want!
NEW RULE 5.
This might be the most important one so far. Early in life, your natural inner child learned to adapt in order to survive. Your inner child therefore has the ability to prevent you from growing, by thinking thoughts that violate reality and distort the truth. The delusion and denial will jump straight back into play is not watched. Your inner child is also shame based, which also needs to be confronted and corrected.
NEW RULE 6.
The needs of your inner child are immense. All children want what they want now. Part of growing up means learning that you have to wait sometimes, and delay gratification that sometimes helps reduce life's pains and worries, but only for a short space of time.
Since being abused, your inner child has had a harder time to prove his worth, so maybe you, as the adult, compensated by buying things you didn't really need, maybe being intensely jealous of friends or lovers, feeling isolated, or believing you were dirty, unclean, not worthy of love or respect, etc.
NEW RULE 7.
The key to inner happiness!. So much human suffering comes from within, and becomes increased by the inner child's unhappiness.
You need to face the full consequences of your child’s behaviour. By reclaiming the inner child, you will be able to see that the damage done is recoverable and that you, as the adult, is capable.
Most of your inner child's responses are not true responses, but a conditioned response to actions previously known or suspected. A true response results from one's true feelings and a conscious decision.
NEW RULE 8.
How to teach your inner child a healthy sense of shame and guilt.
Toxic shame forces you to be far more than human (perfect) or far less than human (a slob).
Healthy shame allows you to make mistakes, which is human, and allows you to see that you can be fallible. Making mistakes allows you to also grow gently, and allows you to be more spontaneous in actions.
An example; if your inner child is always aware of having to watch for fear of making a mistake, he is never going to be free enough to say or do what he wants, ever.
Therefore, he may never ask you for help or say that he hurts, or loves you.
NEW RULE 9.
The golden rule. It asks that you teach your inner child to love, value and respect other people, and to love, value and respect yourself too. It comes back ten fold to you in the process.
It will also allow the inner child to know hen he is violating this rule. He needs to learn accountability and healthy guilt, which is moral shame
NEW RULE 10.
Learn to like and then love who you are now, as opposed to whom you were then.
Maybe, just maybe, you were unlovable, but how do you think you survived this long?
All you’ve gone through, all that has happened to you think how much strength that took, and how well you’ve coped with the shit that life has thrown at you. That has taken considerable strength.
You had to be what you were then, in order to become who you are now.
A far better person by far, and no arguments either!
DID YOU KNOW.......that in Britain alone...
...37 babies under 1 year old (26 male, 11 female) were murdered in 1997. The majority killed by members of their family.
Source: Home Office (1998) Criminal Statistics, 1997. HMSO.
"...the current cost of dealing with child abuse to statutory and voluntary agencies is in excess of £1 billion a year".
Sadly, most of this money is spent dealing with the aftermath of abuse rather than its prevention.
Source: Childhood Matters (1997). The Report of the National Commission of Inquiry into the Prevention of Child Abuse.
....some 15% of a nationally representative sample of 998 children aged 8 - 11 years said they would not talk to anyone if they had a problem.
Source: Ghate and Daniels (1997). Talking About My Generation. NSPCC.
...3% of a national sample of 1,350 young people aged 12 - 15 years old (2% of boys, 5% of girls) had experienced an incident of sexual harassment that they considered to be a crime. They had not reported the majority of these incidents to the police.
Source: Aye Maung, N. (1995). Young People, Victimisation and The Police: British Crime Survey Findings On Experiences and Attitudes of 12 to 15 Year-olds. Home Office Research Study 140, HMSO.