Guilt is “a feelingof worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done something wrong,such as causing harm to another person”—Cambridge dictionariesonline
According to the meaningit’s a feeling you have because you have done something wrong, but Ithink that sometimes it can be just a doubt that what you did has harmedsomeone and you live with this feeling torturing you.
The feeling of guilt hasdeveloped inside of me ever since I was young because of the continuous blameof my parents with every mistake I made. My parents were very generous on reproachand criticism; I think that they believed that this was the best way to make uslearn to be careful not to make mistakes. The focus they were giving tothe mistakes was extremely huge while the encouragement and acknowledgement hadno place in our lives. Until may be a few years ago, I defended myself all thetime. Even in my inner self-talk, I always focused on how I will defend myselfwhen my mother starts reproaching me. It was bitter feeling guilty and havingto defend myself all the time even when I didn’t harm anyone. I just gavemyself the right to do something different than what shewanted me to do.
Becoming a mom developeda bigger feeling of guilt inside of me; a feeling that is depriving mostwomen and moms from enjoying their lives. I had a full time job when I gavebirth to my first son. During the first 2 years of his life, I used to spend 4hours daily to commute from home to work and back. We used to leave the housetogether at 6 AM and be back at 6 PM. I sent him to a nursery at the age of 3months and I left him from 8 AM to 4 PM since the first day. From the age ofthree months to the age of 5 years old he used to go to the nursery from 8 AMto 4 PM 5 days-a-week, and the feeling of guilt was poisoning my life. When he was4 years old, I had to travel frequently and leave him with my husband ormy mother. I had to be away for 4 to 5 days-a-week, 2 to 3 times-a-monthfor 10 months or almost a year and of course the feeling of guilt was killingme. I think he felt how the guilt was torturing me, so in turn he manipulatedme and punished me in every ways. When I think back about those days of mylife I can see how the negative feeling had left me drained, suffering andunhappy just because I thought that I am harming my son by leaving him at avery young age at the nursery. I can’t forget how hard I cried the first day Isent him to the nursery; I felt like I was abandoning him. For me, my feelingof guilt was mainly because I was leaving my son to others to take care of forlong hours, I didn’t have enough time to take care of him or spend quality timewith him.
It took me many longyears to get rid of that feeling and to understand that feeling guilty is oneof the reasons why I felt drained and unhappy all the time. One time I talkedabout it to a counselor, and she told me that it was not a question of how muchtime you spend with your kids, but how you spend that time with them.Since then I started doing my best to make the time I spend with my kidsenjoyable for me and for them. I learned about quality time. I learned that theconcept of the mother being available for her kids 24/7 is not correct. Irealized that the meaning of a good mother and a good wife thatI inherited from my mother and my culture is not useful for me anymoreand is not doing me any good. I had to rethink and redefine it according to myvalues, my priorities, my ambitions and my own definition of happiness.
Does my story soundfamiliar? Does it sound like yours or someone you know? I am sure that thereare hundreds, thousands or may be millions of women who had similar experiencesor stories in their lives, especially when their kids were young. On my post ofnext week I will share with you more information about the feeling of guilt andhow to deal with it. If you have any questions, stories or tips to deal withthe feeling of guilt, please share them with me.