Letting go of guilt image
Healing From Trauma & Abuse

Letting go of guilt

In this post I’d like to discuss the feeling of guilt – in particular the guilt inherited from our parents and the way we carry this within us through life.

I believe guilt can play out in our lives in two ways:

  • the guilt our parents felt towards us when we were young (and perhaps still feel) and how that affected us in becoming whole beings
  • the guilt we carry over for our parents and we as parents feel towards our children.

And I believe this guilt is carried through the generations.

Perhaps this is a new concept for you but bear with me. If you find yourself feeling guilty in situations like for example asking for help, or receiving help, or perhaps if feelings of obligation arise that you have to “return the favour”, or even if you’re finding it hard to ask for what you need and deserve, you may have to consider carrying your parents’ guilt.

I find myself feeling guilty so often that is mind-boggling. I don’t even know why I feel like this, it’s just that I know I do. And even if I reason with and tell myself that there’s no real reason for me to feel like this, I can’t get rid of this sticky feeling. It makes no sense at all.

But why do we feel guilt? Where it comes from? And here I don’t mean the feeling we get when we’ve actually done something wrong like break a moral or ethical code, in which case this is the right way to feel. I mean this underlying, always recurring and never dissipating feeling of guilt that eats our souls away. (Picture it like cancer of the soul!)

So I started questioning it. And I got to the conclusion that guilt is something we acquire, something that we pick up from our early surroundings when growing up.

Guilt isn’t something we’re born with. It isn’t the way God intended us to be. We are born as an image of God. And I mean “god” in a spiritual way. In a way that we are spiritual beings (souls) that are having a human experience and as such we come from an universal source of pure love, light and divinity.

We are born as love, light and divinity.

But somewhere along the way we get polluted. And it literally takes decades of life and experiences to come to realise all this and remember where we’ve come from.

I believe part of the guilt we carry within ourselves comes from our parents – the guilt they feel towards their parents and us their children. They may feel guilty because they wanted different lives, because they wanted to pursue their dreams, because they didn’t want us or didn’t have enough time to spend with us as children, because they were unhappy or left us. And because they inherited their parents guilt towards them as well.

This becomes a cycle that, in many cases, is so strong and persistent that it changes our lives completely. And more often than not – it gets so deeply ingrained into our subconscious mind that we certainly cannot live out our full and true potential.

On top of our divinity there’s a layer after layer after layer of guilt and we cannot act from a place of wholeness and enoughness. We act from a place of lack – doubt, fear, limitation. None of which was of course part of god’s plan or intention for us. And it wasn’t part of the plan of our parents as well. There’s nothing wrong done in a way and there’s no one to blame.

But we must let go of it (and our parents also) – release the guilt, draw our boundaries, learn to protect and love ourselves, believe we’re worthy and deserve what we want.

This isn’t an easy journey but it gets easier with time. There are many steps we can take to build back our relationships with ourselves and god, and everybody must find their way. Of course, the first step is to want to get rid of guilt and open yourself to a new life – and that means being vulnerable and leaving your comfort zone.

And yes, we’re talking about our parents here and  perhaps breaking a relationship with them. But consider this – wouldn’t our parents wants us to be our truest and happiest selves? And if not, shall we let them control and steal our lives away (without even realising it)? And whose life it is after all – aren’t we responsible for our own lives and happiness? How long are we going to live in fear?

And before you decide all this is too drastic or radical, let me tell you this – my belief is that when we actually take control of our lives and put all our efforts into building the lives we want, which often means being selfish and looking after yourself first, regardless of what our parents may think or say, and even if that means severing a relationship temporarily, I believe that our parents will see what we’re doing and if in their hearts they truly love us in a selfless way – they will come to realise that what we’re doing is the right thing indeed.

From then on we can build a healthy relationship with them.

We need to make sure that we live our lives fully because they are given to us as an opportunity to experience god while we’re having a human life!

This is our only obligation.

How is your relationship with your parents? Do you still feel their (stifling) influence? Are you willing to take that relationship to the next level? Share in the comments!

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Vilina Christoph is a writer and unofficially calls herself a word alchemist. She writes about her journey of healing from trauma and abuse to raise the awareness around the importance of mental and emotional health. She believes that finding our voices and speaking up our truth can helps us transmute our pain and transform our lives.

4 Comments

    • Vilina Christoph

      I suppose as parents we do feel obligation towards our children, it’s all natural and healthy. But there’s also this other type of guilt that I feel doesn’t belong to me but I have picked up from the way I was raised – I know it’s not mine because sometimes it makes no sense to feel this way. As of my child, I still feel guilty for taking any time for myself and I think this is the unhealthy type too. I’m working my way through taking care of myself and not feeling bad for it.

  • Oie

    Distance can heal guilt through the clear boundary lines it creates for responsibilities. Someone else’s vulnerability is something you can only wait for them to give themselves.

    I don’t have children of my own, but I undoubtedly sympathize with that fear. You’re worth the gift of time to yourself to decompress.

    Great post.

    • Vilina Christoph

      Thank you! Yes distance definitely helps with guilt, I moved away from my home fairly early – I think the burden was too heavy even though I didn’t realise it at the time. But the feeling does linger for much longer – it’s a conscious decision to let go of it altogether which helps very much with giving yourself the gift of time you need. Thanks for the encouragement <3

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