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Saturday, September 4, 2010

Guilt Complex

My husband has often told me that I have  a guilt complex.  For a long time, this offended me.  Why did he think I have such a guilt complex?  I never understood then, but I realize now that he's right.  I do have a guilt complex.  I feel guilty for anything that ever happens, even if it does not involve me or even if I am doing something to defend my rights.  As I reflect back on my life, I realize that I took the blame way too many times for things that I had nothing to do with, all because I wanted to keep peace and make people happy.  But you know what? It's about time that I quit taking on other people's crap and start looking out for myself.
I think this behavior started at a very young age at home and at school. And I can now understand some of the reasons why I have such a guilt complex. 
I don't talk about a certain individual much because I have no relationship with that person, who also happens to be my parents' son.  And there are reasons why I have no relationship with him.  He violated me in every way you can think of.  He stole from me and denied it.  He would do something in disobedience and blame me.  He caused a lot of tension in the household due to his behavior. Unfortunately, despite all the threats from the parents, he still got away with too much.  If he got in trouble, we both were often punished.  So, it was no surprise that even outside the home, I was looked at with suspicion.  I remember being a part of this girls' group at a church that I attended and as I got a little older, there were a few fundraisers that I was not allowed to participate.  Why?  Because I had a brother who stole and lied and cheated.  Which meant that I was a guilty party, too, since I was not allowed to be like the other girls and take stuff home to sell.  That hurt.  A lot.  And of course, I carried the guilt of someone else's transgressions. Again.
I remember as a very young adult, not even a year out of high school, one of my aunts had a very large house from which she rented out one of the rooms.  I was looking to move out of the parents' house because their son kept snooping through my room and stealing from.  Even after I put a lock on my door, this person still found a way to get into my room.  I had no privacy whatsoever and no way to protect my belongings.  I was fed up with him getting away such crap.  So, I asked this aunt with the big house, if I could rent a room from her as I not yet able to afford my very own place.  Her reasoning for denying me?  You got it, my parents' son.  She learned a hard lesson, she said.  So again, I was blamed for his trangressions.  And it wasn't even as if he and I were so close that I would have invited him over to steal.  To show how close he and I were, he has never, ever been to any place I have ever lived since moving out on my own. 
I encountered many situations even throughout my young adulthood where I was cast the first glance of suspicion.  I am an honest person who does not steal, cheat, and who can be brutally honest at times.  I have too much of a conscience.  If I even notice something that I was not charged for after shopping, I've been known to immediately go the store to get the error corrected as soon as I notice it.  I just don't want to live with the guilt of "stealing" something even if it was not intentional. 
So why do I have such a guilt complex still?  I honestly don't know why.  But one possible way that I am working to overcome that is that I working on being more assertive. With the help of a professional, of course. 
So, lately, I've been trying to put this assertiveness training into practice, with some fumbles of course.  But in order to stop being a doormat and learn how to say no, I have to just keep practicing being assertive and it will hopefully improve soon. 
One example of this has to do with my personal training schedule.  Now I should say that I have met new friends since joining the Y and I do enjoy working out with some of those friends occasionally.  And that includes the personal training sessions, although I do prefer to have at least one session a week one-on-one, which is what I am paying for.  So, today I reminded the trainer that I would like at least one of my sessions next week with just her and I and she agreed.  Of course, I felt guilty because I'm afraid that it's an inconvenience to her and then I felt guilty because one of the other clients likes to have a partner to work alongside during training. And I hate when I offend people with my decisions.   But I also need some one-on-one sessions for the individualized training.  After all, that's what I'm paying for.  So, I'm trying to kiss the guilt goodbye with the hope that my friends and others truly understand my needs.

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