Always feeling guilty? Hypnosis can help you

Undeserved, irrational guilt is horrible. It persists in the unconscious like a malignant disease that silently eats away at your self-esteem. And it never goes away. It's poisonous tentacles bear no relation to the minor niggles we experience for forgetting a friend's birthday card or leaving a pal off the after-work get-together. Those upsets of life matter a great deal but are repairable with a little extra consideration.

Nor does the horrific guilt monster have anything to do with those fun 'guilty pleasures,' we enjoy, like eating crisps in bed or preferring to hunker down on a cold Sunday afternoon with a box set or new paperback instead of going out for a stomp around the park.

Guilt makes us weak

Unjustifiable guilt is a mysterious and paralysing force. There are many different causes of baseless guilt, but it always grows out of a situation we were powerless to change.

A tendency to feel guilty makes us easy to be taken advantage of by the unscrupulous. Even the most successful and accomplished of us can collapse emotionally if we get into the grubby clutches of an exploiter. We end up shamed, trembling and dumbfounded when we should be speaking up for ourselves and putting someone in their place.

Guilt destroys reality

The guilt template may be laid down in tormenting childhood experiences. An abuser depends on planting the seeds of guilt in us so we will feel the situation is our fault - that we are the cause of our suffering, not them. We may even try, the irony of ironies, to protect the abuser.

Bradley's childhood, for instance, was dominated by an imperious and controlling mother who was all love and charm one moment and spiteful the next. Bradley was convinced if only he could find the right way to please his mother, she would always love him with the true love that lasts forever. But the harder he tried, the more he failed.

As an adult, he became successful in academia, receiving prestigious awards for breakthroughs in the genome, but his personal life was a disaster. Emotionally insecure and full of self-doubt, when he met a vindictive bully, he was primed to repeat the relationship dynamics of his childhood. Before he finally found the strength to get away for good, Bradley spent years grovelling to his partner, apologising for her mistreatment of him. If his friends criticized her, he would leap to her defence, doing all he could to persuade them what a lovely person she really was.

Legal changes which protect the rights of children in care have done much to stop a repetition of Mabel's experience of abuse 50 years ago. After losing her parents in a house fire at the age of five, she was admitted to an orphanage where she was tricked into exchanging her baby doll for an orange.

After eating the orange, she asked for her beloved doll back but was told that would be impossible as she had voluntarily given her doll away. The 'baby' was kept locked away, but plainly visible in a high-up, glass-fronted cabinet. Every time she passed by, Mabel would look up and mentally kick herself for taking that orange.

Guilt destroys self-respect

Baseless guilt drives us to ridiculous lengths of self-sacrifice and denial. If we go through a family break-up, for example, self-blame can make us feel worthless and as if we have no right to respect.

When his wife left him to live with another man, Clarke, a quiet and hard-working IT consultant, let his four university-age children rule the roost. He even relinquished the master bedroom to his eldest daughter and slept on the sofa in the living room. Clarke kept his clothes in boxes behind the door, apart from his best suit which his daughter 'allowed' him to hang in 'her' wardrobe.

His bedtime was at their convenience and he couldn't go to sleep at night until his children chose to leave the living room. Boundaries began to collapse, roles were reversed and, although Clarke had privately cherished secret thoughts of freedom and foreign travel once his children left the family nest, until he sought help, his dreams were fast turning to dust.

Hypnosis session

Guilt makes us ill

Illogical guilt can even make us ill. Lynne, for example, was tortured by terrible headaches. A concerned GP sent her to see specialists but they could find nothing wrong, One of them, wondering if the root was emotional, recommended she consult a hypnotherapist and she booked a consultation.

With creative hypnosis, it surfaced that Lynne's migraines began after she lost her dearly loved twin sister, Julie, to heart problems. It gradually transpired Lynne felt guilty for Julie's death. Lynne had despised Julie's choice of partner, a cruel man, and Lynne felt sure Julie's traumatic married life triggered her fatal illness.

She was convinced Julie would still be alive if only she had intervened and rescued Julie from her marriage. Lynne was devastated by remorse, even though, Julie, a gentle, uncomplaining soul, had never said a bad word about her husband and was apparently resigned to her lot.

Using the immense resources of the unconscious mind, including memories, imagination and inner wisdom, Lynne experienced the real truth of the situation at an emotional level. Lynne freed herself from undeserved guilt and the honourable rage which had been expressed by the unconscious through her crippling headaches.

She saw she had done all she could for Julie and, although Julie's life had not turned out as she had wished, it didn't make Lynne's love for her any the less. Lynne's headaches settled down and she no longer denied herself the right to grieve and to take comfort in treasured memories of the many joyful times she and her sister had shared.

Consult a hypnotherapist

If you feel torn apart by the trauma of irrational guilt, whatever its source, why not consider consulting a professional hypnotherapist?

Finding our way through guilt is complicated as the strong habit of self-blame blinds us to the brutal wrongs we have suffered. However much we tell ourselves we are not to blame or could not possibly have changed what happened in the past, we can remain trapped. Even the most trusted and compassionate friend can be baffled by our self-loathing and the anger we direct towards ourselves, when there seems neither rhyme nor reason for it.

An expert hypnotherapist will not only enable you to see the past in its true light but also reawaken the self-confidence which enables you to move forward to a bright future. And it can happen surprisingly quickly, I promise you.

As with all professionals, use a reliable directory to make sure you choose the right hypnotherapist.

Hypnotherapy Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Cambridge CB21 & London W1G

Written by Marian Barry

Cambridge CB21 & London W1G

Marian Barry is an advanced clinical hypnotherapist practising at the Harley St Hypnotherapy Clinic London and Gt Abington, Cambridge. She has given talks at international conferences around the world specialising in personal change and confidence building. She is a best selling author of many popular works published by Cambridge University Press.

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