"Yet a time is coming
and has now come when the true worshipers will worship
the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the
kind of worshipers the Father seeks." - John 4:23

My Heavenly Daddy is healing
me from the inside out.

Transparency is Real.
Many times painful.

Daddy let me be secure in You only!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

FALSE GUILT

After four years of t., I still find this very big stronghold of false guilt invading my life. In t. it was so evident. As we were discussing my job situation or lack thereof, and how I am trying my best in finding a job, my past and the enemy creeps into my mind with fear and guilt saying that there is no hope and that I am not doing my best and I will be put out onto the streets and lose my home, etc. I go extreme.

My t., who I respect, suggested other options for me and when she did fear and guilt came over me with such vengeance and a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. My little girl cringed within. We were able to discuss at the moment what I was feeling.

All my t. was doing was just giving me possible different options. I was looking at it (and always have) that if I do not "do" (like my mum expected me to do) what she suggested, then I was wrong and shame on me. I guess there is part of shame in this scenario as well. But, my t. told me that I had options. Not demands.

I did not know or believe I had an option to "decline." I always believed, especially coming from my controlling mum, with her scolding finger pointed at me "that what she "told" me I had to do in order not to feel guilty." My mum "always" expected me to obey her. No exceptions. I thought I had NO other option.

My mind was enlightened. This stronghold is so ingrained in me that I had to ask my t. a few times to explain over again what I am doing and not understanding.

My mind finally grasped it. When it did, I then felt myself overwhelmed. This is all new to me and I therefore need time to process. Because literally I did not know I had a choice. And I need not feel guilty.

My t. continued to remind and reassure me that "I was enough."

I found a wonderful article on False Guilt that best describes me with an "overactive conscience." Take a look. Maybe you see yourself here too:

The Source of False Guilt

Next, I would like to focus on the source of false guilt: an overactive conscience. What is an overactive conscience? How does it function? Steve Shores says, "The mission of a person's overactive conscience is to attract the expectations of others."

Imagine a light bulb glowing brightly on a warm summer's night. What do you see in your mind's eye? Bugs. Bugs of every variety are attracted to that light. The light bulb serves as a magnet for these insects. Imagine that light is an overactive conscience. The expectations of others are the "bugs" that are attracted to the "light" of an overactive conscience.

Now imagine a light bulb burning inside a screened porch. The bugs are still attracted, but they bounce off the screen. The overactive conscience has no screen. But it is more than that. The overactive conscience doesn't want a screen. The more "bugs" the better. Why? Because the whole purpose is to meet expectations in order to gain approval and fill up the emptiness of the soul. This is an overactive conscience, a light bulb with lots of bugs and no screen.

A key to understanding the overactive conscience is the word "active." Someone with false guilt has a conscience that is always on the go. False guilt makes a person restless, continually looking for a rule to be kept, a scruple to observe, an expectation to be fulfilled, or a way to be an asset to a person or a group.

The idea of being an asset is a crucial point. When I am an asset, then I am a "good" person and life works pretty well. When I fear I've let someone down, then I am a liability. My life falls apart, and I will work hard to win my way back into the favor of others.

So an overactive conscience is like a magnet for expectations. These expectations come from oneself, parents (whether alive or not), friends, bosses, peers, God, or distorted images of God. False guilt makes the overactive conscience voracious for expectations. False guilt is always looking for people to please and rules to be kept.

An overactive conscience is also seeking to keep the "carrot" of acceptance just out of reach. This "carrot" includes self-acceptance and acceptance from others and from God. The guilt-ridden conscience continually says, "Your efforts are not good enough. You must keep trying because, even if your attempts don't measure up, the trying itself counts as something."

For that reason, an overactive conscience is not happy at rest. Though rest is the birthright of the Christian, relaxing is just too dangerous, i.e., relaxing might bring down my guard, and I might miss signs of rejection. Besides, acceptance is conditional, and I must continually prove my worthiness to others. I can never be a liability if I am to expect acceptance to continue. It is hard to relax because I must be ever fearful of letting someone down and must constantly work to gain acceptance.

In summary, a person with false guilt and an overactive conscience spends much of his or her life worn out. Unrelenting efforts to meet the expectations of others can have some very negative consequences.

© 1996 Probe Ministries International

31 comments:

  1. My situation is very different than your's. But I can say that it is a long battle to realize that what others think and expect of you do not matter one iota. I still work on this

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  2. Figuring out what makes you tick in the first step to contentment, JBR. You're on your way! It's hard isn't it? We are always taught that mothers are wise and to be "good" we must be obedient. Unfortunately, the truth is there's some controlling inept mothers out there, they are not all wonderful Donna Reed role models. I'm trying to get to the stage where I can forgive my mother for her inadequacies, she probably had problems too. Just keep plugging away at it! And know that you are not alone!

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  3. Appreciate your sharing this.

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  4. I like that analogy of the light bulb. Praying that you will continue to make progress.

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  5. It's hard to get past the idea that we have to meet the expectations of others. I know I've felt false guilt too without realizing it. Thank you for this thoughtful post, Grace.

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  6. Sometimes when the pain is so deep the simplest suggestions can trigger so much inside of us. I have a hard time being told to do something when the person saying it was just making an suggestion to me, it was not an order! Change is hard but I know you can do it. I hope you find the perfect job soon and you can accomplish anything you put your mind to. You are good enough and perfect!

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  7. Hi JBR. I feel like this post was written for me. Particularly the last line, "Unrelenting efforts to meet the expectations of others can have some very negative consequences." False guilt and an overactive conscious have both had a huge impact on my OCD. I feel like they were the fuel for a lot of my illness. I also think one of my core issues is a desperate desire to be loved and accepted. I think I would have had OCD regardless of these issues, but they sure contributed to making things worse.

    I wish you well as you seek to throw off the chains of false guilt too.

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    1. Dear one appreciate you sharing and the effects OCD has on you. Blessings.

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  8. oh, i get this... i feel it too. obligation. expectation. guilty if you do, guilty if you don't... thanks, great post!

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  9. Hi JBR,
    I would see the lightbulb more as Jesus, and all coming to Him. If I was to feel any guilt or pressure about anything then two things in particular speak to me, they were scriptures that the Lord implanted in my long ago and have remained strong. They are 'take every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ' to which I examine my thoughts and know whether they conflict with what I know God has been saying to me, and as far as pressure from others to do certain things is concerned Job says 'I will maintain my own ways for a hypocrite shall not come before the Lord.' If anything is to be done the Lord will show you if you seek Him.

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  10. Hmmm, thanks for sharing.

    Very well said

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    1. Dayor thank you for coming around.

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  11. Everybody is different and the way the Lord works depends on what He sees is needed first and foremost. I had a brother taking psychology; he encouraged me to read his book, stating it would help me understand the human mind and how it worked. It did not; it only gave me more influence over worldly philosophies. The Bible tells us to avoid worldly philosophies.

    We forget that bugs are also drawn to the sun light, to light. They are drawn to the Creator’s light or imitations of Him. Bugs are not self aware (conscience), so they are not like human beings. To make an assumption on animal behavior for human behavior is an insult to animals and the Creator alike. No animal created the bomb, or any of the other inhuman behavior.

    God created mankind above the other kinds, most worldly philosophies assume evolution is proven fact and it is not, so their premises are faulty at best to begin with. The enemy of our soul understand human behavior better than man for he has been tricking man for over 6,000 years beginning in the Garden of Eden with “Did God really say?” The enemy of our soul also parades about as an angel of light, Scripture tells us.

    God gave us a conscience to help us understand the laws He had written on our hearts, the enemy knows how to take those words of manipulation, intimidation and domination and twist them for his deeds, the enemy knows how to trick mankind into a seared conscience.

    The simply answer to past hurts is the Word of God, the way to a whole and right conscience is by renewing your mind daily in His Word. My father and two other relative sexually abused me for 8 years. All the “Christian” counseling serve to do for me, was confuse God Words with man’s opinion. When the Lord got hold of me with the true understanding of salvation and the new creation in Him I had become, which is what started the healing.

    The more I read God’s Word, the Bible the more, the more healing happened and the more I understood the sin nature of man and his free will. When I understood we are born spiritually dead, and have to be born again, born spiritually alive, through faith in what Christ did on the cross, which is when I begin to forgive my father and the others and began healing. I understood, it was not an over active conscience or guilty conscience, but a learned behavior, which became unlearned by the renewing of my mind by God’s Words.

    God made it easy for us, He did all the work, read the Bible and God will heal the rest, no long explanations, just you and God’s Word. I had a reading disorder and cried out to God, that I did not understand what I read, He caused me to be able to learn His Word to the point I have been asked several times to speak to pastors and minister on how to help those affected by sexual abuse. It is a process and how long it takes depends on how much courage, you receive, through God’s Words.

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  12. Hey Grace,
    This is an awesome post! I love the article. It explains it very well. :)

    Hugs,
    Tammy

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  13. JBR as difficult your journey seems at time, you're right where you're supposed to be. That article and your words put false guilt into perspective. You could not of explained it any clearer. Thanks and God Bless.

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  14. Wow! This is so eye opening! That article was super informative and the light and bug analogy made so much sense to me. Thanks for sharing! Many blessings!

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  15. EXCELLENT POST JBR. READING OVER SOME OF THE COMMENTS I NOTICED A SIMILARITY AND COHESIVENESS IN EVERYONE'S RESPONSE. INTERESTING.

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  16. oh my gosh!
    i can't thank you enough
    for this!
    so very needed
    by this tired pup.
    love and freedom,
    Jennifer

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  17. This is very deep. I need time to process it myself! Thank you for your bravery in sharing!

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  18. Oh my you poor thing. I'm sorry that you were put threw all of this. Yaza doozy.

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  19. I think this can effect all of us from time to time.

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    1. Lisa, thank you so much for your comment and visit. Blessings.

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  20. Excellent and insightful post. It describes me, that's for sure.

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    1. Tina, I appreciate your visit and comment. Blessings.

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  21. Just Be Real I came by tonight to your blog and once again I could hardly believe my eyes because today I was dealing with the consequence of false guilt I have taken on my shoulders over a situation that happened to me and it is a guilt that is not mine to hold. I was wrestling with this in my prayers this morning and I have to conciously shake that guilt off my shoulders saying not my guilt. I too had a very controlling mother and I totally can relate to doing as you were told and expected-it is a very hard thing to do to stand up against your mother and it also depended on your living/financial circumstance and so on. A safe hug to you. Blessings.

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    1. BhS, glad this post was some benefit to you. I am sorry that you suffer with false guilt as well. But we know we can overcome! Blessings.

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  22. False guilt affects us all. A good article, too.

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  23. I always enjoy the quotes and articles you post - they are always so beneficial to where I am headed, and usually help me to understand why I'm feeling the way that I am. Thank you :0)

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