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Why So Much Guilt?!

Wow – last week’s newsletter/blog  (Attn: Parents) REALLY hit home with many folks. (If you missed it, read it here – Attn: Parents).  I received so many emails and posts from people stating how much they could relate to the topic of the demands of parent/aging parents. Either my readers were going through similar circumstances themselves or they had friends who were dealing with these same issues.

Many shared how relieved they were to finally read an article on something that had been weighing them down. (Yes, this topic can be somewhat taboo.) They needed to read those words that finally helped give them permission to put up boundaries. Obviously, this topic needs to be addressed and conversations need to be started.

So what’s behind all this “feeling obligated” thing?


Where does this guilt come from? 

Well, we could probably come up with all kinds of reasons why people feel guilty in any aspect of life. However, when it comes to family and parent-related feelings of guilt, many times it can be due to worrying about what other people will think AND judging ourselves too harshly. 

Examples:  “Does my mom/dad think I’m being a good enough daughter/son?”  “What will my siblings think if I don’t go over and help my folks every day?” “My friend at church visits her mom daily; I better visit my mom daily to keep up appearances.” “Are the ladies at the assisted living judging me by how few times I visit my dad?” “I feel selfish and guilty for wanting to just enjoy a whole weekend to myself without having to run errands for my mom.” “Are my relatives going to think I’m a slacker for not doing more for my folks?” “My parents took care of me when I was growing up; I’d feel guilty if I didn’t return the favor now that they’re old.”

This guilt can lead us into extending ourselves beyond our healthy energy levels, time availability, patience levels, financial capabilities, and more.

This week, notice how many times you “catch” yourself worrying about what others will think. The truth is, it does not matter what they think (because most times, they aren’t even thinking about YOU, lol!) Most people are so consumed with their own thoughts and their own issues that you aren’t even crossing their thought stream!

The ones who are judging you and your actions, or lack thereof, are basing their feelings on their own perceived view of the world. Learning to acknowledge that others will always see things differently than you is useful. You aren’t going to change others’ views or opinions (usually), so let go of trying to justify yourself.

Do the best you can with the energy, time, patience and resources that YOU have available. Establish boundaries around these. And let’s continue the conversation…

Until next time,

Connie Kvilhaug, Cert. Hypnotist &
NLP Trainer