Are you a guilt prone type of person? I am. If you even suggest I might have done it, I’ll believe I did do it. When I was younger, I got in the habit of thinking that whatever unpleasant things happened were somehow my fault. I’ve always been ready to take the blame for things that I have not done nor had any intention of doing. And when I really was guilty, I’d often confess, unless of course, it meant I was going to get into a lot of trouble. Which in that case I only admitted guilt if I got caught!
Once my cousin and I decided to skip school and go into the city to the mall and shop for prom dresses. My cousin’s car was a little off white kinda grey VW beetle bug, you know the old original ones. It was kind of an obvious little doo hickey when it was zipping through our little town. My cousin started to pass this big slow logging truck. Right as she got to the front of the truck near the cab, I could see it was blue, I knew without even looking at the driver that it was my father. We both nearly crapped our pants. Did we slow down, not pass him, and take the first exit and head to school? It would have been the smart thing to do, but oh no, we sped up smiled and waved at him as we passed. He smiled back, nodded his head, and waved his hand. Hmmmmm? We continued on to the mall. We spent all day there and got home just minutes before he did.
First I told my mother that I had skipped school and she was not angry. I was a very good student, so my grades wouldn’t have been affected, but she assumed my dad would be mad because I didn’t have permission. He acted like nothing was up, but I decide to approach the subject anyway while we are eating dinner.
Me: So, you saw us when we passed you and waved at you today? We skipped school and went into town.
Daddy: I never saw you. Wait what did you say?
My cousin looked at me like she was ready to kill me, and I was ready to remind her that she was the idiot that passed him on the highway. I was only a passenger.
Me: Oh, never mind.
Daddy: You just said you skipped school.
Me: You saw us. You waved at us when you passed.
Daddy: I never saw you. I wave at everyone.
Then he wanted to know why I didn’t go to school and if I’d missed anything. He asked my mom if she would’ve let me and she told him yes. So, he said he was ok with it since I came clean.
The other kind of guilt that I’m talking about is like when someone makes a reference about someone or something and I automatically think they are talking about me. The kind of vague accusations that make me second guess my actions and motives wondering if there was any possible way I’d unintentionally offended them. Usually, it is not in reference to me but still in the past I have spent countless hours wondering if I’d said something to hurt their feelings. I even feel a stab of guilt when total strangers relay stories to me. What the heck is wrong with me? Is there actual evil lying beneath my good intentions that everyone but me sees? Why am I so willing to take the blame for things of which I have no control? Is it somehow granting me power?
I’ve also read blogs that refer to other bloggers negatively, and I wonder if they’re referring to me. I worry that I’ve made a comment that was taken the wrong way.
Another example is that I can be cruising down the highway doing the speed limit and I hear an approaching siren and look to see those flashing lights of a police car. I automatically think it is coming for me. I think I have inadvertently broken a law.
I am one of these shoppers that makes sure my sales receipt is in view if I’m carrying a purchase to may car that is not bagged. Or if the beeper at the door goes off, I stop and wait for security to check me or wave me on. It’s almost as if I need to be assured of my innocence.
I don’t spend countless hours worrying anymore because I realize these are things of which I have no control. However, I am embarrassed to admit this underlying guilt.
I am willing to accept responsibility when I am wrong, but why I am I willing to accept blame when I am innocent?