Guilty As Sin, Or Not

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?

33 thoughts on “Guilty As Sin, Or Not

  1. Deep down you are a very honest person, with old tapes playing in your head! My mother is the queen of the guilt trip. I think it has made me examine myself and motives, and become immune to my “old tapes” that tend to try and warp my perceptions.

  2. Ahh! Sounds like me! That is so funny! One time the walmart buzzer went off when I walked IN the store. I felt so guilty!!I had no idea what set it off. I felt like a criminal the whole time. Later that week I found a necklace a friend from church gave me still in my purse. It was still in it’s velvet plastic holder with the security sticker tag. Must have set it off. I’ve always wondered if SHE lifted it? Lol!

  3. You sound so much like me! I hold my receipt out in view too. Heaven forbid I should for a moment be thought of as a criminal. Also, if I walk away from people and then they laugh…they’re automatically laughing at me. Sound familiar?

  4. Must be another family trait. I do the same thing. Once when I was like 18 or 19 I was at the drug store buying stuff and I was going to buy a key chain. I made my purchases and got out to the car and went to put the key in the door only to realize it was the key chain I was GOING to purchase in my hand…I had held it my hand thinking it was my keys! TOTALLY freaked out. I COULD have gotten in my car and driven away free and clear and they would never have know but NO… not me and my conscience. I went right back in, asked for the manager and spent a good 10 or 15 minutes professing my innocence and stupidity before I purchased it! LOL I guess I’d much rather HAVE a conscience than NOT!

    I would have crapped my pants too if I’d passed Daddy on the highway when I was supposed to be at school!

  5. Yes, yes and yes. I can identify with it all. Thank you, therefore, for mentioning all this so that I don’t feel so out on a limb.

    Oh dear, I do hope that when I referred to a blogger with issues the other day you didn’t think it was you! Now I feel guilty about that!

  6. I am exactly like that. And I’ve rarely ever done anything wrong. I was always too shy and afraid to.

    I too have wondered if I am guilty or bad in some way and that causes me to feel like “I’m the one they are talking about.”

    When the unibomber was still at large and they profiled him publicly. The profile matched me perfectly up until the very last point. I started watching out for the authorities to come knocking on my door.

    But I am actually very innocent and naive. So, what’s wrong with me? Hmmm, no, don’t answer that.

  7. I’m exactly the same way, Suzicate. I cannot lie. Seriously, guilt makes my stomach hurt and I get physically ill. I too always assume someone means me or that cop is after me. I don’t know why. But I feel your pain!

    ♥Spot

  8. Wow! I found myself in your description. For me, I think it’s because I don’t like confrontation or an atmosphere of tension due to my abuse. I’d rather squelch the scene even at my expense. Well, I did. As I’ve walked along my life’s journey and self-discovery, I’m better as boundary setting and knowing what is and is not my responsiblity. It’s made me feel better to tactfully yet assertively stand up for myself when needed.

    Yet, I still question myself if anyone questions me…

  9. What an interesting post, SC!

    I think we all feel this way at times. I know I do. I can definitely relate to the feeling guilty when it comes to the security issue thing in stores. OMG…I have that happen a lot because the videos I rent from the library ALWAYS set off the security when I walk into a store. I immediately think….OMG, they’re gonna think I stole something from another store!?!?

    I was raised Catholic.

    Trust me….it’s all about feeling guilty.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

    Hope you’re having a Marvi Monday!

    X

  10. That’s how I am! I skipped a class in highschool only once (to get the new NSYNC cd, sadly enough) We sat in a church parking lot to listen to it. I felt so bad, that I did tell my mom. I think she mostly laughed on the inside because of my guilt.

    Have a FABULOUS day!!

  11. “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.”

    I completely and totally understand this! I suffer from it. Not as much as I used to, but it still claws at me now and again.

  12. It’s funny because I can relate to quite of few of the things you mention. Actually, I can even take it a step further. I have actually felt responsible for tidal waves, hurricanes, tornado’s, and the occasional earthquake. These have occurred because of something I have or have not done. It’s a heavy burden sometimes. LOL. (Not really a laughing matter!)

  13. I am so much like that – In fact, 2 comments lately that I’ve read (not even on my blog, just in the same circles I run in) have me second guessing myself – I think it’s just ingrained in me to feel guilty about pretty much everything! I wish it weren’t so, but I can’t seem to help it. Maybe it’s a woman thing..

  14. This is a great post, Suzicate! Hilarious story about you skipping school with your cousin. I grew up in such a small town, there was no way I could skip without my parents finding out.

    The part about seeing a police car and assuming they are coming for you – that’s me too! Although I do speed, so sooner or later it’ll be my turn.

  15. Pingback: Pro or Con, Coincidence & Guilt « Teri’s Blip in the Universe

  16. oh my goodness, that story about waving to your dad is hysterical and he didn’t even recognize you two.

    About guilt, I am pretty good about trying to only own the feelings that are truly mine. Not always successful, but I do make a decent attempt.

  17. In my early teens I was the biggest liar. Well in my late teens, anything that could be said in my direction as an accussation, I personally thought I may have done.
    I would get this hot flash of guilt, even though I was innocent!

    Great post!

  18. This is fascinating. I’ve always felt these things, too, and only slightly less so, as I’ve gotten older. I love that you talked about this! Obviously, a lot of women feel this way – and again – I wonder why we take on so much guilt, even for things we’ve never done. Partly, we worry terribly about what others thing (not wanting to hurt feelings), and partly, I suspect there is a real fear of authority figures that is at work somewhere.

    Intriguing discussion. (And now I don’t feel so silly about the way I feel driving the speed limit, and making sure I always have my receipts and tags in view. Thanks for this!)

    • Thank all of you for telling me that you’ve felt this way. I felt a little silly putting myself out there. I thought I might be an oddball. I wonder now if it is more of a gender trait.

  19. Oh yeah, let’s see…raised Catholic… regularly told sinners go to hell… mother’s favourite line was ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions’… plus always had anxiety issues… I’m pretty sure whatever killed the dinosaurs, mad cow disease and the current state of the economy can all be traced back to me.

  20. You have an absorbent personality! I am the same way. Sometimes. I still apologize if I don’t hear someone correctly. 🙂 I am also honest to a fault. A fault that makes my husband shake his head in confusion sometimes.

  21. Guilt is terrible. It doesn’t belong. Yet it seems that I live in a constant state of guilt about not doing enough. I’ve got a healthy sense of self-esteem but the feeling that I could do more–should do more–should be better at ____, etc. etc. Somehow we must get rid of this!

  22. I identify with this too. When I examine this trait in myself I conclude that it’s some kind of egotism at work–the opposite of all the credit is mine. Instead, it’s everything is my fault–that’s how powerful I am.

    I’ve had a run of bad luck over the past number of years and I sometimes think that the universe is out to get me. Like I’m really that important. Shit happens. Sometimes I screw up and sometimes it’s raining turds and I forgot my umbrella. Know what I’m sayin’?

  23. I think more people than you think are exactly the same way, we either doubt ourselves or feel that we are going to mess up and bring down some sort of punishment whether it be a ticket from a police officer or a lecture from our parents for something we did, sounds like you just may be normal.

    Good post SC I did enjoy reading it.

  24. I’m funny about shopping too…especially if I have to take something into the store to match to something else. For instance, a couple weeks ago I took my husband’s dress shirt into Kohl’s to match to a new one (he wanted the same color) and I had to stop and make sure that the cashier understood that this was my garment and that I was not taking something of theirs out of the store. I always feel like I need to tell more than one person too. Guilt. Jeesh!

  25. Oh, I so hear you! I remember in school–a tiny, two room kind–someone wrote on the bathroom walls. So all the girls were taken in and lined up while the principal’s daughter looked into our eyes to ascertain the guilty one. They picked ME!! I wouldn’t vandalize to save my life, but I looked guilty all the same. Sigh. Can’t win.

  26. Hahaha, I’m the same exact way. I feel guilty over stuff I didn’t do ALL THE TIME. Like in stores when I’m clearly NOT doing anything wrong but I feel like everyone thinks I’m shoplifting or something. I can’t explain it, it’s so weird. Glad I’m not the only weirdo. 😉

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