“Guilt is there to punish and protect us.” – Mastin Kipp
One of the emotions that will keep women struggling in disconnected marriages stuck in indecision about whether to stay or go is guilt.
Guilt for the pain it will cause to their spouse…
Guilt for the changes their kids will experience…
Guilt for putting their needs above what others need from them…
They believe their answer is to end the relationship, but as soon as they begin making plans to end the relationship, guilt stops them dead in their tracks.
Guilt’s Purpose: To Protect Us
I used to say that guilt is a worthless emotion because it focuses on the past and since we cannot change the past…it only keeps us stuck.
But now I understand that keeping us stuck actually IS the purpose of guilt. Keeping us stuck, and not taking steps to end the marriage, keeps us safe.
- We never have to face our fears.
- We never have to have really difficult conversations.
- We never have to cause hurt or pain or uncertainty to ourselves and others.
We may not be comfortable, but we do get to remain in our comfort zone.
Guilt’s Purpose: To Punish Us
Guilt also serves another purpose: to punish us. If we can make ourselves feel badly enough about ourselves or our actions, it can help restore our self-image of being a good person.
It’s hard to believe you’re a good person when you’ve made a decision that causes others pain. Understandably, we cannot see someone hurting and feel good about that. But if we punish ourselves enough – so that we are also hurting – then we don’t have to abandon the idea that we can make decisions that might cause upset for someone else AND still be a good person.
With this new understanding of guilt and its purpose in our lives during challenging times, I can allow guilt to be present without needing to run away from it or squelch it in order to continue to place one foot in front of the other.
Has guilt been keeping you paralyzed?
Are you ready to move beyond the guilt so that your life can move forward without regret?