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How to deal with guilt?

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Practicing since : 2003
Answered : 2189 Questions
Could you help to handle guilt ?
My wife tries to make me feel guilty as after several advice, I decided not to go for a third child. She will speak about it quite often. She is resentful and do not really wants me to feel good.
Thanks for your help.
Posted Sat, 20 Oct 2012 in Mental Health
Answered by Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar 7 hours later

Welcome to Healthcare Magic and thanks for your question...

I'm sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time with your guilt. Guilt is a terrible emotion to live with everyday and it can really pull down your well being and functioning. In your case you have mentioned that your guilt stems from your decision not to have a third chilld which was contrary to your wife's wish.

Well, the first step in handling guilt is to recognize the nature of the guilt and the underlying cause for it. Often we become so overwhelmed by the guilt that we fail to reason out the real cause for it and realize why we are getting affected by it so much. Many a time, we make premature negative assumptions about ourselves and hence, end up being too harsh on ourselves. So, I would suggest that you try to keep the emotions aside and try to reason out why you feel so affected. This clarity of thought will help you handle your feelings better.

The second important step is to "talk it out". This is very applicable in your case, where the guilt is a result of an inter-personal conflict with your wife. So, it's best to sit down and have an open discussion about this issue, where each of you can freely discuss your feelings. This will also give her an opportunity to vent out her frustrations, rather that keeping it pent up and affecting both of you. You can explain to her in clear but gentle way why you made your decision and make her understand that the purpose of the decision was in your family's best interest and not with the aim of antagonizing her or disrespecting her feelings.

The third important step is "accepting the situation and moving on". Even if you have made a mistake, brooding over it and feeling guilty is not going to help things in any way. Moreover, nobody is perfect. Especially in any long-term relationship, expecting perfectionism is just a recipe for disaster. So, tell yourself that whatever the situation is I am going to accept it and rather than dwelling in the same state, I'm going to move on. This attitude will stop you from reacting to your wife's comments and the lesser you react, the sooner is she also going to let go of this issue and move on.

I hope that you will be able to try these suggestions and feel better. Wish you all the best.

- Dr. Jonas Sundarakumar
Consultant Psychiatrist
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