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I can't sleep

I'm writing this entry while the printer warms up.
Instead of tossing and turning I made a big list of things that I need to do or buy or find or pack.

I hope it will help.

In the mean time, how do you handle guilt?
Not purposeful appologize-and-make-restitution kind of guilt, but guilt for something you had no control over in the first place.

How do you get past it?

I'm looking for coping strategies, here.

Ok, so the list has printed and I just thought of two other things.

It's almost 3:00 am. I'm going to try to go to sleep, again.

Thanks for listening.



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Aug. 18th, 2006 11:18 am (UTC)
Not well. Usually it manifests itself by me not sleeping until I'm successful at pushing it back to the deep dark recess of my mind where it belongs.

Hope you were able to get back to sleep! At least you don't have to get up and leave the house to go to work. Maybe a nap will be possible :)

Hope you can conquer the guilt monsters!
Aug. 18th, 2006 11:22 am (UTC)
Yeah, it's hard to convince yourself that you Really Should Have Been Able to do something about *whatever*. Just have to keep reminding yourself, anytime the thought re-surfaces.
Aug. 18th, 2006 11:27 am (UTC)
I wouldnmt say I handle it well; I tend to repeatedly tell myself "It's not my fault because..."

It rarely does any good, though :/
Aug. 18th, 2006 12:21 pm (UTC)
All of the above, and then write music. Usually something somewhat self-abusive.

Yeah, not good, but it *does* help.
Aug. 18th, 2006 12:48 pm (UTC)
Could someone explain this "guilt for something you had no control over in the first place" to me?
Aug. 18th, 2006 01:20 pm (UTC)
Caring? Empathy? The wish to please others?
Aug. 18th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
What Katy said, adding being the type of person who want's to do things right or feels responsible for others and things.
Aug. 18th, 2006 01:36 pm (UTC)
If it's focused enough - if there's a particular person involved, not just a shadowy "someone" - then I'll try to do something thoughtful that *is* within my control for them. It doesn't necessarily banish the guilt, but it sometimes it offsets it a bit.

I hope you managed to get some sleep eventually.
Aug. 18th, 2006 02:10 pm (UTC)
I'm basically echoing others here, but I'd say it's a process of erosion. There's no internal switch you can flick. Just keep telling yourself, every day, "It wasn't my fault, and there wasn't anything I could have done to prevent it." Eventually, you start to believe it. Sort of a form of self-hypnosis.

And yes, doing something nice for the victim (assuming there is one, and it's possible to do something) is also a good idea.
Aug. 18th, 2006 02:48 pm (UTC)
I used to be really good at that kind of guilt. I'd assume that the person who was hurt blamed me, or that everyone involved blamed me. These days I have a system, it doesn't work perfectly, but hey.

If it's something I had no control over and I can talk to some one involved, and I can trust that person I talk to them, I esentially say, I need to know you're not mad at me for XXXXX. Once I know that the person is blaming me, it's easier to let it go. Barring that, I used to, and please don't laugh because it works for me, imagine a box with a lock, I'd take the guilt, or these days the stress, and put it in the box. then I'd lock the box and throw away the key. I do it best in the bath tub, when I'm really relaxed. Sometime I have to throw away the same stress several times but honestly it really works. But only, for mr at least, if it's something I have no control over.
Aug. 18th, 2006 03:41 pm (UTC)
There are a couple of paths I take.

First, I do my best to go through the thought chain to make it clear to my rational brain that It Was Not My Fault.

Second, I do my best to make amends. Sometimes this is not an option.

Third, I do my best to figure out way to make sure it doesn't happen again, if I can.

And I keep reminding myself that other people are their own people, and they DO get to decide what they're going to do, and if that isn't what I would have done, or how I would have done it, it's still okay, and it's not my fault.
Aug. 18th, 2006 04:54 pm (UTC)
Sorry you had such a bad night.

The guilt is a hard one; there's a lot of "I'm so much luckier," or "that could have happened to me," and the fact that you didn't personally bring down the other person doesn't make you feel much better.

If you're a religious person you can pray for the person or circumstance that you didn't cause and can't fix; for some of us it feels like helping.

Have a wonderful time at Worldcon!
Aug. 18th, 2006 06:29 pm (UTC)
Is this guilt towards a particular person or guilt about a set of circumstances? (For instance is it "My parents used their retirement money to send me to college and I feel guilty now" or is it "I was born to a middle-class family and haven't suffered much compared to other people and I feel guilty.") Because the latter is much harder to deal with than the former.

Guilt directed at a particular person, even if unreasonable, can be dealt with sometimes using the various suggestions offered. (Doing something nice for the person, letting them know you feel bad, even if it's not your fault, etc.) But guilt that's about a set of circumstances that don't really affect anyone but you is much trickier. I liked the suggestion of mentally locking it in a box and throwing the key away.

Personally, I think about it not being my fault and why I couldn't control anything - use logic to deal with it. This only goes so far, because our emotions aren't controlled by our brains a lot of the time. So then I do my best not to think about it. Maybe that's a bad thing, but I honestly think that not dwelling on things you can't change will make life better. It's easy to get caught up in guilt or what-ifs or whatever...but it's not productive and I think it can cause us to miss the good parts of our lives.

Oh, but one other productive thing: sometimes I think about whether there's a way to minimize such events occuring in the future. So even if you weren't responsible for this one, is there something you could do to keep similar things from occuring later? Can you take some kind of positive action to help? That kind of productive activity always makes me feel better.
Aug. 18th, 2006 10:07 pm (UTC)
The usual psychological strategies is Rationalization, I believe. While most often utilized in the purposeful guilt instance, it's also quite useful for random free-floating guilt. That, or becoming Catholic.
Aug. 19th, 2006 03:24 pm (UTC)
Been there, done that, got the Confirmation Name.

Aug. 19th, 2006 02:33 am (UTC)
knock back a couple of rounds of a nice single-malt, look in the mirror, ask yourself if you are REALLY to blame, and if not, go to bed and sleep.

If you are, you pick up the phone and start fixing it.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )