Words we hear as children: “You should be ashamed of yourself!”. “I hope you feel sorry”. We are scolded and punished to make us behave. I’m sure each of us has memories that we feel good about when we recall them, and others we feel bad about. In fact, because we have been made to behave as children, we respond to the programming very easily as adults. This leads us to be available to suggestion, and our emotions are too easily manipulated. Stemming from this are accusations of how someone made you feel terrible, and so on. Well, it must be Xmas, because I have your present here, and it is this.
Nobody can make you feel bad.
Nobody can make you feel good.
You can’t make anybody feel bad.
You can’t make anybody feel good.
Our feelings are our own.
When we were young, we were guilted into having our feelings do puppy tricks. Feel good. Feel bad. Roll over and play dead. We responded because we were anxious to please. Its like a big behavioural experiment, but it’s a lie. As adults, knowing how the magic trick was done makes the magic go away. If someone wants us to feel bad, we don’t have to roll over and feel it. We can feel what we want to, it’s the most natural thing in the world. Much of the conditioning that creates these automatic involuntary responses is guilt.
Is guilt a good thing? I believe it is greatly misunderstood. For many, the application of guilt is the same as the application of a wheel clamp. It immobilises, When guilt strikes, nothing functions and nothing beyond tears, hand wringing and wallowing is produced – a misapplication of a function. Guilt should do no more than inform us of our mistake with only enough impact for us to learn before moving on. The heavy handed application of what we “should” feel burdens us beyond the point of usefulness.
The diagram is the basic ego state pattern for each of us. We develop the upper and the lower ( P & C) ego states as children. P is the Parent Ego state, and C is the Child ego state. Children are very good at being children, and they very quickly learn about the Parent ego state also. We often see children imitate parents, wagging fingers at the child when playing mothers and fathers. The Adult ego state (A) develops later and is the more mature ego state. Parental ego states produce words such as should, must, ought. Words that cannot legitimately be used from the Adult ego state. Communications from our parent ego state invoke either parental responses from outgoing & argumentative recipients, or child responses from introvert recipients.
If you find that someone continually browbeats and shouts at you, try speaking quietly and evenly, and likely they’ll become self conscious about their tone, moderating it until they join you in adult state. Guilt is invoked from parent state to our child state, the most introverted of us feeling the weight of it the most. I endeavour to remain constantly in adult ego state in dealing with people, even children, as it invariably gains the respect of those I talk to and invites them to stay in adult state with me, where the better conversations are.