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Old 02-08-2023, 07:11 PM
Location: Southern MN
12,047 posts, read 8,433,033 times
Reputation: 44823


I think many people get guilt and shame mixed up. Guilt can serve as a positive in our lives by signaling us that we have done something wrong. More about that in a second.

As others have said, as long as we pay attention to our feelings of guilt and use them for self-improvement, it is a constructive warning system.

Guilt says, "I am a human in progress who makes correctible mistakes."

Shame, on the other hand, is the everlasting feeling of being flawed or damaged and doomed to forever make mistakes. Shame is a secret I don't want anyone to know. Shame was instilled in me a long time ago by people I trusted and believed who told me I was bad for making my mistakes.

And shame, as a root cause of addiction and other harmful behaviors, guarantees that I will continue to make mistakes.
It is a self-fulfilling prophecy. Shame is the false emotion that needs to be eradicated from our lives in order for us to have healthy self-esteem.

Now, about guilt as an indicator that we have done something wrong. Once upon a time, when we were more homogenous, something wrong might have been more "one size fits all" but in today's world of relative morality many people believe that the something wrong has to be of your own value system.

There is some truth in that in the sense that whenever we violate our own value system we are in trouble with our mental health. What you value as proper behaviors may not be the same as what I value. These days we seem not to be able to agree on universal truths to hold each other accountable to.

But there is one given for feeling a sense of guilt and that is when you have a values system and don't hold yourself accountable to your own rules of wellness and conduct.

I think most people do have a values system it's just that many of us have never really thought much about exactly what it is.

More. There are people who seem unable to feel guilt but can benefit from learning that their thoughts and actions have predictable consequences. Sometimes this can take quite a while but it can happen with time and enough consequences.
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Old 02-09-2023, 11:26 AM
Location: Ruston, Louisiana
2,108 posts, read 1,050,471 times
Reputation: 4803
Originally Posted by Clintone View Post
So I'm writing this. Yesterday my car hit a, maybe, what could have been as high as a 6 inch high rock in the middle of the road and I got a flat tire. I drove to someone's house and asked to use their phone. They were busy and I was having trouble typing in the 16 digit code for triple A and their phone screen kept turning black halfway after I'd type in a number and I wasn't sure I'd have all the knowledge they'd need anyway, so I just decided to walk the 2.5 miles to my house and let her get on with her day. My vehicle wasn't blocking her driveway.

I didn't tell her to call anyone about the rock to get it removed, because I didn't think of it. I do have a pretty strong conscience and empathy, but it's very much a slow-moving, philosophical kind of empathy. I have, more or less, zero rapidly-reacting instincts that tell me "Go help that person in danger!" It's more like "I should help that person in danger because, despite the fact that I'm not really in the mood to do so right now, that would make me something less of an a-hole."

There are some very sound reasons why I've never considered becoming a firefighter.

So, because of me, some other cars probably got flat tires too, unless someone else called about the rock very quickly after I saw it. I definitely think I need to mark this as something important, so I made this thread.

I'd like to figure out how to feel guilt in this situation so I experience the negative feedback that could make it less likely for it to happen again, but I'm not sure how yet. I may figure it out eventually, or not.

This is one of the first times I've wondered if I might actually described as a kind of proto-psychopath or sociopath, not someone who will turn into one eventually, but rather someone who has the kind of mind that might have resulted in them becoming a real psychopath or sociopath under different circumstances.

There are definitely philosophical reasons to have empathy for others...unemotional empathy, but still empathy. I think, usually, reason points to desiring to assist other life forms. I'm not sure you need emotional drives to have that goal. I think anyone who contemplates the world enough will just naturally acknowledge that as the most sensible route. I don't like pain. You don't like pain either. I'm not so different than you, so therefore any rational being will want to assist other life and any desire not to will probably come from some kind of emotional or impulse driven bias, or a simple lack of thought.

I don't think it's autism. I have no trouble whatsoever understanding facial expressions and finished writing a multi-page long poem that I've gotten nothing but positive feedback on, so it's pretty clear I understand the sorts of social subtleties that autistic people have trouble with. I also love sarcasm, which autistic people have trouble catching.

There's another word for people who don't understand their emotions...but I do understand my emotions very well. I've talked to one of these people briefly and he just says he can't really tell when he feels certain ways so he just keeps going until he erupts due to the feelings he doesn't know he's feeling building up. I do understand my emotions though, I think. I write poetry about them. They are very vivid in my mind.

But I definitely would like to feel some guilt, if possible. I don't think being insulted will accomplish that. It probably would feel negative if I weren't expecting it, but I am now, so my mind is almost certainly going to go into a detached kind of "they're just words" mode. You could call me a baby-rapist and my mind will just remain in chillaxed mode, calm as ever now. If you do toss in some insults I promise I won't inform the moderators, but I would avoid doing that because they might see it and give you an infraction even if it goes unreported and I wouldn't want you to get into trouble.

So, again, I want to figure out how to feel some guilt and I can't afford a psychologist right now.
You have taken a simple thing and disected it to the fifteen hudredth of a molecule. If you step on a piece of glass, do you not have the (sense...not "guilt") to pick up the glass and discard it so that it doesn't cut someone else?

If not, you do have major problems and it's not guilt you need, it's COMMON SENSE.
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Old 02-09-2023, 04:29 PM
22,278 posts, read 21,740,695 times
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Originally Posted by Bootsamillion View Post
You have taken a simple thing and disected it to the fifteen hudredth of a molecule. If you step on a piece of glass, do you not have the (sense...not "guilt") to pick up the glass and discard it so that it doesn't cut someone else?

If not, you do have major problems and it's not guilt you need, it's COMMON SENSE.
OP was banned a while ago, but he was sure a funny one. As a diagnosed sociopath, he was always doing these experiments in "feeling something" artificially because he lacks the ability. Very strange thought processes followed.
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Old 02-11-2023, 11:23 AM
Location: Southern MN
12,047 posts, read 8,433,033 times
Reputation: 44823
I guess the important thing to know is what guilt is for even if you can't feel it.

Develop a code of behavior that doesn't lead to a lot of negative consequences in life and follow it.
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