Guilt has always intrigued me. How people can torture themselves with guilt. I even wrote a novel about it called, “Web of Guilt”, which I published on Amazon Kindle.
But for this story, I will cite the case of a friend of mine, who I will call Jim.
Jim knocked on my door one night, when I opened the door, he looked absolutely drained!
“I feel terrible, can I come in?”
“Sure, Jim, come in.”
I led him to a comfortable chair and got him and myself a beer.
“What’s the matter, Jim?”
“I have these terrible guilt feelings over my mother’s health,” he said, grimacing and biting his lip.
“Tell me what happened.”
“Well, as you know, I’ve been planning a months holiday traveling around Europe.” Jim was taking deep breaths and staring down at his feet.
He continued: “I told my mother of my travel plans and she said:
“A month away! You know how sick I get if you aren’t around. If you go for a month I could have a heart attack! The doctor told you how weak my heart is!”
“Mother if you take your medication you will be fine.”
“No, I won’t be fine!”
“By now my mother was getting cantankerous!”
“I’ve looked after you for many years and now you are going away for a month. I will die, I know I will!”
“I walked out of my mother’s apartment feeling totally miserable.”
“Are you still going ahead with your travel plans?”
Jim was visibly uncomfortable with that question. He looked pale and he had a haunted look on his face.
“I don’t know what to do. My thoughts are filled with self-loathing.” Jim kept fidgeting in his chair.
“I think you have to stand your ground, Jim. Your mother is attempting to manipulate you with guilt. She will be alright. Make sure she has all the telephone numbers she needs to call for help and that she is as comfortable as possible. And make sure she has all her medication handy.”
“Sometimes, I think if I feel guilty enough, I will be freed of these terrible feelings.”
“Jim, the present moment will still be the same and your guilt is just wasteful activity. Don’t throw your life away because someone makes you feel guilty.”
“So, you think I should go on my trip?”
“Absolutely, why cancel and be miserable? The present moment is the only life you have, the only time you can enjoy and be happy!”
“Okay, I’ll go on my trip. I’m getting fed up with my self-imposed guilt over my mother’s health. I’m feeling bad but the hurting can do nothing to change anything.”
“That’s right. Your mother will use every guilt-producing trick to keep you from living your life. In the end she will respect you for standing your ground.”
A month later, I saw Jim again.
“How was the trip?”
“It was great and I’m planning another one for next year!”