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Old 10-21-13, 07:59 PM
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Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

There's been a thread a year ago about something like this and interesting I never really noticed this before. Interestingly, I've been thinking about this issue lately and also about guilt/regret (like in this other thread).

The topics in those past threads basically talk about this negative feeling one gets when one is constantly criticized for not living up to what everyone else considers "normal". I tended to mask my resentment by obsessing over a TV show or a videogame to gain a sense of self-confidence. I thought if only I could learn everything I could know about something, I could gain someone's approval, or make friends, but that never really worked. I probably could have a good conversation about something, but it would more likely become one-sided and revolve around me.

While I could find friends online that have similar interests, I'm not too fond of being committed to an online friendship because it makes me feel tied down and I'm no longer really having fun anymore because I'm still trying to live up to other people's expectations. It's no wonder I've become a social hermit.

It's only been lately that I've come to the conclusion that I obsess over things because I feel like I'm trying to "prove something" and it's all rooted in guilt/regret for not being able to meet the expectations of others. Plus it appears to be fueled by resentment against those who I think have these expectations (or cynicism about what I think people think of me).

I feel as though I identified the root of my problem and why I couldn't get myself out of this "guilt spiral" and my obsessions in general. I simply gained an attitude problem (resentment) because I kept worrying about trying to fit into everyone's different expectations.

I've come to the realization that I can't please everyone and that I'll find where where I fit in if I just be myself. By being myself, I mean, I have to decide what I really care about and focus on that. True, if I have ADHD, then how do I focus?

Well, something I've been doing during treatment is something I call a "reality check" where I question my distractions, particularly the things I tend to "hyperfocus" on. I ask myself, "What's my motivation and what is it that I want to accomplish"? I also find that negativity (such as criticism) doesn't phase me if I think of things from a different perspective (seeing the "big picture", so to speak). For example, if I get a criticism about something, I'll assume the person had good intentions and meant to be constructive. In other words, I completely reverse my cynicism of others.

Now I'm not talking about "positive thinking", because that just sounds so fake (that would be called "going into la-la land, pretending bad things don't exist" and that's more like lying to yourself that being true to yourself). I'm talking about simply calming down to see the big picture and understanding that the problems in this life are only temporary. I tell simply myself "Hush, don't be hard on yourself, just get right back up and move on".

What I'm really talking about is, not getting caught up the cycle of guilt or what I might call the self-pity/pride dichotomy. Self-esteem isn't my goal because it's based on temporary things and that's what got me in the cycle of guilt in the first place. Rather I believe that the fact that I was born and still have breath in me means that I have self-worth, therefore there is no reason for me to "prove" anything to anyone! I never need to lose hope because the fact that I'm still breathing means there's still hope and I still have a purpose for living.

I dunno, just some stuff I've been rambling about in my head.

Last edited by SpaceBaby; 10-21-13 at 08:19 PM..
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  #2  
Old 10-21-13, 09:04 PM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

I think you're absolutely right. I especially like and understand the second half of what you wrote. It's hard sometimes (OK, most of the time...) for me to "catch myself in the act" in order to do the reality check. I think it's easier with medication.
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Old 10-21-13, 09:57 PM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Very good stuff. I call it shame. But it's the same concept of cycling.

I have told myself that I can't make everyone happy all the time. I still catch myself doing it. But I never caught myself doing it before because I was so focused on trying to make them happy. I lost sight of the forest for the trees.

Meds help me see the big picture/other points of view better as well.

I wonder if our big picture gets bigger as treatment goes on. As I get closer to my optimum baseline,through therapy and pharmacology, more and more seems possible.

I guess I answered my own question.
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Old 10-22-13, 03:03 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

I have been thinking about all this guilt. I think its a kind of suffering we inflict upon ourselves. I did my share of it.

The big issue is whether you let yourself be buried under that mountain or finally find a way to climb on top of it. I find that once you come out the other end its an almost cathartic experience.

Life won't actually get better, but inside your mind, the experience somehow gains a different quality.
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Old 10-22-13, 03:31 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

I think a different quality of experience can really be what makes a better life, sometimes.
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Old 10-22-13, 03:32 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

lol, I know I sort of go off on a tangent on half of my post, then I try getting back to the point at the end. I suppose I was just venting out some issues in my personal life that I thought I needed to express to look back later as a "note to self". Speaking of venting out, I sometimes think the criticisms of others are really their way of venting about their own problems. I think sometimes my own "vents" occasionally seem to turn out like I'm trying to get back at someone, but then I remind myself that little benefit comes from venting out if I forget that I'm the one with the problems too.

It's like I have to remind myself I'm really "preaching" to myself first, or else I'll miss the point that isn't really about "us and them". Sometimes we can trick ourselves into thinking that we aren't part of the rest of society. I think it's always better to think that we're all in this together because everyone (even those without ADHD) have to deal with some shame once in a while.

Yeah, I believe treatment is helping me to see "the big picture". It probably took me a while to really come to this point. I remember being a bit of an impatient "patient" at first because I wanted to see results right away, but I didn't really stay consistent on my meds because of side effects.

Interestingly, I'm studying Criminal Justice and there are some courses that incorporate some psychology into it, especially in a course called "Crisis Management". After learning about how depressed people think, I found that I actually could resonate with it, although not to the extent that I'd need a crisis negotiator to pull me out of committing suicide. Funny, I mentioned this in therapy and almost had my therapist worried for a second. I rarely ever have thoughts of death, perhaps I was just good at masking my problems. I can only think of one time in my life that I ever took the thought seriously. Fortunately because of my religious upbringing, I was able to convince myself "If a higher power chose to gave me life, then I must be here for a reason. Therefore, if this higher power thought I mattered that much to have me exist, who am I to go against it?".

Okay I rambled a little here to, but the purpose was to show where my thinking was coming from. I'm also trying to be honest with myself too. I was sort of trying to hide the "religious upbringing" part because I didn't want to sound "preachy", but I suppose for the sake of personal honesty with myself, mentioning this part of my life was inevitable.

I'm going to continue on this tangent, but just humor me... (you'll see what I mean later)
I've got to say, my religious convictions (fortunately, good ones) have been a real life saver for me. That's also where the "preach to myself" idea and my preference for the term "self-worth" rather than "self-esteem" comes from. All this is sort of a fancy way of "preaching" the book of Romans to myself. I like some of the things that the protestant reformers in history have pointed out in the bible, such as "righteousness by faith" (Luther), "Witness of the Spirit" (Wesley), and even the emphasis on prayer and music (Calvin, among others). Yeah, it's obvious now that I'm a protestant, I'm a Seventh-day Adventist if you're wondering. The interesting thing about my denomination is that it looks back on its own protestant roots, thus it makes it easier to resonate with other protestants. Although it does become sort of weird when an Adventist interacts with a Catholic (because Protestants don't believe in many of many of their traditions).

So that's just a look at how I'm starting to connect things together and I think that's really the point I'm making in this post. Never mind the religious stuff, it just happens to be within some of the helpful "connections" I'm making in my life. I believe there is a wall of separation of church and state for a reason, it's to prevent people from using political power to strangle each other over religious differences. My church is one of many other religious organizations that strongly believe in the wall of separation. I say one of many because I don't want others to feel like they're left out and I don't want to make it look like we're all that special. In fact, historically, the Baptist founder of Rhode Island, the Catholic founder of Maryland, and even the Quaker founder of Pennsylvania are one of the major proponents of the idea.

See, what I'm getting at here again is that "we're all in this together". If we forget that, then we end up fighting over insignificant things. It's like "group therapy".
If this thread gets sort of "weird" like of like it belongs in the "spirituality" section, then I don't mind if a moderator puts it there.
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Old 10-22-13, 04:32 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Just to add in another little "note to self",
While my church does consider itself "privileged", it counterbalances this through the self-introspective message to the Laodiceans seen in Revelation 3. The Laodicean message basically warns against the spiritual lukewarmness or the complacency of becoming self-righteous. In other words, it's easy to end up thinking "I'm holier than thou" and then ending up not holy at all. It's kind of like the saying goes, if you call yourself humble, then you cease to be humble. Now just because the church I go to calls itself the Laodicean church, that doesn't mean everyone in the church understands what it means to their personal life. I didn't understand if for myself either, but looking back on my life I'm continuing to see these "helpful connections" of ideas in my life.

I'm just making connections of ideas in my personal life that has helped me, I'm not saying anyone has to think like I do. Speaking of that, while it's true some SDAs do make the mistake of putting their prophet over the bible, their own prophet actually uplifts the bible and even says something to the effect of, "Don't let people think for you, read it for yourself". The exact quotation is like this: "If we allow others to do our thinking, we shall have crippled energies and contracted abilities. The noble powers of the mind may be so dwarfed by lack of exercise on themes worthy of their concentration as to lose their ability to grasp the deep meaning of the word of God". Then some people call the SDA church a cult only because of a few bad apples in the church who try to make their church into one. Of course, that's just "some people" calling the SDA church a cult, it's not like everyone does that. It's ironic when you think about it, that "some people" talk about "some other people", basing it only on what "some people" did. Like, what's up with that? I think the religious and non-religious alike tend to get so caught up with the labels they place on themselves that they (or should I say we) turn out having this "us and them" mentality and that I believe is where much needless strife comes from. Everyone wants to have a name for themselves. I say forget the names and labels, let's just all get along. I think fighting comes from missing the big picture of things. If we could all just see each other's point of view, we could all make figure out what the big picture is. I'm only human, so even if the big picture were right in front of my face, that doesn't mean I'll always remember to look at it. It's very human to get tunnel vision at times and miss the point.

I know I'm rambling, but it's just my way of talking about these helpful connections in my life that happen to be Christian-based, but avoiding the stepping on other people's toes. Think of this thread as me tying to do mental acrobatics (to avoid the stepping on of figurative toes).

Last edited by SpaceBaby; 10-22-13 at 04:52 AM..
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Old 10-22-13, 05:22 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Oh boy, now I feel guilty for rambling and triple posting too.

How ironic is that, talking about guilt, I think I may have been wallowing in it a little too much to the point that I get myself falling into it again.

It's ironic and I feel guilty now because I promised myself I wouldn't sound "preachy" and I'm sort of afraid crossing that line.

The irony about being "preachy" is that it can end up becoming one of those things where I end up sounding like I'm trying to convince people about something and end up not really convinced about it myself.

I sometimes think to myself that if one tries to force their beliefs on others, then that person doesn't really believe in what they're saying, they're only seeking the approval of others. Then I forget that sometimes I end up doing that too, which is something that a Christian should never do. I can only point to the source of my ideas, but I'm not the Holy Spirit to convince you to believe in that source. I believe it's dangerous for a human being to usurp the role of the Holy Spirit, it leads to cults.

Ok, I'm leaving it at that, I'm officially done. lol
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Old 10-22-13, 06:36 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

I think we don't create guilt/shame etc.... it's created for us by the views of others.

I think ADDers are particularly prone to it as our way of being seems to challenge authority figures, such as parents and teachers, early and continually. We quickly pick up that we are "different" but don't know why and can't work out why we apear to be singled out by authority figures.

We internalise this..... and the result is grievous problems with social interactions, particularly in hierarchies and close relationships. These issues have roots in early life where we internalise guilt and shame, and we haven't developed appropriate boundaries between self and others......

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Old 10-23-13, 08:28 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Quote:
Originally Posted by kilted_scotsman View Post
I think we don't create guilt/shame etc.... it's created for us by the views of others.

I think ADDers are particularly prone to it as our way of being seems to challenge authority figures, such as parents and teachers, early and continually. We quickly pick up that we are "different" but don't know why and can't work out why we apear to be singled out by authority figures.

We internalise this..... and the result is grievous problems with social interactions, particularly in hierarchies and close relationships. These issues have roots in early life where we internalise guilt and shame, and we haven't developed appropriate boundaries between self and others......

kilted

You're right, we don't create our own shame, others shame us and we internalize it.
I think I was trying to say we can avoid internalizing the shame, but I was just having a case of mental diarrhea.
When we internalize shame, we end up trying to defend a false idea of ourselves that is based on the expectations of others.
I believe self-esteem is based on this "false self", but when we have an firm sense of self-worth, there's no room for shame or trying to prove something to defend self.

I didn't respond yesterday because I ended up messing up on a college assignment because I left it for the last minute, then seeing this made me shrink back like "oh this dribble I posted, this is why I didn't get enough sleep last night". I still have to work on this idea of not internalizing shame, apparently.

Last edited by SpaceBaby; 10-23-13 at 08:53 AM..
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Old 10-23-13, 09:00 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Here's my theory in sum: internalizing shame makes us defend a false sense of self based on the expectation of others. This results us in becoming resentful, severing interpersonal relationships, keeping us from accepting/seeking help and support from others, and then ultimately makes us lose hope in life.

I wasn't medicated while making the previous posts, but now medicated, I'm figuring out what the main point I was really getting at.

Now I see where it may have seemed like I was saying that we made ourselves feel ashamed. While I did say we become ashamed because of mistakes we make, but remember those "mistakes" are based on other people's expectations. However, if we can avoid internalizing shame and resentment, I believe it makes it easier for us to make or look for healthy interpersonal relationships that look past our mistakes and motivate us to move on. This might be a stretch, but I think with the right support system we can be motivated to be more focused.

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Old 10-23-13, 09:23 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Good post!

To comment on the cycle you propose:
Quote:
Originally Posted by chain View Post
1. You do not do what is "expected of you" or... you think is expected of you
2. The person you feel expects something of you says something about it.
3. You feel guilty
4. The guilt hurts so you resent the person or their "expectation"
5. The resentment turns to anger
6. Anger turns into being stubborn
7. You meet even less of the expectation.
8. goto 1.
First, I recognise a similar cycle in my own life. Let's go through it:
1. Failing expectation - Check, very common event, both failing expectations of others and failing my own expectation, which I somehow managed to keep quite high despite reality not supporting it.
2. Feedback - I do not get much feedback from people, I think people generally like me and are patient with me. But I'm not that nice to myself, I have given myself a lot of non-constructive feedback.
3. Guilt - I feel guilty about every day, most of the day.
4. Resentment - I am the one expecting a lot of myself, so I do not feel resentment to anyone particular, but I do feel some resentment to society
(5. Anger - I don't have much anger in general, it's not in my character. So, I skip this step)
6. Stubbornness - Yes, I am strong in that and I see it being reinforced by this guilt cycle.
7. Failing again - Been here a lot.

So, even with the anger this cycle can be very strong. It's been there all my life. It is losing some ground though, now that I am learning to accept myself (with my failures), to be nice for myself, to be clear on what I expect of myself (SMART goals for example), be more realistic, learn to laugh about some of my mistakes, get more organised (so I don't feel guilty about "potentially forgetting something very important"; I now know there's nothing to worry about) and so forth.

Recently I started meditating (not in an eastern spiritual way, just plain, down-to-earth sitting in a quiet place and relaxing (I use a website called calm, google "enjoy a moment of calm", then it's the first hit, if you're interested). It helps me to become more conscious of my thoughts and feelings, to accept them and even to control them. I think this is really helpful.
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Old 10-23-13, 09:30 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacksper View Post
Good post!

To comment on the cycle you propose:


First, I recognise a similar cycle in my own life. Let's go through it:
1. Failing expectation - Check, very common event, both failing expectations of others and failing my own expectation, which I somehow managed to keep quite high despite reality not supporting it.
2. Feedback - I do not get much feedback from people, I think people generally like me and are patient with me. But I'm not that nice to myself, I have given myself a lot of non-constructive feedback.
3. Guilt - I feel guilty about every day, most of the day.
4. Resentment - I am the one expecting a lot of myself, so I do not feel resentment to anyone particular, but I do feel some resentment to society
(5. Anger - I don't have much anger in general, it's not in my character. So, I skip this step)
6. Stubbornness - Yes, I am strong in that and I see it being reinforced by this guilt cycle.
7. Failing again - Been here a lot.

So, even with the anger this cycle can be very strong. It's been there all my life. It is losing some ground though, now that I am learning to accept myself (with my failures), to be nice for myself, to be clear on what I expect of myself (SMART goals for example), be more realistic, learn to laugh about some of my mistakes, get more organised (so I don't feel guilty about "potentially forgetting something very important"; I now know there's nothing to worry about) and so forth.

Recently I started meditating (not in an eastern spiritual way, just plain, down-to-earth sitting in a quiet place and relaxing (I use a website called calm, google "enjoy a moment of calm", then it's the first hit, if you're interested). It helps me to become more conscious of my thoughts and feelings, to accept them and even to control them. I think this is really helpful.
LOL, oh man, I really had an ADD moment when posting this thread because I didn't really read through the 7 year old thread carefully to remind myself that the issue of "resentment" was already mentioned (and in it's proper order of events). Silly me, but that's okay because I see we're all on the same page now.

I see that the older thread come up with the same conclusions before I even did and I didn't even notice, haha.

Perhaps the only idea I've really contributed to the "guilt spiral" is that it ruins good personal relationships or reinforces bad ones.

I guess the real sum of what I'm saying is, "internalizing shame ruins relationships". Well that doesn't surprise me, but I never really thought about where it comes from.
If I had thought of this before, that would've been a good thread title... oh well, I guess when this thread gets old and someone finds this post, then someone else can make that thread. :P

Another side note, I think guilt and shame are two different things.
Guilt is like getting cut while walking through thorns, but shame is the infection that prevents you from getting better.
Healthy relationships provide the antidote to prevent the guilt from infecting us.

Last edited by SpaceBaby; 10-23-13 at 09:52 AM..
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Old 10-23-13, 10:08 AM
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

Tools, tools, tools.

This thread is one that goes right to the core of my inhibition.

Despite small yet progressive periods of "development" in this area, I seem to return to this theme. Yeah, I know, it's 30 years of self blame and percieved inadequacy yet of all the things I improve on then vanish this is the one i'm most dissapointed more hasn't stuck.

My point? The true solution is not so much the realisation but the day to day counter balancing tools that break the thoughts, build the positive / realistic self perception are so critical.
  • -Daily morning mantra's - "I am valuable. The only person who has the right to judge my performance is me, I am able to acheive small wins every day" etc. etc. ( make up our own )
  • -Win WALL - Photos, snippets, sayings of all our most powerful mentors, wins, attempts, expressions
  • -Walking into the lions den - Every single time you have an opportunity to rationalise or challenge a perception, grab it with both hands and step forward in mindful openess knowing that reality is never exactly what you perceive
  • -Rewards - Nobody else is gonna come and pop a champagne bottle when you clean your room but you know what... You better reward yourself, even if you just sit for 2 minutes breathing deeply telling yourself how amazing it is that you applied yourself.
  • -Paper and pen - Write your thoughts, create distance from your perceptions and emotions, try not to let them be the foremost action initiator.
  • -More tools

The difference between a mumbo jumbo motivational speaker and true outlook change is embracing negative thoughts...... Disempowering them by distance ( clarity ) and action that aligns with your core values.

How does a child nurture themselves? They cannot. Yet, with appropriate mechanisms, self appreciation and resilience this child is now in a healthy place. So, nurture is less necessary.
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Old 10-23-13, 10:29 AM
kilted_scotsman kilted_scotsman is offline
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Re: Resentment issues and the "guilt spiral"

For me the diagnosis... later in life was cathartic... and the catalyst to saying.... this is not my stuff.... I am a unique person and i don't have to take on board what others want me to do or think.... I can choose for myself.

I also think that feeling comes with age/maturity..... it's pretty tough for young people to be able to stand apart from others and choose their stance.... the peer pressure thing is that much higher.

Ok so the diagnosis was the start point... but it's still a work in progess.... definitely not got all the past conditioning sorted yet!

kilted
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