Guilt - A Hidden Persona?

cerebral palsy children with disabilities emotions guilt journaling mothers Aug 08, 2020

Feeling guilty is one of the most common emotions, yet we carry this weight around for years, sometimes without realising.

  • Do you have a nagging voice inside you questioning without fully knowing the answer? 
  • Do you struggle with this and attempt to justify it in your own mind?

I know from my own experience feeling guilty was as natural as waking up in the morning. It became habit and an automatic response. Can you relate to this?

The good news is the response you choose can be changed.

  1. Do you say why me?

Have you thought why me when things go wrong or why does this continually happen? Believe me you are not alone. You are a mum of a special needs child and the world as you once knew and had planned for suddenly changes and you are left blaming yourself. For many mums this is the most common question you ask yourself.

Why me brings with it feeling a victim and you are blaming yourself for doing something wrong. Here’s the truth though, you have nothing to blame yourself for, and recognising the sign is the first step to address this.

Notice when you are starting to internalise your emotions and hearing that nagging voice. Share what you are thinking/feeling and talk this through. This will help to move forward and letting go of blame.

  1. You feel bad asking for help (I feel embarrassed asking for help)

As mums we can all put our hands up to this, I know there have been times I’ve carried on and truthfully asking for help would have made things so much easier.

Asking for help does not mean you are not capable, it will allow you to focus on one or two things instead of taking on everything.

Think about the resources you have available to you right now and make a list of the people or items that can help. Asking for help can mean meeting up with a friend for a coffee and a chat - take care of self.

  1. You are comparing yourself to others

This is especially true of any mother, yet as mothers with disabled children carry this weight with us whatever age of the child. I remember taking my child to other children’s birthday parties and spending most of the time on the climbing frames in the play centre while down below envying all the other mums drinking cups of tea and chatting together. In fact what was really happening was my child was able to experience the climbing frame for herself - so what I was with her, it was a joy to watch her laugh and enjoy herself. I feel actually the other mums missed out on their children’s experience that day. To this day I am so grateful I shared in this experience with my child.

Focus on the things you are grateful for now by writing down 5 things daily in a journal.

  1. You shy away from me-time

Yes me-time. Time to spend on your own or with someone, away from your child. This can be an hour a week or 10 minutes a day. The important thing is this is ‘protected time’ just for you. Schedule in this time to make sure it becomes habit and not just a one-off. Do something you really enjoy.

Write down 10 things you personally enjoy and how you are going to start implementing at least 2 of these. Believe me you will feel so different.

  1. Are you glass half empty or half full?

Do you always focus on negatives and find problems? How do you think this has an impact on guilt? Well by focusing on problems and negativity you are reinforcing the feeling of not being okay. In fact there is always a solution to a problem. If you have failed at something, rather than look at this as failure, focus on the lessons learnt from the mistakes. Every mistake created is an opportunity to learn and grow.

Think of a situation where you thought negatively and write down solutions for that problem. I guarantee there will be more than one solution.

  1. You compromise on your needs

There are frequent times when you are meeting others needs yet put yourself last on the list. You are so focused on that hospital appointment making sure you are fully prepared or focused on that SENCO meeting at school, as you know this is your opportunity to put forward your views. Before you know it, you are exhausted and have no time for yourself.

Spend some time the night before thinking about the day ahead and schedule in one thing you will do for you. So when you look back on that one thing makes you feel content and happy. 

  1. You can’t let go

Do you have people in your life that are ‘toxic’? By this I mean they regularly moan and complain about everything and generally make you feel low. Being around toxic people will reinforce the feelings of guilt you have. Its so easy to get caught up and not realise you are absorbing other peoples dramas. Create a support network that ‘supports’ you and brings happiness to your life. I think you deserve this and don’t feel guilty for doing what’s best for you.

I hope my seven ways of how guilt can sabotage your life and my strategies to help you overcome these were helpful to you. 

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Sera xx

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