Guilt and Enabling: How It Traps You

Guilt and Enabling.

These two are hand-in-glove.

Here’s the scenario: The other person is being immature. Maybe they’re breaking their word. Perhaps they keep crossing a boundary. Maybe we just don’t want what they’re offering.

At any rate, we draw a boundary or say no to something. This wasn’t easy to do. Often, naturally, anxiety comes with this. It isn’t fun. We may feel good about our choice for a moment.

But then the guilt shows up.

The guilt is there because we are thinking of the pain they feel because of the consequence they earned by their behavior. Sometimes the guilt points to the other person’s issues. Maybe they’re a sensitive person and the consequence hurts for them in some way.

We’ve forgotten the pain that exists for us. We have pushed aside our own feelings. We’re not tuning into how we feel about the situation and what we need.

We may begin to think it is our job to fix their pain. Perhaps they’re lonely or sensitive. We may even think we MUST assist because they can’t do it for themselves.

All of this is the codependent programming kicking in to distract ourselves from our pain and try to change someone else so we don’t have to live with the discomfort that comes with other people feeling pain because of their actions and the consequence we put in place.

We may be scared of losing the benefits they provide (like how we feel about ourselves when they’re around). Maybe we feel deep shame for standing up for ourselves because “we’re not supposed to cause other people pain”.

Perhaps we think we were “too harsh” and are unsure about the appropriate nature of our choice. We may even fear what they think of us because we’ve not yet disconnected our worth from their approval.

Then comes the breach.

All this convinces us to breach our boundary. Doing this teaches the other person we don’t take ourselves seriously and that they can do whatever they want and we’ll come back.

This also causes us to abandon ourselves, our needs, and our feelings. We mistakenly think we being loving to them when in reality, we are enabling their behavior because we short-circuit the consequences. We rob ourselves of self-respect, too.

You see, the brain does a funny thing with respect. What we fight for, we tend to respect and value more. If we’re not fighting for and standing up for ourselves, we may question our own value. We may wonder why we don’t trust ourselves.

We must keep our word to ourselves FIRST.

We much choose ourselves FIRST and maintain that choice.

This comes from the courage to see ourselves as worth valuing despite the lack of value others show us.

You see, when we get deep into the Love Wound and begin to heal the impact of starving for love, we won’t feel shame for drawing boundaries. We will see that they earned the outcome because we were upfront about it and they still chose it.

We will let go of guilt and tune back into how we feel about how they treated us. We will be putting ourselves first in our thinking and consideration.

A lot of this can feel tricky because our programming has us looking for that validation in others. We don’t practice giving it to ourselves first. And when we do, it doesn’t feel as strong, powerful, or convincing.

This happens for several reasons

1) We don’t have an emotional association with self-praise and validation yet. 2) We don’t trust our own feedback 3) We fear it separates us more from others and isolates us (which isn’t surprising since choosing ourselves first often got us punished by withdrawing attention and love).

So, instead of feeling an uplift, often we feel a relapse of our deeper pain. This is the pain that must be healed through kind, gentle contact with it, guided infusions of love, and releases of the shame, guilt, fear, and fatigue that is there.

This shifts when we begin to let ourselves feel loved and valued without another person’s permission. It takes courage, persistence, and experimentation.

For me, it took about a year of fumbling in the dark to figure out how to make that happen. Nowadays it takes about a week if it is something really new to me.

Clients often begin to feel it within a month to two months. All because they’re shedding this old programming and beginning to sense and feel themselves emotionally.

If this is something you struggle with, you can be free of it. Joining me and others in HEAL and liberate yourself quickly! Learn more here: http://heal.freetheself.com/

Marshall Burtcher

Lives in Boise, Idaho. Father of 2 smart, beautiful children. Has a passion for the Alien movie series, movie scores, EDM, self-development, and ice cream. Tends to be found talking deep things with friends or out and about Downtown when not tinkering with Free The Self or coaching with clients.