Guilt And Its Consequences

January 30, 2012 by  
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What is guilt?

Webster defines it as “the fact or state of having committed an offense, or wrong against moral or penal law.”

Guilt is a consequence of us sometimes having done something that on the surface seems wrong.  It is also a consequence of others wanting us to feel responsible for a situation – rightfully or not.

Let’s think about the first type of guilt; the one which comes as a consequence of us actually having not acted properly.

Here’s an example: a friend of mine got a visit from an out of state and close friend of hers.

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Stop Being Manipulated

June 28, 2010 by  
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Many years ago I dated a very bright, good looking, neurologist.  In the very beginning he was the best boyfriend ever.  He called every day, carefully planned dates, and was very sweet but a month into the relationship things started to shift ever so slightly.  We would make plans to speak at 5pm but he would disappear until 8pm, leaving me to wonder if we were going to have dinner together or not.  He put me in a kayak in the ocean, for the first time in my life, and got upset when I couldn’t make it past the breaking waves.  Things continued to go south with the last drop being a trip we had planned to take together to NY which changed to include his daughter and turn me into the third wheel.  We were together between 4-5 months.

Looking back, it seems obvious to me that I had been manipulated.  I bought into “he is a neurologist and a nice guy he could never be perverse. There must be something wrong with me.”

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Controlling Anxiety

June 11, 2010 by  
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hos“Anxiety is a generalized mood condition that can often occur without an identifiable triggering stimulus. As such, it is distinguished from fear, which occurs in the presence of an observed threat. Additionally, fear is related to the specific behaviors of escape and avoidance, whereas anxiety is the result of threats that are perceived to be uncontrollable or unavoidable.”

I’m not going to discuss chronic anxiety as I’m not a doctor.  But anxiety that is a habitual response based on our psychological history which we with determination can come to diminish, interests me.

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Steps To Dealing With Guilt

June 10, 2010 by  
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un_love_smlWhat is guilt?

I previously have written about guilt (http://theloveprojectinc.com/?p=3173) but have recently have some additional thoughts on the subject so I have decided to write this post.  Let me start with  Wikipedia’s definition of guilt.

Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that they have violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation.

Live Strong (http://www.livestrong.com/article/14689-handling-guilt) says guilt is:

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Guilt, How To Indentify And Get Rid Of It.

May 27, 2010 by  
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love-sick1There are different types of guilt.  There is “healthy guilt” where we have done something wrong, we recognize having done something wrong and so we move to apology and fixing, if possible.  We learn from the experience and we move on without making our wrong action define who we are.

There is the bashing guilt and there is no reason for it as it is a completely useless feeling.

So what is this “bashing guilt”?  That’s when we feel we are bad people and only do awful things.  That’s when we talk to ourselves or about ourselves in ways we would never imagine talking about others.  It’s self-hatred and we feel we must punish ourselves.  So we become our own executioners by beating ourselves up with negative thoughts like: “Everything I do is wrong.  I am a loser, a reject”.  Now how could that be of service to our growth and well being?

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Lending A Hand

April 24, 2010 by  
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hands forming a heart

hands forming a heart

If we really want to help someone, we need to do it with compassion.  No one likes to be preached to, or feel they are being talked down.   So if we truly want to help, we put our egos aside and find a way to come from  love.

Today, when I walked into the bank two men were screaming at each other.  It turns out one of them had been rude to a teller and the other interceded.  But the way he did it was by loudly – and in front of everyone – let the rude man know how out of line he had been.  Of course the rude man responded by being even ruder and things escalated to the point that both men had to be escorted out.  The point is, if the well intentioned man really wanted to help, he should have walked to the rude man and talked to him nicely and privately.  The way it happened it seemed the well intentioned man was more interested in showing everyone how good he was.  Well, it backfired.

Giving and helping are meant to be selfless, and to be about the other person and not ourselves.  If our intention is to show how good or clever we are,  we are going to miss out on the real reward or our actions; to truly help without embarrassing, upsetting, or making the other feel guilty.

So before we jump to lend a hand, let’s ask ourselves if we really want to help or if we are just fishing for compliments.

It’s easy to make a buck.  It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.  ~Tom Brokaw

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A Beautiful Life

September 20, 2009 by  
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A Beautiful Life, a film I co-wrote and produced will be released on October 2nd.

The film deals with rape and Maggie’s (the lead character) belief that love and violence are one and the same.  I’m not going to give the plot away but the film ends on a hopeful note and that is the beauty of the story and that is why I spent so many years of my life trying to make this movie.

I’m often asked what attracted me to the material, as it was a play first.  Early on my response was: “It’s really compelling material.” But the truth is I have a lot in common with the lead character.

For one, I was sexually assaulted in 1994 when the US was the host of the World Cup.  I was attacked by a fellow Brazilian, an attorney, who was here with the Brazilian delegation.

This happened right after I moved to LA from NY and after my divorce from a very unhappy marriage.  Needless to say I was very fragile.

I was able to go to the police station and because the OJ, Nicole Simpson case had just happened, I was taken very seriously.  The man was arrested in his pajamas at the Beverly Hilton Hotel and the police took his passport away. 

His friends found my phone number and started calling me at all hours of the day pleading with me not to testify.  “He didn’t mean it.  You know how Brazilians are.  He has a one year old boy” his friends kept saying while my mind kept thinking: “Maybe I shouldn’t have been so nice, did I lead him on?  I did fight.  I did ask him to stop.”  What ended up happening during the assault is that I left my body.  It was like my spirit was hovering over me and watching from a distance the scene below. 

The police sent me to the Santa Monica rape crisis center.  I was there assigned to a therapist.  Their goal was to help me.

The man had appendicitis in jail and was taken to the hospital.  His friends kept calling me. The detectives kept calling me: “We’re counting on you to testify” they would say.  And I didn’t know what was up or down.

My Santa Monica therapist said to do what I wanted, do what I could.  What I wanted was to run.  What Maggie wanted was to run.

After a couple of months I told the detectives I couldn’t spend another year of my life getting phone calls and feeling guilty.  The detectives were angry at me.  They thought it would be an easy case but without my testimony they didn’t think they could get a conviction and decided to let him go.

I wished I had more time to calm down before having had to make the decision to testify or not.  Victims of sexual abuse are often so immersed in shame that the last thing we want is to be placed in a court of law and answer antagonistic questions from the defense attorneys. 

I wished the therapist that was assigned to me would have also helped me understand that by letting the guy go I might put other women in jeopardy.  I still hope his experience here was enough to put a stop to his actions.  But I don’t know.

Maggie and A Beautiful Life became my way out of my shame and paralyses.  By working on her words and her hope, I gave myself hope.   I turned my loss into something positive but I was lucky to be able to do that. 

There are so many of us, men and women, that have experienced what it is to be objectified; to count as much in the eyes of another as a table or chair. 

I don’t know what makes a rapist a rapist but I do know we need better tools to help the victims and to be able to put the criminal on trial without having to drag the victim through another humiliation.

A Beautiful Life is a tough movie.  It puts in the foreground the very real consequences of abuse including the rejection and the blame that we suffer even from people that love us.

Maybe the film is not everyone’s cup of tea but the subject it discusses should be everyone’s cup of tea as it happens more often than we care to know.   

But what I really have in common with Maggie is that I too want A Beautiful Life and like her, I won’t stop fighting for it no matter what life throws my way.

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