The Angst of Guilt!

Have you ever felt that sudden perplexing yet completely fathomable emotion sweeping you heartwards, going down to your stomach and traveling to your ears that go warm and then feeling your throat constrict? That sudden clenching of the jaw, the clenching of the palm and this sudden urge to lash out? Yup, been there done that right?

Before you nod your head or shrug your shoulders like, “so who doesn’t feel anger?” pause. Anger has many hues. The colour of anger born out of injustice is different from that when you’re frustrated, or when you’re trying to prove a point to someone stubborn, or when you feel jealous or from someone’s apathetic attitude. But when someone nonchalantly makes you feel like you’re wrong, and dips into the bowl of guilt hiding just under your skin, you yearn to scream. Every time.

So tell me: has it ever happened that you’ve answered emails promptly every time and then that someone who usually never bothers to respond let alone on time looks for an opportune moment and asks when you, on that odd occasion haven’t responded, about why you haven’t responded?? How do you feel? Guilty, angry, both? It gets my goat.

What about those times: when you’ve always made it a point to call people and wish them well before they embarked on a new journey in their life – an engagement, a baby, a new job, a new house, – and they never ever bother to actually keep you informed in the first place, because you’ve always heard it from someone else?

Or wait a minute: or that very thoughtful post that you posted on FB that got perhaps 10 Likes and 5 comments, versus someone who only posts pictures of some banal stuff in their lives and it gets about 110 Likes and 78 comments? How does that make you feel?

Or or or: you wonder how not to wear your heart on your sleeve and show your dislike and disgust towards really Ugh! people and their attitudes, who are just plain unlikable, and then you see other known people doing a marvellous job of sidling up to them and pretending that they’re the best people in the world? You do start to question your own attitude don’t you? Like, is there something I’m missing here? Somebody? Anybody? Please, tell me?

And hey remember that time: when you’re supposed to be invited to a very important but intimate family occasion, but all you get is a hand-me-down invitation from associated family members? And the ultimate groundswell of humiliation swallows you up when you learn that this very family actually deigned to bill and coo an invitation out to some other associated family members but couldn’t pick up the phone and call you? Wow! Talk about being shown your place! Or like some people I know would say, “really? oh don’t feel so bad, she/he’s like that only”. Yeah, right!

Yup, so these things happen in our lives as we live day-to-day. You may think why make such a brouhaha about it. But I can bet you that you’ve felt miserable about similar happenings in your life and have felt a minor (or major) twinge and let it pass. Because you’ve shaken your head and thought, “Ah, it’s okay. Why make such a big thing about it?” You’ve sometimes writhed in humiliation, hurt, pain, disappointment and that ugly little five-letter word called GUILT has bared its fangs and dug deep into your heart. Sheesh!

It can make you toss and turn as you wonder if it’s only you who feels hurt. You justify other people’s miserable behaviour, and even more jaw droppingly,how no one ever says a word. Hush is the sound that emanates from these hallowed hearts. And a smile that doesn’t reach their eyes, but hey, when the world gets by on theatre, what’s a little pretence eh? While Guilt continues to pierce deeper and deeper into your weak little poor heart.

“Is it me? Why don’t others say something? Am I just a funny person with a hyper sensitive psyche? Or maybe that really horrible person is not so horrible after all and everything I feel is a chimera? Maybe, maybe it’s time to look at my hurt and disappointment and anger in a different way? no no, wait, actually I’ve got to forgive myself and free myself from this chain of thoughts that keeps me imprisoned in my mind. Yeah right, everyone is good, everyone is pristine, you must really understand how they operate, maybe they didn’t really mean something even though their behaviour was obnoxious, because perhaps the rancid smell of stale relationships comes from your mind not theirs. As if you don’t put your nose up in the air and give people the cold shoulder. Why does it bother you so much? Oh look, they’re best buddies and how amaaaaazing they are no? How thoughtful, cheerful, fine specimens of humanity.” (And all you want to do is shout out loud, A-Hole! Bitch!)

On and on and on the carousel of the mind keeps turning, with angst and guilt following each other. While you twist and turn and gripe about it, these “people” who so expertly make you feel at once, guilty and angry go about their lives so surely, amassing adulation and confidence, empathy, sympathy, even admiration. Yuck!!!

“Hey, so can I treat you out to lunch because I’m a really nice person and genuinely think for and of other people and their sensitivities, and you, yes I know you never bother, you’re blinkered and you only call, talk, share when it’s convenient, or not at all, but yet, I’m asking you, would you like to go out for lunch today?” (Can I hear someone piping up and saying, how come you asked him and not me? And the spiral of angst ridden guilt or is it guilt ridden angst starts the slow churn.God, I need a break!)

From now on, I’m going to try and see if I can lead my life giving other people ulcers. Must be nice methinks to be a little callous, a little selfish, a little self-centred, a little blase, a little snooty and have people falling all over you no because you’re so “cool”? Because somehow the world wants you to believe that it’s all about being lovable and gracious and compassionate and sensitive and loving and forgiving. But sometimes, just sometimes you want to say, Bullshit! because these people are serenaded by the world, while you and I and the rest can end up licking our wounds in the hollow of our pillows, with our silent queries, ‘what did I do wrong?’ Go figure!

 

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