I’ve heard it said that guilt is anger turned inward. I’ve read that guilt is caused by condemning yourself for being angry and inhibiting the natural expression of that anger.
I am one pissed off guy.
I am inordinately self-involved (would I be writing about myself all the time if I wasn’t?). Yet, my self-involvement seems selfish to me. I often feel I am not being mindful of the needs and wants of others. I am not fixing things, righting wrongs, solving problems.
Selfish, selfish. Guilty, guilty.
The lovely wife tells me I am delusional. Some things can’t fixed. Life is a messy business, she says. Many things are not and will never be fixable. And besides, she tells me, when you feel you have to make things better and you don’t really want to or can’t in less than two minutes, you get angry and make things worse.
This is correct.
And I feel guilty about it.
I want things to go smoothly. I want people to be happy. And it pisses me off, pisses me off at them, when they’re not, because yes, I do feel I have to do something about it and my wife is right; I don’t really want to.
The truth is I want things to fix themselves.
Guilt, guilt, guilt.
If I’m winning at tennis, miraculously playing well, I feel bad for the guy across the net. Maybe I should throw a game or two. Guilty.
When I see a homeless guy at a street corner, begging for money I feel bad for the guy and I wish he wasn’t there to remind me how lucky I am and how unlucky he is and how unfair the world is. Maybe I should throw him a buck or two. Out of guilt.
I am not the guy you’d want to be stranded on a desert island with or stuck in a foxhole with. I would complain you to death. I am not a leader. I am not a follower. I am Lear’s fool. I am the annoyed, aggrieved, sardonic presence off to the side saying it’s your problem, you deal with it. Just let me know when the party starts.
I don’t find this admirable. It makes me feel guilty.
I’ve read that guilt is narcissism. It’s all about you. You feeling guilty. Well… duh!
I don’t want to be a narcissist. Especially a guilty one.
I’ve read that guilt is thinking we are separate from God, and therefore, God has withdrawn His/Her love from us.
Oh, bullshit. Separate from Mom, maybe.
There is a dingbat on the dog path who tells me that all ailments, physical, emotional and psychological can be traced to misfortunes in past lives. Stomach problems are because you were tortured with a white hot poker. If you have asthma you were burned at the stake. If you’re afraid of dinosaurs, you were attacked and eaten by a pterodactyl in the middle of the night.
If you are a dingbat, you were a dingbat.
Having said that, I wonder if guilt isn’t on some level about loss. Something happened, something precious was taken or lost and you feel you could/should have prevented it. You tried but failed. Or you were overwhelmed by the circumstances and you didn’t try at all. Maybe it wasn’t your fault but regardless, you feel there is no one to blame but yourself.
Perhaps this is why I’m perpetually pissed off
I feel guilty that I’m perpetually pissed off.
And yet. Sometimes I come through.
Yesterday the lovely wife said to me – I could use a little help here.
Why, yes, my dear. Whatever can I do? It was a small trivial thing and I did it with grace and good cheer and she was pleased. And I was pleased that she was pleased. Because when others are pleased I am pleased.
That’s how I roll.
But then it occurred to me that because it had gone so well, she might ask me to do something again sometime.
I immediately felt put upon. I could feel the anger rising.
It made me feel guilty.
Men lead lives of quiet desperation.