William Shakespeare, the most brilliant psychotherapist who never once treated a patient, described guilt (in Macbeth) as life’s fitful fever.
Anyone who has suffered pangs of guilt knows that the Bard nailed the essence of this psychic malignancy. Put it this way– A bout of malaria feels like a therapeutic shvitz in a steam room in comparison to washing your hands and screaming, “Out damned spot.”
But as bad as feeling guilty may be, not recognizing your guilt –and living a life chronically disrupted by it— is far worse in myriad ways.
What people don’t typically know about guilt is that it’s a double-whammy distress: You feel culpable for a wrong that is not known to people who should be apprised of it, yet when you contemplate an airing of your misdeeds a feeling of shame kicks in and blocks you from doing so.
Via Kenneth Mikkelsen