General Question

wundayatta's avatar

Were there any times in your life when you felt really, really guilty?

Asked by wundayatta (58357 points ) January 23rd, 2009

What was it? What happened? Were you guilty because of something you did, or di you feel guilty about something outside of you?

I am feeling very guilty right now because I’m being paid a lot of money to do nothing at a time when our budget is undergoing a five percent cut. Part of the reason I’m doing nothing is that there isn’t much to do, and part of it is that I have been sick. But part, I feel, is because I’m not being proactive at all. I sit here and fluther all day. And while I think I add something to fluther, I don’t think it’s really what I should be doing.

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37 Answers

flameboi's avatar

I once bought $2000 worth of clothing, I felt ghuilty as soon as I step out of store :s

elijah's avatar

I feel guilty about things all the time, things that I should feel guilty about, but also things that I have no reason to feel guilty about. I think it’s because I am such an emotional person and am always worried about other peoples feelings.

Sloane2024's avatar

As a perfectionist, I spend majority of my time feeling guilty about something. It’s like I’m programmed to perpetually search my memory for things to regret. The most recent most impacting thing I’ve done to induce utter misery upon my conscience was dance with another guy while still in a very serious, but long distance, relationship. After I realized what had just happened, I left the dance immediately, running back to the dorms to call my bf and tell him what I’d just done. I cried for hours, even after he’d forgiven me…. This was in November, and I’m still completely ashamed of it…

Harp's avatar

I don’t think I’ve ever felt guiltier than the time gosh, I must have been around 11 years old when I got a new slingshot and was plinking around at things in the field behind our house. A mockingbird landed a few yards away from me, and I launched a pebble at it, fully expecting to miss it (as I had everything else I’d shot at). Instead, it crumpled and fell like a gray rag to the ground. I was frantic with guilt. I’d have given anything to undo what I had done.

Bluefreedom's avatar

I sometimes feel guilty when I’m at work, late at night, and I’m making contributions to Fluther on my work computer. The guilt doesn’t last very long though because Fluther is life and I need it to live. Yes, it’s that great here.

90s_kid's avatar

Yesterday, I got in serious trouble with a teacher and I was pissed off and talking back. I have this thing where I tend to never feel guilty, even in this situation. But I have moments where I do.

jessturtle23's avatar

Only every time my mother and I have a conversation.

augustlan's avatar

Getting a divorce made me feel guilty as hell. I have 3 children, and it was very difficult to break up their family unit :(

I do feel guilty about everything, though. Whether it’s my fault or not.

jonsblond's avatar

I feel guilty about the fact that I don’t spend enough time with my parents. They are in their mid 70s, live 5 miles away, yet I see them maybe once a month. I worry way too much. It runs in the family

SuperMouse's avatar

My original answer to this question was, “I was raised Catholic – enough said.” But I must agree with Augustlan, my divorce has caused a level of guilt I didn’t know I was capable of. I feel guilty for breaking up the family, I feel guilty for how the whole thing went down, I feel guilty for staying with him as long as I did, I feel guilty for wanting out, I feel guilty for ever marrying him in the first place…. I could go on and on.

Blondesjon's avatar

There was this one time…at Band Camp…

amanderveen's avatar

Once I felt soul-shatteringly guilty. I felt like I’d failed someone when they needed me most. I hadn’t, and I knew it, but I still felt like I somehow, magically should have been able to do more.

laureth's avatar

The Most Guilt would have been when I was young and stupid and cheated on a boyfriend I really loved. But at least I learned from it, not to do it again.

The rest is just a general background guilt for even existing that my mom did a very good job instilling in me at an early age.

augustlan's avatar

@laureth Lurve for ‘background guilt’.

jca's avatar

when i think about some pets that died, and i think what i might have done differently, that maybe they would not have died.

when i think about a guy i used to go out with, we went out for a long time, got along well, but it wasn’t going anywhere, and an ex came along and i started dating him, it really hurt the first guy and i feel very guilty about it.

onesecondregrets's avatar

Any time I hurt the people I love. That is the worst guilt I’ve ever felt.

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I have enough guilt (thanks to my strict Baptist upbringing) to make several psychiatrists very, very wealthy. To even begin to list the things I feel guilty about would take several days, and I really don’t feel like exposing that much of my psyche to you guys. I lurve my flutherite compatriots, but you don’t want to see my warts that badly.

tb1570's avatar

Yes. I remember one time when I was very little, maybe 5 or 6. My parents were divorced by this time and I was living w/ my mother and little brother in the top floor of a split-level duplex. During the holidays my mother used to hang all the cards we received from family& friends on the wall of the enclosed staircase leading up to our apt.. One day I asked my mother if I could help her hang the cards and she said yes, but only if I’d be very careful as this meant I would have to stand on the hand-rail going up the staircase and balance myself while I hung the cards (I was, after all, still a little fella myself). I told her I would be careful and ran off hurriedly, excited to be able to do a “grown-up” chore. Naturally my little brother, who was 2 or 3 at the time, came padding along after me, excited to watch big brother.

I remember everything so clearly from that moment: balancing on the hand rail, taping up card after card, talking w/ my brother who sat quietly watching me. I remember feeling very warm & happy. I even remember that the stairwell was filled w/ warm light as the shone through the windows on a cold but sunny Ohio winter afternoon, melting the icicles that hung from the windowsill outside. But what I remember most of all is my little brother sitting there, watching in a way that only small children can, when they have that look of complete love and adoration on their face. Do you know the look I’m talking about? I really only started to become aware of this look many years later when I began to hang out with my god-son a lot. Beginning at a very young age, children get this look, this look of complete love & trust & innocence & reverence and wonder on their faces when they watch their parents, or siblings, or even the older kids on the playground, doing something. I don’t really know how to explain this look, but if you’ve spent any time around children, and you’ve attained a certain level of emotional maturity, I think you know this look I’m talking about. It’s almost heartbreaking when you see it and you just want to sweep the child up and make sure nothing & no one ever hurts them. Well, now when I look back I recognize that it was this look my brother was giving me, and in fact gave my quite often as I was his older brother, but of course at the time I didn’t have the emotional complexity to recognize it.
So, as my brother sat there watching me, and we talked and shared this moment, I inevitably became a little careless, and soon lost my balance, fell off the hand-rail, down to the stairs and then went tumbling down the stairwell. I remember the horrified look on my brother’s face—he even had jumped up and tried to hold me on the hand-rail when he saw me beginning to lose my balance, but of course he was too small. So I went tumbling down the stairs,, bumpity-bump. When I finally came to a stop, I began to cry, but mostly out of fright, I wasn’t hurt seriously. I remember my brother standing there, terrified. My mother, of course, had heard all the commotion and was on the scene almost immediately. When she came running down the stairs shouting “Are you okay?? What happened??” a feeling of deep embarrassment and shame came over me for not being able to take care of myself as I had promised. She ran down the stairs to me and made sure I was OK, and then, without even thinking of it, without having any idea why, I pointed at my brother and said: “He pushed me!” Instantly my mother swooped him up by one arm and began paddling him the whole way up the stairs while my brother cried out “No I didn’t, no I didn’t!!” The instant I said it I knew it was wrong and wanted to take it back. I remember the look of complete confusion on my little brother’s face when I blamed him. And I can still picture him being dragged up the stairs, trying to protect his little butt w/ his one free hand (my mother rarely spanked us, and certainly never beat us, but I think sometimes raising two boys alone, working as a waitress & going to nursing school nights just brought her to her wits end—I also feel guilty about not being able to recognize this at a younger age, but that’s another story). And I can still hear him crying out.
This memory, of him watching me w/ that special look on his face, and talking to him and sharing this moment w/ him, and then me betraying him out of pride or shame or whatever you want to call it, and the look of utter hurt & confusion on his face, and the vivid memory of him being spanked b/c of me, to this very day it crushes my heart—even now, as I type this, I feel awful shame, and feel so bad for my little brother, almost to the point of tears, and I want to pick him up, as he was then, and tell him I’m sorry and I love him and I didn’t mean it, and I want to be able to go back and try to explain to myself, my young self, that I really should treat my brother better, and take care of him, and my mother better.

Just a few momments later, while my mother was still in our bedroom scolding my brother, I was able to pull myself together, pick myself up, dust myself off and walk, whimpering, up the stairs. When I finally got to the bedroom, my mother was just coming out the door and I could hear my brother crying inside. When she saw me she asked if I was OK and I said yes, but then began to cry even harder. I remember she hugged me and said “What’s wrong?” and it was then that I told her: “I lied. Matt didn’t push me, I fell.” And she said “What?? Are you serious? But I just spanked him!” and then I remember the look coming over her face—the look of guilt & anguish for having wrongly punished my one of her children. She asked me why I did it and I said I didn’t know and began crying even more. Then I said I was sorry and told her “you can spank me now, too, if you want to” And I remember the look on her face, the absolute look of pity & sorrow, as she said “No, Trev, I don’t want to spank you” and hugged me while I cried some more.

I don’t remember exactly what happened after that, but I’m pretty sure I had to go in to our bedroom & apologize to my brother. But whatever it was, it was not enough, b/c that memory still tears me up to this day, and if I ever have children of my own one day, as I hope to, this is one of the things I’m really gonna try to instill upon them—the love & reverence for their siblings.
(and yes, I’ve apologized to my brother since then. My brother, of course, says he doesn’t remember it, but this does nothing for my feelings of guilt…)

90s_kid's avatar

Well, I hate my brother, and as much as I wouldn’t of apologized, I would have. Good job for you.
Oh how breathtaking, lurve
By the way, how old are you?
You should not have said that he pushed you in the first place. Sorry, that is harsh because you were probably frustrated at the moment, but I wouldn’t’ve, regardless of if it were my brother or not.

tb1570's avatar

@90s_kid : thanks for reading, and thanks for your reply, but the answers to all your questions/concerns are in my post, if you read it again carefully. :)

wundayatta's avatar

@tb1570: how many times have you written this story? Very well told. Loved the suspense at the beginning about what was going to happen. I was afraid that the little brother would have tried to help, and fallen over the railing to his death. I was so relieved that the worst was falling down the stairs and the guilt was about a false accusation.

What have you done to fix your karma since then?

tb1570's avatar

@daloon : that’s the first time I’ve ever written about it. It happened when I was 5 or 6, more years ago than I care to admit…
The guilt was false accusation, yes, but more than that just hurting my young brother for no reason, and violating the complete trust he had in me.

90s_kid's avatar

@tb1570
I was putting it in my perspective though.
I read your post above, aswell.

wundayatta's avatar

@LouisianaGirl: You probably couldn’t have known it, but generally, when I ask questions that look like they want a yes or no answer, that’s not what I want. They are purely rhetorical in format, because it’s awkward to say “Can you tell me a detailed story about any time in your life when you felt really, really guilty?” To reiterate, what I’m really interested in is what happened, not whether it happened or not.

Just thought you’d want to know.

SeventhSense's avatar

@tb1570
You should run for public office. You’re a natural politician.

SeventhSense's avatar

@tb1570
You’re wife should spank you.

_Liz's avatar

once, yes

wundayatta's avatar

@_Liz: so? What happened? What was it about? Do tell. We won’t bite. (welcome to fluther)

lady4life's avatar

I feel guilty when I am in a bad mood and say nasty things to people that don’t deserve it..I always go back and apologize but the thing is..i should have thought it thru before I spoke

Lonestarwildman's avatar

When I had to put one of my two dogs to sleep

hungryhungryhortence's avatar

I once shot and killed a baby/small bunny with my B-B gun when I was a kid. My grandfather had brought it home to show me and then released it into a field not intending for me to go and hunt the poor thing down. He didn’t say a word against what I’d done but I could tell he was disappointed.

I fell in love and had four wonderful years with a man I left on a point of hurt pride and haven’t had a love like that since.

A few years back, my ex husband loaned me $5k to put towards a down payment on a car I had ordered and didn’t have the whole amount when the car arrived to the states earlier than expected; I haven’t been able to pay him back yet.

Yetanotheruser's avatar

One Sunday morning in ‘77 I was walking through the otherwise deserted streets of the small Midwestern town where I was living. Suddenly the air was filled with the sound of a racing engine, screeching tires and a giant crash that echoed from building to building and seemed to reverberate for several minutes. I followed the sound to the site of the accident. I saw the skid marks, and they led up the embankment to the bridge, and when the road turned to meet the bridge, they crossed the lanes and led to a break in the wall. The car had launched into the river! I hurried up the embankment, and saw it! The car was floating upside down in the river, about 45 feet from the levee. There were a lot of beer cans floating as well. The river was deep, and O could not reach the car without endangering myself. By that time, it seemed that called the accident in, because I heard the sirens of the police and the fire/rescue team. I knew they would get there with the proper equipment before I could do anything like swim out to the car and endanger myself, so I went on my way, and didn’t even stay to watch

The next day I heard that one of the occupants was a high school friend of mine. I knew the family, and had even taken his sister to the senior prom ten years earlier. I didn’t go to the wake, but I went to the funeral.

Although I have since come to grips with the incident, I felt guilty for a long time about not doing something more, and kept second-guessing my decision to wait for the paramedics to arrive.

shpadoinkle_sue's avatar

I was at a Dollar Store one night and it was raining kind hard. I had a woman in front of me in line and she was telling the cashier that she need to double bag stuff cause she had to walk home. I still feel a bit guilty that I should have offered her a ride home. It’s a fairly small town and wouldn’t have been a problem.

mYcHeMiCaLrOmAnCe's avatar

I feel guilty all the time. and I think it happens because I often do things that I’m not supposed to do, I lie for no reason, and I really hate myself.

and the last time I felt really guilty about something important, was when I used a friend of mine. I’m a bad person, I know it. but I’m not bad with everyone.

Koreblack's avatar

I was guilty once and will be for entire life. It was when I broke up with my girl friend. She was so materialist and I just couldn’t afford that.

But the guilty part is that the way she broke up. Instead of saying what the real thing was in her heart, she portrayed me as I am harassing her by forwarding all my messages to her father and other friends and family member. That made my feel guilty of myself.

Now i’ll stay lonely all my life :’(

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