guilt trip


guilt – it’s really not about the donuts

A friend once told me that Jews and Catholics make the best comedians because they have the market cornered on guilt. Being raised Catholic, I have to agree. My mom was a pro and from what she told me, her mom was pretty good at it too.


My boys also know when the Catholic guilt trip is coming. They know they can’t win.


But guilt isn’t limited to one or two religious organizations. We all feel our fair share  of guilt whether it’s the inability to say no to a favor or the heavy feeling you drag around with you when you do. It’s draining. It’s hangs over you during the day and invades your sleep at night.


Just last night I woke up in a cold sweat, my heart pounding. I remember the dream and boy was it real. I’m sitting in a meeting. The speaker is someone I know and she’s having a hard time presenting her case. She suddenly asks the audience if anyone has Xanax to help her calm down. I do, I say ,as I dig frantically in my bag (Of course I do. Why wouldn’t I be carrying around an arsenal of pharmaceuticals in my purse?). But I can’t find it. I feel bad for her. I volunteer to run home and get her some ASAP.


My friend sitting next to me wants to come along and bring her 7-year-old. He wants ice cream. Can’t I stop on my way home to buy him some? Of course I can. And while were in the store, would I mind if she picked up some groceries? Why not?


Along the way we run into several people we know who want to talk. All I can think about is getting home to get the drugs. Finally I make it to my house and up pulls a van with some former neighbors who are so glad to see me. When I explain I’m just running in to get something out of the house for a friend, they are aghast. What? I don’t have time to talk to them?


At this point, I sit up straight in bed. My heart is pounding. I’m still thinking about the friend who needed me at the meeting. She must be wondering where the heck I am.


Now I’m wide awake and really do need that Xanax.


By 6 a.m. I drinking my first cup of coffee of the day.


Guilt. It will rob you of your sleep. It will pop into your head during the day. It is not a good feeling.


So how does one get rid of guilt? I’m not sure. Guilt does have a way of making you do the right thing. For example, if you RSVP yes for a party, you’d better go. Those people are counting on you for conversation and the price of a meal. If you volunteer for a job, you are expected to follow through or someone else will have to pick up your slack. And if you promise to help someone out, they need you.


There are some guidelines however. Learn how to say no. Realize your shortcomings with time and money. And be honest about it. It’s hard and it may hurt, but you don’t have to do everything. Heck, I’m feeling guilty just taking up my whole morning writing this because I’m sure there is something more useful I could be doing.


But if all else fails, become a comedian. You might just find there is a whole audience out there who feels the same way you do when it comes to guilt. Sometimes we just have to live with it.


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4 Responses to “guilt trip”

  1. Peggy Richan Says:

    yikes! that sounds like a rough night!

  2. Kimberle Says:

    A wise friend once told me that you have to share those terrible dreams, purge them I think were her exact words. Glad the friend took her own advise. You know it was me in that meeting needing that Xanax I hope. We actually lived it several times, lol!

    Still love to read what you write, please keep taking the time. Guilt or not!

  3. Susan Says:

    Liked it And you forgot to put in the guilt you still feel years later

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