Posted by fxckfeelings on March 22, 2016Share This Post
It’s hard not to feel guilty when things go wrong, and guilty feelings may be particularly bad for just those who deserve them the least, i.e., those who are generally self-critical and insecure. If you’re someone who’s gone through a bad stretch and can’t help but feel bad and responsible for letting it happen, learn how to rely on specific information and common sense to figure out what you should really take responsibility for, if anything, and how to use your conclusions to fight a compulsive sense of having done something wrong. Instead of endless punishment, you deserve a fair assessment of the facts.
I often find myself on a streak of “wellbeing,” then out of nowhere I manage to fuck up whatever I had going for me, royally. Almost like I have a problem committing to something for too long. Just looking for some realistic advice as to why this may be. My goal is to figure out some realistic systems I could improvise to better cope with this dilemma.
Human minds are full of all kinds of contradictory logic, like the instincts that tell us the perfect time to stop doing something is when it’s working, or that the best way to fix a broken system is to put someone in charge who has no idea what he’s doing. In this case, it’s the urge to blindly blame yourself for everything bad that’s happened to you instead of admitting that you’re sometimes powerless to prevent bad luck.
This logic doesn’t just spring from a need to feel in control of one’s life, but from experiencing happiness as a form of normality; when good times are your luck-given norm, then bad times seem like something that wouldn’t have happened if only you had been smarter, better prepared, or more vigilant.
Of course, bad luck isn’t always to blame for those bad times, and under some circumstances, examining what went wrong and taking responsibility for doing better next time can help you discover mistakes that could be improved and corrected. Much of the time, however, whatever went wrong is beyond your control and an inquest sinks you into a rut of self-blame that is hard to get out of.
It’s entirely possible that your words describe the normal, negative, I-must-have-done-something wrong thinking that happens when your luck goes bad, especially because you don’t mention any specific actions or events that lead you to believe you fucked up. You seem to feel a general sense of self-blame, which, despite what your instincts tell you, is worse than a general acceptance of the fact that you aren’t generally in control of your fortunes, good or bad.
For your own sake, get specific and gather up detailed information about whatever went wrong, then ask a friend or therapist to help you figure out what, if anything, if you should have done better. Invite your advisors to figure out ways you could improve in the future, not ways to kick yourself over your past screw-ups. Credit yourself with identifying a problem and doing your best to do better.
If you keep thinking negative thoughts about failing but can’t really find anything specific that you did wrong, don’t think that self-analysis and self-criticism will make you better. Get cognitive therapy, if necessary, and learn how to fight negative thinking. Then you’ll learn how to appreciate what you’re doing right, no matter what wrong cues and conclusions your brain throws your way.
“I always seem to fuck up, but I won’t assume that I’m to blame until I examine the facts and apply reasonable judgment. Then I won’t waste time on self-blame and will do my best to improve.”
More advice from Dr. Lastname