When we feel guilty about something, it is so easy to beat ourselves up about it. Specifically tackling the parenting guilt, host Frederic Gobeil and Christy Whitman dive deep in discussing the true meaning of guilt and the factors that cause it. They talk about building the parent-child relationship and share stories on overcoming guilt in other kinds of relationships. Join Frederic and Christy as they further explain how guilt takes control of our lives and how we can handle it to create better relationships with others and with ourselves.
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The Parenting Guilt With Frederic Gobeil And Christy Whitman
We’re going to be talking about parenting guilt or specifically mom guilt. Even if you’re not a parent, this is for you too. There are two ways of experiencing guilt, when someone is trying to give you guilt. You might still have your mom, dad, in-laws and they try to give you guilt or there’s the internalization of your own inner guilt. That’s what we’re going to talk about. The two ways that guilt affects us in our relationship and how it can affect us in our couple. I want to talk about guilt in general. Guilt is an emotion that when you use it for what it’s supposed to be used for when you feel that whoosh of guilt. It is supposed to be used for if you have deliberately and intentionally done something to harm, hurt or take from somebody else.
It’s an emotion that we’re wired to feel, to let us know that we’re off our moral compass. If you deliberately talk behind someone’s back or if you deliberately want to hurt someone, the emotion that will be felt is guilt. Guilt is what we have come to understand. We feel. I know for a lot of times with mom guilt, they are at their career. They’re killing it at their career. When they’re not with the kids, they’re feeling guilty. When they’re with the kids, they feel like they’re not doing as much as they should in their business. It’s this constant, like, “I should be doing something different. I’m not doing what I should be or I’m not doing good enough or I should be doing something else.” It’s a feeling of that real emotion that’s happening is shame.
You’re shaming yourself into what you should be doing, what you have to do or what you ought to do and trying to be perfect. When I first became a mom, I had that mom guilt too because I was running a business from home, even though both my boys were home with me. I still feel guilty because they’re there with a nanny. At one point I had to say, “No, I’m doing what I’m doing as a coach and building my business.” When I’m there, I’m going to be fully present giving it all that I have. When I’m with my kids or with my husband, I’m going to be there present giving all what I have. When I’m with my kids, I’m not going to be thinking about what I should be doing in my business. When I’m with my business, I’m going to be thinking about what I should be doing with my kids because it’s a complete waste of life force energy to do that.Confidence is built by what you say to yourself, what you internalized choosing to beat yourself up or not. Click To Tweet
Don’t fall into the trap of wondering, “Am I doing enough? I didn’t do this or I didn’t pick up whatever I needed to pick up,” which leads you into shoulds and blaming and all that. Don’t fall into the trap of I didn’t do this and beating yourself up or give yourself guilt beatings for it. Go instead in the direction of. “I am doing enough. What I’m doing matters.”
“I’m a good mom. I’m a good father. I’m a great husband, a great wife.”
“Everybody who I’m with cares for me because I decided to take that time and to be with them for that amount of time.” Let’s be grateful that we are spending that amount of time together, even though it’s not a full day for example or the whole entire week.
As stated in one of the four agreements is always do your best. As long as you are staying connected to yourself and your being present, the difference is that when you’re feeling and experiencing within yourself shame and guilt, it’s a very low-level vibration. You’re going to be beating yourself up and you’re not going to be present. You’re so much better off by pushing the guilt aside and saying, “I have nothing to feel guilty about. I’m not doing this. I’m not trying to abandon my kids. I’m not trying to abandon my business. I’m not trying to take time away and to hurt my partner. I’ve got a full busy life. I’m not doing anything intentionally to hurt anybody. There is no need for me to beat myself up or shame myself or give myself guilt beatings.”
Push that aside and you’ll be able to be present. When you are with your kids, you’re not thinking about what you should do, you’ve got to be a better mom, I could do this in my business and you’re fully present with them, you’re going to feel it. They’re going to feel it. Your relationship is going to be so much more connected, so much more conscious. You’re going to enjoy each other more and they’re going to feel your presence there instead if you are off thinking of other things. We could certainly feel it when we’re a couple, in a relationship, like for Frederic, he’s not in his head and he’s not present with me. His body might be present with me. I might be even holding his hand.
He’s not fully there with me because he’s beating himself up or he’s thinking of something else, it’s not the same as when you’re with me and vice versa. If I’m thinking of other things or if I’m beating myself up. You have to remember that we’re always feeding all of our relationships, our family relationships with our kids, our in-laws, everybody, and especially in our couple. The energy that we bring to the table to that interaction will either expand it or contract it. It’s important to understand that guilt beatings and shame will only make the relationship deteriorate or not feel good.
Another way of also looking at it is being more self-confident in what you bring to others or to the table and knowing that as you work on yourself, confident, you’re good with what you are doing. Again, you are enough. At the same time, respect other people’s choices. If someone tells you, “I can’t come to the party now or to the party tomorrow,” that’s their option. That’s their choice. Let’s respect that choice. Not guilt them into, “How come you’re not coming to my party?” or something like that. Let’s respect each other’s choices. That’s all it is.
That’s the other part of it is not only in the internal feeling of, “I’m never enough.” Confidence is built by what you say to yourself, what you internalized choosing to beat yourself up or not. I’m choosing to look for what’s good and right about you. Instead of what’s bad and wrong, what you could, should or would be doing, that’s internal. There’s the external factor of guilt. For those of you that are Catholic and Italian will understand this when I say this, but I was raised with a very Catholic-Italian mom. The way she would try to manipulate or control was through guilt. It was like, “All I have done for you, you can’t even do this for me.”
It was very shaming. It was trying to get me to do what she wanted me to do. The mode of operation would be to guilt and to try to make me feel guilty. For years I bought into that. It is a way that my mom, that generation, because many of my friends were like, ‘”Did we have the same mom and they rotate houses?” They all try to do the same thing. I remember the day that I stood up to my mom. I’m like, “You have done a lot for me but this is what I have to do.” It’s like, “I can’t be guilted into doing what you want me to do.” We have to not accept that external guilt.
There’s a story that when Frederic and I were talking about this show. We were talking about when we first got together. We were together about almost a year. His birthday is in July. In the January timeframe, he had a business with two other business partners. In January, I thought about taking him on a trip, the two of us to St. Martin. I had like a Timeshare and be able to spend that week with him and the beautiful tropical destination would be amazing. I contacted his business partners, okayed it with them, they got back to me and said, “Yes, they’ll be fine.” A couple of days, I was going to tell him the night before I was going to pack his bag and the night before I was going to tell him tomorrow morning, “We’re getting on a plane and we’re going to St. Martin.”Everybody has their own threshold of what they're willing to receive. Click To Tweet
It was a couple of days before that he was talking about how busy his business was and that it was a busy time and that thing. I’m like, “Do I tell him? Now, he’s in a stress mode. I don’t know if he’s going to be able to get away from work.” I said, “I have something to tell you about your birthday. I have a gift. I should probably tell you now.” I did. He was like, “I can’t go away.” I was like, “Okay.” That was between us. It was a situation where it was like, “I can’t do that. I’m too busy. I can’t take a week off of work.” He was the sales guy. I dealt with that but then he brought his mom into the conversation and was telling her about the gift that I had given him. His mom started shaming him about me like, “Why would she have to compensate for her love like that and why would she give you such an elaborate big gift?” Trying to make him feel bad about me and that there’s something wrong with me. I even had a conversation with her. She was shaming me for giving him such an elaborate gift.
Everybody has their own threshold of what they’re willing to receive. For me, that was a big gift that nobody had ever given me such an amazing gift. I guilt myself instead of saying, “Thank you. That’s such a beautiful gift.” I decided not to receive it. I closed down and instead of being grateful, I looked at it as, “Why is she giving me such a great gift?” Sometimes we start getting the mind involved in these things and it’s okay. That’s the gift that she wanted to give me.
I’m a very generous person, but I’ve never had anybody shame me for my generosity before. I called my best girlfriend, Donna. I’m like, “He can’t go,” because she knew all about it. She’s like, “Let me call you back.” She calls me back about twenty minutes later and she goes, “I’ll meet you in St. Martin.” I went on a girls’ trip. What turned out to be an amazing girls’ trip with my girlfriend, Don. We had a great time. As a matter of fact, I went into the ocean. It was so blue, tropical and turquoise. It was amazing. I took my top off and I turned. I had her take a picture from the shoreline as I’m in the water saying, “Wish you were here.”
It’s my way of going, “Too bad you’re not here.” All this to say that guilt, whether you’re receiving it externally from someone else, we have a choice in, are we going to receive that? I starting to feel bad for myself. I started feeling guilty, “Maybe there’s something wrong with me. Why do I have to give such elaborate gifts?” No, there’s nothing wrong with me. I’m a very generous person. I love giving gifts like that. I love surprising and having people go, “Wow.” I’m like a television host that wants people have the reaction going, “Oh my God.” I’m a generous person. It’s a value that I have and a value that I appreciate about myself.
When someone is trying to shame me for that, I have a choice in that and saying, “No, that might be your threshold,” like Frederic was saying. That might be where your receiving ends but this is who I am. I’m generous. We can choose to take on that guilt and shame ourselves by what other people, “I’ve done so much for you. What have you done for me? After all, I’ve done for you,” and if you are in a couple and you have kids, please watch where you try to guilt your kids into doing something too. The kids take that as shame. When we are guilting someone, we bring it in shame. When we have shame in our bodies, our shame tanks get full. That’s when our kids try to escape.
They’re addicted to gaming and electronics. Some go out and try to do drugs or drink alcohol. A lot of the vices and things that I talk about in the Vice Freedom Program, you’re not feeling good inside of yourself. You’re shaming yourself. You’re beating yourself up. You want to escape yourself. You go drink coffee, eat sugar, smoke cigarettes, pot or whatever it is. You’re addicted to the TV or electronics or any of these other things to escape yourself. We have a choice in what we say to other people, the energy that we give out. We have a choice when other people are doing that to us. If someone’s playing the victim role and they’re wanting us to rescue and we’re not rescuing them, they try to guilt us into doing what they want us to do. We always have that choice.
Frederic and I have a new program coming out. It’s a 30-day video program that takes you from drama to love and teaches you how to stay out of the drama triangle and get into the circle of love. I’m excited for us to launch that, which is coming very shortly. We have a choice obviously in receiving that guilt and choosing something else. We also have a choice in how we are in the energy field that we’re in within ourselves internally. Guilt beatings can happen either externally or internally. The first thing we have to do is you have to be aware of it. You have to be aware that you’re doing it.
The more we are working with ourselves, the more that we are working with being more aware, more conscious and more deliberate in the communication style, the skills of communications that we have with one another, the more we’ll be able to perceive that guilt coming at us and notice it.
Understand if it’s coming from either external or if it’s coming from internal and that, remember, you do have a choice. You have a choice in how you do want to feel. It’s up to us to choose how we want to feel and what choices, how we’re going to communicate with boundaries. As a matter of fact, the next episode that we have, we’re going to talk to you about the three important steps to effective communication with your partner or anybody whether you’re running a business or your in-laws or your kids or your partner. Make sure to tune into that next time. Any last words on guilt?
I have no last words on guilt. I think guilt is enough. Let’s move on. We don’t want to stew in it.
Be aware we’re doing it and choose to do something else. Thank you so much for reading. We appreciate you.