Guilt is a form of social control. It is the way that people are kept in line and the way that society makes sure that people will fulfill their social obligations.
Guilt doesn’t lead to a feeling of satisfaction or to feelings of joy. The best you get is the absence of guilt.
The solution is not that simple since guilt is a built-in part of what it means to be a woman. One way to fight guilt is to pay attention to how it dominates your decisions. A good way for women to fight the damaging effects of guilt is to talk with other women. However, it is important to choose the person with some thought and not to get advice from those women who themselves are overwhelmed with guilt, but from those who seem to have managed to get free.
We learn that these seemingly carefree souls are just as tormented as we are, but they have strategies for tricking guilt or for getting guilt to keep quiet.
Claire Rabin is the director of the Claire Rabin Institute for Couples Therapy