Do you believe you are responsible for causing others’ anger, hurt, sadness or anxiety? Is this causing you to feel guilty?
“My wife is so upset that I have to travel more on my new job,” Chuck told me in our phone counseling session. “She feels so alone and lost when I’m gone. When I talk with her she is either crying or angry. I feel so badly and guilty but I don’t know what to do.”
“Do you feel responsible for her feelings?” I asked him. “Do you feel that you are the cause of her feelings?”
* * * * *
“I’m just starting to date again after my divorce and I’m having a hard time with it,” Jeanette told me. “I just don’t know how to let a man know that I’m not interested in dating him any more, or in pursuing a sexual relationship with him. It feels like such a sticky situation.”
“Is it sticky because you are worried about his feelings?”
“Yes. The last man I dated hung his head and looked so distressed when I asked him to leave. I know that he was really attracted to me and I wasn’t at all attracted to him. I felt so awful that he was so hurt.”
“Did you feel responsible for his feelings?”