EnBooo Podcast

Episode 131 • Guilt

131-guilty

Guilt trip

Guilty by association

Weigh on someone's conscience

Come clean

Feel bad

Story

Susie: This was so fun! I love the pool here!

Mark: Man, if only I could have a house like this…
Susie: I know, right? I can’t believe we have to leave in a few hours.
Mark: So, wait? All you had to do in order to stay here was tell this lady you were going to watch her cat?
Susie: Yeah, she said she was going to be gone for a couple of days and she needed someone to stay here, feed the cat, you know, that kind of stuff.
Mark: Sweet!
Susie: Yeah, and she’s away a lot so if everything goes well, we get to do this a- Mark, is the glass door open or closed?
Mark: Uhm, it’s- It’s open. Do you want me to close it?
Susie: Of course! What if the cat gets out?
Mark: Fine, fine. Here. It’s closed. Where is the cat though?
Susie: Oh no. Simba? Simba. Come here, kitty. Oh my gosh, I think it got out.
Mark: Listen, it can’t be far.
Susie: Oh gosh. I don’t- It’s all my fault, Mark. I can’t believe it! I had one responsibility and I-
Mark: Okay, no. This is not the time for a guilt trip. We’re going to find it.
Susie: What do you care? It wasn’t your responsibility! I was the one in charge!
Mark: What are you talking about? It’s my fault too. I was here with you so I’m guilty by association. Okay, look under the couch. I’ve seen it there earlier.
Susie: No, there’s nothing here. I’m telling you, man. If we can’t find it, this thing is going to weigh on my conscience forever.
Mark: Okay, can you just be a little bit more optimistic for a second?
Susie: I can’t. I’m getting nauseous and- Is that- Is that the door? Oh my gosh. What is she doing here? She was supposed to get here tonight.
Mrs. Williams: Hello? I’m home! Oh, there you are Susie. Oh, you have company.
Susie: Hi, Mrs. Williams. Yes, this is my friend Mark. Mrs. Williams, before you say anything, I just need to come clean. I- I don’t even know where to begin. So the thing is that, earlier, Mark and I were in the pool and we got out and we got back in the house and the door was closed but it wasn’t really closed and I- I just thought-.
Mark: Mrs. Williams, what Susie is trying to say here is that we lost your cat.
Susie: I feel so bad, Mrs. Williams. You have no idea. I’m going to help you look for him. I’m going to stay here until I f-
Mrs. Williams: Susie, what are you talking about? Simba is right there.
Susie: What?
[Cat meowing]
Susie: Oh my gosh. Thank goodness!

Questions

All right, ready for some new expressions? I don't know how much oxygen I have left [laughs] in this little tent that I built for myself, so if I just stop talking all of a sudden, you know why. It's probably because I've ran out of oxygen.

Guilt trip

'This is not the time for a guilt trip.'

• If you’re on a guilt trip, does that mean the reason you are feeling guilty is usually reasonable or not?

Not really, when you are on a guilt trip that means that you're feeling too guilty, especially considering the situation, and you're very obsessive about how guilty you're feeling, so you might keep talking about it, or you might obsessively think about how guilty you feel and why, and all the bad things that you've done. That's just, it's not a fun trip, let's put it that way. Being on a guilt trip is no fun at all.

• When was the last time you were on a guilt trip?

I think I go on a guilt trip, pretty much every time that my boyfriend has to change his plans to accommodate mine or better, like say we want to spend some time together and he had something planned, and then he has to cancel something. Every time that he has to do something like that, I go on a guilt trip, and he's a lot busier than I am. He's got a lot more friends, he's got a very active social life, he plays lots of sports, and I'm the complete opposite, [laughs] I would say, so more often than not he's the one who needs to compromise and cancel one of these plans to spend time with me. I mean, to make just time for us as a couple. I know that that's how relationships work, and you're supposed to compromise, you're supposed to make sacrifices in order to be in a relationship. Otherwise, you can't be in a relationship, but that doesn't prevent me from feeling super guilty every time he has to cancel something.

Guilty by association

'I was here with you so I’m guilty by association.'

• If you’re guilty by association, are you guilty because you did something bad or not?

No. If you are guilty by association, that means that you didn't necessarily do anything bad.

• If you’re guilty by association, who did something bad?

If you say that you're guilty by association, that means that someone that you're with did something bad, so someone, I don't know, just say someone decides to tell a lie and you know about it, but you don't tell the truth, then you're guilty by association. Even though you didn't do anything just because you were there and you didn't do anything to stop this bad thing from happening, that makes you guilty by association.

• Have you ever been accused of being guilty by association?

I don't think so, it was mostly because if I wanted to do something bad and I'm especially referring to the time when I was a teenager, when I was a little bit more rebellious, I would just do it. If I was a little bit naughtier than I am now, well, much naughtier than I am now, there are some things that I look back to and I'm like, "Oh my gosh, why did I do that? That is so messed up," but it was always me. If I wanted to do something bad, I was the one doing it, and maybe some of my friends were guilty by association, but it wasn't the other way around so, no, I don't think I could have ever been considered guilty by association.

Weigh on your conscience

'If we can’t find it, this thing is going to weigh on my conscience forever.'

• If something weighs on your conscience, do you feel guilty about it now or not anymore?

Yes, if something is weighing on your conscience, you are feeling extremely guilty. There's a reason why you have the word "weigh" in this expression, it's because it does feel like a weight. It's like this pressure that you have, I don't know, on your chest or in your head, and you just feel so guilty and you can't let go.

• What feelings might you experience if something weighs on your conscience?

I think, well, I don't know, maybe it depends. I think definitely you might be feeling sad if something's weighing on your conscience. You might be obsessively thinking about that thing, you're feeling irritated, you're feeling frustrated, but mostly, yes, I think mostly there's a-- you would mostly feel sad and maybe disappointed in yourself for not doing the right thing.

• Is there something weighing on your conscience right now?

A lot of things, but I think right now my number one thing is that I'm not making enough time for the people that I love. It's something that makes me feel really bad and it's really weighing on my conscience, and especially the fact that I'm not really in touch with my nephew and my niece, my older sister's kids. That's something that just-- it really weighs on my conscience, because I don't know if you're familiar with this, but my sister and I are no longer talking, and it's hard for me to keep a relationship with my nephew and my niece when I don't talk to my sister, because it's weird, because I don't know what they think of me. I don't know, it's complicated and maybe I'm making it more complicated than it should be, but I often think about it and I'm like, "This is bad. I wish I had the courage and the strength to do something to have that relationship with my nephew and my niece again." Hopefully, it's going to happen sometimes soon because, like I said, it's really weighing on my conscience.

Come clean

'Mrs. Williams, before you say anything, I just need to come clean.'

• If you come clean, do you tell the truth or not?

Yes. If you come clean, that means that you've decided to tell the truth.

• How do you usually feel before coming clean? What about after?

If you've decided to come clean, that means that before-hand you were hiding something, you had a secret, or you had done something bad and you didn't want to share it, and then you decide to come clean and tell the truth. Well, obviously before coming clean, you're probably, if you do have a conscience and if you're not a psychopath, I guess you might be feeling very guilty, very sad, frustrated with yourself, and you might be thinking very negative things about yourself. Whereas after coming clean, after telling the truth especially after hiding something for a long time, I think you would definitely feel relief. You would feel relieved, you would feel so much better, I guess, lighter in a way, because a weight has been lifted off your shoulders, so it feels good to come clean. It's always scary, super scary, especially when it's a big thing that you're hiding, but I think you always feel better afterwards.

• When was the last time you decided to come clean?

Usually, I don't hide things from people. Well, I don't want to say, but it's like small things if that happens, it's not something that would really weigh on my conscience, but I remember this one time we were in Naples, and we were traveling so we were staying at an Airbnb like we did. Every week it was a different house, and I remember we were in this little apartment in Naples, or near Naples, I should say. There was a glass door, and I remember at this one time walking out onto the balcony, and then coming back in and shutting the door. Apparently, I did it with a bit too much strength, I guess, and there was a piece of metal that just broke, and so you couldn't close the door. The thing was that we were on the first floor, so obviously, we needed to-- that door, especially when you left, needed to be locked, because you didn't want people coming in and out of the house, and so I felt devastated, I felt so bad. Accidents happen. There was this one other time when we broke like a jar or something. When I say we, I mean, I broke [chuckles] a jar because I dropped it in another apartment. I'm very clumsy, so these things happen, but this one was a big thing and I was researching everything you could do to fix it. I was trying to estimate the costs and at the end of the day, I decided to come clean, meet the owner of the place. I sent him a text and I was so, so worried. I did not want to come clean, and then my boyfriend was just sort of like, "Stuff like this happens, don't worry about it." I sent him the text and he was okay about it. He wasn't thrilled, but who would be in this case? Anyway, I felt way better after I came clean.

Feel bad

'I feel so bad, Mrs. Williams.'

• If you’re feeling bad, what kind of feelings will you experience?

If you're feeling bad, you're going to feel guilt, a lot of guilt, definitely remorse. I guess sadness too.

• Is there a difference between feeling bad and feeling guilty?

I think this is really interesting because I never really stopped to think about the distinction between these two expressions, but there is actually a difference. I think it's a really interesting difference. Basically, when you say that you're feeling guilty, I feel like the focus is mostly on you, on how you are feeling. You might be doing a lot of reflection on how the action that you did, the bad thing that you did is making you feel, and what consequences that action is having on you and your person and your thoughts. Whereas when you say, "I feel bad," the focus, I feel like it's more on the other person. You're not so much concerned about what you are feeling, but more so on what the other person's feeling. On how your actions have affected someone else. If you, say, stepped on someone's toes, then you might be feeling guilty. You might be feeling like, "Oh, I wish I didn't do that. I'm a terrible person and this and that." I don't think you're a terrible person for stepping on someone's toes, by the way, but it's just an example. If you say, "I feel bad," that means that you're thinking about this other person's toes and you're thinking about how your stepping on their toes affected them. There is a slight difference and an important one if you ask me.

• When was the last time you felt bad? About what?

I actually think it was yesterday. My sister had invited me to a lunch with her in-laws. She sometimes goes there for lunch and she was going with her husband, her kids, and my mom was going as well. She invited me and I knew she wanted me to be there but I was feeling so tired. At first, I said yes and then I thought about it and I was like, "Okay, this is just not--" like, "If I go, I'm going to be miserable because I'm tired and I don't want to drive and all these things." I thought, "It's just best if I don't go," but I definitely felt bad because I knew that she would've liked it if I had gone, but it's okay. I also know that she doesn't take these things personally and that's what I love about her too. Yes, that was the last time that I felt bad.

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