All of us feel guilty from time to time. We do something that hurts someone, we feel bad about it and want to fix what we have done. Which is good. That is what keeps us in check. Without our consciousness, life would be bad. However people can manipulate our feelings to make us feel guilty for things that are not in our control.
I was taught, like most IFB children, that you are born sinners and are not worthy of the love of God. The Sunday school teachers would harp on the fact that our sins led to Jesus’ death. As a kid, I felt awful about this. Many times I would go home with an image of Jesus being beat to a bloody mess and killed because of the things I had done. The guilt I felt led to a lot of stress and anxiety. Many nights I would cry myself to sleep or beg God to forgive me for the things I had done. Which, literally, was sometimes leaving a dish in the sink.
There were times in the IFB that I was spanked for no reason really. My dad felt as though he had to prove to people that he was a tough guy. Feelings of guilt would come over me. I thought that it was my fault. I felt as though I had to submit to him more and learn to just shut up and do what he said when he said it. Over time I would lose my voice completely. I literally would just shut up and take whatever was dished out.
Another thing I felt guilt for was being sexually abused. I was told that there is always two sides to the story. My stepmom told me that I had led the man into that sin by the way I dressed. That resulted in more guilt and a breakdown. It was too much for me to think that I had caused someone to sin. It also hurt to think that I brought on the abuse myself.
I was never a good housekeeper. I hated it. Being put into a category. Women had to do the cleaning, cooking, and have babies. My dad would often tell guys that I liked that they should stay far away from me because I wasn’t ever going to make a good wife. That again caused me to feel guilty. I was a woman and I was supposed to be able to care for a husband and children one day. Also God wouldn’t be pleased because I was not a Proverbs 31 woman.
There are so many other things that I could mention that I felt guilty about in the IFB. Turns out all the things I felt guilty for were things that other people did. I was constantly taking on the burden of other people’s problems. What other people do though can not be put on me. It is not my fault that people chose to do stupid things with their life and it sure as hell isn’t my fault that Jesus died. That fucking happened 2,000 plus years ago!
So to fix it, I stopped blaming myself for other’s shortcomings. Now the only things I feel guilty about are the things I am responsible for. The problem with the leaders in the IFB is that they don’t want to take the consequences for their actions. They want someone else to bear that burden for them, but life doesn’t work that way. Each of us has to take responsibility. I am not going to be put through guilt anymore for the things that people have done to me. That is on them.