2 Types of Guilt & How To Deal With Each of Them

Recently, I experienced an interesting scenario where someone I hadn’t spoken to in a long time told me something she had been through in an effort to make me feel extremely guilty for not being there for her in that hard time (my later determination of the motive of the convo).

To be clear, we were simply not connected during that time. Mostly, for personal reasons of mine.

Without revealing the personal details, I did feel awful she had to endure this in her life, and that I wasn’t there to lend support.

I’m an empath, so my natural inclination was to take on an extreme amount of guilt for us not being connected during that time when I learned of the event.


It got me to thinking about that particular situation and why I was being made to feel so guilty for not being around.

Furthermore, did I WANT to feel guilty? Or was it appropriate to? I started asking internal questions.

This particular situation should’ve called for spousal support, not me to be there or contacted anyway. In my opinion, that actually wasn’t appropriate. The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me that it was even brought up.

I’m very discerning with people’s motives and I have a keen sense for motives in communication.

While I remain feeling awful she had to experience this time in her life, I realized that this particular detail shared around it was unnecessary and therefore, was shared with the purpose to project guilt onto me for not being there.

Guilt I do not choose to carry or feel. So I promptly laid it down & remembered why I keep this person at a distance and have for several years.

I’m sharing this with you because I know this happens all the time - especially with women.

Sometimes, in an effort to punish you for not being connected during a certain time, guilt can be projected onto you in a like effort to redeem the absence.

“I don’t think you feel bad enough for not being around - let me tell you an irrelevant detail that will make you feel worse about not being there for me.”

THAT kind of energy.

There’s a difference between letting someone know something happened to you and sharing details around it designed to invoke guilt upon you. They’re 2 very different motives, and it’s up to your discernment & better judgement to know which one is happening.

So with that said, there are 2 types of guilt:

Self-Inflicted Guilt & Projected Guilt

Self-Inflicted Guilt

This type of guilt is probably harder to get rid of, because it’s coming from you. I recorded an entire podcast on it here in Episode 12 for that reason.

This is guilt after a trauma, tragedy, or event that you inflict on yourself. No one is making you feel guilty or even suggesting there’s more or less you should’ve done - you just feel it internally.

Guilt is often a result of the wrong line of questioning. “Why couldn’t I….?” “Why didn’t I……?” “Why didn’t she………?”

In an effort to punish YOURSELF for something that happened, you take to beating yourself up internally in the form of guilt to ensure you are punished in prompt form. “No one else is going to punish me for this - I must punish myself.” It’s all very subconscious. The self-saboteur shows up in its highest form.

This is not only damaging over the long-term, but it’s the worst kind of guilt to feel.

On a deeper level, it reveals an overwhelming sense of inadequacy in the situation that is most likely misplaced. YOU’RE not inadequate. The SITUATION was inadequate.

However, your own mind convinces itself that this is deserved and therefore, makes it harder to actually get rid of or address - after all, you’ve already convinced yourself that you are the CAUSE of whatever happened or are responsible in some way.

ANY work we have to do to overcome our own mind is always soul and gut-wrenching work, so this type of guilt is damaging, both to a spiritual being & a physical one.

Projected Guilt

Then, there’s another kind. It’s the one I mentioned in the opening of this post. It’s the kind someone ELSE wants or needs you to feel in order to passively, yet aggressively inflict their own punishment on you for not being there for them.

And here’s what I have to say about that…

You DO NOT have to carry this.

Projected guilt is not your responsibility nor your opportunity for self-punishment.

Are you hearing me?

This is NOT yours to carry or deal with.

The root of projected guilt is based within the need of another to feel retribution on your behalf, since you’re not providing it to them in the way they feel is warranted.

“They wont’ atone for it, so let me atone for it FOR them by letting them know how they didn’t show up for me.”

The problem with that is it’s not their place to provide the atonement. It’s yours, should you choose to feel the guilt and make retribution for it. But only then.

Your work here then, is to identify what your TRUE emotions are about the subject and apply them using your values. (Step One)

Here’s what that looked like for me:

“Was I responsible just because I was listed on a piece of paper to be there for her during this time?”


“Isn’t she married, and wouldn’t it be her husband’s responsibility in such a difficult and PERSONAL situation to be there for her instead?”


THOSE are my truths.

So then……….no to that projected guilt. I do not accept your invitation.

We must learn this inquiry process for accepting, processing, & rejecting truths and projections that approach our energy space on the daily. This is how you retain or otherwise resist things coming into your sphere.

It’s a process I’ve learned that helps me only take on the emotions and energetic spaces I choose to, filtered through my value system.

As an empath, this is imperative to my well-being, but it is essential for anyone.

It’s very similar to the process that should be used to process feedback of any kind throughout our day as well.

I pray this is valuable to you, and let me know, if so. Guard what you let in…..

All my love,