Psychological insights on relationships: rejections, breakups, making relationships happy, unhealthy dynamics, and general psychology.

Why You Feel Guilty About the Breakup

If you feel guilty about the breakup, it’s good to reconsider everything once again. This text, which is oriented towards personality psychology, can help you see the situation more realistically.

Couple breaking up

If you feel guilty about breaking up, it could be because:

1. You’ve been manipulated.

You are prone to feelings of guilt, and your ex-partner is adept at projecting feelings of guilt towards people.

2. You’ve manipulated yourself, or you are prone to feeling guilty.

Your ex-partner does not even have to participate in this; you do everything yourself. Your tendency to feel guilty is deeply rooted in you, and you, do not look at it critically.

3. You want to establish a sense of control.

This makes it easier for people to get through the difficult time right after a breakup. Also, it is very pleasing to the ego that it is not our fault. However, this is dangerous because it can get stuck in it permanently.

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Man feel guilty about the breakup

I find it most difficult when clients come to me convinced that they are to blame for their relationship’s breakdown.

Let’s be clear: Some of them are indeed to blame. They often come for consultations on how to repair their relationships. I often have cheaters, people who ignored their partners, or people who were aggressive towards them at consultations.

However, this blog post isn’t about such people; it’s intended for those who aren’t as guilty but have been manipulated (by another person or themselves) into thinking that the breakup of the relationship is their fault. You’re not alone in feeling this way, and there is a way out of this cycle of guilt.

Black woman feeling guilt after breakup

The point of this text is that if you get stuck in an incorrect or untrue view of your past relationship, you’ll never get out of it.

You can remain stuck for the rest of your life, not in love feelings towards that person but in guilt. It’s essential to hear the sentence “for the rest of your life” because if you find yourself in something like this or are prone to such things, you’re no longer objectively concerned with the kind of person you parted ways with, what your options are in life, or the good and bad sides of that breakup equally. You’re not even concerned with a philosophical view of the breakup.

Your exclusive focus is on the feeling of guilt that acts like a spiral, spinning you down. So, let’s start.

What kind of people can accept guilt uncritically:

Neurotics, guilt-prone individuals, highly responsible people, individuals who idealize their partners, those who seek control over the relationship, empathetic individuals, those who have suffered abuse (psychological, emotional, or physical), perfectionists, and highly moral individuals. There are other options for someone to fall into the category of those easily manipulated into feeling guilty, but these are some basic and relevant ones for this text.

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What kind of people can manipulate others into believing they are responsible for the relationship’s breakup.

Narcissists, victims, borderlines, psychopaths, manipulators, and people with a need for control. Then, very suggestive, aggressive (emotionally, psychologically, or physically), controlling, and some other profiles that aren’t important to mention for this text.

A beautiful woman

When two people from these two clusters come together, we get one person who feels guilty for the relationship’s breakup and one who handles it well.

Ironically, it’s apparent that the other person’s involvement isn’t even necessary to feel guilty about the breakup. If you belong to any of the above categories, you can initiate and conclude all of them without that person.

That’s why discussing your sense of guilt, where it comes from, and how you should understand the situation is essential in this case.

Clients who come to me after painful breakups usually spend their first conversations with me, contemplating their guilt.

These conversations usually sound like: I am _______; If only I hadn’t _______; I think I ________;

When I intervene, the conversations evolve into: Well, I understand that my partner did that, but then I ________; You don’t understand (me, Dee). I did this ________, etc.

The final evolution is: Okay, I accept, and he wasn’t entirely fair, but I _________; Maybe if I had just _________.

Attractive man sitting

From such conversations, we rarely move beyond eternal contemplation of where my clients went wrong and how their former partners perceived it.

The idea here is to help them feel less guilty and maybe find or hear a good idea to make amends with their partner for their mistakes. So, let’s talk a little about you.

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You tend to feel guilty

Any of the above options, which are severe triggers for feelings of guilt, stem from some previously wrongly learned belief.

For example, suppose you tend to feel guilty because someone convinced you throughout your life that you were responsible when you weren’t, and now you no longer have a true sense of where your responsibility begins and ends. In that case, you can easily fall into the trap of guilt.

If you are too responsible, and the other party convinces you that you did something irresponsible, you can still feel guilty. Excessive responsibility is learned sometimes in life. If you tend to idealize, you haven’t learned to see people rationally. The result (feeling guilty) is the same again.

Under whichever variant you fall, it was learned sometime in your life, and to successfully confront it, it is necessary to:

  1. Acknowledge it: Aha. I do this. I’m prone to _______.
  2. Then, notice it on the spot: Here, right now, I did that.
  3. Then, see when you feel guilty about that trait/tendency of yours.
  4. And finally, work on that tendency of yours.
Break up

The idea here is for that “creative” way of lifelong self-torture to start bothering and hurting you. If you resolve that tendency of yours, the guilt that is its product will disappear.

But let’s talk a little about the people on the other side (let me remind you once again of what I said: if you tend towards any of these behaviors, the other person often doesn’t even have to participate; they simply withdraw, and you do it all by yourself).

Someone is projecting guilt onto you:

There are two essential instances to mention:

  1. People pair up with others based on compatibility. The victim and the tyrant go together.
  2. People don’t want to be seen as wrong or guilty. And especially, they don’t want anyone to see that in them or, God forbid, point fingers at them.

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They do it deliberately:

If you recognize that you tend to feel guilty, you will probably have your match—someone who can trigger that feeling.

This is an unusual lesson, but the human psyche is a strange place where we are prone to all sorts of things. If we generally believe we are guilty of things, we might enjoy someone who doesn’t project guilt onto us, but they won’t be compatible with us because the feeling of guilt is our inclination. So, we need someone like a narcissist, for example, to do their part while we do ours afterward.

That’s why it’s not wrong to first consider whether your ex-partner imposed a sense of guilt on you. Perhaps you’ve noticed that people who impose feelings of guilt come from a range of psychopaths to victims, making them a bit harder to recognize.

Victims, for example, are experts at making people feel guilty around them. Here, I want to mention that the role of the victim is often overplayed. “I had to break up because I felt unappreciated next to you!”

Couple

Make it easier for yourself to recognize: If anyone accuses you of the breakup, you’re possibly dealing with a person from our other cluster (people prone to imposing feelings of guilt).

I must mention that neither this nor the other process I suggest is easy to carry out, but psychological counseling is inaccessible. If you tend to blame yourself, you will always find an angle to justify the other person and blame yourself. That’s why my suggestion is to incorporate as much common sense as possible, truthful events, consider your tendency to blame yourself, objectively analyze the other person and whether they exaggerated, consider all the inconsistencies you see—and finally, come to some truth.

This is best done with a counselor or psychotherapist, but you can try it yourself.

  • P.S. When you start down the path: Okay, I’ve covered all these angles but still think I’m guilty. Remember your tendency always to blame yourself. Just protect yourself.

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They just don’t want to be responsible

People don’t want to be responsible for breakups, and since the breakup happens, someone needs to be blamed. Why shouldn’t you be made to feel guilty? Or just mention that your ex-partner had to break up because you did something.

A beautiful woman is standing

“We have to break up because you never loved me enough.” (for example)

No one wants to be thought badly of. No one wants their weaknesses to be seen. Everyone wants them to be right and the other side to be wrong (if it’s the other way around, it’s a bad ego condition).

This need to maintain a good opinion of us is a matter of ego and social life. Because of this, it is expected that people will blame the other party for the things they do, and then themselves.
It even goes so far as to project what they did to the other side.

“You wanted to leave me all the time! I felt it.” Yeah right. You felt that because it was your feeling and thought. Not mine.

The paradox is, of course, that the person is now defending themself and feeling guilty for something he or she didn’t even do (but what the other party did).
Precisely for this topic, it is very convenient to mention the mechanism of projection (a very dangerous mechanism) where people very convincingly project what they do to others. The party to which it is projected (guilt, for example) accepts that guilt as its relevant behavior.

If you belong to any of those groups prone to uncritical thinking about your guilt, when someone blames you, you’ll do the rest of the work yourself by unquestioningly believing what is said or projected.

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And here it’s necessary:

  • Critical thinking: Did you emit what your ex-partner claims you did throughout your relationship?
  • Observation of that person – What do they want to protect or hide?

From this, you can derive beneficial insights into the truth. Because you realize you didn’t do something your ex-partner claims you did, doesn’t that say much about them? What do they want to hide? Is it possible they’re so hypocritical that they’ll let you wallow in guilt when you’re not guilty?

Or that you realize you feel a certain way, and they didn’t even claim anything. Doesn’t that say something important about you?

And finally, the third reason why you feel guilty:

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The attempt to establish control over the situation.

Attempts at control include the idea that if they are guilty, they can also fix the problem that arose, superstition (if I feel guilty, a higher power will resolve this situation); excessively assuming guilt, my partner will see my remorse, etc.

Handsome man working

People sometimes turn to this for some comfort in difficult times. And that’s okay, but you can get stuck in this too. It’s like starting to take sleeping pills to help yourself temporarily and then getting stuck with them.

If you tend towards this, after some time passes and your emotions become more manageable, please consider options that can really help you. Consider that person; consider your responsibility. Work on what you suspect you’re guilty of. Seek forgiveness from that person if you realize they share your guilt. Listen to their response.

For example, you might hear something new, like they’re no longer interested in a relationship with you. And then you realize that you’ve been focusing on the wrong things all along (instead of healing, you’re focusing on your guilt).

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This text falls within the domain of psychological counseling. I’m still determining how well I’ve conveyed my advice to you, but I hope that with a few readings, you’ll grasp the point and take valuable something for yourself.

If you manage to understand what you or your ex-partner are doing, you can change that or start looking at it differently. You can free yourself from feelings of guilt, but you can also move on from a relationship that may have ended long ago and give yourself a chance for a beautiful new relationship.

With Love. Dee.

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