Guilt Culture in South Asian Families.
This is such an impt aspect that impacts so many individuals growing up which leads to distress in interpersonal and intrapersonal relationships and mental health concerns which go unnoticed.
It isn’t always easy to understand what guilt is. In fact, guilt & shame are often confused with each other, though they’re distinct emotions. Guilt describes a sense of regret or responsibility that relates to actions taken.
People may feel guilt over things they actually did wrong, things they believe were their fault. Like every emotion has a purpose, Guilt also signals us when we may stray away from our values/beliefs. It nudges us to be mindful of our actions with genuine intentions.
However lot of people are manipulated using guilt to comply,fulfill others needs even though they would wish to otherwise.In our Culture we all are way too familiar with Guilt Trip whether in relation to our parents,in work environments,moral responsibilities.
Guilt Culture in our society is fairly common to the level that it make us doubt and question ourself rather than the fact that we as a society use guilt to promote socially appropriate behavior.
Anyone away from the norm is manipulated in believing they are not responsible, lack respect ,family values etc. Eg- Elder sibling who may not want to get married but told to think about the younger one in line.
This is so normalized in direct & indirect manners that we learnt to behave this way and when we realize it gets difficult to assert, draw boundaries, prioritize our needs and wishes.
Family, Culture, Religious belief, Society are the factors that are markers for acceptable behaviors in South Asian households. 'Log kya kahenge' is heard by each one of us at some pt. Moving out for a job is more acceptable than just moving out in South Asian household.
I have encountered many of my clients with similar cultural background carrying lifetime of guilt. Lot of women in their marriages as ,Sticking to traditional careers & not able to pursue their passions being few. Confronting guilt culture may not be easy and can be tricky.
Some pointers tht can help you to manage these feelings are-To identify wht are your boundaries & wht they can look like,Learning to communicate thm using 'I statements',To identify & understand wht gaslighting can look like.To obs how you feel about your choices.
It is possible to be stuck in these steps, or it may be difficult. If that is the case, seeking professional help from a therapist or counselor can be fruitful. Seeing a therapist will give you a space to explore and equip you with required tools.

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