Letting Go Of Guilt & Shame With Hypnosis


Letting Go Of Guilt & Shame - Forgiveness & Learning


When people are stuck in a cycle of guilt and shame, they tend to approach life from a fearful place. This gets in the way of how you feel about you, it can affect the quality of your relationships, and it can also sabotage learning.


In this episode, you will learn:

  • How to escape guilt and shame.

  • New ways to view yourself, your behaviour and your relationships to others.

  • Attitudes that help you enjoy discovering new ways to learn and grow.

Kellie Smith is a Master Hypnotist Society trainer and hypnotist, and the Director of Winter Garden Hypnosis in Florida.


You can connect with Kellie at https://www.wintergardenhypnosis.com.


Robbie Spier Miller

Today I'm really excited to have this conversation with Kellie about how guilt and shame impacts our lives. What I've found through working with tons and tons of clients over the years and also with myself is that if we're caught up in a sense of guilt or shame it can affect our relationships. It affects how we feel about us and it also affects how we learn so our ability to handle life in a more useful way is really a powerful thing. So if anybody who's listening to this struggles with guilt or shame or you know people who do I hope that this is helpful for you and before we start just to clarify that guilt usually is about something that we feel like we've done wrong and we feel like we've violated our own standards and a sense of shame is when we feel like we violated somebody else's standards and getting stuck in these feelings can really drag us down or keep us away from moving forward with our lives. So welcome Kellie I'm excited to explore this topic with you. Why don't you start by sharing a little bit about how you've grown through this yourself. In terms of your life like where have you noticed that maybe guilt or shame was playing a role and how did you change that for yourself.

Kellie Smith

Sure. Well I, like so many people, have or had but still have a little um, a very strong. Conscience that is a little bit overbearing. Um, when a person is brought up in their no fault of the parent. They probably didn't know any better but the parent is going. You're a bad person. Because you did this shame on you. How could you do this then it creates shame in the child versus showing them hey look at this behavior. It's not helpful to you because of this this behavior is Wrong. You're a good person. Your behavior is wrong and then it creates a distinction between your value and then your actions most of us really didn't have that because there's no parenting. You know, manual that anybody gets and I didn't grow up any different than what I just described.

Robbie Spier Miller

And I'll add to that if it's all right with you I Want to add to that that sometimes it's also the perception of the child because the parent might be giving that message but as a child you're so dependent on your parents for survival. So.

Kellie Smith

Um I have come a long way.

Robbie Spier Miller

Subconsciously your mind is wanting to make sure that your parents stick around. So if there's any sense and perception on the part of the child that they might lose their parents or things could change in a way that would affect them then they're more likely to get caught up in this. Even if the parents are handling it in ah in the way you're describing that is is healthy and Helpful. So I think it's very interesting. How children can come up with all kinds of perceptions that aren't necessarily there and sometimes the parents. You know our even well-meaning parents can they were brought up a certain way or they don't know any better Sometimes they really do the parents really do have problems or they're stuck in problems so it can be a whole range of different circumstances. So I think that. Point I'm trying to make is that the perception of the child about it is the most important thing here that determines how people feel.

Kellie Smith

Right? That's very true. It can be amplified in some people just no fault of the person saying the things but it's the hearer is hearing it really loudly or feeling it like a knife through the heart. Um, so that's and that's a good point as well. But you know if you're listening to this or watching this I do have a question for you. Did you grow up thinking that you were just a bad kid or you were a bad person I mean is that. The feeling inside because that could be that you amplified being instructed or taught about something or it could be that you were a victim of shaming and guilt either purposefully or not um. And so often in families shame is the only language a person knows to correct behavior. It's the only tool in the tool belt of the parenting. Um I was just talking to someone yesterday in the clinic and she said well I got a ah doozy you know. My dad is jewish and my mom is catholic so you know it's guilt central over here and so um, certain cultures or religions or even just the cult of family can be. Really shaming and have a lot of guilt associated just with the whole family It's kind of how the family gets along with one another they could out guilt each other you know it's like competition for it almost.

Robbie Spier Miller

Home. Right? It's a way of holding other people hostage to do what you want them to do so it really can be come something you use to control other people or control yourself in a way that's unhealthy.

Kellie Smith

Yes, and that's a great point because I did want to mention that that the tool of guilt and shame are tools. They're actually tools meant for a purpose to install a conscience in a child. Very young and once that conscience is installed it really shouldn't be used anymore. But it is used and it's used a lot.. It's even used when the child becomes an adult I mean if you're listening and you're an adult you may have. Had your adult parents try to make you feel guilty for things as an adult. Yes, yes, and it's really unfortunate because you don't get an actual relationship with one another.

Robbie Spier Miller

Um, it's very common. Yeah, ah.

Kellie Smith

All you have going back and forth is guilt and shame. It's very sad and um and then the only reason why you connect with 1 another is because you feel guilty for not doing it versus hey I'd really like to know what my mom and dad are up to or my sister my brother or. My aunts and uncles like to know how they're doing it just it's obligatory and then like you said you're you're controlled by it. Um, so if it was something that was used a lot in your house growing up. Then you become very vulnerable to being controlled by it and that can be a huge huge problem for you in relationships as an adult and how you manage your own personal life your goals your habits. When you're making changes inside of yourself. You have a whole concoction of guilty negative self-talk to try to correct try to correct or just avoid correcting it all because it just is all just too painful to face. Another approach.

Robbie Spier Miller

So even when people have done real things like you know broken the 10 commandments killed people or done really like truly bad things in the world. Most of us you know, do things like. Choose not to pick our parents up at the airport and are guilted for that or whatever but there are people who've done really you know things that really are awful things in life. It's useful for them to be able to heal up from the guilt and shame as well because anybody stuck in this. Even if they did something terrible is living in the past and they're they're feeling never good enough and an example of this is I once had a client who he had been in the canadian military and was in the he was over in. Somalia when they had the the genocide there in the 90 s I believe it was in the 90 s and so he and I don't know any details but I know he saw horrible things and did horrible things and claims that when he came back here. He was a hired gun like from the movies who knows right? if this was really true. But. But the bottom line that really was true for him is that he felt so terrible about the the terrible things he'd done that he didn't feel worthy of love he he was abusing his own body because of it. He was. With this woman who was a total angel and he knew it but he couldn't treat her well because he felt so horrible in himself. So when people get caught in this. It just creates more suffering and so we want to be able to grow through it even when people. Really have done terrible things which most of us have it most of us have done the everyday things so just have some perspective about that I think you know a lot of people feel like they can never live it down or that it makes them a bad person and so I think that's an important. Point to make for people.

Kellie Smith

Yeah, Absolutely if someone who has actually killed other people in battle and war where rules are different there right? can forgive themselves if they can feel deserving of being in the place they're at in a loving relationship Then. Shoot We. All should we all should feel that you know what I do have the right to be here in this wonderful place or I do have the right to chase being in a wonderful place I think that that holds a lot of people back I held me back for a long time.

Robbie Spier Miller

You.

Kellie Smith

Long time I wouldn't chase something amazing and magical I mean I would maybe visualize it from time to time and think Wow that'd be really neat Anyway, just go do my? Ah, just go do my life and. And because subconsciously I just didn't even believe that was possible because I didn't believe that was me it wasn't I was sitting there going I don't deserve that I just was like that's not me and then I learned it can be. It doesn't It's not about me.

Robbie Spier Miller

Right? and.

Kellie Smith

Expressing who I am in the moment. It's about what is that? What do I want and how do I need to feel in order to get it.

Robbie Spier Miller

Right? Yeah, and so the way I did this in my own life in the past was that I would get so focused on avoiding feeling guilty or ashamed and doing the activities that would keep me away from that. That I wasn't actually choosing what I wanted it was just avoidance of disappointing people or not being a bad person and so then you just end up running in a circle your whole life If you're stuck there.

Kellie Smith

Um, so um I want to talk about I wanted to talk about something if that's okay, um, when you're being manipulated by guilt.

Robbie Spier Miller

So talk a little bit.

Kellie Smith

Um, it's like if you were raised in this way that I'm talking about and you're vulnerable to guilt and shame you are easily manipulated by others easy and you're so vulnerable walking through the world because all you're doing. Is trying to tiptoe to try to not make a mistake and so forget about chasing what you want, you're just trying to avoid landmines everywhere. You're walking on egg shells and um, you know. Okay, so we're adding the I don't deserve this subconscious belief right? But then you're just like what I do deserve is to avoid the critical mind that would happen or the criticism from others that would happen if I should dare make a mistake and that is no way to live. No. Should be living like that because we all make mistakes the bigger broader acceptance of yourself is the real wisdom and then you know that? well. I mean just like and Nlp says there is no such thing as failure. There is only feedback you know the feedback that life gives you when you make a choice and if it doesn't work then you just change direction. There is no such thing as a mistake there are only outcomes that we learn from the outcomes of what our actions.

Kellie Smith

Yes, yes, you become very vulnerable as a person to be used by guilt and shame and then everywhere in your life. You're tiptoeing around trying to avoid the landmines trying to avoid mistakes trying not to hurt anybody trying to not be at fault. Um, and then it's just there's no possibility for you to grow into what you need to do because your mind is so fixated on trying to not be wrong all the time and so if you can accept the premise that and nlp teaches which is there is no such thing as failure. There is only feedback so you're looking at life and the feedback that life gives you and sometimes feedback if it's from a good intentioned person and you can go. Okay, well this feedback. Um you know life. Would look better this way cool and you have this attitude of yeah I'm learning something new, not shame. Why didn't I know it or there's no such thing as a mistake there are only outcomes the outcomes in life that happen from our choices. And if we don't get the outcome we Wanted. We can just make a new choice but skipping right over that part of feeling bad about yourself because it actually has never helped you to get your goal have you noticed every time you let's say you know a common. Thing that we do obviously in the clinic is weight Loss. So This comes up all the time people who beat themselves up because they had they went to a party and they had a few bites of cake and oh my gosh they beat themselves up and they think they failed and they come back into their session. They say oh you know I screwed everything up. Well. Um, then what happens is they feel defeated. They feel like they've lost everything they want to give up. They give up and then they never succeed So This is a cycle that people go through but when they're learning the skills of hypnosis and Lp and self-acceptance and not feeling shame and guilt then they just go. Oh. Ah, lookm that was an outcome that won't It doesn't get me where I want to go so tomorrow I won't have an cake and the next time I go to a party Maybe I'll just bring some fruit or you know, whatever This is just an example but.

Robbie Spier Miller

And and Kellie I'd like to add to that that sometimes we get feedback from people who are not well intentioned, but the feedback is actually useful so that that can happen as well or sometimes we believe they're not well intentioned and they are For example I had a weight loss. Client ones who did beautifully she lost a ton of weight she looked amazing. She looked like a model and she went to a wedding and everybody was like wow and giving her all these compliments and it was just too much for her. The pressure of that was too much for her. And she was reading into negative intentions of people like if they would give her a compliment she would feel like oh so I looked fat before and she'd get all insulted about it and they who knows they might have been good intention. They might not have been. But regardless for her to be able to learn from that and realize hey I have a fear of scrutiny and the way I used to interact with this was really unuseful. What would help my outcome and what would help her outcome is to feel confident celebrating how awesome she looks and keep going so. I think that's an important point to make because sometimes it's true that sometimes people aren't well in intentioned but we can still learn from what happened so people just throw everything away from what happened that they may miss out on some really useful lessons either from the feedback itself or from how they are relating to. Ah, feedback how they're interpreting it.

Kellie Smith

Yeah that's a good point. Very good point and um, if a person is giving you guilt and shame feedback. You can just assume they do not have the right intentions just assume that you can um. Maybe there's some something to learn from it because you can learn from a wrong intentioned person as well. Like you said, um, but let that be a red flag if someone is attempting to make you feel that way. Not good danger danger warning walk away look at the situation in in the total context see the intention behind that person and then you know take it or leave it because. That's never that's never something that ah 1 person should do to another unless they are a parent installing a conscience in a young child.

Robbie Spier Miller

So ah, 1 more thing to add to that is that if something like that is happening. You also want to stand back from it and look at it from an outside point of view and say is this other person trying to make me feel guilty or ashamed or am I doing that to myself. Because sometimes if we were raised that way. We're wearing those glasses of looking at everything through guilt and shame so somebody might be wanting to give us feedback and we're interpreting it that way because that's what we're used to.

Kellie Smith

Yes, very good point. Yes, we obviously you and I have different life experiences So we're bringing both points together that are right? So this is cool.

Robbie Spier Miller

Yeah, so 6

Robbie Spier Miller

Yeah, and I think that's really important so that whoever listens hopefully they can relate to 1 or the other or both of our experiences with us. Yeah, so how does the fear of shame impact. How people end up in denial.

Kellie Smith

Yes, yes.

Kellie Smith

Well, you know you? Um, if you're afraid of shame you ah do not want to ever be at fault ever ever ever. You know. In the new people making Virginia Satir she talks about the blamer placate computer distractor coping stances and in the blamer that subconscious benefit to blaming other people is to avoid being at fault. And so when you're doing that coping stance where you're not It's not my fault. It's not my fault. Um, you would not be able or willing to look at when you are doing something that's incorrect or needs to be corrected. So. You're in denial. You're dissociated. You're not paying attention. You just don't want to face it and you're not leveling so this is a bad cycle right? because shame denial. You walk around like a zombie. So. The mood to have instead of shame is the mood of discovery so when I was a kid and I grew up in Orlando and my parents would take me to the science center and I loved going to the science center they had this area where they had this like. Bulb with these electronic fingers that came out I don't know they're like electricity and you'd put your hand on it and it would all come to your hand and then you'd lift off and it would just disperse again now is so neat and they had this other thing where was like a ah circle of. Ah, soapy water with a hula hoop and you'd stand on the platform and they pull it up and you'd be surrounded by a bubble your whole body was surrounded by a bubble I just remember like being in such wonder and awe and discovery and learning what. Be amazing if when you were trying to learn something new or changing yourself or realizing you were stuck in an old habit. That's the mood you were in. You're in the Science Center discovering something so cool. That's going to help you in the future. That's a way better approach.

Robbie Spier Miller

For sure. Yeah, sounds like a lot more fun. Yeah, so when people start to learn this way. Talk a little bit about how people still have a conscience.

Kellie Smith

Isn't it.

Kellie Smith

He Yes, exactly.

Robbie Spier Miller

And and you know for example, my my mother was a pediatrician so as she loves kids and she spent her whole career working with kids and I remember her talking about how when kids are little they're like wild animals and we need to socialize them and so that this installing a conscience thing is part of that. And so when we grow up to be adults and we're as adults we're making our own choices and accepting responsibility for what happens? How do we have a conscience. How do we know where the you know where ah what direction our compass needs to point without using guilt and shame in that. Way.

Kellie Smith

That's an excellent question because I think that's one of the reasons why people hold onto it because they think oh my god well how am I going to have a north star. How am I going to know when I'm doing something right or wrong. Um, one of the things to be aware of is that you have to. Have empathy for other people and know when your actions are stepping on the freedom or rights of another person or hurting someone else. Um, and so that is what you have to consider. Ah, you know when you're making choices is this going to hurt someone else or not chances are if you have like a whole lot of guilt and shame you've got a conscience but there are people that don't have a conscience sociopaths psychopaths and. They literally don't feel that sense. They don't have they don't experience guilt or shame. They just don't feel it at all and it's fascinating because those of us who have it or have it a lot cannot even fathom what that's like but there are those people that don't have it. We're not talking about those people. But I do want to talk about them just for a second I just do want to mention that those types of people tend to attract the other type of person that can be easily manipulated by shame and guilt so watch out because you know those are the people that are going to take advantage of it. But. We're talking about just average ordinary people who do have a conscience trust that you have it trust that you know you have a sense of is this going to hurt somebody else. Can you feel what someone else is feel if somebody else is hurting. Let's say they're sad they're in grief. And they're talking about it or they're sharing that with you and you slow down and you connect with them and you feel their pain for a moment. It doesn't have to last with you all day. It could just be in that moment. You're sharing in that feeling. You know that's empathy. Um, if someone is physically hurt. Ah, you watch it on Tv or you see someone you know, stumble and hurt themselves and it's almost like you could feel it in your own body for a second and then it goes away so that's empathy and if you know if if you've got that then you know your boundaries. What to do and not do that would be safe to just be free to do or hold back from.

Robbie Spier Miller

Yeah, so as you're describing this. Um I'm I'm thinking of some examples in my own life where if I did something that was a perfectly normal thing to do because there was. Guilt and shame manipulations happening. It actually would hurt other people because they were trapped by that or they were trying to manipulate the situation that Way. So I think some people who get caught in this trap in their life. Especially if it's from their family of Origin. It's hard for them to see the difference between what would be. Ah, normal adult thing to do and a perfectly valid choice even if it hurts somebody else because the hurt that they're experiencing is something they're Creating. It's not something real right? does that make sense is it is. Are you following? What I'm saying here. I'm not sure if I'm making sense but okay, so um, so let's say let's let's take the example of let's say you grow up in a family where you're expected to go and pick people up and drop them off at the airport when they go on a tripp.

Kellie Smith

Explain more.

Kellie Smith

I.

Robbie Spier Miller

And if you don't then it like that's considered a sign of love and care and they did things for you So you should do things for them. Okay, it would fall into that category and if you say no, then the person might feel like they might feel bad.

Kellie Smith

Um, well then I'll go ahead.

Robbie Spier Miller

They might take it as a sign that you don't care. Okay, so so when we look at this type of situation. You know I think it's a valid adult decision to choose not to do something like that and yet within the the family situation that might. Seem like ah, a big deal. It could blow up into being a big family Drama. So I think that people who have that kind of culture in their family sometimes have a hard time seeing the difference between am I doing something That's actually genuinely hurting Somebody. Or are they hurting themselves because of what I'm doing because they're stuck in a framework that is hurting them.

Kellie Smith

If they're stuck in a framework that's hurting them. That's not your fault. It's not your fault. So what you're talking about is having boundaries New boundaries learning new boundaries with family or loved ones or friends.

Robbie Spier Miller