A feeling of worthlessness or guilt is typically experienced by someone who is suffering from depression, although many people experience occasional feelings of guilt or worthlessness. It’s a simple sense that our own worth in this world is of little value in the moment, or that we feel responsible for another’s reaction or behavior. It may include unrealistic negative evaluations of one’s own worth or guilty preoccupations or ruminations over minor past failings.
A person who is feeling worthless or guilty often misinterpret trivial, day-to-day events as evidence of personal defects in themselves. They may also have an exaggerated sense of responsibility for events in other people’s lives as well. Some people who feel guilty might, for example, blame themselves for being sick, or for failing to meet a particular responsibility in their life.
For example, a real estate agent may become preoccupied with self-blame for failing to make sales even when the real estate market has collapsed and other real estate agents are equally unable to make sales.
Sometimes, a person who experiences these feelings of worthlessness or guilt may take them to delusion levels, such as blaming oneself for world poverty.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 27 Apr 2010