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I don’t know the origin of my problem and I don’t fully understand it. I always feel guilty. When I see someone suffering, I keep thinking that it should be me that is suffering and not them. I feel so guilty that I am living a normal life while others are suffering. And because of that guilt, I beat myself up. As I beat myself up, I am always apologizing to those who are suffering. I hate myself and I thought that I should be punished and should suffer. Can you please tell me the reason behind this?


Answered by on -


While the exact activator for your reactions would be hard to know, it does sound like you have what is known as a “thinking trap.” There is a wonderful book called: The Resilience Factor that I would highly encourage you to get. It will help you dismantle the automatic thought processes that you have in reaction to other people suffering.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral


Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Guilty. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 22, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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