*Why do we feel guilt when we haven’t done anything wrong? Does society, family, and religious institutions use guilt as a method to control their members? Is there a useful side to guilt? Share your thoughts and feelings on these matters.
This is yet another fitting prompt for me to write on. I have spent my life being guilty. I have accepted blame for everyone’s misery whether I had anything to do with it or not. I was groomed to accept the blame and grovel around in my guilt by my parents. It is really all I know. My husband got so tired of hearing me say “I’m sorry” for every little thing he has now started charging me a dollar for every time I say it. I am trying so hard to be aware of it but it flies out of my mouth before my brain kicks in. Needless to say he is a lot richer and I am a lot poorer. I could write a book on how I came to be this way but I won’t. Instead I want to focus on the role religion has played on my guilt as a woman and how much it has warped me and made me ashamed of who I was merely because my chromosomes say XX and not XY.
It started with my first husband. He was a “born again” Christian. For punishment his mother would make him copy the bible as a child. He had it memorized and because he was the king of manipulating the truth he could control my every move simply by pointing out his actions in the bible. It didn’t seem to matter to him that he was a raving alcoholic….which was my fault by the way….he knew what he was talking about. When I had my daughter I weighed 120 pounds at 9 months, I was 18 and I was in labor for 40 hours. I never took one thing for pain and while I fighting to bring a 9 pound baby in the world he was telling me this is what I deserved because of Eve and what she did to humanity. I was with this man for 10 years and I was about as messed up as one could be. My menstruation only was further proof that I was sullied and dirty.
There are many religions in the world that do not allow women to enter a house of worship if it is during their cycle. Or even during the rest of the month they should sit in a special place in the back. The Catholic church more or less wrote women out of the bible and if they were in it it was because it was to show how evil they were or they were virgins etc… I was told if there was only two people left on earth, a man and a woman, and God could only save one it would not be the woman he chose. During the dark ages and even now in some cultures if a woman was raped or duped into sex that resulted in a child it wasn’t the man that suffered….it was the woman. She was ostracized and the child was ridiculed as a bastard. When my dad worked overseas in a middle eastern country (I would rather not say which one) a woman was raped by 4 sailors. They were executed but not before the woman was stoned for bringing dishonor to her family and to God.
I grew up with a lot of guilt from many different sources but the one I could never reconcile was why God made me if he hated me so much and why did he hate me when I didn’t hate anyone?
When I went to college I began to have my eyes opened and even though I still have issues about the role of women in religion it is no longer God I am confused by. I was no longer naive or gullible. God didn’t write the bible….man did. In fact I have made it my life’s mission to study much about religion and I know God adores me. So why was man so threatened? They kept saying we were the weaker sex. If that is so why did they keep us down so much like we were the enemy? It seems man “doth protest too much”. Whenever I see someone using all their strength to bully someone I see it as fear. For what ever reason they kill or squash that they are most afraid of. What did man have to fear from woman so much? All the actions of man have contradicted what he has always said. They said woman was too stupid to understand the bible. If that is true than what harm would it have been for her to read it? Woman was too weak so man had to use his superior strength on her knowing she couldn’t fight back? But the number one tool they used on women was guilt. They told her it was her nature to be evil because look at the bible…it is right there with the story of Adam and Eve….in fact our entire bible starts with that story and sets the stage for all the rest. I wonder if the person that wrote that many many years ago knew how he had set the stage for the tearing down of women for eons? We will never know. What I do know is I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am a woman. I have strengths and abilities men do not. I have a nature that is soft and nurturing to raise children with and the body to bring them into this world. Man has the strength to hunt and defend his family and the personality to do it. It is as if man and woman are two parts of a perfect whole. Don’t you think that is what God intended? I feel like he(she) split himself/herself down the middle and made man and woman in HIS/HER image. That is what I think.
So guilt has been a huge tormentor in my life. Some of it was not my fault but I took it on and then there was times it absolutely was my fault because I knew what I was doing was wrong and against who I was but the one guilt I am still angry at was spending half my life being ashamed because I was born the wrong sex…something I had no control over. I was judged simply because I was a female, not because of something I did or said. There will always be a part of me that feels shame even though the logical part of me screams at me that I know better. Isn’t it time man accepts women and even women accept themselves as God does….unconditionally and with absolute love?
In the Mormon Church only men can hold the Priesthood and it is the husband that pulls his wife into Heaven (as if she couldn’t get there just fine on her own).
Women are seen as inferior in the Catholic Church. They are not allowed to be Priests and are not even allowed to say when or if they want children, being denied birth control or abortions.
Women may not be awarded divorce and if so will lose custody of the children, it is only rape if four men with great reputations say they saw the penetration, they must keep their hair covered all times to prove modesty, can only have one husband but a husband can have four wives, cannot enter a mosque while menstruating, legal age for a woman to marry is 9 and 14 for boys, and woman are worth half as much as a man…to name a few.
women and men do not sit together in the synagogue and women are not allowed to hold certain offices in their faith.
Christian Baptist….man is superior and if he had to chose between one or the other he would choose man
All Christian faiths except for the Gnostics believe that Christ never had relations with a woman. I disagree….I do not have the answers but there is sure a lot of evidence that Mary Magdalene and Christ were more than just friends.
I am not singling out any one religion…I think they all do it. It is much better now…hardly worth mentioning really and yet here I am still twisted up in knots over my guilt of being a woman and that God sees me as less. Man has used religion and the bible or his Holy Book since the beginning of time to prove why it is okay to treat her like she is worthless and that it is only for her own good. I personally have run from religion for this very reason. I have enough guilt to contend with and I have terrible self esteem issues…why on earth would I spend my Saturday or Sunday or whatever voluntarily subjecting myself to more?
I know this is a highly controversial post. I am not against religion per se. I love the faith one carries with them. I think that is the beautiful part about religion. I love when a church and its members reach out to help the downtrodden and hopeless. I think that is truly what it is all about….but it is the other that galls me. I do not believe anyone has the right to make ANYONE feel ashamed of who they are. In my experience it is the religions of man that have absolutely engulfed me in darkness and I truly do not know if I will ever be rid of it.
But I do believe in God if not organized religion and I would never belittle anyone’s faith….so why belittle me over my sex?