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Ask Dr. Ed Wilfong Your Own Question
Dr. Ed Wilfong
Dr. Ed Wilfong, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 1528
Experience:  Twenty-five years treating all ages; Specialities: psychopharmacology & diagnosis, MMPI-2, testing.
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I deal with guilt and anxiety every day. If someone points

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I deal with guilt and anxiety every day. If someone points out a mistake, I panic because I shouldn't have made that mistake to begin with. If I receive constructive criticism, I feel horrible that I didn't do things better than expected the first time. I try to hide these feelings as best as possible, and instead come across as arrogant (or so I've been told). Then I get anxious, and upset, experiencing a fearful adrenaline rush that I'm a terrible person (I get jittery, cry, etc). I've successfully worked through a lot of social anxiety (large crowds used to make me panic, now I'm OK with them and will go to parties, although I still prefer intimate gatherings). But I just can't shake the pit-of-my-stomach feeling that everything I do is wrong and everyone around me knows that I'm a bad person. How do I get control of my guilty feelings?

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

It is hard to be perfect. Michael Jordan was best in world and only made shots less than 50%. I would like you to consider that guilt is usually the result of being hurt by someone has too high of expections of you; it get distorted to guild as anger from the resentment of the demands is less socially acceptable than anger. Think about it and let it sink in. Watch your reactions to see if it helps. Adjust your expectations to that of being human, where we all make errors and learn from them.


I know a lot of the sources of my anxiety are from my parents. I'm from a family of very high over-achievers (my brother is a world-renowned Applied Physicist, for example), and my Dad almost became abusive (he hit my sister a few times, but never hit me, although I was always scared he would). An A- on my report card may as well have been a C to my family.


What I'm not clear on - I try to tell myself that a mistake is OK, and focus on what I learned from it, but then I catch myself over-thinking and analyzing it to pieces in my head until I'm sick to my stomach over it. I'm trying to keep a journal right now, and focus only on the positives that come from making a mistake, but I'm not sure if this is a logical approach to stop the pattern.

Dr. Ed Wilfong :

Knowing where you got it is a start. So is journaling. I would really get a few counseling sessions. I once had a patient that was a star basketball player. He scored 37 points in championship. All is father said was "why did you miss that free-throw". Would you apply same standards and impose misery on your friends?

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