If you’re feeling guilty and you don’t know what to do, we’ve got advice to help.

What is guilt?

Guilt is the feeling that people often have after saying or doing something they regret. It can lead to you feeling worried, unhappy, or even ashamed. Sometimes it can a small feeling, but there are times it can feel overwhelming.

Feeling guilty can be helpful sometimes, it can stop us doing things to hurt other people or make us think about our own behaviour. There can be times when people can make us feel guilty when we’ve not done anything wrong.

Whatever’s making you feel guilty it’s always okay to ask for help, and Childline’s here to help.

3 things you can do right now:

What to do if you feel guilty

Guilt can sometimes pass in time, but there are things you can do to help feel better.

Getting over guilt

Being made to feel guilty

There can be lots of reasons someone might say or do things to leave you feeling guilty. Being helped to see how our behaviours affect other people can be good sometimes, but it’s important to think about whether it’s actually fair.

It’s not okay of someone to “guilt trip” you, or make you feel like you owe them. If someone is making you feel like you have to do something out of guilt, then it’s important to think about what’s best for you.

If someone’s making you feel guilty, there are a few things you can do that might help:

  • Get a second opinion
    It’s good to ask someone else what they think about what’s happened, especially if you’re being asked to do something or made to feel like you owe someone. Try talking to an adult you trust, or speak to us.
  • Think about what’s actually happened
    Ask yourself whether what the other person is saying is true, whether you could have controlled what happened and whether it was a long time ago. It’s important to think about whether you’ve actually done anything wrong, or if it’s even your responsibility.
  • Listen and talk to the other person
    Take time to hear what the other person has said. Ask about how it’s made them feel without arguing or getting defensive.
  • Share how you’re feeling
    If it’s safe to, explain how you’re feeling about what they’re saying and anything that’s happened. What you want is always important, even if you’re feeling guilty.

If someone’s still trying to make you feel guilty when there’s nothing you can do or it’s not your fault, it’s important to get support.