Main content

    Guilt, Shame, and Negative Thinking Patterns

    Many trauma survivors are troubled by beliefs that they are guilty in some way. They feel guilty about what they did or did not do during and after the trauma or for surviving when others did not.

    Similar to the common negative thinking patterns we covered earlier, there are some thinking patterns that help explain these guilty feelings.

    Share those feelings without dwelling on them, and move on. Try to think positively about the future instead of beating yourself up about the past.

    Identifying Your Personal Negative Self-Talk

    Do you ever think that...
    The trauma happened because of something you did☐Yes ☐No
    You cannot trust yourself to do the right thing☐Yes ☐No
    You are a weak person☐Yes ☐No
    You are an angry person who could get out of control☐Yes ☐No
    You cannot deal with even the slightest upsets☐Yes ☐No
    You are always going to be miserable☐Yes ☐No
    People cannot be trusted ☐Yes ☐No
    You have to be on guard all the time☐Yes ☐No
    You feel dead inside☐Yes ☐No
    You can never know who will harm you☐Yes ☐No
    You have to be careful because you never know
    what will happen.
    ☐Yes ☐No
    You are inadequate☐Yes ☐No

    These are all examples of the negative self-talk. To correct this thinking, ask yourself if the statement in your head is true – really true? Is there any evidence for it, or it is just negative self-talk?

    In order to counter negative self-talk, visit our article on developing positive counter arguments.



    Written By: Teens participating in the Summer Wellness Programs
    Reviewed By: Nancy Brown, Ph.D.
    Last Reviewed: October 2013

    Back to top