Guilt, anxiety, and fear

Autonomic reactivity

Autonomic reactivity is individual’s characteristic degree of emotional reactivity to stress. It is degree of emotional reactivity to stress that if increases may give rise to abnormal behaviour or condition. Autonomic motive states pave the way for guilt scrupulously or on the moral ground whether the fault is on the part of an individual or another person. The scrupulosity is the outcome of degree of emotional reactivity to stress. It is an abnormal condition, in which, a form of obsessive compulsive disorder involving nightmarish experiences or moral obsessions occurs. Scrupulous individuals are overly concerned with that something they thought or did might be a matter of conscience. They are careful to do nothing morally wrong or paying great attention to small points (esp of conscience). As autonomic function, a physiological process primarily under the control of the autonomic nervous system may manifest an unconscious activity into the subconscious mind of an individual unawares. One should take command of one’s thought, behaviour, or action or if otherwise it will take control of the individual to lead toward mistake or pathological condition. The individual may note whether the command is in accordance with the right or wrong decision.


Rule of the tongue

One of my clients, Mr.RSK had visited my place. He used to come frequently. In fact, he wanted some monetary help as his son was suffering from cancer in mumps. Three years back, the boy was operated in a lung for cancer tumour. Again, at that point no cancer growth is found but it was in the neck below both the ears. Mr. RSK was counselled about religious resources for speedy recovery of his son from disease and the guilt, anxiety, and fear. When probing was done he was found involved in two fraud cases unintentionally.He had accepted money from a farmer that was more than one million INR given at two visits as a token money for the purchase of agriculture land in advance six years back on the basis of rule of the tongue devoid of any proof. The farmer could not arrange rest of the money in a period of time (given) approximately three million INR to get the registry done in a government office. As a rule of the tongue the token money was forfeited. He had three more brothers to divide the money. On the same line now a group of 8-12 people (including Mr.RSK and his brothers) who were landowners and partners in land deal had taken some three million INR as token money that was also forfeited.

Scrupulosity or moral ground

Now the question arises,” Whether Mr. RSK was liable to pay the money back to the farmer on the basis of moral ground or scrupulous nature, in that, the root-stem of scrupulosity, the functional disorder that arises due in course to the thought, behavior or action and caused to evolve guilt, anxiety, and fear, lies.” Moreover, autonomic balance, the normal complementary interaction between the sympathetic and parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system in the regulation of bodily functions, occur independently and it is self-regulating. In addition, he was suffering from inferiority complex too. The inferiority complex proves that he is inferior in the sense of not returning the money. If he had a soft corner toward the farmer or been broad minded person in returning the token money he might have saved oneself from scrupulosity. Many people avoid accepting token money as forfeited amount and extend the dates for registry. It was a kind of greed.

Scrupulosity as given in wikipedia

Scrupulosity is a modern-day psychological problem. Several historical figures suffered from doubts of sin, and expressed their pains. One of them had written,”One would have to pass through this martyrdom to understand it well, and for me to express what I experienced for a year and a half would be impossible”. In scrupulosity, a person`s obsessions focus on moral or religious fears, such as the fear of being an evil person or the fear of retribution for sin. Exposure and response prevention (ERP), a form of behavior therapy, is widely used for obsessive-compulsive disorders in general and may be promising for scrupulosity in particular. ERP is based on the idea that deliberate repeated exposure to obsessional stimuli lessens anxiety, and that avoiding rituals lowers the urge to behave compulsively.

Image credit: Wikimedia commons.

Guilt, the outcome of one’s idea

Guilt is the emotional feeling associated with the realization that one has violated an important social, moral, or ethical regulation. According to the psychoanalysts, guilt need not be conscious, and some guilt may be imaginary, in the latter instance it is assumed that the imagined guilt is symbolic of real or repressed guilt. Kelly states, “The awareness that the individual`s core role no longer applies.” Core is a basic or vital construct that determines one’s identity and is highly resistant to change. In other words, a man of principles follows the rule of the heart. From Wikipedia,” Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person believes or realizes- accurately or not- that he or she has compromised his or her own standards of conduct or has violated a universal moral standard and bears significant responsibility for the violation. Guilt is closely related to the concept of remorse”.

Standards of conduct and remorse

Standards of conduct are values that control, direct, or manage one’s personal and professional growth. Standards, invariably, are moral/ethical values. Value is worth having a certain trait or quality for instance what somebody or something is worth ? Comport oneself with dignity. It is the administering of justice, an oath, a sacrament, relief, a remedy, or a punishment. Nevertheless, Worth is quantity of something of a specified value. It requires high degree of worth if something is inherited. On the contrary, standards of conduct are subjected to autonomic motive states enforced by unconscious activity, due to which, mismanagement, disorganization, disregard, ignorance, or neglect comes in behavior. Besides, remorse is deep, bitter regret for wrongdoing. It is compunction, the uneasiness of conscience, or feeling of regret for one’s action. Moreover, regret gives rise to feeling of sadness at the loss of something or of annoyance or disappointment because something has or has not been done. It needs a seperate post.

Moral or ethical principles

Guilt results because of feelings of culpability arising from behavior or desires contrary to one’s moral or ethical principles. It involves both self-devaluation and apprehension growing out of fears of punishment. A person who is blameworthy, or deserving punishment is a victim of feelings of culpability. How do these feelings of culpability arise in the mind of an individual depends upon the future research accomplished by neuroscientists but one thing is certain that those who follow moral or ethical principles sincerely may not suffer from guilt, anxiety, and fear as these are associated with the thought, behavior, or action relative to the culpability. Moral, concerning principles of right and wrong, is good and virtuous or what is right and just as regards to standards of behavior. The superego or introjected set of moral and ethical values, according to psychologists, are acquired from the parents. Morality, pertaining to laws or customs governing conduct because moral code, the accepted set of rules for the guidance of conduct in a given society, is found everywhere in somewhat less or more manners. Exceptions are everywhere.

Anxiety disorder

Anxiety occurred in subsequence of generalized feelings of fear and apprehension is an attack, an acute episode of intense anxiety that results because of intrapsychic conflict or uncertainty. Anxiety disorder DSM-III category characterized by chronic anxiety and apprehension includes generalized anxiety disorder, panic disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder, and phobic disorder. Anxiety is an emotional condition, in which, there is fear and uncertainty about the future. It is a feeling of mingled dread and apprehension about the future without specific cause for the fear or the inability to predict the future or to resolve problems because the individual`s construct system does not seem to apply to ongoing events. Anxiety fixation, pertaining to maintenance or carryover of an anxiety reaction from an earlier stage of development into a later stage, is very dangerous, it must be resolved to end or made extinct from mental faculties. Anxiety neurosis is a neurosis in which the most prominent symptom is anxiety that cannot be identified with any particular cause and which in many cases is pervasive and affects major areas of the individual’s life. There is cause-effect relationship, first and foremost law of nature in the universe. Besides, anxiety reaction, a complex response pattern characterized by strong feelings of anxiety and accompanied by somatic symptoms, such as palpitations of the heart, choking, tightness of the chest, trembling, faintness, etc., proves what ?

Fear and suspicion

Fear is a feeling caused by the nearness or possibility of danger or evil. It may be an anxiety for the safety, dread, or one’s own susceptibility to mental disorders. The individual thinks,”Other people seem so self-assured and capable. They cannot possibly have the irrational impulses and fantasies I do, or feel the hostility or anxiety or despair that plagues me.” Most people feel anxious and discouraged during difficult periods in their lives. Many notice with alarm that they are unreasonably irritable, have difficulty in concentrating or remembering, or even feel that they are “going to pieces.” The fear of nervous breakdown is found almost in one out of five people. According to Coleman, “ Many responses of the autonomic nervous system, including those relating to fear or anxiety, can be conditioned. Thus, a fear of the dark can be learned if fear-producing stimuli (e.g., frightening dreams or fantasies) occur regularly during conditions of darkness. Fear may be due to alcoholism or drug usage, childhood disorders, combat or shock reactions, personality disorders, phobias, and mental conditions relative to various acts.


Recovery from illness whether it is from organic ailment or functional disorder makes people delighted and gives a sigh of relief whether it is the outcome of financial expenditure, confession, regret or penance, etc., it leads toward a lesson learned. My client also gets a sigh of relief as his son is almost recovered from illness. The individual if maintains a “recovery-expectant” attitude and gets positive responses from near and dear weigh most. There lies three-four or more reasons for organic or functional disorder out of which one is most important.


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