Guilt 101

Use Guilt as a Compass

Feelings of guilt, or a guilt complex, are either justified (you know you did something wrong) or misplaced (you’re made to feel bad for living). Understanding and coping with guilt will ensure your conscience is working for you, not against you.

Feelings of Guilt

Guilt evolved as a way to let someone know they behaved badly. From an evolutionary perspective, guilt helped tribes regulate their members. Engaging in socially unacceptable behaviour led the “guilty party” to suffer social isolation, which, in those days, was deadly.

Today guilt has morphed into a complex emotion, compounded by society’s conflicting views on what constitutes a moral transgression. A guilt complex can afflict people for many reasons, but it’s basically a feeling that results from something we did, want to do (but know we shouldn’t), or didn’t do but should have. Meanwhile, misplaced guilt happens in men who were abused as kids and made to feel bad about existing. In all cases, guilt is difficult for us to talk about, making it hard to ask for help.

Carrying a guilt complex around without dealing with it can make us feel worthless and humiliated, eventually causing self-esteem issues and self-defeating behaviours. Working through your guilt with a professional can help you understand where your guilt comes from, and move towards a living a truthful life.

Symptoms of Guilt

Guilt can be a productive emotion that, when listened to and understood, can lead to positive change in a guy’s life. However, if a man lives with unresolved or misplaced guilt, he lives in distress and with a constant fear of being found out. This fear can weigh him down, leading to anxiety and a host of other physical and mental problems.

01 Physical

  • Headaches
  • Feeling weighed down or heavy
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Reduced immunity

02 Emotional & Behavioural

  • Edgy, defensive
  • Feelings of despair
  • Anxious thoughts
  • Irritability
  • Substance abuse

Load MoreShow Less

Feel. Better.

Feelings of guilt don't go away, so why not learn how to manage and resolve them better? It's called emotional intelligence, and it can improve your life immensely.

See How it Works

Treating Feelings of Guilt in Men

Guilt is a common issue in men and with the right help, it can be handled. To help you manage your guilt, we’ll first investigate its root cause, which might be due to childhood abuse, failing to live up to expectations, violating your ethics, or engaging in unhealthy behaviours. We’ll then use counselling and coaching to look at your attitudes and behaviours to see what’s holding you back and how to think differently. Finally, we teach you the tools you need to treat your issues, making way for you to live an authentic life.

It’s Different.

I’ve talked with counsellors several times before finding Manifest, with middling results. Did several sessions and worked through some really important stuff. Don’t hesitate.


Honest Talk

It’s a refreshing way of looking at myself. I’ve tried counselling before, but this is more honest. More objective. More real.

Kevin, 36

Support and Compassion.

The Manifest team worked with me and my family after the sudden loss of a family member. I will forever be thankful for the support we received.


Learn practical tools to improve your wellbeing and get more out of life.

Request a Callback

Feeling something you're not sure of?

Feelings and emotions are complicated. Let us help you untangle them so you can feel better.