Dr. Jonathan Lasson: Many of us have experienced this. You are accused of doing something that you never did. People make false accusations all the time. For example: You get a notice in the mail about a speeding violation from one of those speed cams. You see the car and you know it belongs to your daughter. You become upset with her for driving recklessly. You use some hurtful words towards her.
In the meantime your daughter insists that it could not have been her because she does not drive recklessly and secondly, at the time of the violation, she was not in the country. You are too upset to listen to her protestations but she knows she did nothing wrong. She calls her friend who reassures her with the following words. “You did nothing wrong.”
Then you find out that her friend had borrowed your daughter’s car that day and your daughter was innocent all along. Who owns the guilt now?
Whether the accusation was for a perceived minor wrongdoing or for a perceived major wrongdoing, if it is false and you know it, you would not experience guilt. Guilt conscious people know when they have done something wrong. They know of their guilt because it troubles them and keeps them up at night. They apologize and take steps to avoid doing it again. People who are not guilt conscious, have usually committed so many acts of wrongdoing, that they do not experience the healthy kind of guilt that I refer to in my articles.
False accusations can destroy people. Our jobs, relationships and dignity are decimated by false accusations. Sometimes, we need those reassuring words when we are falsely accused. When we don’t get those reassuring words, we need to internalize to ourselves that we have done nothing wrong and not obsess about those who falsely accuse, speak negatively or slander us. So, I choose to follow the following mantra: IT’S REALLY NONE OF MY BUSINESS WHAT YOU THINK OF ME!
Dr. Jonathan Lasson is an adjunct professor of psychology and is in private practice in Baltimore, MD