WE ALL SEE OURSELVES as above average morally. When we get caught in one of the traps described in Part I, we commit an immoral transgression. This causes us to feel guilt and shame. These feelings are painful. One way we reduce our negative feelings is by using traps 25 through 37 in this section. There are also more fundamental ways that we annihilate guilt.
Researcher Martin Hoffman “argues that the roots of morality are to be found in empathy.” The capacity for being able to feel what others are feeling, to see through the eyes of others, impels us to maintain high moral standards.1 Hoffman defines empathy as “the involuntary, at times forceful, experiencing of another person’s emotional state.”2 Hoffman defines guilt as an empathic response to someone’s distress (feeling some of the same distress that the other feels) along with the awareness that one is the cause of the person’s distress.3 a lack of guilt, then, seems to be tied to a lack of empathy.
Hostility and excessive anger seem to squelch empathy and guilt. Paul Miller and Nancy Eisenberg from Arizona State University reviewed a large body of research and concluded in their summary that people high in empathy are low in hostility and vice versa: people who are hostile are low in empathy.4
In relationships, unless blatant abuse is going on, anger is most