Today, as I was cleaning out my email of various news alerts that I get on a few subjects I came across this article Was Freud Right About Depression and Guilt? It talks about using an FMRi machine to track brain activity in people as they imagine a scenario of being rude or bossy to another person. The findings were of significance in that the brains of people who are prone to or that have been depressed there was not the same amount of activity in both the the anterior temporal lobe ( part that measures socially appropriate behavior) the subgenual region of the brain ( area that measures feelings of guilt ) as there was in the other control group who were not prone to depression. This is suggestive that depression may rise from more than just normal sadness, and be in part caused by feelings of guilt and self-blame. People with depression may not be linking up their 'bad' behavior with the feelings of guilt appropriately , thus leaving them to assign blame to themselves for things that aren't their fault.
I would say that in my experience, this could very well be true. I would also surmise that it could be a case of chicken and the egg, as well. Did the depression occur first, tainting everything, or was it this underlying brain difference that ultimately lead to the depression? I am also wondering if this over-reaching guilt and self blame causes damage in the long run to thinking patterns becoming more permanent? Like, ruminating over the perceived bad behavior might cause the problem to grow and become rooted in the person's mind as an unshakable truth, rather than a theory. I would also think this would cause issues in the person's relationships. Being overly apologetic and ready to accept blame would be likely to attract a kind of partner and friends that would be willing to let you carry it. Manipulative sorts of people might be drawn in by your willingness to accept the blame for all that went wrong the relationship. This would almost reinforce your feelings of guilt, sadness, and possible low self worth.
I know in my life, that I have been the "I'm sorry" person. The one that said that as almost a knee jerk reaction to everything, whether it was my fault or not. This gives me something to think about in terms of how I view myself in situations where I think I may have behaved badly. The guilt that seems to be so often a part of the relationship equation may just be the way I tend to go with my thought process and something I can learn from. It may just be worth keeping in mind the next time I assign myself blame that I could be overdoing it.