The Psychology of Confessions
Self Help

The Psychology of Confessions


Confessions are the formal statement made by people to admit one crime or wrong deed. Confession is the way of accepting or admitting that an individual has committed something illegal and offensive and is guilty for that. It can either be made verbally or by signing a document where the charges and crime of the person is mentioned on paper. People make confessions in front of God, priests in the temple or judges and lawyers in the court for the sin they committed. Even on smaller level, confessions can be made generally in front of family, friends or anyone who’s hurt by someone’s wrong behaviour. By making certain confessions people acknowledges their guilt, mistakes from the past and their wrong actions and tries to make things right if possible.

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Why do people feel the need to make confessions?

People generally admits their crime and make confessions due to mainly three reasons:

  • First reason comes from the realisation that now there is only one option left i.e. to confess in front of the authoritative figure since they’ve been caught and their life is at stake. So instead of running away, they confesses for the wrong behaviour or actions in return of forgiveness.
  • The second reason of the confession by the confessor is because they want their part of the story to be heard and be able to provide the reasons or the excuses for their deeds. The confessor confesses in this case to minimise the suffering after the crime by reducing the seriousness of the situation and be able to show faces in public yet again as no one wants to talk or be around the wrong person and the society accepts the authentic person only.
  • The third reason of confessions include the need to make confessions for the sake of it. Often the person feels guilty for the crime they committed, even when the crime is committed by them knowingly or purposely and they feel that burden of committing a crime on their chest heavily. It doesn’t let them sleep peacefully or go outside in public freely. They feel guilty and extreme remorse. For this reason, they agree to make clear confessions to remove that imaginary brick off their chest and survive or live peacefully without accusations of people around.

Avoidance behaviour Versus confessions

Avoidance behaviour is acquired by people to cope up with something they’ve done that is considered bad and is not easy to accept or deal with. However avoidance behaviour can exacerbate the issues in life. So instead of avoiding something by closing eyes and wishing it to just go away, have courage and confess by all means. Confessing can be tough and takes up an individual’s freedom to live freely but it does provides them with a kind of satisfaction of admitting and moral relief to live life according to their own terms.

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Benefits of Confessions

1. Confessions helps an individual to move on

People consider their identity to be fairly consistent, even wrong doings from the distant past impacts an individual’s reputation and influences their present as well as future. Once the confession is done, an individual finds it easy to move on and be the truer, more developed version of themselves. Also, confessions reduces an individual’s stress level

2. Confessions provide scope of growth and betterment for future self

People after confession able to distinguish their self who committed action from the self they are now, which provides much scope for betterment of the personality. When people occasionally look back in the past, they mostly, remembers all the negative events, not just the wrong actions, but the ways one tried to cover up for their wrong, misleading actions. People who confesses for their past incidents allows their present self to grow into a different, stronger person in future.

3. Confessions help strengthen the relationship between the confessor and the God

No matter how much we keep saying the fact that God loves every human being irrespective of their deeds and actions and that there is no such thing as good or bad people, deep down we all put that filter of sins committed in between our relationship with God. People who committed something bad hesitates to reach out to God and talk freely, they even resist going to temple as they believe that God is angry or resentful for their actions. Confessing and taking responsibility of one action infront of God helps them to come clearer and build that close trustful relationship with God again. Confessions gives a medium through which an individual could repair the broken bond with god. People who believe in God and his glory may commits less sinful actions.

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4. Confessing helps an individual maintain their self esteem

People who do not confess for their unjustified actions experiences constant guilt and low self esteem. They believe that they are bad humans and deserves no happiness and joy from life, that they had committed a crime and are destined to suffer their whole life. But the moment they confesses and clear out everything, even if it still takes away all their happiness and freedom for the moment, they feel relieved and relaxed. Their confidence increases and that mind set of living life quietly without demanding or wishing anything from life in return vanishes away. An individual after confession feels more empowering and feel less hopeless about the situation.

Qualities of good confessions:

  • If there are more than one person who had been the victim of ones wrong deeds and behaviour, then it is advised to confess the sin in front of every individual involved.
  • A good confession is the one devoid of words like if, but and maybe as they includes a sense of condition in confessions been made. An apology is an apology made with an open heart, having no conditions attached to it.
  • Confessions involving specific reasons avoids any chance of misinterpretations and lets the other person know that the confessor is aware of their actions and is guilty about it and ready to make changes in one’s behaviour.
  • A good confession is the one made from the heart, without worrying about the after consequences. One committed something bad so they deserve punishment.
  • Once the confession is made, alter the behaviour so that the same wrong deed doesn’t happen again in future. Show sincerity and adapt good behaviour.

Psychology behind false confessions

It does sound weird imagining and seeing innocent people make false confessions. But it’s true and us believed that false confessions are more common than one thinks. Now the question arises why the false confessions are made by the innocent people even when they did not commit any crime? There are various reasons that leads an individual in making false confessions.

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Some of them includes the use of excessive force, tactics and power of laws by the authority. Also, keeping the person in isolation while interrogating and using deceptive methods like lying about evidence or changing the real stories for the person to speak truth leads them to make false confessions instead. They feel so pressurized, stressed and out of order, that they are left with the only option of confessing for the actions they didn’t even commit.


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