How to deal with guilt and sadness after killing insects/animals

This may sound silly…

But every time I kill an insect I feel really sad and guilty.

The reason is because bugs don’t have a heaven and once they are dead, they just cease to exist…thats a scary thought (ceasing to exist)…and I’M the reason they will experience that.

The same thing goes for putting down animals and stuff. If there was an afterlife for these creatures I wouldn’t feel as bad.

This especially hurts me deeply that in the past I used to torture little creatures like field mice, birds, etc. and murder them. It makes me want to cry every time I think of some of the horrible stuff I did.

Does anybody else experience this? (not neccesarily the torturing animals part)

I must admit that I try hard not to walk on ants or hurt any animal intentionally, as I believe we are managers of nature for our good and the glory of God.
However, torturing animals is a well known precursor to extreme mental problems, so I am pleased you have gone through this childish stage and have come out remorseful.

I believe God finds value in all His creation, and we must use them as His natural law demands, treating them always humanely and with respect.
However there is so much evil, pain and suffering for humanity that, as my bumper sticker says, I will save the whales after I save all aborted children. (You would not believe the abuse from women I receive, or then again it may be I am so ugly they have to stop and comment.)

Regarding the torturing of animals ask forgiveness and I am sure you were young! Give yourself a break for that.

As far as bugs. I put them outside when they are in my house. I never kill them. (except mosquitos) anything trying to attack me I have no problem with squashing. Anything else gets picked up in a paper towel and put outside. I have always been like that. Not sure why :shrug:

Was there a particular reason you chose to torture the small animals? I find it interesting you use the word to torture.
You should feel guilty about that.

I do not like spiders. I don’t like killing them but I also don’t want them around-especially in the house or worse in my bedroom!

I stand on ants, spiders, cockroaches, swat flies and mosquitoes and I sleep great. It is not a sin to do this.

I was once bitten by a brown recluse spider. One can die from complications from a single bite by one of these. I would have no problem killing this type spider on sight.

I think your current issue is likely caused by your earlier torture of animals. You may not have forgiven yourself for that and your guilt today is a vestige of that lack of forgiveness. .

Perhaps you need to discuss it with a priest. He may be able to affirm God’s forgiveness and mercy. You need to trust Christ! If you have been forgiven, there is no more guilt.

Daily Prayer for Healing of Body, Mind and Soul
(Mary’s Rosary Chain Inc.)

My most loving Father, You have promised,
“I am the God who heals you” (Exodus 15:26)
I place in your loving care my sick body, worried mind,
my emotional wounds and sinful nature.
I believe that only You have the power
to heal me completely.
Loving Father, I trust in Your love for me,
Help me to love You more.
Help me to increase my faith in You.
I surrender to you …
(here mention your illness or emotional hurt)
Cleanse me with the precious blood of Jesus,
purify me and set me free from anger,
resentment, hatred, unresolved hurts and greed.
Help me to remember
that the power of the Holy Trinity dwells within me
and all power to forgive and overcome sin is in me.
Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and Your peace. Amen.
Sacred Heart of Jesus and
Immaculate Heart of Mary,
please protect us.

Prayer of one of the former Chairmen of Catholic Concern for Animals
Fr Ambrose Aguis OSB,
used at animal blessing services

O God, all-wise and all-merciful,
Author of all life both in mankind and in every other living being,
bless, we pray Thee, these Thy creatures here present before us
and with them all other creatures in the whole universe,
that dwelling happily in that nature that Thou hast given them,
they may thus glorify Thy name and bear testimony
to Thy creative power, Thy wisdom, and Thy providence;
through Christ our Lord.

I am sure we have all killed many an insect. I have done so out of necessity, like getting rid of wasp nests or enormous ant colonies. They can carry very bad illnesses and make people sick, as can cockroaches, flies and so forth. I don’t go out of my way just to kill bugs, but sometimes it is necessary. Stop worrying about that.

As for animals, that concerns me more. I sincerely hope this was the result of just being a kid who didn’t know better. I have never killed an animal and never would unless it was for food and I had no other choice. The thought makes me sad, and I even struggle with the fact that I do like to eat meat. (I have tried to become a veggie of sorts, but I don’t do well with the loss of protein.)

I would say if you have confessed to this past behavior and have regretted it honestly then stop worrying about it. And, it might help if you did believe that animals do go to an afterlife. I do, and I think there are plenty in heaven. Animals have souls and I find no reason to believe they simply “stop existing.”

I don’t kill anything if I can help it.

Insects and spiders I move outside.

I will swat at a mosquito if it is attacking me, and I flush ticks down the drain, because they harm animals and people and can make them sick. But I don’t like doing it.

I once felt had to kill an injured squirrel with a broken back that was paralyzed. It was unable to move its back legs and was crawling around with its fronts only. That was a profoundly sad thing, but I felt I couldn’t sanction the alternative of letting it suffer.

They don’t have an afterlife because they don’t have rational souls and thus couldn’t, in principal, be individually united with God. No union with God = no Heaven. In other words, they wouldn’t be able to even enjoy an afterlife. I wouldn’t feel bad about killing bugs (I kill them if they are in my house) but you can opt for not killing them if you prefer. Also, if it helps, keep in mind that when we are resurrected at the end of days there will be a new heavens and a new earth, presumably filled with animals, including bugs (though they won’t bug us then!)

I think you should talk with a priest about scruples.
Really, I mean come on?! Killing bugs is a big deal to you?.
I think it’s to over think things really.
I do kill bugs when I think it’s necessary to do so and if there are nights I don’t sleep to well I know that it’s something other than killing bugs that keeps me awake.

The torture part are more disturbing though and Im glad to hear that you’ve grown past it.
As others has said, torturing animals is a heavy alarm bell that not everything is like its supposed to do within ones ears.
So again, it good to hear that you do not find it satisfying to harm animals anymore.

I hope my post didn’t seem to harsh.

Yours in Jesus and Mary

  • MarianCatholic

Couldn’t they connect with God in some other way though?

I’ve just always thought that God ultimately wants to be reunited with all of His creatures, even the non-human ones. I like to imagine it’s like that bit in The Simpsons where Homer sees God in a dream and the cat rubs up against God’s leg and purrs while God tickles his head :o

If they don’t have a life beyond the temporal one, then it is inconsequential whether they die in 2 days or 200 years when compared to creatures which do have a life beyond the temporal one. This is why a lack of belief in the transcendent is historically connected to the hip to the darkest mass crimes of the 20th century. The value of life becomes finite and expendable. When a person recognizes the fact that all of their neighbors, including the clerk that checks out their orange juice in a convenience store, is a god or goddess, made in the image of God, who will live for eternity, then hopefully, their entire outlook on how they treat their fellow man will change enormously.

This is likewise the case why the more extreme defender of animals rights are generally atheist/agnostic/liberally spiritual human beings. They have no belief (or at least, no strong belief) in the transcendent, therefore they are incapable of seeing a clear delineation between animals and humans. Their consciences are put in a state of confusion, and many of them stay that way until the day they die.

If animals do have a life beyond the temporal one, they are all the same not a rational creature, and there is no moral imperative to treat them as one would treat Christ. You are morally obliged to treat a McDonald’s employee the way you would treat Christ, and indeed, how you treat that McDonald’s employee is how you treat Christ, which will be made known at Judgement. On the other hand, you are not morally obliged to treat a dog that way.

This especially hurts me deeply that in the past I used to torture little creatures like field mice, birds, etc. and murder them. It makes me want to cry every time I think of some of the horrible stuff I did.

We should not be surprised by our own wretchedness and uncleanliness. When we are, we are not trusting in God, but in ourselves. Animal cruelty is not uncommon, especially for young children. When we pit our own strength against that of our original sinful nature, and against the enemy, we will find ourselves overpowered, and we will lose. That is why we call upon our God to battle through us. We find healing and forgiveness in the sacraments for the evil things which we have done in the past, and then, more spiritually mature than we once were, we can resolve not to do them again.

God always sees fit, and takes joy in forgiving us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, but he does not see fit to take our sorrow away for what we have done, lest we should feel drawn to do it again. Your sorrow is a shield.

God bless.

If you have not gone to confession for these incidents of animal cruelty, I suggest you do so as soon as possible. Absolution will help you let go of your guilt.

Haha, I’m with you there.

It will be soon deer fly season where I live, we’re just getting over black fly season, and mosquito season is in full swing until the autumn.

Any one of these insects (and many others) I will crush, swat, spray, flick, and otherwise maim and kill without a single afterthought.

God gave us dominion over animals. It does not mean we have to hurt them needlessly, but it also means we don’t have to suffer disease vectors and pain inflicted by insects, spiders, scorpions, snakes and the like. Kill first, ask questions later. One of my sons works in the bush in forestry. They carry bear mace and guns. If a bear attacks, you can be sure they will attempt to make a nice big rug out of it.

I really don’t have a problem killing bugs, but I burst into tear immediately after driving over and killing a squirrel, and it bothers me for a few days.

Only humans have immortal souls. The souls of animals cease to exist when they die, unlike the human soul. Pets do not go to Heaven when they die.

I suppose that also goes for even smaller creatures too. If you get a bacterial infection, you don’t have to just let the organisms live within you - you take antibiotics to kill them off. If you get a tapeworm or something gross like that, you take tablets to get rid of it.

The problem is when people take the ‘dominion over animals’ too far and end up wiping out entire species for no good reason, or exploiting and harming them. I don’t think God would approve of that. Our stewardship of the animals is no doubt meant to be more responsible.

Easy. It feels more guilty for me to see food spoiled by the little buggers. To waste such delicious bounty and plenty is just… so wrong! :eek:

sees roach going into kitchen


I’m assuming you must be an atheist otherwise you would know that humans have immortal souls and animals do not! There are a number of other threads on this topic. Feel free to look them up.