How to Spot and Respond to a Guilt Trip?

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Photo by Polina Zimmerman on

A guilt trip typically involves causing another individual to feel a sense of responsibility or guilt to take a specific action or transform their behavior. Because guilt can be such a potent motivator of human behavior, people can utilize it as a tool to change how others feel, think, and behave. 

A guilt trip leaves an individual feeling guilty for something that might not be their personal fault or responsibility. It’s guilt-induced by another individual. Guilt trips are a type of psychological manipulation or coercion-but they can also be self-inflicted. Nevertheless, guilt trips are made by other individuals who have manipulative motives. While there are numerous methods to notice, observe, expose and resist guilt trips, you must have a thorough and complete understanding of all that guilt trips entail.

What self-inflicted guilt trip looks like

Guilt-tripping responses often show up in relationships — think friendships, romantic partnerships, family relationships, or professional relationships.

It can come up in any bond where you care about the other individual’s feelings and have ties.

People often utilize guilt to express annoyance or frustration, normally when something prevents them from coming out and saying precisely how they feel.

Some Signs of Guilt Trip includes: 

  • Making observations implying that you have not done as much in life as others have done
  • Bringing up blunders that you have intentionally or unintentionally made in the past
  • Others reminding you of courtesies they have done for you in the past
  • Acting as if they are mad but then dismissing that there is a problem
  • Refusing to talk to you or giving you the silent punishment.

Invoking guilt feelings to change anyone’s behavior can have a wide blend of impacts. Whether guilt is utilized intentionally or not, it hinders healthy communication and relationships with others. 

How to respond to a Guilt Trip?

Letting guilt-tripping go on usually won’t help you or the other individual.

You may submit because you want to defend the relationship, but anger and other adverse feelings might lead you to start avoiding the other individual, and perhaps it could become the beginning of the end for your relationship with that person.

That’s normal. Who wants to feel guilty and evil all the time? But it’s often the case that neither side wants this result.

Calling out guilt-tripping when you see it can help you get started on the track toward a more favorable resolution.

Here is how you can respond and tackle:

  1. Listen and Know where the Guilt is Coming From: Start by observing and reading between the lines when the other person is trying to push you towards guilt and remorse. 
  2. Question Them: If you observe very restless body language or emotions, sarcastic remarks, or other signs indicative of guilt-tripping, use easy questions to urge them to express themselves directly. Direct expression is easier to understand than indirect guilt-tripping, right? 
  3. Communicate to unearth a good solution.
  4. Don’t Debate. The next thing that you can do when dealing with a guilt trip is to agree with what the person is saying. By agreeing with them, you can take the focus off of yourself and put it back on them. 

Once you get a better grasp on why the person around you is feeling upset, brainstorming solutions together can go a long way. The solutions above are worth trying as drifting apart due to guilt and miscommunication is not needed in the pure, beautiful, lovely relationship that you are in. 

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