‘Guilt Trip’ – What Ones Have You Been On?

The majority of people know the expression, ‘A Guilt Trip.’ For those who indulge in or experience ‘Guilt trips,’ from others, the words are as familiar as their skin. ‘Guilt Trips’ can be all consuming and paralyzing.

Ironically, paradoxically and detrimentally some people are motivated by a good ‘Guilt Trip,’ either initiated by oneself or someone else. A ‘Guilt Trip,’ frequently includes the words, ‘Should/Shouldn’t; ‘Have to;’ Why don’t/didn’t you?’ Some people refer to ‘Guilt Trips,’ as ‘Should and Have to’ trips. Does this sound familiar?

• I ‘should’ clean the house before I take time for myself.
• I have to mow the lawn, grocery shop, wash the car, etc.
• I’d rather take a few minutes to read a book, but there are dirty dishes in the sink so I ‘should, clean the kitchen first.
• I want to stay home tonight, but my boss asked me to go with the team to a play, I ‘have to’ go, even though I do not want to see it.
• My husband’s mother made his birthday cake from scratch so I ‘should’ do the same.
• My schedule is full, but, I ‘should’ go see my sister, she is sick.
• The list goes on.

Whether you think of a ‘Guilt Trip’ as a ‘Should/Have to’ list, you are allowing the ‘should’s/Have to’s’ to control your life and erode your peace of mind, it is exhausting and counter productive.

In today’s world many women choose to work full time. Some women who choose to work full time or leave their career for part time have some level of guilt about how much time they are away from their family or how they sacrifice themselves for the sake of their families or how they take on more than is humanly possible to juggle.

Each demand of your time adds a ball to the juggling act, which often puts more pressure on you and your time. Eventually you run out of time and energy to effectively handle each ball, which represents a choice in your life.

When you or someone else lays on the ‘Guilt Trip’ you can transmute it. The following five tips will make the process easier.

• Recognize yours and others’ pattern of ‘Guilt Trips.’ When you hear yours or others’ ‘Guilt’ laden statements – Take a deep breath. Reframe the statement. ‘I need to____; If I want____. I choose to______.’ In response to others’ Guilt’ loading, state, “If you want me to_____, please ask me.’ ‘I will_____.’ ‘I will not_____.’

• Make amends to yourself or others for a ‘Guilt Trip.’ The sooner you make amends, the easier it is to move on and work on not engaging in the same unacceptable behavior in the future.

• Acknowledge your error in judgment, actions or statements. Make amends or make-up in a timely manner, then let go of it. The more you focus on believing you need to do something, the more it will continue to be an issue and interfere with your relationship.

• Learn from your actions. When you learn from your actions/behavior, you will be less likely to do it again. If you inadvertently said something inappropriate or hurtful, your guilt is telling you to (a) apologize; and (b) think before you speak.

• You might believe that feeling guilt is a way to remind yourself not to do it again. Remember you can change behavior without choosing to feel guilty first.

• No one is perfect, even those who appear to lead perfect, guilt free lives. Striving for perfection in any part of your life is a recipe for failure. Since there is no measure for perfection you will be unable to attain it. Mistakes are merely an opportunity to learn about oneself and one’s behavior. Avoid engaging in self-recrimination or self-blame.

Armed with these five tips and a willingness to accept ‘what is’ will prevent you from indulging in or allowing others to give you a ‘Guilt Trip.’

Dorothy M. Neddermeyer, PhD, Metaphysician – Certified Hypnosis Practitioner, Author and Speaker. Dr. Dorothy facilitates clearing blocks, fears and limiting beliefs. You can live the life you desire. She brings awareness to concepts not typically obvious to one’s thoughts and feelings. https://drdorothy.net