Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Manipulative Guilt Trips

When I was younger, it was quite easy for someone to get me to do something, or behave a certain way, so they can fulfill an agenda. All they had to do was pull out the manipulative guilt trip card, and I’d have a hard time saying no to their request. I was a member of the 'perpetual niceness' cult, and would scramble to apologize, soothe hurt feelings and fulfill demands when a guilt trip manipulator would tell me that I was being selfish, mean and uncaring.


But then I got older. Smarter. More experienced. Confident. Even somewhat cynical. And all that string pulling became a thing of the past. Now, I listen to myself and evaluate how a situation makes me feel. If I’m feeling pressured or oppressed by someone, or uncomfortable about doing something, I put on the brakes.


I’ve learned over the years to tell the difference between a sincere person with a legitimate request, and someone who uses scheming and forceful tactics to get their way. And if someone accuses me of hurting their feelings and of being mean if I don’t give in, I simply bat it right back with questions such as “How am I hurting your feelings...?” or “Why am I being mean by not doing x,y,z...?”

And life is so much better.

Do you feel guilty easily?


36 comments:

  1. I used to Martha, but like you I have toughened up over the years. I always take care to try and not hurt peoples feelings but I can spot manipulators and emotional blackmailers a mile away. I see it as a form of bullying, so I just refuse to tolerate it.

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    1. Yes, it certainly is a form of bullying, and as we get older, hopefully we can spot these types of individuals. And avoid them!

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  2. Yup, over the years I take less on when it comes to guilt. Actually, if I think about it, it is pretty hard to make me feel guilty these days. I feel regret occasionally but not guilt. It really is a counterproductive emotion that gets us nowhere. I wish I knew this 20 years ago!
    Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Knowing this 20 years ago would have been great, but hindsight is 20/20. Still. Better to learn this late than never.

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  3. I'm so with ya girl. Older and much, much wiser!!! The only thing I feel guilty about now is indulging in life's guilty pleasures.

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    1. Hahaha...yes, the only thing anyone should feel guilty about is guilty pleasures. And sometimes, not even that!

      And welcome to my blog!

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  4. O gosshhh... don't get me started on this. I'm only lately starting to get better about it -- it was mainly with my parents I think. In our culture especially, with the whole filial piety/obligation thing. I think I want to add that pink e-card to my blog sidebar of quotes! And yet I do realise more now that part of it does have to do with one's own attitude -- sometimes you just make yourself feel unnecessarily responsible and guilty. P.S. Sulky "won" that teeny giveaway haha; but email me your mailing address will you: bikbik.roro@gmail.com ;)

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    1. I grew up the same way. Oodles of obligations, expectations, social responsibilities, respect of certain age groups, people, etc...and it didn't always work out well for me. You learn over time that toxic people will drain the very life out of you and that it's best to draw lines in the sand. It takes time. Sometimes a long time! Now that I'm older, it's very easy to stand my ground.

      I am thrilled for Sulky! She must be so happy about having won. I will send you my mailing address, and if you ever have another giveaway and I am fortunate enough to win, you can surprise me!

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  5. There's one or two people in my life who still occasionally try to send me on a "guilt trip, all expenses paid" (as the saying goes). But most of them I've weeded out over the years. Guilt trippers are so tiresome.

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    1. Haha...love that "all expenses paid" addition. Yes, guilt trippers are tiresome!

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  6. P.S. HRH loves the idea about deep-frying poodles.

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    1. Well, she's certainly not alone. My two cats gave it a thumbs up! And they don't even have thumbs :0

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  7. Haha, yeah dude. I don't give the response you do though, by asking questions. I just say things like, "Yeah well I guess I'm mean then" or "You're right, I'm inconsiderate." That usually ends things because it shows that I don't care about their judgement and I'm not changing my mind. Know what I mean?

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    1. Hahaha..I love the way you handle it! I can be abrupt like that if necessary, especially with people that are pushy or obnoxious. It all depends on the person I'm dealing with.

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  8. I grew up in a household run by guilt trips, reverse psychology and every other manipulative trick in the book. Like Sulky, I can spot them a mile away as well. Unfortunately, if guilt is used on me, I shut down and ignore. I have walked away from friendships when guilt is used for the other person to get what they want from me. Life is too short to have negative people and influences like that touching my life. I like to surround myself with real, sincere people who accept my whole self as is.

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    1. That is the best way to live your life...surround yourself with REAL people, people who truly care about you, and who are genuine. Life certainly is too short for nonsense.

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  9. I could never guilt trip to get things from my mother. Even when I had been wronged.

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    1. That's a good attitude. You don't want to be one of THOSE people.

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  10. I spewed coffee on my monitor when I saw the "deep fry the poodle" picture. Funny.

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  11. As soon as I could drive I became a teenager from hell. I pretty much had an F you attitude about most things in life. So I really didn't care and did not get manipulated, but I was also pretty much an ass. Not sure which is worse.

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    1. Hahaha...love how honest you are about it. Well, you certainly weren't alone. The teen years seem to create a lot of 'asses'. LOL...

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  12. My dear departed Mother, Aunt and Grandmother were great at laying on the guilt trips! I think it was a family tradition! They would keep track of everything and then use it in the guilt trip war. I decided long ago that I would never be that way!

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    1. Good for you! At least you're not following in those footsteps.

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  13. It seems like yesterday I had four teen boys, and man, could they do the innocent kitten eyes... to accompany the TOTALLY UNREASONABLE request that just popped into their innocent little heads! I am happy to report that no poodles were ever harmed, but I am still a soft touch when tough love would be more appropriate LOL. I'm fairly certain I'll become the grandmother from hell ("An extra cookie won't hurt anyone, dear...")

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    1. Hahahaha...I think we get our revenge with grandkids. Just the other day, I was joking with my husband how wonderful grandkids will be (if we're fortunate to have some). You get to play with them, spoil them, energize them...and then send them home for their parents to deal with!

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  14. Thought provoking and funny! What is it about cats?!!! Have a good one! :)

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  15. Oh boy. I had a relative who was a master at that. An absolute master! I learned eventually but not early enough! (And Flynn says deep fry the cat, not the dog!)

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    1. At least you learned. Better late than never! I'm sure all dogs everywhere agree with Flynn!

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  16. Oh, Martha, I am forever quoting the T-Rex from Toy Story, "Oh great, now I feel guilt". Of all those characters, I am most like the T-Rex, scared of everything and the most insecure.
    I'd like to think I was more like Buzz, confident and funny and the one that everybody likes!
    I don't always recognize it when people try to manipulate me. I do need help with this sometimes. Luckily, I surround myself with nice, smart people!

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    1. As long as you are surrounded by good people, you will have a shield around you, Kay! You have a good heart and people will try to take advantage of it.

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  17. You were so much nicer before you went cynical. C'mon, go back to being Nice Martha. Everyone likes Nice Martha. You do want people to like you, don't you?

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    1. No, not really...LOL... I like it better when not EVERYONE likes me :)

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  18. Guilt trips are not any where on me favorite list (not even least favorite), find they always make me feel bad when I didn't do anything and DO NOT like being maneuvered in to do something - usually ends up being the wrong thing to do, noticed that at a very young age. ;)

    Love the post!

    Alice

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    1. Guilty trips are horrible. I decided a long time ago that I would not allow anyone to do that to me anymore. I can't say I'm 100 percent able to resist them, but for the most part I am.

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