A guilt trip is a feeling of guilt which has been induced on purpose by a third party.
Typically, a guilt trip is used to manipulate a person into doing something they would not normally consider doing.
There are, of course, different scales of guilt tripping someone. A mother might use a guilt trip with her children by saying that she has been working hard all day and she is too tired to play with them. This is hardly psychological abuse, but when someone continually uses guilt trips to manipulate a person, then it can affect your self-esteem, your confidence and force you to change your behaviour, which is not necessary.
This is when guilt tripping becomes a serious psychological tool and the person who is being guilt tripped should be worried.
It is not easy to spot a guilt tripper, however, as many of them use underhand tactics and are clever manipulators of the truth. These are clever individuals who use a number of ploys to make you feel guilty all the time.
Spotting a guilt tripper is difficult but not impossible. Here are ten signs that someone is guilt tripping you:
1. You feel like you are always disappointing someone
If you feel as if you can never do anything right, no matter how hard you try, then the chances are you are being guilt tripped. The person who is using this tactic on you will make you feel as if you are not good enough or up to their high standards and, therefore, there must be something wrong with you.
2. Everything is your fault
Do you blame yourself for everything that goes wrong? Do you tend to attribute other people’s bad behaviour directly to your actions? People that guilt trip will rarely take the blame for their own actions. Instead, they will place the blame firmly on someone else.
3. You are being constantly compared to other people who are better
Being compared to other people is a common tactic with guilt trippers where they use past examples of other people in order to make you feel unworthy and useless. These other people are always more intelligent, better looking, more considerate and this makes you feel that you are not up to their standards.
4. You find yourself agreeing to certain conditions
A person that expects someone to do things for them, but these things are attached to conditions will then guilt trip you if you do not adhere to these agreed conditions. You are expected to do everything but on a conditional basis, for instance, a husband that does the vacuuming once in a while might only do it so he can say he always does it and you never do any housework. You will then be expected to do all the housework without complaint.
5. Your love for a person is always under examination
If a person in a relationship constantly says ‘If you loved me, you would…’ or ‘if you really cared about me, you wouldn’t,’ then it is likely this person is guilt tripping you. Partners that keep saying this type of thing only want one thing and that is to induce a sense of guilt in order to control their nearest and dearest.
6. You partner acts like they are a martyr because of you
A person that acts as if everything they do is for the other person, and they get no satisfaction at all is demonstrating a typical way in which to induce feelings of guilt. He or she will be self-sacrificing, acting as if what they have to put up with is a real burden and no one else would put up with you. This lowers your self-esteem and makes you feel as if you are not worthy of this martyr.
7. You don’t feel as if you can say ‘No’
For a person that is constantly being guilt tripped, they are always on high alert for the next thing they have done wrong. This makes it extremely difficult for them to say no as they do not want to upset their partner or spouse even further. They end up agreeing to things that they would normally would dismiss without thought.
8. You feel obligated all the time to please
Constantly feeling like you are always in the wrong has a grave bearing on a person’s psyche. This makes you feel as if you are obligated to agree because you have this burning desire for things to go back to normal. You find that if you do say no, then the ensuring drama that accompanies this decision is not worth it in the end.
9. You feel you are needed and irreplaceable to your partner
Conversely, one of the most common ways to guilt trip someone is to make them think that they cannot survive without you by their side. This could be in the form of an ageing mother and her children where she does not want them to leave her on her own in the family home, or a spouse who acts as if the world has ended when their partner wants to go out with their friends.
10. You have to over-compliment someone again and again
Flattery and compliments are lovely, but when you are forced to give them out, again and again, they become a chore and worthless. If you find that you are constantly praising someone for the most ridiculous little things, then it is possible they are guilt tripping you. Especially if they tell you that they will not do nice things for you if you do not appreciate them enough.