Are you being guilt tripped? 10 tell-tale signs
Guilt-tripping in relationships is quite common. In certain cultures and religious settings, it's used to get people to behave a certain way.
Trying to make someone who cares about you feel bad is an old trick used to manipulate behavior and belief systems.
10 Signs of guilt-tripping in relationships
1. Always making you feel bad
Does your partner make comments suggesting that you do not work as hard as them or their parents or other people they know at home or work or both? That’s guilt-tripping I had to deal with a lot in my relationship.
2. Guilt trippers use the past against you
If your partner keeps bringing up the past to control you, that’s guilt-tripping.
3. They make you feel guilty by never letting you forget how great they are
Does your partner keep reminding you of favors they bestowed upon you in the past? It might be just one and they keep mentioning it so they can guilt tripped you in doing whatever it is they need to be done.
4. Emotional manipulators use your feelings against you
Some partners have mastered faking emotions, whether it’s anger or sorrow, but won’t directly tell you what they need. You start running around trying to figure out what their pain is and do things to appease them.
These are master manipulators and their response is a stale “nothing” or silence to guilt-trip you into moving mountains to please them.
5. They use conflict avoidance against you
The silent treatment could last for a very long time to guilt trip you to gain eternal favors. Guilt is a strong emotion in the human psyche. The silent treatments is an art, and it could be argued that it's the topmost form of emotional guilt-tripping.
You are stuck in suspended animation as you have nothing to go with except what you are feeling within — mostly confusion and guilt.
6. Guilt tripping in relationships involves assuming authority
Often I have seen a partner assume the role of a disapproving parent and guilt trip you through cold shoulders, certain looks they give you, and even using a certain tone in their voice.
7. Guilt trippers will tell you that you "owe" them
A form of direct guilt-tripping which happens rarely, but it still does when your partner tells you directly that you “owe” them.
8. They engage in passive-aggressive behavior
When your partner doesn’t want to directly ask for something because they are not “that” person but will tell you how someone else does something for their partner without asking for it. That’s passive-aggressive guilt-tripping.
9. They thrive on "tough love"
When your partner belittles your efforts so you do more for them, that’s another way your partner is guilt-tripping you. But, if you ever question them, they will say “I care about you.” or things like “I know you can do more/better.” or “It’s for your good.”
10. Constant gaslighting
Gaslighting is another form of guilt-tripping. This is deep abuse carried out by master manipulators in a relationship. And, to me, it's the cruelest form of guilt-tripping. They do something and deny it so convincingly that over time you start wondering if you are going insane.
Impacts of guilt-tripping in relationships
You might stop trusting your partner and feel like you are constantly walking on eggshells in your relationship.
Feeling belittled is common if you have been guilt-tripped for a long time. You might fear that your partner has spies among your close relationships and you might feel fear even when your partner isn’t around.
Then guilt-tripping might become the norm in the relationship. Or, the relationship dissolves, and whoever feels they're being taken advantage of might walk away. The long-term feelings of resentment might ultimately be too much to bear.
This behavior affects your emotional, physical, and mental health. If mental illness is present among either partner, it could be made worse.
Your partner might fulfill their demands but is losing the relationship, and resentment begins to run high. When guilt-tripping in relationships goes on for some time, it might backfire and the other partner may start to use it too.
How to cope with guilt-tripping in relationships
Direct talk helps. Maybe your partner doesn’t know how else to get what they want. Acknowledge their emotions and share with them your feelings of guilt. Help them to develop a healthier way to communicate their needs.
Learning to set boundaries and sustaining them over time will help. Let your partner know that you can and will do what they are asking you to do but only as much as you can, and stick to what you say.
But don't communicate, even through body language, that you don’t mind and allow the cycle to continue. That's a great way to send mixed signals that can be taken advantage of.
If you continue without speaking up, over time you will start guilt-tripping others you're in a relationship with, maybe your children or your family who care about you.
If it turns out that you've done all you can and guilt-tripping in relationships won't stop for you, then you may need to look for professional help to reclaim your life.
Keya Murthy, M.S., is a Clinical Hypnotherapist and a Spiritual Life Coach at the Ventura Healing Center . She’s also a best-selling author and currently working on her tenth book in which she shares how she helped herself and her students to claim their power, beauty, and freedom