Domestic violence comes in many different forms. One form of domestic violence you may not be familiar with is guilt tripping.
What is Guilt Tripping?
Guilt tripping is a form of bullying, and emotional abuse. You may experience guilt tripping from a friend, loved one, partner, former partner, and even co-worker.
Guilt tripping, simply defined, involves causing someone to feel guilty. This may be to elicit a response, or cause someone to do something for you. Often in the case of domestic violence or bullying, guilt tripping arises when the "victim" tries or wants to make a decision of his or her own, that opposes the wants, needs, or desires of the perpetrator.
For example, the victim may want to end a relationship. Or, the victim may decide they do not want to do something the perpetrator wants to do ... like attend an event, or eat a particular form of food, or watch a particular television show that is not the same as one the perpetrator may want. The perpetrator, rather than express his or her feelings, will engage in relentless guilt tripping, to elicit a response from the victim, or to get the victim to change views and lose self-respect, self-esteem, and feel bad.
After continuing this pattern over time, the victim losses the ability to feel good about making independent decisions, knowing that feelings of guilt and shame will follow the process of making independent decisions that do not align with the wants, needs, and desires of the perpetrator.
The perpetrator may take the approach of initially saying something good to the victim, or apparently in support of the victim, forcing a comment that seems to the victim like the perp is respecting their choices, but then later assault the victim with an endless array of emotional abuse. This only serves to further degrade the victim, demonstrating how terrible, in fact, the victim was for making a decision that was contrary to the wishes, wants, needs, and desires of the perpetrator.
This process is all part of the "crazy making" of domestic violence and bullying. It is also a part of the perpetrators demonstration of control and power, or the need for control the perpetrator wants to exhibit over the victim.
Early Warning Signs of Guilt Tripping
In the early stages of a relationship, you may have a difficult time detecting guilt tripping. Here are some things you may want to look for, and avoid, in a relationship to prevent future bullying or domestic violence.
- A partner who belittles your choices.
- Anyone that does not accept your right to say no, or who makes you feel guilty for saying no.
- Someone that does not respect the choices that you make.
- An individual who acknowledges your decisions, then "forgives" you for making an independent decision, and assaults you with the better choice or choices that you would have made by going along with their decision rather than your own.Anyone that behaves in a passive-aggressive manner (silent treatment) etc.Anyone that blames you for the things that happen to them that are not good.
- An individual that attempts to cause you shame, guilt, or discomfort for making independent decisions.
- Someone that repeatedly attempts contact with you, whether to question your decisions, or to ignore your decision once you have decided to cut off contact with them demonstrating disrespect.
- Someone that has made you feel guilty in the past.
- Someone that does not respect you.
Remember, anyone that respects you will respect your decisions, including the decision not to have contact with them, to make decisions for yourself, and to make choices that are best for you and your family. Guilt tripping is just as bad as physical abuse. You do not have to tolerate this type of abuse. It can lead to other types of abuse that are unhealthy.
Many individuals that play this game are in fact emotionally needy, insecure martyrs, that often call on others when they need to feel better about themselves. They would be better off speaking with a counselor, and not relying on you for feeling better about themselves. You can't do anything to fix a person like this, because a person like this can never be wrong.
Stay safe, feel good. And remember, someone that continues to disrespect you will likely never change. Don't feel bad about it. Feel good that you are you. It is ok to make a decision. It is ok to say no.
You do not have to justify your decisions, or put up with someone that continues to disrespect you.
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