The Guilt Trip

Do you know that woman that finds a way to passively aggressively guilt trip you when something doesn’t go her way? She can turn anything around so that even if the whole thing wasn’t about her, it becomes about her. Instead of just addressing an issue at face value, she keeps pushing and twisting so that she can become the victim.

I know her. I used to be her.

In my last few relationships before my marriage, if my significant other didn’t do something the way I wanted, I found a way to fight and make it about me. I used to be act like things were okay but then freeze him out. I used to guilt trip and guilt trip and guilt trip. I did it to my friends too. But I finally realized though that a good relationship is based on direct communication rather than trying to force someone to understand you without talking to them.

Recently, I’ve made some mistakes. Honest mistakes that I didn’t mean to make but since I’m human, they happened. I also owned up to them and apologized for them. Now the people on the receiving end decided that instead of just accepting my apology and understanding that it happens, that they needed to make subtle comments on the fact that I screwed up.

I know when I’m being guilt tripped because I start having these arguments with the people guilt tripping me in my head. I think about what I want to say to them, explain to them so they understand why my mistakes happened. I want to yell and scream at them until they understand why it’s not my fault and that obviously there is something wrong with them if they had to guilt trip me. And this conversation goes around in circles in my head.

I don’t want that to be the case. I don’t want to have these conversations in my head and I really don’t want to have them in real life. Is it really worth arguing with someone who guilt trips? They obviously think they are the victims of whatever happened.

I like what The Four Agreements says. “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you.” It’s true. My mistakes weren’t meant to cause anyone harm. They were true mistakes on my part. So I will go ahead and believe that these people need to guilt trip me because of something that they are going through. Maybe it’s insecurity, maybe it’s something in their past, or maybe it’s just the way they think.

All I know for sure is that I don’t want to go through life feeling like I have to guilt trip people to make myself feel better. I don’t want to be passive aggressive in my communication methods. I would rather resolve a problem directly and move on. As my husband once told me, “You can be lame or you can have fun.” I choose to have fun every time.

The Guilt Factor – Off of the Beaten Path

Does this life sound familiar to anyone else? We go to school, graduate with our bachelor’s, work, go get our master’s degree, work, get married somewhere between the bachelor’s and the master’s, work, have kids right after our second graduation, work, and work until this repeats with our children.

Wait, what happens when you don’t follow this formula? Probably guilt. I feel guilty that I’m not doing what I was programmed to do. This is the correct formula to make everyone proud and to be able to show your face in society, right?

Well, crap. I didn’t follow the formula and now I feel like I’ve let everyone down. I feel the guilt. In all fairness, the guilt tends to follow you every time you do something that isn’t allegedly morally correct, not just when you step off of the beaten path. I don’t know if this is oldest child syndrome or not but I’m willing to bet it’s not just me who feels guilty every time I do something that I know might not be the best choice. I feel guilty even putting myself first before my family.

It’s unrealistic to feel this guilt. When you do something for you, as long as you’re not hurting anyone else, it shouldn’t be a bad thing. Taking time off to take care of yourself is a good thing. Finding out what makes you happy and working towards that is a good thing.

Happiness. It’s a fairly unknown concept in our culture. So much of our society is based on duty and responsibility. We forget that life is so fleeting that you might as well enjoy it while you’re here. It’s a concept that is slowly start to emerge as the new generation grows up and realizes that they don’t want to live the same formula anymore. It’s interesting to watch people chase their dreams and follow their hearts.

The guilt needs to go. It’s taken me a while to learn how to dump the guilt. I still feel it since it is programmed in me but give me an hour or so and I’ll get over it. I’ll know that if I trust myself and know that I’m doing the right thing, then I have nothing to feel guilty about. Hell, even if it’s not necessarily the ideal thing to do, at least I made my own choice and will live with that decision.

How else are you supposed to live your life to the fullest?