When Guilt is a Weapon. How do you respond?

Guilt as a weapon

Advice was needed.  I read the message and knew immediately someone was being manipulated…yet again.  Manipulation is when someone uses tactics, such as guilt, to try to make you do something you might not normally want to do…or even consider doing.

When guilt is used as a weapon, many things can occur. 

Guilt can actually cause physical pain, mental pain, and is a powerful emotion that sometimes overrides reason.  The body was light just moments before reading a guilt-inducing message, and now the body begins to feel heavy.  The heaviness can be associated with feelings of resentment.  If you have truly done something wrong, guilt is a natural emotion; however, manipulative people use it as a weapon, and that is not acceptable.

In my closed group, we are exploring the boundaries we need to put in place when someone purposely tries to make us feel this way.  This can be saying yes when we really mean no, taking on more work when we already have a full plate, or even having other friends trying to make you feel like it is your fault that they aren’t getting something done because you said no.  Did you just nod your head or get shivers up your spine?

There are several characteristics of someone who uses guilt as a weapon. 

  • It isn’t always obvious at first, that they are trying to make you feel bad.
  • They might also use emotional manipulation tactics.
  • They might be your partner, and use wording like “If you cared about me, you would…”
  • They get angry when you enforce boundaries…because they know you are onto them.
  • Guilt doesn’t forgive as easily as someone who builds relationships out of trust.
  • They pretend to be the martyr…doing you a favor.
  • And the empaths favorite manipulator, the narcissistic friend.

So how do you deal with the weaponized guilt?

  1. The first thing you have to do is to decide you are done.  Quite simply, done.  This is your life, not theirs.  Any other answer lets them push the boundaries time and time again.
  2. The truth is, you have something they want to use.  So use it to your advantage, not theirs and make a plan.  They are trying to make you feel insecure for what reason??  Write it down and think about their motives.
  3. Can you stand up for yourself with the truth?  Here is your test.  Disentangle yourself from this situation without using the word “sorry”.  You have nothing to be sorry for, and your time is valuable as well.  Write down your truth in one sentence that makes you feel empowered.  You have always had the power, remember that.
  4. Put on your cape…and go.  You have been used, yes.  But put your cape on and do not feel guilty.  They are trying to use your insecurity against you, but look back over what you have that they want.  Your cape is your truth.  You are worthy of great friends, good relationships, and a positive work ethic.  Not one that makes you constantly feel used and underappreciated (can insert not feeling like shit in your journal).  What is the opposite of that feeling?  Use the words to surround yourself in this cape of truth and protection.

While this message is for a friend of mine, it also goes for all of you reading this.  Don’t let someone shift this guilt to you and tell you how they think you are feeling at this moment.  Again, that is their interpretation of the situation.  Move far, far away from the mind games, and the use of them saying things “people have been telling me…” what people?  No one.  They made that up.

Do not let them use self-pity and if it face to face, as it never is, back it up with body language as well; however, if it is a message, do not prolong the chat.  Short and concise truth statements is all they need.  Not a back and forth.  The longer you draw it out, the more they will twist and try to give you reasons to crumble.  Stand in your truth today.

Want to work more fully on releasing guilt and setting boundaries?  Join us today!

 

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Boundary Setting and the Empath.

Whew.  This week y’all.  In a few years, people might be reading this article and not know what the energy feels like right now, so let me explain it as best I can.  Many people are dipping heavily into a low-vibration right now around the world.  This is based on true scientific evidence, but for more information read my linked post.  Basically, we shouldn’t feel guilty for the low-vibration energy or negative vibes we feel coming our way right now, but we have to recognize the signs and start putting firm boundaries in place today!

If you are sensitive to other energies, feel like there are times you can actually put yourself in someone’s shoes and feel their pain, you might be an empath.

Empaths have a hard time saying no to people and situations because they want to help and don’t like to cause hurt feelings.  This is a very real thing that starts to drain the empath over time until they just have nothing left to give their own health and wellness.  Sometimes, it takes an entire year to recover from being depleted.

How can boundary setting help?

Setting clear boundaries can protect your own energy and thus keep you from becoming completely wiped out.  It is very essential!!

What can I do to set clear boundaries?

  1. The first thing that I always go to, is of course, my goal setting and intentions.  How do I want to feel after a day?  A week?  A month?  What do I have left to give other people?  If you have to, imagine it like your energy batteries.  When they are completely drained, how long will you last?
  2. When you are out, do you just HAVE to answer that call, text or message from that one friend?  What happens if you don’t?  How do you feel when you say, I can’t talk right now.  I am busy, but will get back to you later.  Do you feel okay?  Do they act weird??  If they act like it’s the worst thing in the world to wait, keep doing it and watch for signs.  Repeated pushing of your boundaries needs to be addressed.  Pronto.
  3. Notice where you put your attention.  Pause before you answer that message.  If you are at work and someone asks you to do something to help them before you are finished with what you already have on your plate, notice how you feel.  Pause and reflect.  Are you giving off the message that you drop your work to help others therefore creating this open invitation?  What happens when you pause and say, I don’t have time right now, but ask me tomorrow.
  4. Make a list of your self-care needs.  If you say “What is self-care?”…you might need to make a list.  Also, you can open the linked post:)
  5. Figure out who tries to cross the line…repeatedly.  This is usually the person who goes right into their story as soon as you answer the phone or message.  I am not talking about your best-friend who needs advice occasionally, nope.  I am talking about the person who needs you all the time.  24/7 and the story is probably the same exact one.  They are using the narcissistic friend cycle of guilt on you.  Every time you think you have helped, the next day they come back again.  It’s the same thing week after week.  Whew.  It drains you repeatedly.

I hope these tips help you and feel free to come on board the Head|Heart|Health Club where will be practicing safe boundaries all month-long and diving deep into our own worth. <<< Click the linked word for more.  We are releasing guilt, shame, and unworthy feelings by learning how to step into our own power by creating new habits that really support our lifelong journey in our heads, hearts and health.

Want more tips?  Check out the Empath’s Guide to Journaling.

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Stop Apologizing for These 5 Things

I am perfect.  I never make mistakes.  Neither does anyone else in the world.  This actually false, but hey, it’s okay to make mistakes!  What I want to get away from, is apologizing for everyone’s mistakes.  I am serious.  Sometimes I feel like I have to apologize just for the color of my skin, but I know that would be crazy because I had no control over genetics, pigmentation or anything like that.

Unnecessary apologies don’t help anything.  In fact, it sends the message that you think you are responsible for the issue at hand.  Are you?  Did you create the mess we’re all in right now?  I know I didn’t, yet I honestly do find myself wanting to apologize and I realize that is a reaction more to the fact that I want to help the world change.  However, if I keep apologizing for the state of the world, that is a huge burden for just one person to bear.  I know that I am not alone in feeling this way, so let’s look at a few other things we need to stop apologizing for.

5 Things to Stop Apologizing For:

  1. Your skin color or appearance.  I watched this really interesting short video where the parents in some cultures wanted their kids to be lighter skinned…not just here.  I actually had my mouth drop open at one point when a Korean girl said lighter skin there is associated with beauty.  Or the beautiful girl from Bengali.  You see, no one ever said any of this mess to me, thankfully.  I enjoyed darker skin as one side of my family is naturally olive toned.  I actually researched the factors that cause skin to change color, and there are many different reports, but of course, it was an adaptation to protect ourselves much like my own genetic condition to store iron.  Why would we let this bother us so much?  It’s absurd that this is still an issue today.
  2. Your religion.  Whatever you believe, don’t believe or practice, that is personal.  It has no bearing on my life whatsoever…nor should it.  If someone is making you feel guilty for your beliefs or differences, that really says more about them than you.  Don’t apologize for what you believe in.  It’s okay to be different.
  3. Asking a question.  If the question pertains to something that you just don’t understand, or want to get a better grasp on, why should you apologize for it?  I don’t think it’s necessary to apologize for asking questions during a meeting, or even when something seems like the wrong way to go at work.  You might be the one who asks the question in front of everyone, but I bet you are certainly not the only one who had that question.  You can voice your opinion and be bold without needing to apologize.
  4. Having “you” time.  Why do we apologize for this?  Sometimes I don’t want to be involved in someone’s drama, mess or ridiculousness.  Maybe I just really want to have me time…lots.  But that is actually no one’s business.  I do like lots of time alone and I also enjoy time with friends.  Thankfully, my friends get it if I say I don’t feel like doing something or not right now, or whatever I say.  The word no should be enough without needing to apologize for taking a step back.
  5. Circumstances, or health problems, you can’t control.  I felt guilty for so long on this one.  Wow.  Why?  Because I was born with iron overload and didn’t know it??  How the hell was that my fault and why did I keep carrying that around?  I don’t know.  It really wasn’t my fault.  If there are circumstances beyond your control, stop apologizing.  You are wasting precious time feeling guilty, sorry, angry and other emotions that have no place in your life.  They are taking up head space, so kick them out.  Don’t say you are sorry if someone shares something difficult with you as well <<< I have to work on this one.  Try “I can’t imagine how you feel.” Or “That must be difficult.”  Why do we apologize like we caused it???  I know it’s instinct, so I really have to work on this one.

Stop hating yourself

Shame on you…

So I got told once in a private message.  SHAME on me.  Shame on me.  The problem was, I didn’t feel shame.  She did.  She was projecting her shame or what action she felt should be shameful on me.  Hmm.  Let me break it down for you.  Remember when I talked about vulnerability last year?  If not, see this post on Daring greatly.  There are people I used to know who were very very afraid of the truth.  They were afraid of being vulnerable.  They were afraid of letting others see who they truly were.  And they have perfected the art of being “normal” so much so that I could not have a conversation with them.  All but one.  One of them, I thought, could be honest with herself.  Because in the end, that’s what it was about.  Honesty on a level so deep that the only other being who knows this is God.  Because really, do you think you are fooling Him?  You aren’t.

I absolutely loved it when Brené Brown said she had the worst “vulnerability hangover” ever after telling a crowd of 500 people at the TED convention that she had a breakdown.  She said she didn’t come out of her house for 3 days.  When she gets up and talks about Listening to shame, she says this TED is like the failure conference. No, it is. You know why this place is amazing? Because very few people here are afraid to fail. And no one who gets on the stage, so far that I’ve seen, has not failed. I’ve failed miserably, many times. I don’t think the world understands that because of shame.”  Amen sister.  Amen.

“Shame is I am bad.  Guilt is I did something bad.  How many of you if you did something that was hurtful to me would be willing to say I’m sorry I made a mistake?  Guilt.  Shame.  I’m sorry I AM a mistake.  There’s a huge difference between shame and guilt.”   She goes on to speak about how women and men feel shame differently.  “If we’re going to find our way back to each other we have to understand and know empathy.  Empathy’s the antidote to shame.  If you put shame in a Petri dish, it needs three things to grow exponentially: secrecy, silence, and judgment.  The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.”  When she says that if we are going to find our way back to each other and that vulnerability is going to be that path, then I ask you, why put down the person who opens up to you?  Why judge?  Why condemn them for the telling you something that might have been hard to say?  Because you actually feel shame.  Not them.  You have more to hide than the person being vulnerable.

shame

 

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No to guilt…

We all do things in life we shouldn’t do.  We don’t eat right.  We don’t exercise or we don’t lose weight.  We postpone plans.  We avoid things.  We put off making appointments.  And we carry guilt.  Guilt adds to the burdens we already carry around with us each day.  I realize that it is easier said than done, but why is it so hard to make a plan.  The guilt has the power to control you and ruin your life.  Why not turn the tables around?

There are many hills in life.  Sometimes we are climbing up, and other times we have to go down.  Since August, I have let the hills take me down.  I really have.  I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but everything that was going on in my life was getting to me.  I was letting other people in my life add their problems to mine and no one was throwing me a lifeline.  It finally dawned on me in “No”vember, that it was time for me to take control once again.  I don’t even remember handing over the reins to guilt, but there it was having a great time taking me where it wanted.

Several friends were in the middle of huge problems that had nothing to do with me.  I felt guilty saying to them that I really couldn’t help them.  These problems were beyond me, yet as I listened I felt like I was responsible for helping them out in some way.  I really needed a break, and should have found a way to say it.  Unfortunately, I have always felt responsible for helping people come up with plans to handle things.

So to continue on my journey in “No”vember, I am yanking back the reins.  I am going to re-new the gym membership I let lapse and get back to my hot yoga class.  I am making my plan and I hope you make yours.  Namaste.

“I feel like I want to take care of everyone and I also feel this terrible guilt if I am unable to. And I have felt this way ever since all this success started.”  ~Jim Carrey

I need a pajama day…

So if you have been following my blog, you know every Tuesday is random topic night.  Since I haven’t really been home since last Wednesday, we’ll pretend that tonight is random topic night.  There are so many thoughts in my head at this time of year that I could probably post something everyday…that is, if I wasn’t so crazy busy.  I feel nostalgic, stressed, blessed, guilty, poor and rich all at the same time.

My daughter has asked for a certain present for two years in a row.  It is really not in the normal price range I like to spend.  So here comes the guilt.  I have thought about it for two weeks and finally decided to go ahead and order it.  She is a great child and rarely asks for expensive things.  She asked me to take her shopping with her own money because she had saved it over the last few years and she wanted to buy her family presents.  I told her to save her money, but she was persistent.  So, I taught her a lesson in economics when we went shopping.  I told her to budget her money and not pick up too many expensive things or she wouldn’t have any left over for tax, etc.  She learned a valuable lesson…I think.

I am stressed about the holidays for the normal reasons, but mostly because we have to work right up to the day before Christmas and I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to relax this way.  I think kids deserve a whole two weeks off at Christmas, but what do I know.  At least I have a job, so I am blessed, and I can count on my paycheck.  No matter how much I tell myself those things, sometimes, it doesn’t help me feel better about a situation.

The bottom line is, no matter how crazy things get, I love my family more than anything.  I have good friends and a great support system and for that I am truly thankful.  I just wish I could stay in my pajamas and finish reading the book I started this summer.  Yup.  I might need pajama jeans.

“There’s never enough time to do all the nothing you want.”  ~Bill Watterson, Calvin and Hobbes