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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5 Reasons You Need Supportive People.

Plans were broken yet again.  Didn’t come through when you needed them.  You actually feel drained physically and emotionally after being around someone.  You start to make excuses in your head why your friend leaves you hanging…and the excuses start piling up.  Does any of this sound familiar to you?  There is nothing worse than a promise broken.  It leaves you feeling unsupported, unloved, unwanted and unappreciated.  I have been there many times.

When I reach the point that my presence feels like a burden on a person or even a business establishment, I decide that I don’t need them in my life anymore.  I am not a burden to be passed off and treated as if I could be discarded at any time.  No.  In fact, I am a gift to the world and so are you.  So are you my friend. 

Friends

5 Reasons You Need Supportive People in Your Life

  1. They LIFT you up.  LIFT.  Higher and higher.  They actually help raise your vibrational energy to a higher level which then supports you physically and mentally.  This feeling leaves you feeling full as if they were sharing some positive energy with you.  You know people like this in your life and you need to make time for them to be around you more.
  2. They keep their promises. They understand the value of saying you are going to be there for someone or something and they live up to the integrity of their word.  It’s the old school “My word is my bond.” thing and I love it.  Your word SHOULD be your bond.  Think about it.  If not, who is going to believe you anymore?  It’s like the whole boy who cried wolf scenario.  People got tired of listening to his ass too.  <<< Truth.
  3. They make time for you.  My friends started showing up at my yoga classes.  Secretly, it’s not like I didn’t want them there, it meant the world to me.  But I didn’t want to let them down at first because I was nervous.  I then realized, HEY.  Wait a minute.  They are making time for me!!!  Yes.  This is what it is about.  It’s about support.  If I suck, they will honestly give me some feedback on what I can do to make this class better.  And I will be okay.  <<<< I was okay and we went for beverages after.
  4. They talk to you…FACE to face.  I worry about the “Next Generation” and not in a Star Trek kind of way.  I worry because my daughter’s text are like this “WYD”.  “IDK, WYD.”  For real.  That is garbage and you need to talk on the phone.  Tonight is the night before her first day of high school.  I SPENT HOURS talking to me BFF, who I am still friends with to this day, on the phone.  In person.  At her house, and knew every family member.  You need to know your people.  Your tribe.  Your community.  You need to feel welcome with their people.  If you don’t, it might be time to move on.
  5. You feel loved and supported.  This one is really important.  If you had to count on someone to be there for you, do you have a list of people who would drop anything and everything to be by your side and do whatever it is you need them to do?  I do have a small list.  It’s okay if it’s at least 1 person, but find that one person.  Find them and don’t you know, stalk them or anything, but let them know you feel supported and truly appreciate they have done for you.  Sometimes supporting people means telling them things they might not want to hear, but you have to be able to speak your truth to them.  If you can’t, they aren’t the right people.

So your task, beautiful gift to the world, is to go out and find those who support you and give back to you.  Filling your cup, your bucket, your pool up to brimming.  Make time for these people.  Make time.  For these are the people who will be there for you when you need them and they will stand in their truth beside you and support you as you live your truth.  Go forth and lift up a friend today. 

SupportiveIf you are in need of a supportive online group of friends, all working towards the same goals, please click Head|Heart|Health Club.

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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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On being Scorpio…

Sometimes, I wish I wasn’t so Scorpio.  Here are some things about being a Scorpio which I find to be true.

Do not try to manipulate a Scorpio.  They can smell it a mile away.  This is so me.  I know what you are trying to do.  Just tell me the truth.  Here is what I need…it works so much better that way.

Scorpios are tenacious and very stubborn, so much so, that if you think they have finally given up, think again.  They’re coming back with a plan B.  Yes!  I love this truth.  It’s always time for plan B, and C.

You have little to no patience with the superficial sort as a Scorpio.  Bingo.  I’m not talking about wanting to look good so you feel good here.  I’m talking about needing to hide you and your 1,000 new profile photos.

HARD truth…being able to know what’s happening without anyone telling you by just fitting the pieces together.    This one makes it very hard on us because when you lie about what’s going on, we know.  We JUST know.

Introspective and independent.  A Scorpio often withdraws to handle problems, stress, and other life drama ALONE.  We have to do this our way.  Period.  You either understand or you don’t.  For us, there is no middle ground.

Once I deem you as untrustworthy, you become a mere acquaintance.  Never again a friend.  Very, very true.  You will also see less of me.  It’s just the way it is.

Number one sign of a Scorpio, they can smell a lie a mile away.  Beware.  Scorpios tend to be excellent judges in character.  They can see and hear what you do not say.  It is that point, that one point, that you must remember in ALL your dealings with a true Scorpio.

>> A fun little quiz if you wan to try it later.  <<

I am intense, loyal, demanding, loving, truthful, passionate, sensitive, and at times, emotional.  All of this leads up to fun times.  I actually like other Scorpios because once we have had our say, we are all good.  Most of the Scorpios I have met would rather tell you what’s on their mind than tell you a lie.  I love talking to other Scorpios because we seek the bottom line.  Don’t make up some fluff to smooth things over…we see right through it.

I can’t go back and change the past, but I can keep moving forward.  I don’t mind my hermit stages in life, because they are needed for growth.  I am slowly coming out of my last hermit stage, and I don’t regret any choices made while there.

If this sounds like you and you’d like to know more about the work that I do and how I help others move forward in life, feel free to check out my online catalog here.  I would love to “see” more of people who really get it <3

Move Forward

 

 

Motivational Monday…

This is my 400th post, and as this year comes to a close, I have to decide if I will keep Motivational Monday or move on to a new thing like I did last year:)  I might, just might, do something like Fiction Friday as I do write short stories, erm that I never show anyone.  You are free to respond in the comments with any ideas.

I have been thinking about this post most of the day and wrote it in my head a few times, but what I want to talk about is who you are.  I believe people should accept you the way you are.  If you are head strong, and you have ALWAYS been that way, why should it come as a surprise if you don’t give in to whatever others want you to believe.  If they are your friends or loved ones, they should value that trait as they always have, and not try to change you.  When someone tries to break down the core of who you are, it comes across as them saying you are not good enough.  I don’t care who they are.  This is unacceptable to me and hurtful.

If you know what is in a person’s heart and you know how that person has lived their whole life, but suddenly you dislike them for one comment they make that goes against your personal beliefs, and you no longer like them, then that is on you.  I’m going to use a somewhat real situation that many people are faced with.  Honesty.  If you have a friend who has always been honest with you and you ask them a question, do you blame them for their answer?  I read something yesterday that made me think of this.  Sometimes, the truth hurts.  There are many people who wrap their false beliefs around them and hide under whatever pretense they feel like using for the day.  Saying they have “Always” done this or that, but you know the truth.  Chances are, so do they.

So I end this year with the motivation to keep on being real.  Being honest.  Living life as best I can and navigating through uncharted waters at times.  You aren’t always going to agree with me, but that’s okay as long as you don’t try to change me.  My experiences have shaped me and only I know how that feels…so as much as we say we don’t what it’s like to walk in another man’s shoes, remember, we don’t.  2014.  The year to be you.

Ebb and Flow

 

Fake Friday…

Fake FridayI do not do “fake” well.  In fact, I don’t do it at all if it can be helped.  I had to make an exception the other day.  I was out with my girls at a popular frozen yogurt spot around here.  I prefer not to go there as it is crowded and trendy.  I like mom and pop joints where you are helping the owner start their business…we have one of those right up the street, but I had a gift card.  We are trying to decide on the choice of yogurt when I hear a voice like Mrs. Doubtfire say “Oh my!  You girls are nearly as tall as I am.”  I turn and register my surprise and try to contain my face from showing my feelings all at the same time.  She is going for nice.  Be nice.  Be nice.  Be nice.  All that took 3 seconds possibly, but in my head it was like Matrix time.

She chatters away asking me where I work and what’s going on with my life, blabbity, blah, blah.  We finish getting our yogurt as my girls add 3,000 toppings, she goes behind the counter to re-fresh the supplies.  I feel some relief as there is now a barrier between us and she can’t fake-hug me again.  As we leave, she says quite cheerily “Come back and see us again girls, stop by any time!”  I nod my head and mumble something unintelligible like “thanks”.

Now, let me explain why I do not care for her.  She was mean to kids.  Period.  MEAN.  TO.  KIDS.  She was fake-nice to parents and then would whisper the most horrible, awful, evil things like a serial killer would say.  You know, the kind who look like everyone should like them, but have some dungeon in their basement like Hannibal Lecter.  That’s her.  She looks like Mrs. Doubtfire, but thinks like Mrs. Lecter.  Creepy.  So creepy.

The bottom line folks is because I was trying to make a good impression on my children, I did something I don’t normally do.  Once we got in the car, I asked my girls if they remembered her.  One of them remembered.  She also knew she wasn’t a nice person inside.  All the make-up in the world couldn’t hide her true character.  Remember that.

I teach being true to yourself and I stand by that in everything I do.

“Some people think that the truth can be hidden with a little cover-up and decoration. But as time goes by, what is true is revealed, and what is fake fades away.”  ~Ismail Haniyeh

reveal the truth

Finding your way…

There are many things in life that bother me, and I often use quotes to help me work through some of those things.  I want to share this one right now:

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.”  ~Thomas A. Edison

People who give up bother me.  They think the world outside their bubble doesn’t matter, and oftentimes, they give up or give in.  One more time might make a difference.

All men should strive
to learn before they die
what they are running from, and to, and why.”
~James Thurber

I do not appreciate people who run from their convictions.  If they have a strong opinion of why something should be a certain way, then they need to make a stand.  Too often people give in because it’s easier.

Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.” ~Anaïs Nin

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I get in a rut.  I have to put myself in uncomfortable situations that other people would and do turn from.  I don’t do it because I want to, I do it because without putting myself out there the way I do, I could not maintain my integrity.  It is not to relish confrontation, it is not to make statements others don’t agree with, it is to be true to myself.

Man is almost mad—mad because he is seeking something which he has already got; mad because he’s not aware of who he is; mad because he hopes, desires and then ultimately, feels frustrated. Frustration is bound to be there because you cannot find yourself by seeking; you are already there. The seeking has to stop, the search has to drop…”  ~Osho

No stress…

It’s been a long time since I have written about my job.  Mostly because my once “anonymous” blog became more well-known.  However this topic needs to be explored tonight.  Many years ago I was an excited first-year teacher.  I went to a place that all teachers knew so that I could make die-cuts for my brand-new room.  I said hello to everyone in there and saw that several people signed in with the name of the school I was assigned.  I loudly said, ohhhh that’s my new school!  Who works there?  Not a single head came up.  Hmm. I thought.  Strange.  I guess they left.  As I was leaving the room, one man approached me and said he worked there and would see me at the start of school.  There were plenty of people still in that room who worked there I later found out.  Odd they didn’t speak.  What was their deal?

Fifteen years later, I guess I finally figured out what was wrong.  They work all day and have little to no time for a bathroom break.  If you happen to work in a school with no planning period, you get approximately 15 minutes in the morning to use for the bathroom, but since the time is so precious, you get busy working on setting up your room, answering e-mail, working out a bug in your lesson, or doing attendance and by the time you realize it, your class is back and you never left the room.  You stand on your feet, crouch, bend over or sit in lilliputian chairs.  You sing even when you have no voice, dance even when you don’t feel like it, and smile even if you just got bad news.  That fire that destroyed a home?  Yes, that was your student and now they have nothing left, so you organize a clothing drive.  That man who committed unspeakable acts?  Yes, he was the father to one of your students so you organize counseling.  The mom they found living in her car?  Yes, she still gets her baby to school even without a home, and you do everything in your power to help only to find out they decided to go to another school.

So, at the end of the day, when other people have come home from their jobs and left it all at work, these teachers might be worried about how their children are going to make it from day-to-day.  At Christmas, when they see the joy their children have in opening presents, they might be shedding a tear for that student who walked to school when he missed the bus.  When friends and family smile at them and tell them how great it is that they have a “break”, they might be worried about what their students will lose while no one is reading to them at home.  And if that one person dares to say “Well, at least you get the summers off”, they will try their hardest to act like that is the best gift in the world when in reality, they are always thinking about the year to come and if their six sick days will make it until the next year (they usually don’t).

Now I understand why the teacher’s lounge is so quiet when I go in there to heat up my lunch.  Why hardly anyone looks up when I say hello or acknowledges my presence during our 30, sometimes 20 minute, lunch break.  I know we are all tired and exhausted at this time of year.  This is the time we are most stressed, and I realize it, but we have to start lifting each other up.  We know the burdens we carry, and they are great, but so is our character.  Never underestimate the power of a good teacher.

“Teaching is not a lost art,
but the regard for it is a lost tradition.”
~Jacques Barzun

P.S.  If you are a parent reading this…your child really did that thing we said they did on the note, and we have witnesses.

Something doesn’t feel right…

“Live so that your friends can defend you but never have to.”  ~Arnold H. Glasow

When I write, so much can be read into my words as I mentioned in a previous post.  I believe in being honest and straight to the point.  I have been doing a fair amount of self-reflection.

Let me clue you in on what I mean.  I have a very strong sense of right and wrong.  It bothers me when I know that people are being taken advantage of, tricked, or lied to.  Out of all possible human traits, being dishonest is the one that makes me see red.  I have a very hard time dealing people who have shown a constant clear path towards deception.  I’m not talking about the things you tell your friends when they ask you if this outfit makes them look fat…I’m talking about the full-fledged make up an entirely different version of something happening type of story.  How do you look those people in the eye ever again?

It’s simple for me.  I try my best to show them the way to honesty.  I don’t wait until something festers, I take action immediately with these types of people because if you wait, their story spins out of control.  I have counseled quite a few people recently who have caught co-workers in a web of tall tales.  The most recent person was related to me.  It seems that no matter your age, no matter your profession, the “game” is being played all over.  I know this is true, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.  In fact, I told this person she was old enough to retire and get away from this nonsense.  Under no circumstance, whatsoever, would I feel good if my boss asked me to lie.

You know the old saying “If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.”  I use that on a daily basis in my life and on the job.  I am not afraid of losing my job.  I am quite serious.  The one thing that I can take with me throughout every job I will ever have is my integrity.  Here is what every employee handbook should contain:

Rule #1:  Use your good judgment in all situations.  There will be no additional rules.  ~Nordstrom’s Employee Handbook

I will end by saying that I went to a workshop recently where my co-workers had to write words down to describe me.  Every word made me immensely happy, but honesty was the first word written down.

 

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What you don’t say…

I am good at listening to my friends.  I always “hear” what they don’t say, even if it is just a status update on Facebook.  I believe that no matter what, friends should be able to say what they mean to a true friend even if it hurts just a little.  I won’t say that I don’t get my feelings hurt, because I do, but I need honesty in my life.  If your friend has the ability to admit when he/she is wrong, that is a plus.  Humility is an important quality to have.  That being said, please don’t hold a grudge if you haven’t ever told your friend what is wrong in the first place.  As cool as it might be, I don’t have mind reading abilities…yet.

For those of you wondering if I am talking about anyone in particular, the answer is no.  I was thinking how cool and awesome my friends are, seriously, and wanted to point out some of their great qualities.  One of my friends has the ability to laugh at herself all the time…this makes me laugh in turn.  I really need that.  As a matter of fact, if she ever gets another job, I might have to go with her.  Hint.  Another friend has the generosity of a rich man with a poor man’s purse.  She is very open and giving.  If you start to say something about you wish you had xyz, she might try to make it happen.  Another friend has the ability to come up with ways to keep the kids entertained even if it makes a mess, and I love that about her.  They might not all realize what special gifts they have to offer, but I do.

If you ever start to experience a rough patch with a friend, grab a journal and write down what you are feeling so you can think about what might be going on.  Are you returning calls in a timely manner?  Do you have a new job or person in your life that might make them to feel left out?  Do they have some health issues they are not sharing?  I once got over a huge bump in the road with one of my dearest friends, and I’ll never forget the day she told me what was bothering her.  It wasn’t something I had any control over at all, but she had held it in for so long, it was a relief when she got it out.  Just remember, what you don’t say could actually be hurting your friendship, so go ahead and get it out.

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.”  ~Thomas Jefferson