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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