How to Avoid Going on Guilt Trips: Save Money, Time and Your Sanity

Some of us convince ourselves that we should do or believe something because other people expect those actions or thoughts. Emotional pressure matters because a society must function in productive, expected ways.

But what if the pressure goes beyond social courtesies such as making small talks when you’d rather not, or greeting someone you dislike, and sensible obligations such as cleaning up from your activities, not making rude remarks, plus fulfilling your promises and job definition?

What if someone else tries to manipulate you into doing or thinking more than that, something other than that, and/or something that bothers you?

Ah, that’s crossing the thin line between good sense and coercion based on con-job guilt. There are several ways to end and to prevent the problem.

Avoid miserable acquaintances and mingle with nice people

Religious coercion is a common problem worldwide. Suppose someone chooses to damn you or insists that you damn other people who don’t comply with somebody of allegedly spiritual belief. In that case, the demand is for lock-step mindsets and obedience, not free choice and personal growth.

Spirituality is about personal choices to rise above personal limitations, to be nicer than you have been. Spiritual people don’t use physical or psychological force.

Avoid the person pressuring you, and align with co-religionists who soothe people and coax them into becoming ever-better over time. Don’t equate a bad practitioner with the worth of the religious doctrine, either. Some people are simply poor representatives of specific belief systems.

Keep this simple: Avoid miserable acquaintances and mingle with nice people.

Such behavior would have saved lives in long-ago Salem, and wherever beheadings happen. It can vastly reduce the income of therapists trying to convey the idea to clients. Let it improve your quality of life.

Cut ties with people who force you into making accomplishments they want though you prefer some other goal

Parents are known for guilt-tripping their children. Some demand payment for food when married kids and grandchildren visit. Others insist that a child must earn high grades and earn specific college degrees, “Or else!” They’re like the bosses who ask, “Do you want to give me a heart attack or a stroke? Do you realize what you’re doing to me?”

The real issues are being muddled into manipulative statements and accusations. Each of us knows when we feel comfortable or uncomfortable with a set of expectations at home, in school, at work, or in broader society.

When someone implies that you are evil, wrong, or stupid, they belong in therapy, not in your life. Cut ties with people making repeated efforts to force you into making accomplishments that they want though you prefer some other goal.

If family or other social obligations warrant some sort of compromise (e.g., eating at restaurants together instead of the “Pay me!” in-law’s home, providing evidence that you’re pursuing a decent career), then make that compromise. If it doesn’t restore or instill peace, re-think your priorities.

You are not in this life to harass, disgust, disappoint, or shock people though they might accuse you of those crimes.

Save money, time, and your sanity by preserving them sensibly. Pursue your socially acceptable goals even if the people who ought to be cheering you on refuse to do so. It isn’t possible to please some of the important people in our lives, or even some less important people.

Blaming or lacking confidence in yourself and/or failing to make the choices you want because of someone’s guilt-tripping mind games is part of a vicious cycle.

You end up harming yourself by accepting a sense of undeserved guilt, a double-whammy that will worsen your mood and life over time. An undue sense of guilt is a trap; the creation of a problem that hadn’t previously existed. Keep that suitcase empty.

Don’t go on guilt trips. You can choose not to pressure yourself with underserved guilt.

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