People You Don’t Want to Meet: Guilt Trippers

guilt-trip (gĭlt’trĭp’)
tr.v.  guilt-tripped,
guilt-trip·ping, guilt-trips
or try
to make (someone)
feel guilty.

guilt-stampGuilt tripping is a form of emotional bullying.   Guilt Trippers know how to push your buttons correctly to make you feel guilty, bullying you into doing something they know you don’t want to do or to just make you feel bad (yes some people are like that).

Guilt tripping is a relationship wrecker.   A Guilt Tripper is a person who sends you on one way guilt trips all the time, it is just their way of dealing with things. We all occasionally guilt people into doing things but the GT is in a totally different level than the rest of us (guilt is a very powerful emotion).

How to spot a guilt trip in the making?
The GT will use accusatory language with black or white statements such as: ‘You always do this to me!’ or ‘Why don’t you ever help me?’ and ‘How could you just go off and enjoy yourself when you know I’ve got all this to do?’

They will talk about things ‘not being fair’ and compare your behavior with other people to the way they feel you treat them. For example: ‘How come it’s ok for you to help them but not me?’ or ‘Why is it that you listen to everyone else’s ideas but not mine?’

The guilt tripper will exaggerate your role in things and over blame you. This amounts to threatening behavior. They may say stuff like: ‘If we are late for the movie it will be all your fault!’, or ‘I hope you are satisfied now you’ve ruined my entire life!’

Guilt trippers are drama queens and talk dramatically. The most immature and dramatic sentiment expressed is the: ‘You’ll be sorry when I’m gone!‘ or ‘When I’m dead and buried at least you want have to worry about me any more!

It’s one thing have a guilt tripper in your life but it’s another to have your behavior and emotions controlled by them.

Guilt trippers are all ‘me, me, me!’ Guilt tripping is selfish behavior and you may have noticed that any non-selfish behavior is then used for their own gain, never letting you forget what they’ve done or suffered for others.

Guilt trippers may have real hardships but then they use these to manipulate others. We may find ourselves making excuses for them such as: ‘Well Sally did have that divorce and she has got that ill child‘. However is ‘Sally’ using these things to control you? If she is then her behavior still needs dealing with, despite any real difficulties in her life.

How not to go there?

Since you don’t want to buy a one way ticket to Guilty land your first thing to do when you realize you are being guilt tripped, is to take ownership of your actions and feelings and to empower yourself.  You have to remind yourself that this person is dramatic and that if  you need to do something do it while reminding yourself that it is in your own interest to get this task done and that you are doing it for the right reasons instead of being bullied into it.  Remind yourself of your good actions and intentions and do the right thing.   Usually GT are good people who want something good and if they are people close to you then you will have to learn to deal with them.  Talk to them when they are calm, explain what they do and how it affects you and clearly explain what you would like them to change.  Promise to do things differently if they will do things differently.

If this person is just an acquaintance why not just cut them off?  Who needs this emotional blackmail all the time?

How do you deal with guilt trips and the people behind them?


  • At 2009.04.01 15:17, gjoez said:

    OMG this was so helpful!

    Thanks to You!

    • At 2009.04.01 16:41, jessyz said:

      Glad you found it useful.