Guilt trips are one serious form of emotional manipulation that your spouse may use to try to get you to do what they want. While it is normal for a person to ask their partner to do things, it is not good for either of you if they do it the wrong way. At times, you may be too busy, tired, or even uninterested in doing the things that your partner asks. Having them lay on the guilt does not help the situation. Instead of giving in or losing your temper, you can use these three strategies to help them recognize what they are doing and find better ways to complete their requests.
Tell Them How They Make You Feel
Your spouse may not consciously realize that they are hurting you emotionally. They may simply have been raised in a household where they watched their parents engage in this manner. Alternatively, they may really feel as though their request is important enough to not worry about how they may be causing you to feel unnecessary stress. Let your spouse know that their attempts to make you feel guilty cause you to question your judgment. If you feel resentful when you give in, then you should also explain this to your spouse. Over time, unresolved resentment can lead to even more serious problems in your relationship.
Educate Them About Their Behavior
Your next step is to help your spouse understand what guilt tripping is so that they can recognize when they are doing it. Consider sitting down with them when you can share a guilt trip article that explains more about what it means to engage in this behavior and how it affects families. Your spouse may prefer to read up on guilt trips alone, which is fine provided that you follow up their reading with conversations about what you both learn.
Practice an Effective Response
In a perfect world, your spouse would just stop laying on the guilt trips. However, it does take time to change behaviors, and they may still do it without thinking. Practice standing up for yourself with a response that stops them from trying to make you feel guilty. A simple statement regarding what your spouse is doing and how it makes you feel can help initiate a response that gets their attention. If necessary, practice your response with a professional counselor who can also help you learn how to perform self-checks to identify when a guilt trip attempt is being made.