Escaping Guilt

22 Nov

Everyone has that one friend, or family member that makes saying “no” impossible.  They have mastered the art of manipulation and more often than not its easier to just give in than to have to deal with the guilt trip that comes at your refusal.  Something I learned the hard way was-its better for everyone if you just say “NO” and mean it.

Think about it, do you enjoy being guilted into things? Absolutely not, you grow angry and often resentful.  Not to mention it creates a rift between you and the guilt-layer.  This is an example of an unhealthy relationship; one that often comes with stress, anxiety, and lots of other energy draining emotions.  The solution? Stop enabling that person, and do what makes you happy.

You may argue that this is incredibly selfish…However, don’t most of us get joy in seeing our loved ones happy? The people that you truly love and care about understand that you cannot always be their everything-and that’s okay! They will not guilt you into action, they know that you love and care for them and will act accordingly.  Your actions do not have underlying meaning, and do not feed into anyone’s underlying control issues, they are done out of love and care.  As they should be.

Dr. Suess said it best,  “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” And I’d like to add, those that don’t matter DON’T MATTER.  The stress, the guilt, the frustration, let it go. Let them go, and live in peace.  With those that matter.

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3 Responses to “Escaping Guilt”

  1. GG November 23, 2010 at 5:23 pm #

    So, my mom has schizophrenia and she has a lot of ups and downs. It’s not unusual for us to go months without talking to each other. We’ll exchange letters and I’ll send pics of the kids but I won’t talk to her. Sometimes talking to her upsets me. So I like to send letters and do most of our communication that way. Everything else is heaven and hell because I love seeing her and talking to her but I never know what mood she’ll be in or what will trigger her to have an episode.
    Day to day I have to remind myself to not feel guilty for living my life. She doesn’t try to make me feel guilty at all. But I still feel this tugging in me that tells me I should talk to her more often. But it drains me, so I don’t.

  2. Jess J. November 23, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    That’s tough, especially when typically paranoid schizophrenics are the highest functioning but…then they’re paranoid. It’s just a difficult disorder–but to have a loved one going through that and then maintaining health and wellness in your own life? The ultimate test of balance.
    I see others around me, at work and in my personal life, who are struggling immensely and I used to take a lot of it to heart and internalize their struggle and wouldn’t enjoy the things I had going on. I think that guilt (at least for me) was a way to keep the focus off of me.

    You have to have boundaries though. You have to know when enough is enough, and how to leave certain situations where they are. Of course your joy is hard to enjoy when you are worried about loved ones, but sometimes your joy is motivation for them and you don’t even know it. Sometimes we are living examples. At least that’s what I tell myself, and it seems to help. I can be empathetic without internalizing and I can love someone who hurts without hurting–it only makes me love them that much more fiercely. You cannot love her or anyone else the way you want to if you are drained…self-care is paramount. Boundaries are difficult but necessary.

  3. ggwriteslove November 24, 2010 at 9:29 pm #

    Thanks Jess. I’m going to save your response to read when I feel myself flirting with guilt again. This helps a lot!

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