You may not know it, but you may use guilt as a tool and weapon. You may use self-righteousness to motivate others into doing what you want. Using guilt to get what you want from others is a passive-aggressive tactic that never builds trust or mutual respect.
But don’t worry, you may not know you’ve been doing this, and that’s ok. If you notice that you tend to use guilt to get what you want from others, it isn’t too late to stop and learn new and better ways to communicate.
What Does Using Guilt To Get What You Want Look Like?
Martyrdom creates a dynamic where someone does something for someone else in order to feel put out or victimized by providing the service. A martyr uses guilt as a weapon by making others feel badly for the help or sacrifice the martyr provides. In this case, the martyr uses guilt to get their needs met instead of being direct and asking for what they want.
This tactic uses guilt in sugar-coated hostility. Though unwilling or unable to be direct, people who use passive aggression oftentimes see themselves as victims and hide their feelings rather than simply ask for what they want.
Being needy often piggybacks on other behaviors. Being needy uses guilt by creating dynamics that are inequitable. From needing constant support to downright bold manipulation, being needy sucks the energy out of everyone.
Being dishonest and fabricating guilt to manipulate others is not a good thing. Not everyone knows they do this. Sometimes it is such an ingrained habit that they can’t help themselves.
Why Would Someone Do This?
We think that the only people who act this way are mentally-fractured, angry people who we can spot from a mile away. Sadly, this isn’t the case. Most people that use these tactics are unaware that they do. What they may be aware of is they don’t have the solid, consistent, and nurturing relationships that other people have. They may find themselves jealous, usually at odds with others, and just dissatisfied with life. The use of guilt is one of many issues that are off the mark.
What can be done to stop these actions?
The best news is: awareness is the key! Once someone recognizes these behaviors or sees themselves using guilt as a tool, they can begin to break the cycle. Sometimes simple self-awareness is all that is needed to stop using guilt as a tool.
Living with guilt is no way to live. Dishing out guilt is equally undermining. If you have the tendency to do this, you can remedy your behavior and in return develop mutually satisfying relationships. If you are in relationship with someone who is using guilt as a tool, you can spot the behavior and encourage them to find a better way to get what they want.
Guilt, the gift that keeps on giving. – Erma Bombeck