When I was in camp (NYSC orientation) I had a doctor friend who apparently had his eyes on me but since he did not say anything, I decided not to think/talk for him and so I acted like I was not aware. We were always together in the clinic, at mammy, he even started teaching me how to play badminton.
Since he wasn't the first person I met on camp, I had other dudes who I was hanging out with too *bats eyelashes* so I had to make out time for each of them and my doctor friend always had this look on his face when he saw me with other dudes. Now we had course to talk about everything and I made it clear I was not in camp to look for a boo and he said the same so I was happy we were on the same page (or so I thought).
The two weeks I spent with him was something else as he wanted to be with me 247 not withstanding my own programme and since the clinic was a convenient place for me to hide to escape the morning jogging, parade and the boring lectures I was enjoying the attention till we left camp. The day we left camp was something else; after our posting letters were handed to us, he saw he was posted to a village (Tambuwal) while I was posted to the capital, his hopes were kind of dashed as he was hoping we were going to be together, so we said our hurried goodbyes and promised to keep in touch. That night things fell apart as my bag was stolen so the next few days was spent running around trying to recover my lost documents. In between the turn of events, I called him and told him the situation of things as we were supposed to hang out before going on leave.
Few days later, we ran into each other at the NYSC state secretariat, while I came to have my ID card replaced, he came to change his posting to town. Immediately he saw me, he started accusing me of not checking up on him, he launched on how he was posted to a bad place, blah blah blah and after he was done I was like so after I told you my bag was stolen, the sorry you will tell me is the village you were posted to and he muttered a weak apology.
That night, he called me and asked to see me (it was say 9pm)and I told him I was sorry I couldn't and he started telling me how I owed him whatever favour he did and he started saying things to make me feel guilty and believe you me, it was not funny as I gave it to him hot.
While I did not intend to bore you with the long and dry introduction, I want y'all to know where I'm coming from because I'm quite sure we all have gone down this lane give or take at some point in our lives but we might not know that it is called 'guilt trip'.
The Urban dictionary (don't I just love this urban dictionary?) defines guilt trip as: 'When someone tries to make you do whatever they want you to so they start making you feel bad about something so then you'll give in and do whatever they want' . It goes further to say 'guilt trip is a trip you should never take. You should feel guilty when you know you have done something you know is wrong. You should set things right if you can or at least try to avoid doing the wrong thing again. t
The main thing is your actions are based on what you think and feel, not on what someone who is trying to manipulate you wants to make you think and feel'.
There are two forms of guilt trips:
- A guilt trip that demonizes you: A perfect example of this is the introduction I gave. You do not owe these set of people anything yet they always find a way to put you on the spot. It could be friends who do not call you, I mean you call them often yet the once they manage to ring you, they'll start moaning about how you are a bad person, how you do not reach them often, etc or a relationship where only one person does the reaching out yet if he/she manages to forget once, it becomes an issue.
- A guilt trip that casts the tripper in the role of a persecuted victim: You know when you wanted to get into the university and you filled a course other than medicine, law or engineering and your parents went all out on you? how they started to remind you of all what you have done right from when you were a kid, how you never appreciate their effort blah blah blah and how your not reading their choice course will affect their status and you did not have a choice but to accept even when you did know you can't cope? oh well, the high rate of drop outs from med school is a testimony to this. The silent treatment we give people too is a form of guilt trip.
Guilt trip happens everyday albeit slightly but then, it is a form of subtle manipulation and both forms of guilt trips heavily exaggerate the situation and presents a one sided view of rife with blame and simplistic judgement and guilt trip most times rely on "always" and "never" statements with accusations of intentional cruelty or a total lack of caring on your part. They may even be heavily sarcastic.
I'm not an expert in psychology but I think the chief causes of guilt trips are fear, insecurity and low self esteem.
Take the parent that is sending their children on a guilt trip because they refused to obey their wishes, in Nigeria, we know how parents take pride in being being called "mama doc" especially if they have a friend whose child is a medical doctor too; bragging rights you'll say.
As for insecurity and fear, oh well, relying on guilt trip to register your protest might be counter productive as there are many ways of communicating without going down that lane, infact it can backfire if care is not taken and you'll find that you are back to ground zero.
In dealing with guilt trippers, the following tips from www.ehow.com will come handy:
- Recognize the cause of the guilt trip. Some people just need someone to pass the buck to but remember that the first step in solving any problem is identifying it.
- Stop feeling guilty. Infact feeling guilty will not solve anything and nobody has the right to make you feel guilty, much more feeling guilty for something you know nothing about.
- Ask the guilt tripper how they feel, this will help them to stop looking up to you for a solution and focusing on themselves.
- Listen to the guilt tripper talk about their feelings, remember a problem shared is half solved.
- Since guilt trip is a form of passive aggression, calling them out subtly will help them use assertive methods to solve whatever is bugging them.
- Help them deal with the problem constructively.
Remember guilt trip robs relationships and interactions of emotional maturity and honesty and encourages long term resentment.
Ever been guilt tripped? How did you deal?
Much thanks to Everyday life.