Guilt Tripping

Guilt Tripping

is an emotionally manipulative tactic and blackmail tool.


Guilt tripping is a manipulative tactic in which one person tries to make another person feel guilty for not doing something they want or for doing something they disapprove of. It is a form of emotional blackmail that can cause feelings of guilt, shame, and self-doubt in the victim.

A involves causing another person to feel guilt or a sense of responsibility to change their behavior or take a specific action. Because guilt can be such a powerful motivator of human behavior, people can wield it as a tool to change how others think, feel, and behave.

Recall in my last muse on Manipulations in Interpersonal Relationships, Guilt Tripping was identified as an example with the context of interpersonal relationship manipulations. In the following, i will identify some manipulative techniques, explain how to spot them and share strategies to overcome different manipulative techniques.

Identified Guilt Tripping Techniques

Guilt tripping is a technique where someone tries to make another person feel guilty or ashamed for something they did or didn't do. The following are detailed examples of guilt tripping:

Parental Guilt Tripping: A mother may say to her child, ”I'm so disappointed in you. I worked so hard to raise you, and this is how you repay me?” This statement implies that the child has let down their mother, making them feel guilty for not living up to their expectations.

Romantic Relationship Guilt Tripping: A partner may say to their significant other, ”I can't believe you're going out with your friends again. You never spend any time with me.” This statement is meant to make the significant other feel guilty for spending time with their friends instead of with their partner.

Professional Guilt Tripping: An employer may say to their employee, ”I thought you were more committed to this job. If you can't come in on the weekend, I guess we'll just have to find someone who can.” This statement is meant to make the employee feel guilty for not being available on the weekend and implies that they are not committed to their job.

Religious Guilt Tripping: A religious leader may say to their congregation, ”If you truly love God, you'll donate more money to the church.” This statement is meant to make the congregation feel guilty for not giving enough money to the church and implies that their love for God is directly tied to their donations.

Friendship Guilt Tripping: A friend may say to their friend, ”I can't believe you didn't come to my birthday party. I guess I know where I stand in your priorities.” This statement is meant to make the friend feel guilty for not attending the birthday party and implies that they are not a good friend.

In all of these examples, guilt tripping is used as a means of manipulation to make the other person feel guilty for their actions or lack thereof. It's important to recognize when someone is using guilt tripping and to communicate your boundaries and feelings assertively.

How to Spot Guilt Tripping

Guilt tripping is a manipulative technique used by some individuals to make others feel guilty or responsible for something that they shouldn't. It can be challenging to spot guilt tripping, but here are some signs to look out for:

Emotional blackmail: The person might use phrases like ”If you loved me, you would do this for me,” or ”I did this for you, and you can't even do this small thing for me.”

Exaggeration: They might exaggerate the situation to make it seem worse than it is. They might say things like ”I always do everything for you, and you can't even do this one thing.”

Blaming: The person might try to put the blame on you for something that's not your fault. They might say things like ”You're the reason I'm feeling this way” or ”If you hadn't done that, this wouldn't have happened.”

Threatening behavior: They might use to make you feel guilty or responsible. They might say things like ”If you don't do this for me, I'll never forgive you” or ”If you don't help me, I'll be in trouble, and it will be all your fault.”

Using pity: The person might try to make you feel sorry for them. They might say things like ”I'm always the one suffering, and no one cares about me.”

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to address the situation and set boundaries with the person. Don't let guilt tripping control your actions or emotions. Remember that you're not responsible for someone else's feelings or actions, and you should always prioritize your own well-being.

Strategies to Overcome Guilt Tripping

Guilt tripping a used to make someone feel responsible for something that they may not actually be responsible for. It can be a difficult situation to handle, but there are some strategies you can try to overcome it.
Here are a few ideas:

Identify the source of the guilt: Try to pinpoint where the guilt is coming from. Is it something someone else is saying or doing, or is it something you are putting on yourself? Once you know the source, you can start to address it more effectively.

Set Boundaries: Be clear and assertive about what you are and are not willing to do. Let the other person know your limits and what is acceptable to you.

Be Honest: If you cannot or do not want to do something, be honest about it. Explain your reasons clearly and calmly, but do not apologize excessively.

Don't Take Responsibility for Other People's Emotions: You are not responsible for how someone else feels. While it's important to be empathetic, it's not healthy to take on someone else's emotions as your own.

Communicate Openly: If someone is trying to guilt trip you, communicate openly and calmly about how you feel. Let them know that their behavior is not acceptable and explain why.

Avoid Over-Apologizing: Apologizing excessively can make you seem like an easy target for guilt tripping. Be genuine in your apologies but avoid going overboard.

Don't engage in the guilt trip: If someone is trying to make you feel guilty, don't engage in the conversation or argument. Stay calm and assertive and refuse to accept the blame.

Communicate effectively: Use ”I” statements instead of ”you” statements. For example, say ”I feel uncomfortable with this situation” rather than ”You are making me feel guilty.”

Take care of yourself: Guilt trips can be emotionally draining. Take care of yourself by doing things you enjoy, spending time with people who support you, and practicing .


Remember, it's important to take responsibility for your actions, but it's not healthy to allow others to manipulate you into feeling guilty. By setting boundaries, being honest, and communicating effectively, you can avoid guilt trips and maintain healthy relationships.

If you have enjoyed this muse, please leave a comment and stop by again as I muse on Gas Lighting next.


View posts by Osita IBEKWE
Thinking for a Living and Getting Things Done!!!


  1. JoyMarch 14, 2023

    Quite insightful and educative.

    1. osita4lifeMarch 14, 2023

      Able PRO, thanks for your kind words.
      Looking forward to your thoughtful engagements on this space.

  2. Ejike MadumereMarch 14, 2023

    This is really awesome
    Very educative. Thank you so much h

    1. osita4lifeMarch 14, 2023

      My able Presido, it’s a big pleasure having you stop by and share your thoughts.

      1. Dr Pamela OgambaMarch 14, 2023

        Very educative, more power to your elbow.

        1. Osita IBEKWEMarch 14, 2023

          Appreciate your making out time to read through and many thanks for your kind works. Looking forward to your weighing in on my thoughts as I share them.

  3. Engr. C.T UgorjiMarch 14, 2023

    Well detailed and educative.
    Wishing you more of God’s grace and inspiration.
    Thank you sir!

    1. osita4lifeMarch 14, 2023

      Looking forward to your comments and contributions

  4. Onyemma Mike iheanetuMarch 14, 2023

    This is an insightful article! Continue with the expose! Cheers

    1. osita4lifeMarch 14, 2023

      Thanks for weighing in, looking forward to robust conversations on the thoughts.

  5. Chisom EmuchayMarch 14, 2023

    Communications muet be clear and honest.
    Be yourself and set your boundaries.
    Thanks for sharing this Osita.
    So many are suffering guilt trips

    1. osita4lifeMarch 14, 2023

      Communication is key, unfortunately many are not skilful in it and it compounds the challenges further.

      I agree with you on setting boundaries, however it’s understandable in western cultures; but in Africa we practically live without boundaries. Intruders everywhere.

      I think the biggest take away is the consciousness that guilt tripping is real and their proven strategies to overcome them.

      Thanks for your comments, do stop by to share your thoughts.

  6. GeeMarch 14, 2023

    This is such an interesting read.
    I can relate especially as I find I easily guilt trip my spouse

    1. Osita IBEKWEMarch 14, 2023

      No need to guilt trip on yourself, it may not be intentional. However, you now know how to avoid it.

  7. Dr Pamela OgambaMarch 14, 2023

    Very educative, more power to your elbow.


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