Have you ever noticed how guilt can leave you feeling trapped? But WHY do you feel guilty? Have you ever done anything so terrible to warrant this feeling that can easily allow others to manipulate and take
advantage of you?
Guilt can be taught and planted as a seed by someone in your life who you really care about. Why would they do that? Because they want you to do for them and to love them because they don’t feel adequate for the job of loving themselves.
Really think about that….it has nothing to do with you personally. Every instance of co-dependence with another human that I’ve experienced and observed seemed to have its root in this emotion of guilt.
Perhaps someone was very controlling of you and tried to “parent” you, either as your real parent, sibling, friend, or other relative. They needed your love and affection, and so if you didn’t do as they wanted, they bullied you by calling you selfish.
They didn’t do this because they are bad people, but because they didn’t know a healthy way to get their need for love met. They didn’t know that they could ASK you for support, because asking left them vulnerable to being told NO and feeling rejected.
People who have been hurt and manipulated as children, where love was withheld if they didn’t DO as told, are very leery of asking for help or needing anyone. They will seldom make themselves vulnerable. They will put on an armor of protection that unfortunately has spikes on the inside.
For example, I know someone who learned as a child that she couldn’t rely on her dad to keep his word about 95% of the time.Her parents were divorced, and she lived with her dad. As she came into puberty, she asked if she could live with her mom.
To her dad, this was the ultimate rejection, and he tried to lay a guilt trip on her, saying she was bad and selfish for wanting to leave him, his wife and her two half-siblings. This guilt “stuck” with her. She saw her dad as very needy and controlling.
She grew into a young woman who felt very needy and controlling as well, although it would embarrass her to admit that. To compensate for this shame of feeling needy, she decided she would never ASK for anything from anyone, because
1) They will let you down and disappoint you, and
2) They will reject and abandon you.
What to do? This co-dependent pattern needs to be broken. And you can begin the painful process. Yes, it will be difficult to realize you no longer have to feel guilty for THEIR choices.
Can you heal the relationship? I am not sure what will happen with the relationship because I cannot guarantee that THEY will be mature enough to take responsibility for their own emotions and not blame you anymore or expect you to fill their love need.
What you CAN heal is the relationship with yourself, and then no matter what happens, you will be OK. Either the relationship will upgrade and be healthier by you learning to set healthy boundaries of responsibility with them, OR they may not want to be around you anymore.
Even though the latter reality sounds harsh and difficult, the result is NOT up to you. If this person truly loves you more than they need to control you, they will come around, and everything will be OK with the relationship. Remember YOU are already OK, even if they never decide to come back.
I’m not minimizing the difficulty of what I’m suggesting here. We love people because we know they are just hurting when they act out and mistreat us. We need to honor our pain and grief even if it’s US that decides to leave.
Important point: by setting boundaries of how you allow them to treat you and mostly how you allow them make you feel, YOU aren’t rejecting THEM. You don’t reject them by being good to yourself. Does that make sense?
THEY are rejecting them self by setting your relationship up to fail. For example, it may be very difficult to plan anything with them, and then they blame you for this.
Bottom line: they are hurting and feel comfortable in their own pain, rejection and neglect. This is NOT your fault. Neither is it theirs. It just IS. Accept it and decide to live your life, not theirs.
You will NEVER be able to please them or make them feel loved. They can only do this for them self. And the sooner you stop enabling them because you feel guilty, the sooner they will step up to the plate of life, IF they are ever going to. None of this is in your control.
If this has intrigued you and you are serious about creating a new pattern in your life, I’m offering a complimentary, one-hour Ditch-the-Guilt Discovery Session in May to the first five people who fill out this form.
I’ll ask you to complete a brief questionnaire to determine if you’re ready to do something different.
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