Maybe it’s your boss, your mother or your childhood friend who know how to push the right emotional buttons so they get just about anything from you. They explain and build a case so strong that you give in to their demands. They guilt you into feeling obligated, remorseful or a gamut of emotions that leave you depleted, vulnerable and sometimes even angry. The good news is you can shut them down if you can take a step back and be strategic and thoughtful in your approach,
Don’t hope for a change
Don’t waste your energy trying to convince that person that they should stop being manipulative. In their eyes, this is perfectly normal behavior that has worked for them in the past. Your priority is to protect yourself against their manipulation.
Guilt trips only work when the recipient accepts the conditions. You have to practice ignoring others’ attempts to manipulate you the minute you realize they have started working you over with their tactics. Walk away, change the topic or simply refuse to discuss. Do not leave yourself vulnerable.
Say “no” – stop people pleasing
As humans, many of us have the insatiable appetite to be liked and to please people, which make it difficult to say “no” to any request. When ignoring a manipulative request does not work, this calls for a direct intervention when you must say “no.” It might be the only hint they understand. “No” is not a bad word and you are not mean if you say it. It’s actually a smart move as you are setting boundaries and protecting yourself.
Even if you decide to give a little, be sure that you stand your ground in the face of attempts to erode the commitments you have made. We sometimes feel confident and strong, but when the pressure is turned up, we give more than we really want to.
Believe in yourself
People who are self-assured and know their value don’t often fall prey to guilt trips. Take the time to build your self-esteem and examine the relationships you have. Decide if you need to distance yourself from toxic people who bring chaos and frustration into your life, which will invariably diminish your ability to be focused and confident.
Being strong is a learned behavior. Make it a game where you see how often you can be victorious when faced with one who is clearly laying down a guilt trip. Reward yourself every time you stand strong and do not fall victim to the tricks of others.