The Squeaky Wheel

How to protect your psychological health, improve your relationships, and enhance your self-esteem.

Why Guilt Trips Can Be Relationship Killers

Have you ever given your romantic partner a guilt trip? Bad idea. Here’s why. Read More

Beyond wrong....

Seems like the author doesn't know the difference between criticism and correction. Every relationship need an open 2 way street for what is happening and how people feel about it...2 separate things. It seems like people are wired for one or the other to be a dominant style....all about feelings or all about getting things done, this author is all about feelings.It struck me that this author forgets that sometimes people just need to take out the trash,do the undesired action or be a better partner regardless of how they feel about it for the balance and good of the relationship.
No one's feelings should be hurt if they are asked or reminded to take out the trash.Period.

This article wasn't about

This article wasn't about correction. Firstly it isn't your job to correct your partner. It's your partner's job to self correct when they believe it's necessary. Secondly, if the guilt comes up because he or she is being asked to take out the trash, maybe consider how you're asking/reminding them to do it. This is important for the long-term health of the relationship.

Excellent article

Excellent article with regard to clarifying how "feedback," even spoken in a non-judgmental way, can trigger a feeling of being attacked and consequently engender either hurt feelings or a counter-attack.

I'm interested in "AnonymousFabFina"'s comment that "no one's feelings should be hurt if they are..."

I've been thinking that some people have a hypersensitive amygdala (the part of the brain that conducts instant threat assessments) that's set to read even gentle statements as dangerous threats. So I have some sympathy with the receiver of the seemingly neutral feedback.

At the same time, I had not thought before that the "guilt trip" counter-punch, as I've learned from your article, is a disguised counter-aggressive action. Very interesting.

Thanks, Susan

You make a great point about hypersensitivity-some people experience strong visceral responses that are simply not in their control--albeit what they do with those visceral responses behaviorally, is.

Uh...dont say crappy things

Uh...dont say crappy things to your mate and you won't have this issue?

No one can "make" someone feel guilty

I don't buy this; no one can "make" anyone feel anything. If someone is truly upset and expressing their honest feelings, the last thing on their mind is trying to make anyone feel guilty- they are trying to be heard. And if they are in relationship where their feelings are often ignored, it can result in expressions that they listener may quickly interpret as attempts to make them feel guilty- because they ARE guilty of being insensitive or abusive. I have been in a long-term relationship where my partner shuts me down every single time I try to express an honest negative feeling. He doesn't like to take responsibility for any of his bad behaviors, so the surest way to deflect that responsibility is to accuse me of trying to make him feel bad or guilty. It's just another way for him to deflect responsibility and the result is that my frustration and resentment build because he will not allow it to be expressed- regardless of how carefully I approach him about it.

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Guy Winch, Ph.D., is a licensed psychologist and author of The Squeaky Wheel: Complaining the Right Way to Get Results, Improve Your Relationships and Enhance Self-Esteem. more...

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