The parent guilt trip

The parent guilt trip
Photo by Carolina Heza / Unsplash

"You don't want to see your parents?"

"We did everything for you, and you can't be bothered to visit?"

If you have heard these complaints from your parents, then this article is for you.

The guilt coming from parents is often just their love and fear in disguise. However,  just because it's so common, it's not harmless! Parents don't realize the toll this guilt trip takes on their child's mental and physical health.  As children end up feeling manipulated, they shut down emotionally. They start setting different boundaries and maintain more privacy.

This leads to more guilt and the cycle continues!

Here are a few steps to deal with guilt:

  • Create emotional distance—Distancing will help you objectively assess the situation and identify the root cause. It's important to know that in this case, it isn't about you. It is about the person who made you feel guilty.

e.g. If you return home after a long time for a short stay, your parents might yell at you and say, "Why did you even bother coming? We clearly mean nothing to you and you don't wanna stay with us anymore."

Remember this guilt statement is not about you but your parents! They just miss you and wanna spend more time with you, but aren't able to express it properly.

  • Address it and redirect to the real issue—Talk about it. Ask the person the real issue that's bothering them. You can then fix it by talking to them about it.

eg. You can talk to them about why they are angry. Tell them you know they miss you but it wasn't possible to take more leave from work. Assure them that you will spend more time with them and that you miss them too!

Lastly, remember that projected guilt is about the other person and their expectations. It only affects you, if you allow it to affect you.