The holidays are in full swing! Along with the gifts and stress and joy and travel and family, guilt can arise. In particular, guilt from our family members. In the video below, author and speaker Mel Robbins, shares her way for handling holiday guilt trips from family members. Mel starts the video by explaining that: Guilt = Disguise for Love Your parents place guilt on you because they love you, and they actually want to spend time with you. They just don’t know how to communicate that want and need in healthy way. Mel then lays down a hard truth: Guilt only works if you allow it to affect you. Another person’s emotional experience and thought life should not dictate our feelings, thought, or behaviors. They only affect us if we allow them to. Easier said than done, right? Well, Mel doesn’t leave us hanging. She gives us a 3 step process on how to turn guilt trips into healthy and healing conversations.
1. Create some emotional distance. First, simply begin to notice that you are starting to feel guilty. Once you notice that guilt is stirring, create some emotional distance. Understand and say to yourself, “This guilt isn’t about me. This guilt is about the person who is making me feel guilty.”
2. Address it. Second, we want to get clear with what is actually happening by addressing it. Creating emotional distance gives you the ability to not let the guilt trip land. The guilt simply isn’t about you. Once we accomplish this, it’s time to address the guilt and talk about the real issue. The next time you see guilt hurdling your way, try saying something like this: “Mom (dad, grandma, boyfriend, girlfriend, anyone) instead of complaining that I’m not going to be home the entire weekend, could you please say what you really mean, which is that you love me and that you miss me and that you would like to find more ways to spend time together.”
3. Redirect it. Now that we’ve addressed it, we use the last script above (or ones like it) to redirect the guilt into a constructive and meaningful conversation. This redirection actually helps the person sending the guilt trip to get in touch with their emotions and ask for what they want. By redirecting, we get to the real issue. We more fully understand that the guilt is a sign about about them. Mel goes on to share that this sign means that they had some idea or expectation about how your relationship with them or this holiday would play out. And now because it’s not going that way, they feel sad, angry, disappointed, or hurt. Instead of asking for help with dealing with the hurt, they lay down a guilt trip. Following these steps may be difficult, but it’s worth it. The steps described here help protect you from any and all guilt trips coming your way. It also helps the other person to seek connection in a healthy way. Start taking these steps today in order to foster connection and healing in your relationships today! I help with holiday guilt trips. Contact me today to begin your healing journey.