Narcissists guilt trip you like crazy – and who among us hasn’t been on one of those? Only sociopaths are able NEVER to feel guilt – and for those of us who do feel it, guilt is distressing and draining.
After the devalue and discard phases, you might feel like you were the one who isn’t good enough. But still, you’re reasonably sure that something isn’t right in your relationship.
(If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent a lot of time trying to fix what’s wrong with you. And I mean EVERYTHING! I tried to become a whole different person, and it was never, ever enough. NOTHING (and no one) is ever enough for a narcissist.
Once you’ve turned yourself inside out trying to fix every possible issue, you’re forced to look back at the narcissist.
But you might feel sorry for them, having an apparently irreversible personality disorder; maybe you feel a little guilty when you find yourself so overwhelmed by a narcissist’s manipulation and guilt-tripping that you just want to give up on the whole relationship.
But how many times have you done or said something you regret – or been made to feel guilty when you didn’t deserve it as a direct result of a guilt trip laid on thick by a narcissist?
What is a guilt trip?
Guilt trips are a form of mental abuse that can be difficult to overcome. Guilt trips come in many forms, but all have the same purpose: to make you feel bad about yourself.
In a nutshell, it means that the narcissist wants you to feel bad, so they’ll try to make you feel guilty by telling you you’re guilty.
A guilt trip might be used to make you feel bad, but it might also be a tool to deflect from a bigger issue.
Why do narcissists guilt trip you?
There’s a reason why narcissists use guilt-tripping as a go-to tactic. It’s a way to make you question yourself. It can also make you not notice something else that’s going on.
If you are or were dealing with a narcissistic parent, chances are that you’re probably automatically programmed to respond to a guilt trip in a certain way that gives narcissists a bit of supply.
You know, when you try to stay calm and hold your ground, but before you know it, they’ve gotten under your skin, and you’re acting as if you have a reason to be guilty, thereby bending to their every whim.
And if you dare to refuse to do anything they ask, demand, or require? They’ll pull out the old guilt trip again.
For you, that feels worse than just giving them what they want. So, in the end, that’s exactly what you do – even if it means you must die inside a little each time.
Why do the narcissist’s guilt trips work so well?
So, their logic goes like this:
- If they make you feel bad about yourself, they can make you doubt yourself.
- They want to make you feel like nothing is good about you and everything is your fault.
- If they can get you to believe that, then they control you – and guilt trips are the obvious go-to manipulation tactic.
Think about it – if you believe you’re no good and deserve nothing and that everyone around you is disgusted by you secretly, you might doubt everything.
And while they nurture your trauma bond by offering plenty of intermittent reinforcement, you’re starting to think they’re right – and then you doubt yourself, your people, and your own perception.
You start to ask the narcissist’s opinion about everything, whether it’s what kind of gum to buy or whether or not you should take the promotion that would force you to move across the country. And you start to, on some level, accept their opinion as your own.
Maybe you do this because you’re afraid of how they’ll react when you disagree or even, god forbid, try to enforce your own opinion on something that shouldn’t matter.
Or, maybe you do it because you think it’ll impress them. But either way, it only lasts for so long before something has to give.
In any case, you’re uncomfortable without an obvious solution. What can be done about it now?
How to Deal With Guilt Trips
How do we stop them from happening or making us feel bad? And how can we use them as an opportunity to learn and grow instead of sinking into depression and self-loathing?
Narcissists and manipulators use guilt trips all the time. They’ll try to make their victims feel bad about themselves for absolutely no reason at all – except for their own enjoyment.
So how do you deal with the narcissist’s guilt trips? You’ll first want to get a clear understanding of why they might be trying to guilt-trip you.
When someone gives you a guilt trip, remember that they are trying to manipulate your emotions to get what they want—not because they think you’ve done anything wrong or because they care about how much time you spend away from them (even if they act like they do).
Sometimes it’s just because they’re trying to get something out of you and don’t care how they do it, but that doesn’t mean ‘there isn’t anything you can do about it.
What to Say to the Narcissist
Once you’ve figured out what’s going on, then take action! If possible, try sticking up for yourself by explaining why what they’re saying isn’t true or validating your feelings about whatever situation brought them up in the first place. For example:
- “I think what matters here is [state your reason].”
- “I understand where you’re coming from, but I just don’t agree with this.”
- “That wasn’t my fault, and I don’t feel guilty about it.”
These articles might also be helpful for you.
- Narcissists and Public Humiliation: How & Why Narcs Shame You Publicly
- The Toxic Attraction Between Narcissists and Empaths
- Narcissists and One-Sided Calls: Proving You Aren’t the Crazy One
- Toxic Narcissism in Relationships: Identifying PTSD and C-PTSD
- Narcissistic Abuse Awareness: 7 Red-Hot Flags of Emotional Manipulation
- When Narcissists Attack You for Being Upset By Their Abuse | QueenBeeing
- When Narcissists Use Flying Monkeys to Facilitate Smear Campaigns (Featuring Richard Grannon) | QueenBeeing
- Why & How Narcissists Make You Feel Unimportant: 10 Ways Invalidation Happens | QueenBeeing
- How to Expose the Narcissist’s Holiday Smear Campaign | QueenBeeing
- Narcissistic Filibuster: When a Narcissist Won’t Shut Up (The Opposite of the Silent Treatment) | QueenBeeing
- Narcissists Love to Guilt Trip You: NPD and Manipulation Psychology
Resources for Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support
- The QueenBeeing SPANily, Official – We consider this to be the best narcissistic abuse recovery support group on the web. Offers several subgroups and features a vigilant, compassionate admin team full of trained coaches and survivors, supporting more than 12k members. SPAN is an acronym created by Angie Atkinson that stands for Support for People Affected by Narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships.
- Other Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups – We also have separate groups for each stage in your narcissistic abuse recovery, as well as some for those who have moved past recovery and are evolving into the next stage of their own life. Survivors have unique and individual needs, even when they’ve moved on – so we’re still here for you.
- One-on-One Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Coaching – If you prefer to get more personalized support in your recovery, you might like to schedule a session with one of our coaches to plan and execute your own narcissistic abuse recovery plan.
- Find a Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Therapist – If you’re looking for a therapist for narcissistic abuse recovery, either because you cannot afford coaching and want to use your health insurance or because you have additional issues you need to address that do not fall within the realm of coaching, you will want to find the right therapist for you – and as far as we’re concerned, that therapist must understand what you’ve been through. This page offers assistance to help you do exactly that.
- Where Are You in Recovery? You might not be sure exactly where you fit in and what level of recovery you’ve achieved. If that’s the case, you’ll want to check out this self-assessment to help you determine exactly where you fall in the stages of recovery from narcissistic abuse. Once you finish and submit the assessment, you will be given resources for your own situation, along with recommendations of which groups to join.
- Which Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program is Right for You? If you aren’t sure which program you want to utilize to facilitate your recovery from narcissistic abuse, this self-assessment will help you decide.