I like to think I’m immune to Guilt Trips. My Italian mother — God Rest Her Soul — was a Seventh Level Sorceress when it came to making one appear. My father also was very gifted in this skill. You get to a point as a kid — at least I did — where one of The Voices has “That’s just fucked up” on constant replay.
Eventually, you become an adult and comparatively are the Master Of Your Own Universe. Except…for the Guilt Trips which still sneak into Your Life.
It could be any number of things which bring up this particular road trip on your internal GPS. Your interactions with your kids, spouse, extended family, career, coworkers. What you did or didn’t do when you shouldn’t or should have.
Nine times out of ten — at least — it’s a something you had no control over, to begin with, and you are simply at the mercy of The Fates. But — you still have a nagging sense of what could I have done/not done to fix this?
Right now I’m dealing with being laid up at home while my co-workers and boss struggle to find someone to cover for me. I ponder each morning when I get up — “Am I well enough to go in?” Then I walk across the room — become short of breath, have a coughing fit — and tell My Voices the answer is still “NO”. Complete sentence which it always has been.
I’ve been a nurse for over twenty-five years now. In my profession, it is a badge of honor to come to work sick. When I worked in the OR — the joke was you had to call out “Cold and Dead — not just Dead. Because if you were still a warm body — they’d make it work.”. The nursing culture cares for everyone but themselves.
Another example — a couple of my friends are getting ready to retire. They have both turned in their paperwork to their respective HR departments and have countdown calendars ticking off the days till they are done. Their co-workers are already telling them how HARD it’s going to be on THEM after my friends retire. Not congratulations on putting in 25+ years doing a good job which at times they had come to hate. Nope. My friends cannot enjoy the light at the end of their tunnel they have worked so hard for because their co-workers flipped on The Guilt Trip GPS.
We tend to feel guilty when we are taking care of ourselves instead of the other people around us. And when those other people notice, they are more than happy to jump on the bandwagon and add some more mileage to our Guilt Trip.
Self-care is one of the most challenging things a Human does. Putting ourselves first in the equation. We are trained as a community to give and see to The Needs. But only of others. We must always offer our own pain up as a sacrifice to the greater good. Or go on a Guilt Trip for this particular transgression of caring for ourselves.
I don’t know if it’s our Judeo-Christian roots as a nation which require this or simply Human Nature. But it makes for a sucky life of self-flagellation and many times outright illness.
Guilt Trips tap into our Pool Of Shame and let loose all the reasons we don’t DESERVE self-care, self-compassion, self-love. Guilt Trips lead us down the Wrong Path to dead ends in the great corn maze of Life. They trap us like the mice we become when we allow the whims of others or our malware internal programming to take over.
So unpack your luggage. Slowly if you must — but UNPACK. Decide to waste no more energy taking Guilt Trips. Spend your time doing all that which you love, which you need, which The Universe calls you to do. For your inner self, your mind, and your body.
Smash the Guilt Trip GPS — follow The Path of your own making without input from any who would send you on a Guilt Trip.