The power of guilt
Date posted: March 9, 2013
I know sometimes you just have to live with disappointment, but it isn’t always easy. Just ask my parents.
When I was younger, my parents probably knew the feeling all too well. I wasn’t always the most well-behaved child.
Like any child I’d fake being sick to stay home, get in fights with my older brother and just do things I wasn’t supposed to do. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t setting fire to things, but I was mischievous.
It wasn’t until I was more than 5-years-old that I learned the power of guilt.
If I did something wrong after that age I typically didn’t need a spanking or to be grounded. All my parents had to do is make me feel really guilty for disappointing them. Perhaps it was because I was raised Catholic?
I’ve tried that same tact my parents used as I’ve gotten older. I don’t use it in every situation, but when rational conversation and other means fail, I give it a go.
I don’t typically yell. I don’t send snotty emails or text messages. I don’t stomp around and throw a tantrum and I don’t give glaring looks that could laser through an ice block. I just try and make it clear how thoroughly disappointed I am.
There must be a special knack to it, though, because I have not gotten the whole guilt-trip thing to work for me.
I’m usually met with blank stares or superficial apologies, but no real remorse. No solutions.
Maybe those who are meant to feel the guilt instead think I’m too gentle, a push-over or just plain nice.
Anyone who really knows me, knows this isn’t true.
Like anyone else I have a mean streak. I get angry and engage in heated arguments.
If you really make me mad, I’m usually willing to give you a piece of my mind.
I’m not sure why guilting people doesn’t work for me, but maybe I’ll have to keep trying.
Kristen Czaban is managing editor of The Sheridan Press.