- Family and Parenting
How does family make you feel guilty about the life path you choose.
Families shape and mould your life and your choices. Some families encourage and allow you to make your own choices. Other families cross the line from shaping and molding to controlling and dictating the path you take and choices you make. They exercise their controlling in many ways.
One of the main ways they attempt controlling you is through guilt. Inducing guilt is often done in several ways. Spiritual teachings are often used to create guilt. The family cites religious writings and teachings in order to force you into the choice they want you to make. When you violate their will, it is not just family you are going against, they make it to where you are going against your religion and God as well. In times past, this method was jokingly called “Putting the fear of God” into you. The threat of supernatural intervention runs the full range from disappointing God, and eternal damnation in hell to death threats and fatwas against you.
When spiritual guilt inducement is too heavy, they may use dead family members to induce guilt. This is done by making reference to ‘the ancestors’ in a generic form or referring to a specific family member like ‘Aunt Elsie’ or ‘Uncle Abram’ to stop your choice. By using a dead family member or members, they can create internal tension as you consider the image they conjured of various family members rolling in their graves or looking down disapprovingly from their eternal resting places. Since the family members they refer to are not there to speak for themselves, they are used like ghosts to force you to do things. Since they are dead, you can not argue with them. This ploy is a way to pressure you and keep you from arguing with your family directly.
When using the ancestors and the dead no longer works, the family may claim that you are disappointing them as a whole or in a specific highly respected family member. They may use a whole range of emotions including sadness, anger, disgust, etc. The common theme is that they entice you to believe that you are making them feel that unpleasant emotion. By making you responsible for what they feel, they hope that you experience guilt at bringing a negative emotional state in your family members. This ploy often works when you are weak minded or commonly fall for their emotional games.
Your family may bring in the medical ploy. The medical ploy is often used when they consider your choice a ‘really’ bad one. In the medical ploy, the family claims that their medical condition is directly related to you and your choices. They make you believe that you brought on their migraine, high blood pressure, heart condition, breathing episodes, or some other malady. They hope to pressure you into believing that you and your choices caused the problem. Although the reality is that you did not, the emotional pressure of the medical ploy makes it highly effective.
Another family manipulation is accomplished through family dynamics. The family often uses older members of the family to double or triple team you. By bringing in the more experienced members of the family, they hope to persuade you to their way of thinking. This manipulation can be positive or negative. In the positive mode, they make you believe that you are being brought into the inner circle of the family if you choose well. In the negative manipulation, they threaten to ostracize you from the family if you choose wrongly. Since they often choose family members that you are attached to or respect, this is often a powerful manipulation.
Some families use “what if” manipulations. In the ‘what if’ manipulation, the family talks about a good potential future for you. This future is based on you making the good choice. Phrases such as “Can you imagine…” or “Consider what it will be like if…” or “You may be…” are often used in this manipulation. When this manipulation is used, it appears that everyone is having a shared vision of the future based on your choice. By making the wrong choice, you disappoint them, miss out on a good future and are ostracized from the family.
A variation on the “what if” occurs when the family literally curses the choice that you are considering. When referring to your choice, they add curse words and embellish references with curse words. This embellishment carries the message that your choice is ‘cursed’ and will bring all kinds of negativity if you follow through with it. They hope to discourage you from making the wrong choice by associating the direction you are considering with as much negativity as they can.
Since families are often creative, they come up with many original ploys to induce guilt. The wide range of creative alternatives make it difficult to cover every one. In terms of dealing with these manipulations, there are a couple of skeleton keys. One, is that each person is responsible for their own emotions. You can not make them feel some particular emotion. Shifting blame for emotions is a sure sign that manipulation is going on. Two, you can not cause medical problems, unless you made the family member take something. Three, ‘true’ guilt comes from realizing that you did something wrong. If you did nothing wrong, there is no reason for guilt. If you are experiencing guilt, when you have done nothing wrong, it is a manipulation. Four, you can not argue with the dead and corpses do not have feelings and thoughts anymore. Trying to win an argument with a corpse does not make sense.