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The Guilty-Technique Method In Relationships

Updated on August 14, 2017

We all know guilty is not a nice feeling. It is a feeling we wouldn’t want to hold on for as long as we are alive. It is a feeling of regret and pain. We feel shameful, embarrassed, mortified, at fault, in the wrong and responsible for hurting a loved one or friend. We blame ourselves not believing we did hurt someone. The best we can do to show how remorseful we are is to ask for forgiveness. It is a good gesture of admitting we did hurt the person and we are apologetic for what we did.

Nonetheless, there are people who have taken advantage of this feeling for their own selfish desires. They use guilty as a technique, as a game to attain their egotistical aspirations. The target of this game always suffers psychologically as she believes she was the one on the wrong, when the fact is she’s not on the wrong.

What does a person hope to achieve by using guilty method to get the other person’s attention for all the wrong reasons?


First of all, let us define what is guilty.

Cambridge Dictionary defines guilty as “a feeling of worry or unhappiness that you have because you have done wrong, such as causing harm to another person.”

Even though guilty is not a good sensation it does make us aware we did something that wasn’t right. As a result, we try to undo what we did with the hope we will not live with the sentiment for the rest of our lives. Of course, we cannot undo anything we have done but we can use other ways to make up for the things we did. The only means of undoing the wrong we did against others is by asking the person we wronged to forgive us.

Furthermore, we do hope by admitting we hurt the person it means we have realized the person we hurt has been affected psychologically. We wouldn’t want to see their lives affected negatively as psychological effects tend to transcend physically causing different health problems.


Reasons Why Some People Use Guilty Method

  1. To Show He Is Innocent

We try our best not to hurt others. We don’t want to arrive at the point of realizing we did hurt someone. None of us wants to have the guilty feelings. However, a person may use this method to prove he is innocent. He wants to prove to his partner he is always innocent, he will always be innocent and he has always been innocent.

The person wants to bring to your attention you’re the one who has always been on the wrong. You are the one who has always been hurting him, and you’re the one who makes staying in the relationship harder than it is.


What does the partner expect to reap by making you feel guilty for something you didn’t do?

  1. For you to admit you’ve been or are the guilty one. This makes the person feel good about himself of which there is no good to be felt at all.
  2. For you to ask for forgiveness. The partner feels good about himself that he is ‘God’ who never makes mistakes therefore he is the one who forgives those who wrong him.
  3. In order you may feel inferior. To feel worthless and useless. He wants you to know he loves you or is your friend not because he needs you but because he loves you. He wants you to know it’s because of his love for you he tolerates you.


2. Escape From The Guilty Feelings

Yah, he doesn’t want to experience the feelings of guilty and doesn’t want to admit he was the one on the wrong. Therefore, he will make you feel guilty so that it may appear you were the one on the wrong, you’re the one who hurts him, you’re the one who always does what is not right.

This is a very common act committed by many people. A person doesn’t want to accept he was the one on the wrong. He is very conscious of the fact he committed an act which hurt the other person but doesn’t want to accept the fact. He feels by admitting he was the one on the wrong he will feel inferior, less of a human being.

Sometimes we don’t want to show we are feeble. We want to treat ourselves as perfect. We try hard to push the guilty feelings to the back of our head and press hard on them to the ground so that we may feel relieved.


3. To Get His Way

What happens as a parent when your kid asks you to buy him an ice-cream and you refuse? The child will use the guilty method to make you feel guilty you don’t care or love him. You will feel remorseful. You will end up buying him the ice-cream.

A friend of mine requested me to do something for her. I told her it is not possible that I don’t feel right in honoring her request. She told me that I don’t love her as a friend and I’m not concerned or bothered about her to help her when she is in need. The truth is what she was requesting was something I couldn’t do because I felt it is not right and she knew it was not right. I reminded her that I know her very well. She uses guilty method to get her way.

This is evident in relationships. A partner will use this method in order to get her way.


How Should You React?

  1. Don’t give in to something if you feel it is not right thing to do. Sometimes we do foolish things in the name of love because we feel when we don’t do what our partner wants we don’t love them. If you feel it is not right to do something then don’t do it even if your partner makes you feel guilty because you’re not guilty.
  2. Let your partner, friend or loved one know using guilty method to escape from admitting he was in the wrong is not right. Blaming the other person for doing something that person didn’t do isn’t right at all. He should accept he was the one on the wrong because he was on the wrong.
  3. Point the fact. Let him he know he did hurt you, he was the one on the wrong, he is the one who makes the relationship harder to stay in than it is. At times we need to press in not allowing giving in. You need to stand your ground. Let him not use this method to cause you to feel inferior or in order for him to get his way. Sometimes, love rebukes.


Those who use this method should bring to a halt this technique because it doesn’t benefit them at all.

  1. It is temporal. It will relieve the guilty feelings temporary. In the long run you will regret of how you had treated your friend, loved one or your partner.
  2. You will turn your partner into a puppet, a robot. She will no longer be a human being to you as she will always do what you say because she loves you. In essence, it will be love misplaced. You will not enjoy the relationship because she is doing what you want as the guilty feelings are leading her to accept what you want.
  3. She will develop low self-esteem as she will feel she is useless, worthless because she is always the one on the wrong, always hurting, always making the relationship harder to stay in.
  4. She might end up depressed and ultimately she might wind up in a mental institution or commit suicide. This is because of yours using this method which keeps on reinforcing in her mind she is no good, she is better dead than alive.
  5. You are murderer. Murderers aren’t restricted to those who kill physically but also psychologically. You will kill her true self. She will no longer be herself but a different person. It may lead to low self-esteem, depression and other negative psychological effects.

Long-term guilt can make a person:

  1. Not enjoy her life because of the constant reminder of the wrong she did. Feeling ashamed and embarrassed and not deserving of anything are effects of guilty reinforced.
  2. It becomes hard for a person to think clearly. It interferes with her day-to-day activities because negative thoughts are torturing her. She is unable to think positively because of ever feeling guilty.
  3. To self-punish herself. She will tend to punish her in different ways because she feels she deserves it. She hurt someone; why not punish herself because she deserves to be punished?
  4. Live an avoidance life. She will try her best to avoid you at all cost because she doesn’t want to hurt you. You will not enjoy the friendship or relationship if you keep on making her feel guilty for something she is innocent.
  5. Once she realizes you have been using this method, it will lead to the end of the relationship or friendship. She will hate you with a passion and you never know which action may be undertaken by her. Your or her or both of you will regret the action she will undertake.


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