Julie felt overwhelmed and hopeless that once again she’d fallen into her twenty-something son Jason’s guilt trip and manipulation trap.
Several months ago, Jason had quit his job as a server and hadn’t gotten another one yet, preferring to spend his time playing video games.
He’d once again told Julie that he needed rent money and that it was her “duty” as his mother to help him out…
And this wasn’t the first time this had happened!
In a certain sense, Julie felt like she was living her life on repeat because not only was it Jason’s habit to try and manipulate her but Julie’s mother had been a pro at the guilt trip game since Julie was small.
Her mother had the habit of calling Julie at all hours, expecting her to get whatever she wanted and immediately bring it to her…
Even though Julie was busy doing something else.
There had always been the unspoken expectation that Julie owed her mom because she’d brought her into the world and now Julie was obligated to take care of her every need.
Julie was so tired of being manipulated by both her son and her mother and felt like her life wasn’t her own.
That’s why she turned to us for coaching to help her find a path out.
During our coaching with Julie, here are some insights she had about guilt trips and manipulation…
1. She saw that she had conflicting beliefs about what a good mother, daughter, friend or neighbor is.
Julie noticed that when you’re falling for guilt trips and being manipulated by someone else, you’re always carrying around conflicting beliefs.
When Julie slowed down her swirling stories of “shoulds,” mixed with anger and resentment…
She saw that although she resented both her son and her mother for taking advantage of her…
There was a part of her that believed she owed both of them to do exactly what would make them happy.
Underneath it all, she also saw that she was scared that if she set limits, both her son and her mom wouldn’t love her any longer.
She saw how those beliefs clashed with her desire for better self-care and self-love.
She saw how loving herself wasn’t possible when she bought into the belief that she had to be the one to make and keep her son and mother happy–no matter what.
2. She saw the importance of questioning her conflicting beliefs
Julie saw that when you become aware of what you believe to be true that may not be true…
She saw with fresh eyes that when you have a belief, you can question whether the belief is one you want to keep believing.
As we suggested that Julie question the truth of her belief that it was her job to make and keep her son and her mother happy…
It was a light bulb moment for her and she saw how ridiculous that belief she’d been carrying for many years really was.
She saw that we each make ourselves either miserable or happy and it’s not up to outward circumstances or someone else to do it.
3. Julie saw that she (like everyone else) always has a choice
The truth is that we all have a choice what beliefs we’ll carry, knowing that our actions come from what we believe to be true–even unconsciously.
When you see where your actions actually come from…
You can know that you do have a choice what beliefs to keep carrying forward in your life–and what ones to let go of.
Like a breath of fresh air, Julie could see that she did have a choice that could be made with love for herself and for those she loved.
For the first time, she saw that she could set boundaries in a loving way and be okay with doing it–not taking on any “shoulds” or guilt.
She could talk with her mom about setting certain days and times Julie would be available to run errands for her.
She could have a discussion with her son about what she was and wasn’t willing to do to financially support him as he looks for another job.
We talked with Julie about this being a moment by moment practice of her well-being becoming important to her.
She realized that what she told herself had to change and that she did have a choice to love herself while loving her mother and son.
If you’re in a guilt trip and manipulation trap, let’s have a coaching conversation to help you free yourself from the trap.
Know that you can let it go with grace and with love.