Too often in relationships, we try to make our partner feel guilty. We point out ways in which they made us suffer – perhaps that they kept us waiting for 10 minutes, that they forgot our birthday, or that we do most of the housework. Although it is sometimes important to say such things, it is all too easy to make this a habit. If we are not careful, we can actually find ourselves seeking more ways to make our partner feel guilty.
Why would we want our partner to feel bad? Don’t we love them? Deliberately making them feel guilty is not something we usually do at the start of a relationship. Initially, we do everything we can to win their heart. Why might this habit change?
Generally, we try to make our partner feel guilty in the hope that they will treat us better. However, such an approach not is not grounded in love and will always backfire. If we use guilt as a weapon to attack our partner, the only result will be a loss of love and trust. Although it is sometimes legitimate to explain why they upset us, actively looking for ways to make them guilty is harmful, foolish, yet all too common.
As well as making our partner feel bad, the habit makes us feel bad too. Think about it – if we are continually reciting the hardships we suffer, it will not take long to conclude that life is terrible. To make matters worse, we blame our suffering on our partner, thus ignoring the true cause. We cannot feel good again until we acknowledge the real problem, which is our tendency to focus on our hardships and try to make our partner feel guilty. We must then make an effort to turn this tendency around.
There are a couple of ways to do this. First, we can recognize where we use guilt, and understand that it is a harmful and unloving act against our partner. We can ask ourselves why we do it – what are we really trying to achieve? If our goal is to make our partner love us more and treat us better then we should think of more effective ways to bring this about. Second, we should think about our own mistakes, either in this relationship or in past relationships. Realize how easy it would be for someone to make us feel guilty about all that we have done! When we become aware of all of our own shortcomings, we are more forgiving of our partner’s, and ultimately, forgiveness is the quality that we must display.