“I gotta go home for Thanksgiving, because if I don’t go, I’ll hear about it for months.”
“Oh god, my sister is calling for the fourth time this week and I just don’t want to pick up the phone, but I have to.”
How many times have you done stuff for your family that you don’t want to do because you would feel super guilty if you didn’t?
Families and guilt trips tend to go hand in hand.
Most families haven’t learned how to have healthy communication about their needs while still respecting each individual’s independence. So usually that looks like the authority in the family (a grandparent or mom or dad) who tends to determine what everyone is going to do and how they will behave. And if you step out of line, you get judged and often shamed.
Maybe you have a great family and you love spending time together. If so, that’s fantastic, and you don’t need this post. But if you’re like many of my clients, your family is problematic at best.
You might love them, but you don’t…always like them very much.
Maybe they don’t treat you with much compassion.
Maybe they don’t “get” you.
Maybe they often bug you to get a different job than you’d actually enjoy or they act really selfishly when you get together.
You don’t need to feel guilty for NOT liking things about your family.
When guilt shows up, we think it means we have done something bad…even if it’s to have a different feeling than we think we are supposed to have. But your feelings and preferences are all actually okay.
They might not align with the unwritten rules of your family, and that feels uncomfortable. But the key to inner peace is NOT to ignore your own feelings. It’s to HONOR them and learn to weather the discomfort of doing something that opposes your family’s wishes.
Part of being a full adult is taking the responsibility to make your own decisions about what serves you best, even if others want you to do something different.
Take a moment to reflect right now — is there anything you’d like to change about your plans but you haven’t because you don’t want the guilt?
What would it be like to make a different choice and communicate it with firmness and compassion?