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Fed up with guilt trips(17 Posts)
I am fairly laid back and easy going but reserved and as a result people tend to want to walk on me or take advantage.
I am fed up with family members and exh in particular trying to guilt trip me or manipulative me or expect me to do what they want me to do at the drop of a hat especially when I disagree or it is not convenient. (Not helped by the fact I was emotionally and verbally and financially abused in my marriage for years. Now divorced).
The kids have learnt to guilt trip or try to manipulate me from their dad. He still goes for the guilt trip at least once a week. He texts me daily when I dont reply he rings, if I still dont reply he gets verbally nasty at handover in front of the kids. Then the next time is Mr Charming.
Any tips on how I can stop this happening. I know I need to learn to say no more but when I do I then re live the conversation and wonder if I was mean or unreasonable.
How old are the dc?
Change to email only contact with him, block him on your phone, there is no reason to be in daily contact.
Have someone else do the pick ups and drops offs, don't give him the opportunity to berate you.
Get the police involved if he's aggressive or abusive towards you.
Reduce contact with toxic family members and focus on the people in your life who are "radiators" rather than drains. Start putting in boundaries.
OP, you are bang on - you need to say no. This takes practice, and as you're not used to doing it, it will feel uncomfortable at first (feeling like you were mean or unreasonable etc). As well as this discomfort, did you notice anything else? Any positive results?
Try to think of it like using a neglected muscle. If you've never done squats, your thighs will ache for days the first time you do a set. Same with saying no - you'll feel guilty, uncomfortable. Like with the sore muscles - remind yourself the discomfort is a sign you're building a new strength.
Then keep doing it - saying no takes practice, and the more you do it the less discomfort you'll feel, and the more benefits you'll start to notice.
There are some good examples here of healthy ways to say No:
Thank you both for your replies. Very helpful. I will check out the link in a minute.
Kids are 12,13. One with SN.
I have no one who will do pick ups and drops off for me. I do both he wont do them because he hasnt got a car. Unless he invites himself round to mine and sees the dc here.
Ex will certainly kick off if I go email only and I am still scared of him. Which is stupid really of me.
I have a family member who will help me in an emergency but will not help me with my dc otherwise. (Yes I do many favours for this person including free childcare ).
I like the radiators and drains comparison.
Sorry posted too soon
Thank you for your advice you gave made some good points for me to think about and remember.
I am off to check the link now
It's not stupid to be scared of him.
But nothing will change if you keep tolerating his control and abuse. He already kicks off if you don't jump to it when he texts, plus you have the constant contact grinding you down and keeping you under.
So it doesn't stop anything by accepting it, it just gives him power. You're avoiding a big kick off, but getting a continual series of them.
There's support in the police and legal system. If he's abusive in his texts or in person, you can go to them.
With drop offs, your dc are old enough to find their way to his door from the car, so I'd just drop and run. And when picking up, perhaps text them to come out?
No way should he invite himself into your home. Don't let him do that again. He is a bullying bellend.
I suggest one way would to stop driving your dc to and from for drop off. So what if he doesn’t have a car. He can get a taxi. As it stands he doesn’t appreciate it and uses it as an excuse to verbally abuse you knowing you will just carry on. Show him bad behaviours have consequences.
This doesn't sound like guilt tripping. I would expect guilt tripping to be more verbal, and for you to be told you're a bad mother, that you owe them this or that. Instead, this just sounds like you don't give them what they want so they punish or harass you for it.
It's hard because laid back, nice, reasonable people are often treated much worse by these kinds of people. They have an expectation that you will give into them, but when you surprise them and they don't get what they want it comes as more of a shock and they'll lash out. It seems like you're surrpunded by the type of people who are used to steamrolling over others and it's really shit.
If they are like this, they will not understand 'stop' in the way you would. They don't naturally respect boundaries, and if they have a sense of entitlement they won't anyway because they think you owe them all the time no matter what. They only understand consequences or punishment. This is very unnatural to maybe your personality type, and it does come with risks, but it's the only language they know or respect. You need to show them that when they treat you unreasonably, there is a punishment for that. You will likely get push back, and brace yourself for a bit of a storm, but they will otherwise carry on with what they're doing. Obviously don't do anything if you think it will make you unsafe around your ex.
Block his number and make a separate email solely for contact for the children. Only check this email when you know he’s having them etc.
As PP has said, tell him he needs to get a taxi or get his mother (or someone similar) to come and collect the children from the car if you do take them.
OP this guilt trip you say you recieve isnt guilt its bullying and control..its abuse even by your children.
Guilt is only established by feeling like we are doing things wrong or bad out of personal gain or greed. I suggest you dont do either of these things. So therefor guilt is a wrong emotion to feel.
You are being controlled by your ex who knows he has a hold on you through fear or the kids or whatever...so think about this its his turn to have the kids over the weekend he says you bring them over,He can;t come..so you say no sorry pal I am too busy I have too much on your turn I am not a taxi service...he says but i wont see them if you dont and it breaks my heart and theirs..you reach for the car keys to save the ex and kids any upset..and bang they have you so instead try well really sorry about that sure you can sort something out as I know how much it means to all of you ,ring me when you have got sorted your end and let me know so I can get the kids ready! Then hang up.If he cannot be arsed to sort his children out then thats it they dont go,he is an adult and as responsible as you.He doesnt feel in the least bit put out if you are run ragged so why should you? You shouldnt.Its not being awkward its securing boundaries and having some self respect.He cannot control you or punish you anymore if you dont let him.The worst that can happen in that situation is he turns up banging and carrying on at your door..you call the police he has lost again..or he stops your maintenance..you go to court he looses again..you;re winning you have the power here if only you realise you are not stopping him seeing the kids he came he was at your door only thing he wasnt there to do was collect the kids...see what i am getting at? He cannot win you are being reasonable its not all down to you to make things happen its a partnership he is failing at,failing his kids and himself.You have the power to stop all this if only you would realise.
Your time is as valuable if not more so than anyone elses so value yourself too.If you dont want to do anything say so ..say I am sorrry that doesnt suit you will have to sort it out yourself I have enough on my plate at the moment.Make no false promises be direct and be clear. You can do this and you deserve to do this for the peace it will bring you.
Thank you all for your encouragement and support.
I can see it is abusive by control. When I decide to make a stand then they subtlety start their manipulation I unknowingly let myself get caught in it like a spiders web and without realising I am back where I started. I never seem to stay untangled.
I think part of the problem is that he has done this for so long. It has unfortunately become 'normal' for me in an unhealthy way. And the dc think it is normal to treat me like this because he does.
I had a really rubbish day today. But I also recognised things a bit more. And wish I had said no a couple of times.
I had a struggle to get SN teen dc to school.Teen dc used lots of verbal tactics to avoid going but I insisted.
Then an extended family member needed me to do an urgent favour which inconvenienced me. Which involved shopping for a few necessities for a vulnerable person.
Then I had a telephone meeting regarding the dc. Then I had to visit my elderly parents, as they needed extra help with care today and the carer only comes once a day. I also had to go back later on. These visits I made are for a short term issue.
Parents moaned about being lonely and depressed and said they might as well be dead as cant go out and they are bored and tried to make me feel guilty because I did not stay long. No understanding about covid restrictions.
I dropped kids at their dads this afternoon after teen finished school. SN dc will not get in a taxi or public transport. Exh was ok
When I collected kids, exh was in foul mood. Kicked off in front of the kids about the kids. Apparently they did not behave for him.
So somehow he tried to make it my fault in messages later on. On the way home the kids tell me that if I had not divorced dad then they would not have to visit or live in a crap home with me, so therefore they reasoned it is my fault they did not behave for him because they didnt want to see him. Which was a slight contradiction on their part.
I know it is not my fault. If he behaved properly in the marriage I would not have divorced him in the first place.
I do not feel I need to justify the divorce with the kids. They know how I was and still am treated and how he was unkind to them at times and they understood we could not carry on like that. Maybe it is just easier to blame me and I am an easy target.
Maybe because I spent years walking on egg shells trying to either fix something that could not be fixed and trying to do everything not to set him off. I am stuck in this.
But I also wish I could have said no I cant help my parents twice today and I cant shop for the vulnerable person because I am supposed to be working.
I now have to make up half my time today as I ended up doing all the other stuff noone else could/would do. But i felt guilt tripped into doing.
Luckily, my boss does not mind too much if I have to swap my hours about a bit. Other family members know this.
But I am cross with myself. And I have waffled on. So I apologise.
Blimey OP I would have been exhausted by your day yesterday and can I just say YOU have nothing to apologise for whatsoever. I am going to have a think and come back with some stratergies for you..
OK so rereading your update..
Struggled with your child going to school...this is pretty normal in every single household I guess,mine included! So instead of being upset about it maybe you need a short sharp shock tecnique? So mum I am not going to school,i hate it its your fault etc...you reply very sternly,,,oh good grief not this again..I am sick of hearing this you Are going to school because you have to go to school get ready now we are settiong off in 5 mins and thats that,I am not arguing with you you are going and thats that I am not discussing it further get ready now and get in the car! then walk away get ready yourself to go ...this might shock the pants off your kids if they are not used it mum rearing up! It won;t hurt them at all and it saves any further argument.They wont like it but they can moan thats ok you don;t have to listen and engage you said your piece they know where they stand with you.
Your parents ...so I get they brought you down with their moaning ..my mum does this and it puts years on me with her constant grumbling.I can be having an ok day and she rings,moans and oh you wish you hadnt ever got out of bed!!! So lets look at that...firstly recognise it is just general moaning ..its not personal and they are not getting at you,It is nothing you have or havent done it just noise! Its frustration and sadly there is nothing you or anyone else can do its how it is at the moment.So you say I know I agree its awful isnt it...then swiftly change the subject,something like did you see so and so on tv last night? wasnt it good what did you think about....it is a diversion tactic and works really well I found in basically shutting them up and defusing the moaning! Like giving them something else to focus on even if it means you just get some peace! It works to not engage.
Your kids were awkward at dads...ok so they were awkward kids are sometimes maybe they were tired,hungry bored who knows but again its nothing to do with you so dont take it on and worry about it. Reply to dad yep its shit when they are sods like that isnt it? I am sick of hearing them too...and leave it at that no further engagement needed.
The kids blaming you...no it is not your fault and you must never think it is ..you did what was right in leaving for your own reasons.However on this I do think its ok to be tough with the kids,not to hurt them but because they are being rude and disrespectful. So they need some work on their attitude. We were horrible at dads because of you ,,,welll sorry kids thats not good enough..I do not deserve it and frankly neither does dad.Dad loves you very much as I do and you both with your behaviour have upset us both,You were very hurtful and I am not having that.You do not hurt the people you love and you should apologise to both of us.You mean the world to bothof us regardless where we live and we work very hard to make your lives good and provide everything you need and this behaviour is out of order...then leave them to have a think. Their behaviour is normal by the way,,teenagers are hard work at the best of times but they do also need boundaries and pulling in line sometimes however hard it is and sometimes they need consequences when they are wrong,and they were wrong with their comments and you got stuck with a load of hassle you didnt need because of them,you do not have to accept it.
I hope some of this helps you see that its not you, But you can bat it all back and refuse to engage in a firm non confrontational way that says very clearly that I am not engaging with this shit I have heard enough so it might be better all round if you all shut up! You are in effect training them to leaving you alone because they will not get the pleasure of a reaction from you...they cannot upset you becvause you refuse to let them...its worth a try,It takes time but it does work, I hope some of this helps.
You need to put a stop to the messaging.
"I'm turning off my phone, I need to get on with work/my evening. Put your frustrations into an email, and I'll read it later".
Stop reading and responding to him. Nothing he's saying requires a response. If he can't manage the dc or finds them difficult, well tough tatos.
With the vulnerable person's shopping - did they actually need it done that day? Could it have waited? Is there anyone else who could do it, or any community help they could enlist? You can say "no, I'm really busy today, how about asking __ or I can do it (on a quiet day that suits you) if they can wait".
With your parents, it does sound like general moaning, so try not to take it to heart. What was the reason you went twice - could you anticipate that for next time, and manage to get it into one visit instead? Just say bracingly to them "well we all have moments like that, don't we?" and don't indulge them, just do what you need to do and go with a smile and a wave.
You sound like a bloody hero with all these responsibilities and burdens, op.
But a bit too much of a people pleaser. It's not the end of the world to not perfectly please everyone around you, and even sometimes put yourself first. Shocking I know .
My challenge to you today, is to say no to someone. Just one person. Start small.
Also, try bloody lying to people if you feel like you can't say no without an excuse:
"work have had a review and want us to do our core hours between x and y".
While selfish people are aware of your work's flexibility, they will impose on you, but it's madness that you're working into the night because of other people's demands on you.
Your time is precious.
You need your income.
Proritise your job over other people's shopping and non-emergencies.
Lazylump thank you for suggestions. I tend to freeze so that was really helpful and I appreciate it.
Category. Yes the vulnerable person was out of bread and milk and few other bits. No one else to help.
Parents. One has a course of antibiotics and they both need help with pill taking.
I forgot to add I did some childcare for my support bubble yesterday as well.
Yes, probably I think I slipped into this pleasing thing without realising.
So my challenge to say no went quite well despite having a worse day than yesterday.
First I did not answer the phone when a relation rang who I knew would keep for an hour and a half . I text them abt a hour ago to ask if they were okay but to say I am having a bad week and was unable to answer their calls.
Second Had problem with the dc from outside source which I needed to discuss with ex. So I messaged him.
He rang back about my message, then went mental on the phone about the divorce and victimised himself and mocked me. I told him i could not talk with him when he was like that and I hung up.
Later on he contacted me and apologised. He never apologies.
Thirdly. I needed a favour and asked the person for whom I do loads of favours for and they did the favour for me.
I was amazed.
Focusing on one day at a time so hoping tomorrow will be ok or even slightly better with no ongoing drama with dc or ex and I can keep going.
Well done on hanging up. Taking a stronger line and enforcing boundaries will have its bumps but ultimately it'll get you to a better place, and more appreciated and respected.
Sounds like you're doing an amazing job OP - kudos to you! Well done
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