Guilt Trip


What does Guilt Trip mean?

Guilt Trip is a manipulation tactic that someone uses to make another individual feel guilt or responsibility so that the guilt acts as an incentive to think or behave as that person normally wouldn’t.

Creating a “guilt trip” in another person is considered a psychological manipulation tactic as a form of punishment, in which the person that is being manipulated is victimized.

The victim is reminded about something bad that they did in the past as a way to make them feel guilty again, and then the manipulator gives them an option to escape the guilt.

The option will depend on the manipulator’s choice.

“Guilt trips” are also considered to be a very passive aggressive action.


What's the origin of Guilt Trip?

There is limited information about “guilt trips”, and also limited studies and researches on examining this kind of manipulation tactic. If there are studies on the topic, typically it tends to focus on “guilt trips” in parent-child relationships.

However, according to Wikipedia, the earliest known appearance of the term was in 1967.

Spread & Usage

How did Guilt Trip spread?

George K. Simon, the author of the 1996 self-help book about psychological manipulation,  In sheep’s clothing: understanding and dealing with manipulative people, discusses the topic.

He deciphers “guilt trips” as an uncommon sort of terrorizing tactic.

He defines the term as a manipulation tactic in which the manipulator suggests to the victim that he or she doesn’t care enough, does enough or simply is too selfish.

That will result in the victim being overly submissive, anxious and self-doubting.

External resources

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