"Should" Is A One-Way Ticket For A Guilt Trip

25 July 2017 Written by 

This week I have come across several cases of loved ones with the “have to” illness (also known as having the “shoulds” and “ought tos”).

When I start a sentence with “I have to,” “I should,” or “I ought to,” that is a clear warning bell to me that I either being codependent or emotionally blackmailed, and am being sent on a guilt trip.

Does respecting someone mean that I should rescue them from the consequences of the choices and decisions that they have made? It has taken me a long time to understand that when I rescue others I am actually robbing them of respect. I am cheating them out of an opportunity to learn and grow in their own spiritual journey.

Sometimes the guilt I might initially feel, I later discover is actually emotional blackmail. I am being made to feel that “I should” do this or that because this is what the other person expects from me. I am learning that it is my primary responsibility to take care of myself and protect myself and my home/family from outward emotional drama and manipulation.

Keeping the focus on myself actually allows me to release other people to solve their own problems and frees me to find contentment and even happiness in my own life without the emotional guilt trip of "should, ought to, and have to."

Content Originally Published By: Amy T. @


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Amy T.

Raised on a dairy farm in upstate NY, I learned to work hard along with my five siblings. I grew up in a very conservative Mennonite-Amish church which shaped a lot of my fundamental core values and beliefs. After moving to Florida to attend college, I married and became mother to five children. Eventually, my unmanageable life came to a crashing halt and I found my way into an Al-Anon recovery program. Recovery has affected every area of my life and I love sharing the things I am learning with others so that they might also find hope for their own recovery.
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