Did your spouse or significant other really mess up and it’s time for them to make amends? If you are planning to stay with this person and you want to send the message loud and clear, give them a guilt trip. This is a powerful tool that can crumble the seemingly hardest of hearts. It’s not to be used lightly, only in serious situations. But if you’ve never given one before you really should learn how to do it right, in order to have the best chance of success. Read carefully so you know how to give a guilt trip properly. It’s not for the faint of heart. First, really evaluate the situation. What is the offense exactly and how is your romantic partner likely to respond to it? What will they say? Make sure you have a good grasp on how things will go down. Make sure the two of you are alone when you meet. Do not act upset. Pretend there isn’t anything wrong. Bring up the issue in conversation. Make it sound casual. Just that you wanted to clarify about what had happened, but that it was no big deal. Make sure you are relaxed and cool when you deliver your side of the story. Say it matter-of-factly. If you get emotional they will stop listening and think of how to respond. You want them to digest the information carefully.
Bring up other issues in the past, transgressions this person has done to make you feel a similar way. This probably isn’t the only time they’ve let you down. If it is, you are using a guilt trip too early. Make sure to keep eye contact with them while you are telling them these things so that it drives your point home. Ask them if anyone else has ever done it to them. This will conjure up the same feelings in them hopefully as you feel. Then ask rhetorical questions like “What were you thinking?” At this time they will probably come forward with a litany of excuses as to why they acted the way they did. Don’t let up. This was the part you prepared for. Instead, debunk every answer that they give you. When they run out, you have them. Expect an apology. Have in mind what this person can do to make up for what they did. Make plans to make sure this doesn’t happen again in the future. When it comes time, forgive them wholeheartedly and let them know that you do. Everyone makes mistakes. As long as they are willing to make up for them and learn from them then it should be okay. To learn more about guilt and its role in relationships, read the teachings of June Price Tangney and Ronda L. Dearing in their book, Shame and Guilt.