10 Tiny Signs Your Partner Is A Major Guilt-Tripper

Being taken on a guilt trip is no holiday.

Man feeling guilty Rowan Jordan | Canva 

Guilt-tripping in relationships is quite common. In certain cultures and religious settings, it's used to get people to behave a certain way.

Trying to make someone who cares about you feel bad is an old trick used to manipulate behavior and belief systems.

Do you feel your partner or someone important to you is guilt-tripping you in a relationship? Would you like to know if you have guilt-tripped in the past, and that's why you behave a certain way or hold a particular belief system?


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Here are 10 signs your partner is a major guilt-tripper:

1. They always make you feel bad

Does your partner suggest you do not work as hard as them, their parents, or other people they know at home, work, or both? That’s guilt-tripping I dealt with a lot in my relationship.

2. They use the past against you

If your partner keeps bringing up the past to control you, that’s guilt-tripping.

3. They make you feel guilty by never letting you forget how great they are

Does your partner keep reminding you of favors they did for you? It might be just one favor, and they keep mentioning it so they can guilt trip you in doing whatever they need to be done.


4. They use your feelings against you

Some partners have mastered faking emotions, whether anger or sorrow, but won’t directly tell you what they need. You start running around trying to figure out what their pain is and do things to appease them.

These are expert manipulators, and their response is a stale “nothing” or silence to guilt-trip you into moving mountains to please them.


5. They use conflict avoidance against you

The silent treatment could last for a very long time to guilt trip you to gain eternal favors. Guilt is a strong emotion in the human psyche. The silent treatment is an art, and it could be argued that it's the topmost form of emotional guilt-tripping.

You are stuck in suspended animation as you have nothing to go with except what you are feeling within — mostly confusion and guilt.

6. They assume the role of a disapproving parent

Often, I have seen a partner assume the role of a disapproving parent and guilt trip you through cold shoulders, sideways looks they give you, and even using "that" tone in their voice.

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7. They will tell you that you "owe" them

This form of direct guilt-tripping happens rarely, but it still does when your partner tells you directly you “owe” them.

8. They engage in passive-aggressive behavior

When your partner doesn’t want to directly ask for something because they are not “that” person but will tell you how someone else does something for their partner without asking for it. That’s passive-aggressive guilt-tripping.

9. They thrive on "tough love"

When your partner belittles your efforts so you do more for them, that’s another way your partner is guilt-tripping you. But, if you ever question them, they will say, “I care about you.” or things like, “I know you can do more/better.” or “It’s for your good.”

tough love guy


Photo: Faces Portrait via Shutterstock

10. They constantly gaslight you

Gaslighting is another form of guilt-tripping. This is abuse carried out by master manipulators in a relationship. And, to me, it's the cruelest form of guilt-tripping. They do something and deny it so convincingly you start wondering if you are going insane.

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Impacts of guilt-tripping in relationships

You might stop trusting your partner and feel like you always walk on eggshells.

Feeling belittled is common if you have been guilt-tripped for a long time. You might fear that your partner has spies in your close relationships, and you might feel fear even when your partner isn’t with you.


Your partner might fulfill their demands but is losing the relationship, and resentment runs high. When guilt-tripping in relationships goes on for some time, it might backfire, and the other partner may start to use it, too.

Then guilt-tripping might become the norm in the relationship. Or, the relationship dissolves, and whoever feels they're being taken advantage of might walk away. The long-term feelings of resentment might ultimately be too much to bear.

This behavior affects your emotional, physical, and mental health. If mental illness is present among either partner, it could be made worse.



How to cope with guilt-tripping in relationships

Direct talk helps. Maybe your partner doesn’t know how else to get what they want. Acknowledge their emotions and share with them your feelings of guilt. Help them develop a healthier way to communicate their needs.


Learning to set boundaries and sustaining them over time will help. Let your partner know that you can and will do what they ask you to do, but only as much as you can, and stick to what you say.

But don't communicate, even through body language, that you don’t mind and allow the cycle to continue. That's a great way to send mixed signals that can be taken advantage of.

If you continue without speaking up, you will start guilt-tripping others you're in a relationship with, maybe your children or family who care about you.


If it turns out you've done all you can and guilt-tripping in relationships won't stop for you, then you may need to look for professional help to reclaim your life.

RELATED: 7 Clever Ways To Deal With People Who Constantly Guilt Trip You

Keya Murthy M.S., C.Ht. is a Clinical Hypnotherapist, Spiritual Life Coach, and Energy Medicine Practitioner. She supports her clients in meeting their goals in the area of personal growth and spiritual healing.