You might guess that most women regularly take a trip to visit their children, or perhaps they take a trip to New York City or maybe the mall. But you would be incorrect.
The trip taken most often by woman is the guilt trip. It’s a trip offered by every family member and coworker, and one that we emotionally book on a daily basis. The destination is always disappointing, yet we keep going there. Why?
Guilt Trip #1: Perfect Strangers
I found myself apologizing the other day because a woman in front of me dropped her drink. I grabbed napkins and helped her clean up. Why was I feeling guilty for the entire event? I did nothing but stand behind her at Starbucks. Yet, there I was on my hands and knees saying, “Oh, I’m sorry. I should have tried to help you. I’m so sorry.”
Guilt Trip #2: Kids
I listened to a teenager scream at her exhausted mother in Target the other night because she couldn’t find the socks needed for soccer. “I’m sorry, honey,” the mom said. “I wish you would have told me you needed them before 9:30 p.m., but we’ll find them if I have to stay out all night.” The daughter stormed off texting her friend about what a horrible mother she had.
For what exactly are we guilty?
Perhaps it was sacrificing our bodies to provide a house for the little alien beings growing inside of us.
Maybe it was that baboon-like hemorrhoid that we developed pushing that alien with the ridiculously large head out of our body.
Or it maybe it was the outfit we sewed for our child in elementary school, or the 1,000 soccer games we attended or even just sitting in the car and enduring the smell of shin guards being taken off by three girls in a close environment. Maybe that’s when we messed them up.
Guilt Trip #3: Significant Others
I read a blog about boomer women the other day that discussed, in alarming detail, their sex lives. A large majority of these women in their late 50s and early 60s have been told by their loving husbands that even though they see them as a good friend, they are no longer attracted to them.
Most of the women were apologetic, as if aging was somehow their fault. “I told him that I wish I could be more beautiful for him,” one of them said. “I’ve had multiple plastic surgeries, but it hasn’t helped,” said another. This woman’s husband was 67 and she was 55.
Really? I think I’d shove her 67-year-old husband in front of the mirror and say, “I’m sorry. Are you looking at Johnny Depp? Who exactly are you seeing in that mirror? Do you think those man-boobs and flat ass are just so alluring I can’t control myself? Yet, honey, I’m still attracted to you because I LOVE you.”
I have a good friend who has a very responsible job at her company, and yet every night I hear her husband coming in wanting to know where dinner is. She makes more money than he does. I hear her respond, “I know, I’m sorry, I’ll get something in a minute.”
I’d get something for him, but it wouldn’t be dinner. Maybe an anvil dropped on his head from the second floor loft.
Refusing the Guilt Trip
The next time the guilt trip is offered, refuse to go on it. Simply say to yourself: “This is not something I should feel guilty about. This is manipulation by someone who wants something from me. They’ll survive if I say no.”
Then book a trip to the beach, or the mountains or the local Hampton Inn. But go by yourself and do whatever you like. The only thing not allowed on this trip is your guilt.
Your Turn, Dames
I’d love to know about a guiltless vacation you’ve taken. Where did you go?