Don’t lay guilt trips on people you care about
Have you ever had someone say, “You don’t love me!”, when you won’t do what they want? Have you ever said “You don’t love me,” or “You don’t care about me,” because someone would not do what you wanted?
I remember times when one of my children, upon being refused a treat or a toy, would lament that I didn’t love them. I would always laugh, and so would they, because we both knew how far from the truth that was. But what if adults say this to each other and really mean it? How do you defend yourself when someone says you don’t care? It can be a no-win situation.
First, it is important to recognize that it is inappropriate to tell another person how they feel. That robs them of the freedom to express their own feelings. Second, loving or caring should not automatically be associated with doing certain things.
If you want to know if someone loves you or has stopped loving, it is best just to ask them, rather than to challenge them because of some behaviour. If you want to see more of a particular behaviour, then it’s okay to ask for it, but you don’t need to attach an emotional bomb to your request.
If you tell him he doesn’t love you because he never brings you flowers, then where does that leave him when he spends so much time working on the yard because he wants it to look attractive for you? If you’re mad because he never says you look nice, you might be missing the fact that he thinks you’re beautiful, even first thing in the morning. If you think she doesn’t love you because she spends so much time talking with her friends, you might be unaware that she talks to them about how much she does love you.
In any case, a positive approach always works better. Telling someone they don’t care triggers defensive reactions, not deeper levels of caring. Talking about what you would like to create with a person is a way of painting a positive picture that you can strive for.
And as for parents telling teenagers that they don’t feel loved because the kids would rather be with friends, or kids thinking parents don’t love them because they won’t finance a car, these are guilt trips, plain and simple. Don’t lay guilt trips on people you care about, because for sure, they’ll think you don’t love them.