Holiday seasons come with their fair share of complexities, especially when you have to meet with friends and family that you have not been in touch with for a long time.
The lack of interaction for a long time means that your lives have progressed in different directions, and the common ground you used to share is not very common anymore.
Hence, assumptions like you are always financially stable because you live in an urban area, or you have a job, or you have a business, and so on. They assume you have the money. Hence, people want to have a piece of your financial freedom.
How, then, can you tell when you are being guilt-tripped into giving out your money?
Emotional manipulation works when someone uses mind games to influence another person's decision for their interest. When you are having an interaction with someone, and they try to either use your words against you, misquote you, or something of the sort, they might be emotionally manipulating you.
People using emotional manipulation might or might not be aware that that is what they are doing. For some, it is the best way to get you to give in to their requests. Nonetheless, whenever emotional manipulation is being applied, it is never in your interest.
Watch for statements like "You never help out" or "You must not care if you can't contribute."
These and similar statements are thrown around casually to get you to give out your money, even for reasons you do not understand or are unwilling to contribute to.
Comparison is another commonly used tactic to get you to give out your money. You get compared to a more seemingly generous person to make you feel guilty for not giving out your money.
For instance, when you go to the home church and find that the church has a project and they need help. The best way would be when they politely ask you to contribute what you have. However, if they compare your contribution with another person, they may be trying to guilt trip you into making a more significant contribution.
This form of guilt-tripping also happens in homesteads when siblings are compared to each other to get them to contribute even more to home projects. While these projects may be of a good course, the contributions you are expected to make might be beyond your budget.
Sometimes, the efforts to get you to give out your money start very subtle. You get asked to give out your money to do something, but since you are not willing, you decline. However, your turn-down triggers a manipulative sense in whoever needs your financial assistance, and they start pressuring you or excessively pleading with you.
Whether the other person will use excessive pleading or pressure will depend on the power dynamics between the two of you. If they are like an elder or a parent, they will pressure you because they are superior. If they are like a cousin, a friend, or a younger sibling, they will use excessive pleading.
Both these tactics are meant to make you feel guilty for not succumbing to their requests and get you to part with your money against your will. Pleasuring and excessive pleading are both nagging, and they are set up in a way that they will only stop when you give in.
Everyone desires that they progress in life. Part of the progress is the achievements that we accrue in life. Whether in our financial or social lives. However, when people see your progress financially, they want to be part of the success and get a piece of it for themselves.
Hence, they want to piggyback on your success.
If you find people who are using your achievement as the peg for why you should spend your money on them, they are trying to guilt trip you into giving out your money.
An instance would be statements like, “Now that you have a job could you please…” “Now that you were promoted could you please…” “Now that your business is doing well could you…”
These and similar statements are usually used to manipulate you into giving out money you had not planned to.
Having shared experiences is a wonderful thing. In fact, it adds to the meaning of life and strengthens relationships. However, when these shared experiences are used to guilt trip you into spending money you are not willing to spend, the shared experiences seize to serve their purpose.
Due to the invested emotions in shared experiences, some people might find it a manipulative way to get you to advance them money. These experiences could be childhood experiences, work experiences, family experiences, and so on.
Have you ever met someone and thought you were going to exchange brief pleasantries, and it turns out to be a long conversation that you are not interested in, but you are there just to be polite? That is a long question, but I know you have been in such an awkward conversation.
These long, exaggerated stories aim to build up to a request for money. Long-winded stories are a way to disarm you so that it is difficult to refuse their request.
The rationalization is, “Let me give them what they want so that I can get out of here,” or “poor them, they had to beat around the bush for all that while just so that they could ask for money.”
All the tactics used to guilt trip you into giving out your money are never in your best interest but to the benefit of the one asking for money.
If people are using the discussed tactics, trying to get your money against your will, what can you do to protect yourself and your money?
Boundaries are very healthy. Setting boundaries is not saying in your head that you will not do something. It is deciding that you will not do it and communicating it to the involved parties.
For instance, if you realize that you get dragged into home projects that you were not consulted about in the first place, and they keep jeopardizing your financial plans, setting boundaries is making sure that you communicate that you will no longer be taking part in such projects without prior consultation.
However, setting and communicating the boundaries is not everything. The most important part, and often the most difficult, is sticking to the boundaries. The guilt-tripping tactics are meant to disarm you, making it difficult to stick to the boundaries. But the more stoic you are about your boundaries, the better you will handle your money.
Sometimes, the problems you are being guilt-tripped to solve using your money have alternative solutions. If other alternatives can save your pocket, make sure you present the alternatives.
Other times, the alternative is doing it at a later date after you have planned your finances accordingly. Make sure you communicate this as well so as to reduce the pressure of having to dish out money now.
The best defense against being guilt-tripped is planning. When you plan, you can take into consideration this uncle, that cousin, that childhood friend who might be culprits of guilt tripping you to your pocket.
With a prior plan, you can prioritise where you will give out your money, but even better, you can prepare good answers as well as stable boundaries to those who you know will try to get to your money without a credible reason.
Money is sensitive and personal. How we earn it and spend it is deeply representative of who we are. Hence, some people who want to access your money understand that they can guilt trip you into giving it out.
However, it is prudent of you to ensure that you take care of your money. Do not make others happy at the expense of your financial well-being. Hence, look out for those who are trying to manipulate you into giving out your money.
It is your money, and you have every right to decide how to spend it.