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How to Subtly Make Someone Feel Guilty & Sense the Pain They Caused

If someone has done harm to you, then it’s not surprising that you want to know how to make someone feel guilty. So, here are some ideas you can use.

how to make someone feel guilty

A lot of people will tell you that it’s wrong to try to make someone feel upset or guilty. The truth? It’s not, if you need them to understand where you’re coming from and to help them see things from your perspective. The only way to do that is to figure out how to make someone feel guilty so they can understand just how much they hurt you.

If they don’t care and are just going about life, they’re going to keep repeating that behavior. They might do it again to you or they could hurt someone else.

If you want them to learn anything from your pain, you have to show them and help them understand what they did.

[Read: How to make someone feel bad – 15 nice and not so nice ways that hurt]

What is guilt?

Guilt is a negative and unpleasant emotion people feel when they have shame or embarrassment as they reflect on themselves and their actions.

They could feel that way because of something they did *or didn’t do* or even having thoughts that are morally wrong.

If a person has done harm to another human being, guilt is a natural response. While it’s self-focused on one hand, it’s also a feeling of social betrayal too.

It is a helpful feeling when you have to repair relationships and discourage actions that could damage them in the first place.

While guilt is never a good feeling, it could be helpful because it can provide a person with the motivation to apologize and change their behavior. It also might help save the bonds between people and avoid future problems. [Read: Guilt complex – what to understand about this powerful emotion]

The ability to feel guilty is related to empathy. Someone will feel guilty because they are able to see the person’s perspective – the one they did harm to. They know the hurt they caused, and that’s why they feel guilty.

An interesting fact, however, is that not everyone necessarily feels guilt. And even if they do, the intensity with which they feel it differs depending on the person.

If someone is completely unable to feel guilt, then that is a sign of psychopathy, which is something that serial killers have. They don’t feel guilt – that’s why they go on killing others so easily! [Read: The dark triad – What it is and how to spot these traits in people around you]

Types of guilt

Before we talk about how to make someone feel guilty, we need to talk about the types of guilt.

Not all forms are the same, so this will help you understand the feeling better before you go about making someone feel guilty. [Read: Guilt-tripping in a relationship – What it is and how to respond to it]

1. Current guilt

Current guilt is how someone feels about something happening right now. So, it could be a parent who is missing their child’s school play because they have to work. Or, it could be knowing that you don’t spend enough time with your parents.

When you are feeling guilty about something you are doing at the moment, or at least still doing on some sort of ongoing basis, that is called current guilt.

2. Long-standing guilt

This is the type of guilt that you have felt for a long time. Maybe you cheated on an ex and you still carry it with you even though it happened years ago. Or you could have bullied a kid when you were in school, and you still feel bad about it.

Long-standing guilt is something that you carry with you forever – or at least for a very long time. It’s something that doesn’t go away unless you choose to forgive yourself.

You can’t change the past and what you did, but you can change how you think about it. [Read: Feel guilty all the time? How to find the cause and get rid of it]

3. Philosophical guilt

Philosophical guilt is the type that you feel based on your morals and values. Maybe you see TV commercials for starving people in the world.

They are asking for donations to feed them, but you choose not to send any money. You feel guilty that you are part of the problem.

Or you might feel guilty if you don’t go to church often enough. You might intend to, but you let other things take priority over going. This would be a form of religious guilt, which is still philosophical in nature.

Guilt is a very powerful emotion if someone can feel it

A lot of people ignore guilt. They don’t want to face the fact that they did something wrong and they just push it back into their mind. They’ll even forget about it completely if it’s not brought up again.

But it’s important for people to feel it. Because it can teach lessons.

The more guilt someone feels, the more they’ll learn from what they did. Therefore, those who ignore it often go around repeating the same mistakes, and eventually, they won’t be able to hide the guilt anymore. Only, it’ll manifest in uglier and more toxic ways. [Read: The guilt complex and what to understand about this powerful emotion]

How to make someone feel guilty so they know what they did wrong

What they did hurt. But what could hurt more is the fact that they don’t seem to care. That’s often a result of their ignorance. If you really want to make someone feel guilty, this is how to do it.

1. Determine how you deeply feel

You can’t show someone else how they made you feel if you don’t understand it yourself. Are you mad? Are you resentful? Do you want to hurt them as much as they hurt you?

You really have to think about the emotions going through your head so you can pinpoint exactly what they are.

Once you know them, you can go about reasoning why that person made you feel this way. Only then can you work to make them feel guilty about it.

2. Take time to formulate a plan

You can’t just go up to someone screaming about how much they hurt you. That almost never works and it ends up making you look like a crazy person!

And do you really think they’ll feel all that guilty for hurting someone who’s yelling in their face? No.

You have to take some time to formulate a plan first. Sit yourself down and think about the best way to get their attention so you can talk to them about things. Once you know how you feel and what you want to say, you can proceed with the next step. [Read: 12 questions to help you visualize a good plan]

3. Confront them

Just do it – but not in an aggressive way. They’ll already start to feel defensive when you tell them you’re hurt. Nobody wants to admit they upset someone and so they’ll avoid you if you start playing the blame game.

Instead, make sure you’re in a calm state where you can talk about things civilly. Even if you’re really angry deep down, put on a more pleasant exterior so you can really reach them without them putting up a wall first.

4. Make them relate to the situation

Oftentimes, people don’t feel guilty because they can’t understand what you felt. That misunderstanding comes from not being able to relate to who they hurt.

In order to remedy this, you have to talk to them in a way that they can understand.

So, explain the situation in a way that they’ll be sensitive to, and in a way that can help them put themselves in your shoes. Analogies work great for this as it puts the same situation in a new light that they can actually see. [Read: How to get someone to understand you and open up so you can really connect]

5. Let them see you hurt

It’s okay to show your pain. You don’t have to force yourself to hide it. If you need to cry, then cry. Show them how much pain they caused you.

Keep yourself mildly composed, however, so they don’t just think you’re being dramatic. Trying to cover up how you’re feeling will only make them think you’re lying when you tell them how hurt you are.

6. Get their attention in a major way

We wouldn’t normally condone dramatics, but some people need it. Sometimes you have to get crazy in order to get their attention. So make a scene. If you’re not getting them to hear you any other way, this might be your only option left.

Just make sure that once you have their attention, you simmer down so they can understand where you’re coming from. Otherwise they’ll just get freaked and refuse to listen.

7. Treat them accordingly

You were hurt. They did something bad enough to cause you pain and you should treat them accordingly. Meaning, don’t talk to them. Treat them as if they caused you great pain and don’t be nice about it.

Avoid them and even snub them if need be. Some people need this type of treatment in order to realize that what they did was wrong.

If you go about your day the same as always, they’ll think nothing happened to hurt you and that you’re fine. [Read: How to get cold, calculated revenge and hit back so they feel what you felt]

8. Talk about it logically

If you want to know how to make someone guilty, don’t just use yourself when discussing why you’re hurt. Talk about what happened logically.

Take yourself out of the equation and show them that anyone would be hurt in this situation and it’s not just you.

Some people may think another person is being too sensitive when they claim to have been hurt by something. A logical explanation of why you feel that way can help them understand that it’s not your sensitivity that’s the problem, but their words or action is.

9. Have an actual conversation about it and hear their side

Most people just want to make another feel guilty and that’s all. They don’t care what was going on in their mind or how they’re feeling.

But you have to. They may not have even meant for something to hurt you. So let them speak.

Hear what they have to say before just drilling them for upsetting you. You’ll get a lot further this way than any other way. [Read: Intentionally hurting someone you love – Why we do it and how to stop]

10. Accept that they just don’t care

You can’t change everyone. Some people, no matter how hard they try, will never accept that they did something wrong. They just get on the defensive right away and don’t care who they hurt.

You can’t expect to try to make someone feel guilty forever.

After a while, you just have to realize that they really don’t care and they never will. Move on with your life and don’t let them hold back your feelings any longer. [Read: 20 signs of a lack of empathy that shows they don’t care what you think about them]

Why do you want to make someone feel guilty?

Now that you know what guilt is and how you can make someone feel guilty, you should think about your reasons for doing so.

The reason you should think about this is that guilt is a terrible emotion. No one likes to feel guilty.

So, you first need to think about whether that person actually did something that bad. You have to ask yourself if your perspective on their behavior is correct or if you’re just blowing things out of proportion. [Read: How to recognize the physical and emotional signs of a guilty conscience]

For example, if someone just forgot to clean the kitchen one time, making them feel guilty for it may not be appropriate. But if it becomes a bad habit and it’s creating resentment inside you, then maybe making them feel guilty will get them to change their behavior.

Now, when they did something that really betrayed your trust, then you might have a better reason for making someone feel guilty. If they cheated, lied, or abused you in some way, they should feel guilty already. If they don’t, then you have a problem on your hands.

The point is, you need to get clear on how and why you want to make someone feel guilty. If their actions were that bad, then, by all means, go for it. But if you are making a mountain out of a molehill, then maybe you should re-think it and ask yourself why you want to hurt someone intentionally.

[Read: 14 ways people use emotional manipulation to mess with your mind]

Knowing how to make someone feel guilty has a lot to do with opening up and showing them what they’ve done. It might not be easy for you, but if you want to remain close to that person, it’s worth teaching them a lesson.

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Preeti Tewari Serai
Preeti Serai
Preeti, the founder of LovePanky, is an eternal optimist and believer in the beauty of love and life. With an exhaustive experience in love, relationships, and ...