Guilt, Emotional Blackmail and Money

Guilt, Emotional Blackmail and Money

Guilt, Emotional Blackmail and Money

It’s a giving world and so it should be. US$100Trn has been pumped into the world’s economy in ten years. The poor are still poor, many of them worse off, not better off. The rich are unbelievably rich, good luck to them. Many of the rich give very generously. Bless them.

Only by personal giving shall we start – a little – to even out the economic unfairness of the world. Those who give most relative to their wealth are the poor. Double bless them.

When people give they should do so voluntarily, cheerfully and knowing that it is for one reason – the betterment of the receiver. There are other reasons why people give and they can be the wrong ones. Guilt was bred into most of us as we were growing up. If not guilt about the efforts of parents then guilt about not being perfect. Sometimes this was religion-based guilt. Guilt has a place in our lives but Long-Term Guilt is a Bad Thing.

When we hurt a fellow being we should feel guilty. Then we should repair the damage we have done, as much as possible, and stop feeling guilty. When we persist in feeling guilty we damage our lives and, more importantly, the lives of those around us. A permanently guilty person is a pain. Intellectually, we know that. Emotionally we find it hard to shake off guilt.

This is especially true for those brought up to believe that they were inherently wicked from the start. Babies are not born sinful but innocent. Joining the adult world teaches them sin and corruption. They have personalities that can predispose them to be socially difficult. How much this is their fault and how much is inherited we don’t know. Nobody is without some wrongdoing. Ministers of religion are there not to tax sin but to encourage good nature.

When people use emotional blackmail to obtain money I get angry. The idea that you owe money because of faulty behaviour is a cop-out. You may be able to compensate or, more likely, partly compensate for material damage done with cash but the idea that you can pay off abused children, for example, is obscene. Not just on the part of the payer, either.

Perhaps the most despicable emotional blackmail is when the poor are told that their sins will be forgiven only if they put money in the preacher’s collection box. Of all the wicked, emotional exploitations this one seems the most heinous. I may sound rather Victorian but it is still a problem today. Those who are not educated, and certainly not financially so, are susceptible to persuasion by superstition. When a person earning a barely subsistence income is promised Heaven for 10% of it, the perpetrator should be imprisoned.

Emotional blackmail doesn’t stop at financial extortion. Threats of abandonment or of being despised for imagined failure are also wicked. According to many psychotherapists there is increasing bullying at school today. I am sure this is true and bullying has to be contained if it is not to destroy a child’s future. However, we also need to let the young learn how to stand up for themselves when they emerge into the world and don’t have parents and youth laws to protect them. Too much protection is as bad as too little.

A society that wants to be equipped for the future must balance personal interests with those of the community. But society is only a collection of individuals. We are taught to persuade; we should never coerce. We learn to amuse, charm and delight; we should never disgust. Our cunning must stop short of emotional blackmail. if it doesn’t we shall be cast out.

If you don’t believe me ask Bell Pottinger.