Empaths Can Have Trouble Vocalizing Hurt Feelings: 7 Tips To Make It Easier
Empaths are hyper-perceptive and can be very attuned to what the people around them want, need, and feel. That's why it can be so devastating for a compassionate empath when a beloved friend, family member, client, or co-worker says or does something very hurtful.
And while empaths can be great at helping those around them become more sensitive, they can sometimes struggle with confrontation. But acknowledging when someone else hurts you—first to yourself, then to the other person—can ultimately be a growth experience for both of you. Here are some helpful things to keep in mind as you do:
1. Even though you're in pain, this is a chance to practice something positive: anchoring into your own energies and emotions.
As hyper-perceptive humans, empaths have to remember to come home to themselves and their own experiences. Letting someone know they crossed your boundary is an excellent opportunity to do that! Sharing your hurt will help you be with and process your own emotions.
When you are anchored in your own energies and emotions, it's much easier to be assertive.
2. Empaths can employ special tools for sensitive people that make confrontation more comfortable.
In my book, Self-Care for Empaths, I write about how talismans (heart-shaped stones, crystals, or any other small sacred object) can be used to ground empaths during a confrontation. Using creative visualization to imagine yourself calm during the confrontation and engaging witnessing energy can also help you observe the other person instead of tuning into and absorbing their energies and emotions.
3. You are always teaching people how to treat you.
Empaths can accidentally teach others that their own needs are not important. This happens for two reasons: First, an empath's hyper-perceptive system makes them naturally concerned about what others need because empaths can literally feel what other people are feeling.
Second, empaths could avoid confronting people on bad behavior because they know it can create challenging emotions in the other person that the empath will then have to feel secondhand. Letting someone know they hurt you is a gentle hip check that teaches them exactly where your boundaries are.
4. People's opinions can change as their mood does.
Empaths can tend to take things personally. But remember that when you catch someone on a "bad" day, they are much more likely to be critical of you or lash out.
Everyone has had the experience of showing a manager or romantic partner a project or idea and getting very negative feedback and then showing the same person the same concept weeks later and receiving an encouraging greenlight!
Humans are often only as good at the moment with others as they are feeling inside, so allow for the other person to have a lot going on.
5. At the end of the conversation, remind them that you mess up too.
We are all fabulously flawsome (awesome in spite of and sometimes because of our flaws), so even people who are usually really supportive can engage in toxic behavior. If someone who normally pushes you out of the speeding bus's path suddenly throws you under it, remember all the times they have done you a solid.
Then, when vocalizing your hurt feelings, you can also reference a time you acted in a hurtful way to keep the exchange balanced.
6. Find a way to laugh if you can.
It's such an act of self-love to be able to laugh at yourself. If what happened was just too hurtful to find any humor in it, go watch your favorite standup comedian. Or find some funny gifs about telling people off! It will lighten the mood, especially for empaths who are so receptive to the energy around them. Humor is healing.
7. If the behavior is a pattern that does not change, becomes abusive, or turns into gaslighting, get support.
You can give people the benefit of knowing how you experience their behavior, and then give them a chance to change and evolve. But that doesn't mean staying in a situation that isn't serving you or is potentially harmful to you.
Empaths can worry that if they leave a situation like a job, or a romantic partnership, that the other person's needs will go unmet.
Remind yourself that your primary obligation is to meet your own needs and avoid falling into codependency. To do so, you can get support from other loved ones, experts, and health care professionals. Remember: Your sensitive, compassionate heart deserves loving relationships!
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