Are you drawing unhealthy relationships with your kindness?
Being a kind, caring and empathetic person is a fine and honourable trait to have. And I am not here to say otherwise. However, in some people´s cases, having this type of personality can become problematic, especially when it starts to draw in people around them who take advantage of their good nature, leaving the person feeling used or taken advantage of.
It is not unusual for “empaths” (empathetic types) to draw in people with emotional difficulties, they will start to come to you with their problems and if you allow them closer into your life, they may even start to treat you disrespectfully, not considering your needs and feeling they can say things that may hurt you, because they are a close friend or family member. Yet empaths will often still keep trying to help those people and allow them to be take advantage of at a cost to their own wellbeing.
Although it seems obvious that this is not fair to the empath, the real problem here is not the people who are taking advantage, but the empath themselves! Yes that might seem harsh but hear me out.
I myself have over the years have been through a series of friendships whereby I felt I was being taken advantage of, in fact it has happened time and time again. Eventually when this pattern emerged I had to stop and ask myself what am I doing to attract this? I am by nature and empath and that is why I became a Psychologist and Psychotherapist. However, in order to do my work I needed to learn some things about myself. Why am I drawn to helping others? Is it coming from a healthy place? Why did I let certain relationships get to an unhealthy place before I realised that I was not feeling good?
Firstly empaths are not here to save people. We cannot save others from their issues. We can assist and offer support but everybody has his or her own personal journey. The Saviour Complex is described as the need to help others, the background on this suggests that people who have the Saviour Complex have a feeling of unworthiness and to counteract this they look to help others to fill the gap. Ask yourself honestly why you are drawn to helping others and notice if is there is something within you that might need reframing or working on.
When empathy crosses the line and others take advantage of that, then this is normally a sign that you are not respecting yourself. When an empath keeps allowing others to use or take advantage of them it often points out to an issue with their own lack of self-respect, self-worth and self-love. When you have these in balance it is not really possible to be taken advantage of. It is a noble quality to be an empath but it is not so noble to be an empath who does not show that love and respect firstly for his or herself. Being mindful of your interactions with others helps you to learn when it is appropriate to say no and be able to keep a safe distance whilst still being kind to the other person. In certain more serious cases it may be that you might have to remove certain people out of your life, if that relationship is too toxic for you to handle. But by working on your self-worth and self-esteem and having respect for your own needs first, you can start to form healthier relationships with the people that are already in your life and you may notice with the positive changes you make in yourself that you start to attract healthier new relationships too.
Be kind to yourself first