Feeling drained, used, or underappreciated?
If you’re feeling this way right now, don’t fret! We can (and will) change that!
Who is getting you down? A family member? A friend? Someone you’re dating?
Are you typically attracted to those kinds of people in general or is this a pattern in only one relationship you have?
If this is more of a long term pattern for you to allow yourself to be around draining people, ask yourself why? There’s always a reason why we do the things we do…!!
Do you feel guilty or obligated to hear these people out or think something bad will happen if you don’t help them? Maybe you feel sorry for them and want to help, but then they end up taking advantage of you? Maybe helping them gives you a sense of purpose, but isn’t healthy for you long term. What is your situation specifically?
The key is to notice your feelings. If you’re feeling guilt, obligation, fear, anxiety, or sadness, take note!
Ask yourself “why am I feeling this way?”
Once you figure that out, the REAL reason… ask yourself “is this how I’d like to feel moving forward?”
My guess is the answer is “NO!”
No one likes to feel guilty, obligated, afraid, or anxious!
So what can you do about it?
Lots of things!!
One, you can be passive and ignore it and just keep enduring and tolerating (doesn’t sound fun to me at all) until the ends of the earth… because trust me, things will NOT change in your relationship if they don’t have a reason to! Pain is the great motivator!
Two, you can be passive to the point where you stuff your feelings and thoughts down so so far until one day you explode and yell at the person aggressively, which won’t make any productive or positive changes…
Three, you can also be passive aggressive and stuff your feelings and thoughts and drop hints here and there about how you’re really feeling, or talk about the person behind their back, or make sarcastic comments to them, or … the ways to be passive aggressive are endless…
Or four, there is a better way — be assertive!
If there is someone in your life who’s behavior is getting you down, it’s time to be more assertive with them!
- Tell them how you feel using “I statements.”
- Tell them why you feel that way when they behave that way.
- Tell them you’d like a more equitable relationship.
- Tell them you’d rather feel appreciated and cared about by them.
- Tell them what you’d like your relationship to look like with them.
- Tell them what specifically is hard on you and how is is taking a toll on your emotional well being.
- Tell them that you can’t keep going on in this relationship as it is now and that there needs to be some changes.
- Tell them what those changes are specifically that you’d like to see (don’t assume they know!).
- Tell them how much they mean to you and that you’re not “out to get them” or hurt them (try not to let their guilt trips get you down if they try), express that you’re keeping an eye out for yourself and your emotional well being.
Be assertive. Stay calm. Breathe. Share from your heart. Don’t shame or blame them.
They can’t change their behavior if they don’t know that it hurts you and how!!
If they don’t react well the first time, try not to worry too much about it. Sometimes it’s hard to hear how you’ve hurt someone. And remember, we’re learning how to sit in the discomfort of others’ feelings and reactions.
As long as you speak from your true, authentic self from a vulnerable, real place, they have nothing to argue with you about and you’ve done the right thing and all that you can.
Then. Take. A. Step. Back.
Give them the room and time to process what you just shared and let them figure out what they want to do with all the information.
What do YOU want to do with all the information you just shared?
Give it time, watch for any changes, see how it shakes out…
Have another conversation later on, share your feelings again to reinforce that they matter too in this relationship.
The whole key through all of this is to evaluate who you want to keep in your life. Are they hearing what you’re saying and taking heed?
Are they respectful and open to your feelings and you sharing? Or do they cut you down when you share? Or do they laugh and ridicule and make you the butt of their joke? Or do they listen for a week and then do it again? What is their pattern of behavior?
What do you want to do with that information?
You are NOT required to keep anyone in your life that doesn’t benefit your emotional well being, health, or happiness.
Family, friends, partners… no one is immune or entitled to stay in your life if they don’t treat you well (and vice versa!).
We all have choices in our lives (even if maybe you feel like you don’t sometimes).
Are you going to be assertive and choose you?
You don’t learn to un-love them, you just learn to love yourself more.
A pin on my Identifying Toxic Relationships Board says:
“There comes a time in your life when you walk away from all the drama and the people who create it. You surround yourself with people who make you laugh. Forget the bad and focus on the good. Love the people that treat you right, pray for the ones who don’t (if you’re the praying type). Life is too short to be anything but happy.”
What do you think?
Think this is easier said than done? Maybe not.