In a conversation with a life coach acquaintance of mine, the topic turned to a guy she was working with on a project. He was rude. He was arrogant. He talked over her and took her ideas as his own. He was male chauvinist in a way I hadn’t seen in a while. He was, in no uncertain terms, a gigantic jerk.
Upon pausing from describing his vile behavior, she said, “Ah, well. He’s a wonderful teacher.”
I’d agree; there was a lesson here. However, we disagreed on the lesson itself.
What she thought she was intended to learn—and what many, many Empaths/kind people have been taught to believe—is that difficult people are put in our lives so that we can learn things like patience, dealing with difficult people, and finding ways to love them despite their flaws.
In theory, this sounds lovely. It’s love and kittens and puppies. It’s the belief that love and patience and peace will change a person. It’s utopia.
Listen, I love my utopias (ask my husband—I wax poetic about some perfect vision of humanity at least once a weekend), but this kind of thinking leaves more beautiful, kind, empathic souls in terrible, abusive, and exhausting relationships than I can even count.
In believing this, you are accepting that no matter what—no matter what harm is done to you, no matter how drained you are by this person, no matter how much of your time you give to a failing cause—you should stay in the relationship, apparently to earn a Master's degree in abuse.
I dunno, but that just doesn’t sound like the best way to use your beautiful energy.
Do you really need to accept abuse as a lesson in your life? Do you really need to learn to be some jerk’s doormat? Do you really need to run yourself into the ground, giving all your energy to saving ONE person, rather than being able to protect yourself and your energy in such a way that you can save hundreds (or more)?
I say you don’t.
In my opinion, the real lesson jerks in your life are teaching you is how to put appropriate boundaries into your life, so YOU get to live the life that you deserve. If you’re an empathic person, doing so also means that you can use your intense caring and healing ways to actually make a difference in the world, not get depleted by some jerk.
If you are dealing with jerks in your life, your approach should be five-fold:
1. Admit you’re dealing with a jerk.
This can be hard for an Empath, as you’ve likely been taught “you should think the best of people.”
You should. However, sometimes the best someone has to offer is being a jerk. It’s okay to admit that’s the truth of the matter. In fact, it can be very freeing when you finally allow yourself to admit it.
You might be thinking, “But isn’t that thinking negatively? Isn’t that judging someone?”
No. If it’s the truth, it’s the truth. You cannot go through life in denial that bad people exist in the world. If you do, you will be taken advantage of and drained of your energy extensively and repeatedly.
Trust me; I know of what I speak.
Your empathic nature is a gift, meant to heal the world. I don’t think that denial that leads to abuse is your best decision.
The truth is that your energy will be depleted when you are with a negative person. It’s not a judgment call; it just is. By accepting who a person really is, you can then empower yourself as to how you choose to deal with them.
2. If this person is incapable of change or is in ANY way abusive, get away from them. NOW.
If you are dealing with someone who is emotionally, physically, or mentally abusive to you, or drains your energy to the point that you can hardly function, get out. If you are dealing with someone who is a tyrant and who makes you hate interacting with them, get out.
I don’t care if it’s your mother, the first order of business is to detach from the relationship. While I absolutely believe you can change the energy of a relationship through energetically changing yourself, there are times when that energetic change is to simply get the hell away from the person.
If you are dealing with any kind of abuse, please seek help immediately. Please scroll to the bottom of this article for resources.
3. If they are constantly (and pointlessly) critical, block them from your circles, blog, and life.
I’ve had a few people in my life that needed to be jerks all the time. When I’d talk about something good I was trying to do, they’d be the first to try to tear it down. When I posted an article I’ve been working ages on, they’d have to post a snarky or negative comment.
I’m always astonished by these people; who has the time (or desire) to try to make a person’s day worse? If you don’t like what someone has to say and it’s not really hurting you, why take the time to be a jerk?
Because they are jerks, that’s why. It’s taken me a long time to realize that this is some people’s pastime in life; they just relish putting people down.
The dirty secret here (and bonus lesson for you) is they hate themselves. Because of that, they hate anyone trying to improve themselves or the world, because it makes the jerk feel bad about who they are. Of course, everyone has the exact same ability to get off their butts and do something with their lives, but they don’t want to actually WORK at anything. They’d rather just try to stop you in your tracks so they don’t have to face their own perceived shortcomings.
So, they criticize others to make themselves feel better. It’s sad, but you also don’t have to take it.
Block these people from your social media. Block them from your blog. And, while you are at it, block them from your life.
Trying to make the world a better place with your empathic energy is hard enough work; you don’t need someone putting you down at every turn.
4. Begin the practice of shielding yourself every morning.
If I can pinpoint one thing that helps me more than anything else I do, it would have to be the practice of shielding.
Shielding is a simple practice where you close your eyes and imagine a beautiful light flowing all around you, creating a force field that encompasses you. The light can be any color you like; I’d advise you to ask yourself what color light you need for the day. (Different frequencies—or colors—of light can negate different types of energy. Trust your inner wisdom to tell you what you need.) Imagine negative energy coming at you, and see it bounce off your force field easily. Imagine a strong, bright shield that is impervious to attack, but allows good to come to you.
That’s it. It’s a very simple practice with profound results. Even if you don’t believe it can help you, try it for a few days and see.
If you’d like some help with this practice, I have a simple 9-minute Shield Exercise that you can listen to daily that will teach you precisely how to do this most effectively.
5. If you are dealing with a pattern of jerks coming into your life, you’ve got underlying beliefs that are attracting them.
This is a hard-fought lesson, let me tell you. For a very long time, I couldn’t figure out why in the world I was attracting the same kinds of energy-depleting, advantage-taking, emotionally-abusive relationships. I had jerks show up in the form of boyfriends, bosses, and friends, and the relationship always played out the exact same way: I’d be put on a pedestal for a while, then diminished, then find myself rushing around to make this jerk happy, then end up running myself into the ground trying to live up to this jerk’s unreasonable (and unearned) expectations.
It sucked, if I am to be frank.
Finally, I decided that I needed to figure out why I was choosing these kinds of people over and over again. After all, out of the millions of people in the world to have relationships with, how was I getting the same basic type?
When I made the discovery behind The Flow Method, I finally had my answer: I was subconsciously and energetically programmed to seek the same kinds of people. Until I identified and retuned that underlying programming, I was going to keep reliving this crappy experience over and over.
When I shifted the programming, everything changed. If you’d like to be able to identify your underlying programming simply—and have a specific action plan to shift that programming in 40 days, you can check out my book.
If you are not ready yet, that's okay. What I really want you to take from this is that you are not responsible for (nor do you deserve) the abuse of a multitude of jerks in your life.
Just know that as an Empath, you are a magnet for these kinds of soul-suckers unless you learn tools to shift that energy and keep them at bay. The good news is that putting a few of these things in practice will help you get right on your way!
Want to know for sure if you are an Empath? Check out my Empath Test.
Do you already know you are an Empath?
Would you like help in retuning your energy to stop attracting jerks and start attracting great things to your life? Are you sick of being drained of your energy and would like to be empowered, not exhausted? Sign up below to be the first to find out when my Empowered Empath Academy opens!
Are you in an abusive relationship?
Please seek help immediately—you CAN get out. You deserve to get out.
Please note: Your computer or phone may be monitored by your abuser. Please be safe, perhaps using a friend's phone or computer to reach out for help.
National Domestic Violence Hotline:
Love is Respect: (Terrific resource for those in an abusive dating relationship. Text help offered as well.)
Do you know a child who is being abused? Please don't just look the other way; report it;
Phone: 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4533)