As an empath, I am very interested in the richness of people’s interior lives. Unfortunately, I have fallen into the habit of being primarily the Patient Listener for some of my friends. This is not a bad thing, on it’s own. But when I am also not having my own needs met, on a long-term basis, then this behavior feels more like a therapist-client relationship than a friendship.

From a spiritual standpoint, I know I am here to witness others, to say “I see you and I Love you”, regardless of their behavior. Stepping back in this way gets my ego out of the picture. But I also have a need to be seen and loved just the way I am, not just as therapy support. I am looking for better ways to interact.

I can hear echos from a previous teaching: we go to great lengths to make sure that everything in life is harmonious when, of course, it is not. Other people make choices and we experience the consequences.

A’riquea:  It is true that other people make choices. Everyone is choosing, all day long, and doing their best with the skills and the means they have. You will want to recognize when someone is making a choice that affects you badly. You can recognize that choice and then make a statement about how it is affecting you. You can give them the opportunity to make changes.

When you turn yourself inside out trying to adapt to their behavior, you are not being true to yourself. You are presenting a face that you think will help the other person. If it is not helping you, then it is not helping them, either. That is a sideways form of dishonesty. 

You are the way you are because of your nature and your upbringing. Other people have their own construct. We are all many layers of many interconnected lifetimes. I hear you saying that you do not like to have your existence discounted by others. Even that is a result of this construct––it is a pattern that you have experienced and that you know well. 

In your relationship with your friend who seems to be hurting herself by making poor choices––that is her own construct at work. It is not your construct, and it is not your place to take it on. In your relationship with your friend who is very self-centered, that is her own construct from her own life. It is not yours.

Your job is to find the places where the constructs can meet, where they overlap, and enjoy those places, let them enrich your life and the life of the other person. When you find that the constructs are not in harmony, then you have a choice. You can engage in the difficult areas, and work towards a shift, or you can walk away and let them be. 

You tend to have some black and white thinking on this. You wonder if you should walk away completely because of the difficult areas. They are predictable, aren’t they? They are predictable in every relationship. That is the nature of human relationships.

One thing you can do is be more concrete about your own needs. You tend to think that everyone feels like you do, when they do not. You tend to think that other people understand your needs automatically, when they do not. It is up to you to state your needs, hopefully in a neutral tone that does not engage the other person’s defenses. Imagine what you might say to each of these friends.

It is always a good idea to look at your own part of whatever difficulty there is in a relationship. That is ultimately how you decide to be in something or not. Stating your needs is the beginning of shifting a construct. It is always ongoing, a work in progress, but you can tell how healthy the relationship is by how it progresses over time.