When Should You Take Care Of Someone Else’s Feelings?

Cathy: Do you feel obliged to take care of other people? When is it appropriate to look after someone else’s feeling? This is Reid Mihalko from http://www.ReidAboutSex.com/

Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from http://www.IntimacyDojo.com/ and we got the memo today coz we’re wearing shirts that are almost the same color if you haven’t noticed it.

Cathy: Almost, yeah, yeah.

Reid: And uh a nice purple orchids in the background there. I think this is very artistic.

Cathy: It is very artistic. Now let’s see if we can be artistically vocal.

Reid: Artistically vocal? So taking care of people’s feelings, when is it appropriate? Cathy Vartuli, go.

Cathy: If you’re someone who always like, I was raised that we were always supposed to take care of your other people’s feelings and that if anyone felt the release but batter on me it was my fault. So it’s important to just look where you come, where you’re coming from, is it a knee-jerk reaction. Okay.

Reid: Some weird family thing.

Cathy: Yeah, in my family that was a thing and you know like, I now it’s okay like I try to remember not to jump in to that pattern again and like is this the a yes for me? Grounding exercise are really useful http://www.thrivingnow.com/grounding-exercises/ where you just like, come back to yourself come back to your present, feel your toes on the floor, what’s right for me in this moment, do I want to be there with this person and you get to change your mind or do I want to take care of myself in another way, so I think asking yourself in the moment, it this a yes for me and mean you’re practicing so you can say hey I know you’re having feelings right now, I’m really sorry that you know feels like looks like’s it’s really intense and I’m not available for to process with you right now, like you know, just want to let you know hope you feel better, you know that kind of thing. Practicing is hard, it’s hard to say that when someone’s having intense emotions. We’re never obligated to take care of someone else unless we have small children or maybe we’re caring for someone who’s incapacitated or elderly then there might be times where we need to show up if we don’t want to but I think for the average person it’s like even though you’re married for 30 years like honey, I can tell you’re having feelings about that, I think you should find someone else right now because I’m not available for that.

Reid: Yeah. You neither. I can be a cheerleader but not your therapist.

Cathy: Right.

Reid: Got it. Yeah I would say and then also you know when you have to take care of somebody for whatever reason, can you ask for support?

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Like what can you do to either get a reprieve or break and get some of your own personal needs met, can you source you know friends, community, family to help you so that you’re not the only person that this other person must depend on,

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Coz that can feel like a situation that you can’t escape from and also can feel you know can really wear you down to you know a point where you have less to be able to give so you’re not serving anybody then, so being able to take a break and get you know resource in different ways that you’re getting your needs met, that will just make things healthier because most people, are quotes, most people grew up in family dynamics or adult dynamics being role modeled around them that weren’t very healthy because our parents or the adults around us inherited those fucked-up approaches from our grandparents or you know the the older adults around us and this kind of gets passed on and we feel powerless like we have to.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And and when life is less of a have to and more of a get to then there’s more freedom and tends to be more enjoyment and purpose even when things are tough.

Cathy: And if you’ve trained all your friends and family that you’re the go-to-person for emotional support, it’s okay to let them know that hey I know in the past I’ve encouraged this and I’ve loved being there for you and I’m learning that it’s wearing, it’s like too much for me and I’m going to set boundaries like letting them know that hey I’m not available and even with children sometimes, it’s appropriate like if they’re not in really distressed to model like, hey mommy and daddy doesn’t have space for this right now, are you okay to play in your room and do with your feelings for a little while.


Reid: Yeah, yeah and that’s again like, we spend so much time trying not to upset people and some of the people in your life could deal with some heart-opened compassionate like communication about hey you know you, I know you got this, you can deal with your own feelings, I’m going to take a nap because you know I need to take a nap right now.

Cathy: I think it’s important to tune in to yourself and notice where your gas gauges so to speak, how full you are, if you’re kind of close to empty and this is going to leave you on the orange light shining and your car’s going nee nee nee, it might be a good time to say hey, I’m just not available for that, is this something that you’re willing to call AAA for?

Reid: Yeah. We had some emotional AAA, that’d be awesome!

Cathy: Right, but is there are times when like if it was really…

Reid: I need some roadside service right now.

Cathy: Right, if my friend was like literally bleeding out, I would drive on empty to get them to the to the hospital and deal with calling AAA from the the hospital. There are things that I’m willing to go to empty for and there’s things that I’m like you know, tha tha not.

Reid: It’s the, it’s the distinction of one is it actually an emergency and when are you just re-enacting an old pattern that is not healthy and was not healthy to begin with.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: And sometimes, you just need a therapist to talk that through to get some clarity because watching only YouTube videos may only get you so far. Leave your comments, let us know what you think.

Cathy: We hope this helped.

Reid: And thanks for writing in.