Dr Judith Orloff's Blog

6 Tips to Deal with Anger Addicts

Rhonda Bryant - Thursday, June 04, 2015

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(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

Anger addicts cope with conflict by accusing, attacking, humiliating, or criticizing. Unchecked they can be dangerous and controlling.

Anger can tyrannize relationships. One woman I treated had stopped having any male friends because she was afraid of her partner’s unrelenting jealous anger. If she went to lunch, for instance, with a male colleague from work her partner would barrage her with cell phone messages during the meal. Initially, unable to set boundaries, she appeased him by giving in. My patient told me she didn’t want to “create a war at home” by doing anything to provoke his wrath. Clearly, we had our work cut out for us in therapy. She didn’t want to leave her partner but she needed to be strong enough to assert healthier limits in the relationship.

The common dynamic with anger addicts is that they use anger to cope with feeling inadequate, hurt, or threatened, whether the person acts out occasionally or not. Anger is one of the hardest emotions to control due to its evolutionary value of defending against danger. When you’re confronted with anger, your body instinctively tightens, the opposite of a surrendered state. It goes into fight or flight mode. Adrenaline floods your system. Your heart pumps faster. Your jaw and muscles clench. Your blood vessels constrict. Your gut tenses. In this hyper-charged condition, you want to flee or attack.

Instead of running or retaliating, try my approach. First, take a breath to calm down. Tell yourself, “Do not respond with anger. That will just make things worse.” If the person is being abusive excuse yourself from the situation. If you can’t escape, say with a boss, try to stay centered, non-reactive, and not feed the anger. Later, when you can address the anger more fully, admit your unedited reactions to yourself or a supportive person. This prevents anger from building up. You can’t start the process of surrendering anger until you’ve acknowledged the raw emotion.

When you’re exposed to anger, here are some steps from my book The Ecstasy of Surrender to calm your system and have a clear head. Without this you’re trapped in reactive behavior which gets you nowhere at all.

How to Communicate with Anger Addicts

Step 1. Surrender Your Reactivity. Pause when agitated
Take a few slow breaths to relax your body. Count to ten. Don’t react impulsively or engage the anger even though your buttons are pushed. Reacting just makes you weak. Though you may be tempted to lash out try not to give in to the impulse. Focus on your breath, not the angry person. You may still feel upset but you’ll be calm and in charge at the same time!

Step 2. Practice Restraint of Tongue, Phone, and E-mail
Do not retaliate or respond at all until you are in a centered place. Otherwise you might communicate something you regret or can never take back.

Step 3. Blend, Relax, and Let Go
Resistance to pain or strong emotions intensifies them. In martial arts, you first take a breath to find your balance. Then you can transform the opponent’s energy. Try staying as neutral and relaxed as possible with someone’s anger instead of resisting it. At this stage, don’t argue or defend yourself. Rather, try to let their anger flow right through you.

Step 4. Acknowledge their position
To disarm angry people, you must weaken their defensiveness. Otherwise, they’ll dig in their heels and won’t budge. Defensiveness stifles flow. Therefore, it’s useful to acknowledge an anger addict’s position, even if it offends you. From a centered place say, “I can see why you feel that way. We both have similar concerns. But I have a different way to approach the problem. Please hear me out.” This keeps the flow of communication open and creates a tone for compromise.

Step 5. Set Limits
Now, state your case. Request a small, do-able change that can meet your need. Then clarify how it will benefit the relationship. Tone is crucial. For instance, calmly but firmly say to an in-law who’s yelling at you, “I love you but I shut down when you raise your voice. Let’s work this out when we can hear each other better.” Then you can discuss a solution. If people persist in dumping toxic anger, you must limit contact, define clear consequences such as “I can’t see you if you keep criticizing me,” or let the relationship go. You can also use “selective listening” and not take in all the details of an outburst. Focus on something uplifting instead.

Step 6. Empathize.
Ask yourself, “What pain or inadequacy is making this person so angry? Then take some quiet moments to intuit where the person’s heart is hurting or closed. This doesn’t excuse bad behavior but it will allow you to find compassion for the suffering behind it, even if you choose not to be around the person. Then it’s easier to surrender resentments so they don’t eat at you.

Gathering your power before you respond to anger takes awareness and restraint. Admittedly, it’s hard to surrender the need to be right in favor of love and compromise. It’s hard not to attack back when you feel attacked. But, little by little, surrendering these reflexive instincts is a more compassionate, evolved way to get your needs met and keep relationships viable if and when it’s possible.



Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

Comments
Sarah commented on 11-Jun-2015 10:56 PM
I COPE WITH AN ANGRY MAN AS I USED TO COPE WITH MY MOTHER.
I TREAT THE HISSY FITS AS WHITE NOISE. MY MAIN QUESTION
IS WHY I ATTRACT MEN WHO WANT TO CONTROL ME. DO THEY THINK THEY
FOUND A VICTOM BECAUSE I TREAT THEM WITH PLACIDITY, INSTEAD OF
SHUTTING THEM DOWN IN THE FIRST PLACE?

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How to Deal with Passive Aggressive People

Judith Orloff - Thursday, April 02, 2015

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(Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

Passive aggression is a form of anger, except the anger is expressed with a smile instead of the typical expressions. Passive aggressive people are experts at sugar coating hostility. They often use procrastination, bumbling inefficiency, and the exasperating excuse of “I forgot” to avoid commitments or let you down. They appear eager to please, but know exactly how to make you mad. They can be infuriating because of their seductive or innocent veneers.

Here are some examples:

  • Your spouse brings home yet another gallon of ice cream after you've specifically asked him or her not to do this because you are trying to lose weight.
  • A friend keeps arriving an hour late for a dinner date leaving you waiting over and over again.
  • A co-worker keeps promising to help with a project but never comes through.
  • Passive aggressive behavior ranges from simply irritating to manipulative and punishing. This is different from occasionally being absent-minded, lazy, or busy. Passive aggression is repetitive and has a covert angry edge to it. Passive aggressive people promise anything, then do exactly as they please. They hide anger beneath a compliant exterior. They don’t give straight answers and have vague responses such as “I’ll get back to you.” Then they don’t follow through so you must keep reminding them. Sometimes their remarks can be hurtful, especially so because they come at you sideways--you don’t know what hit you.

    Why do people become passive aggressive?

    They’re typically raised in families where it’s not safe to express anger--they’re never taught to communicate it in a healthy manner. They adapt by channeling these feelings into other less obvious behaviors; this gives them a sense of power and control. They’re masters at shirking responsibility by hurting you in ways that appear unintentional or unavoidable. Passive aggressive people operate by stuffing anger, being accommodating, and then indirectly sticking it to you. When confronted, they’ll drive you crazy with a variety of “the dog ate my homework” excuses, blaming others, or yessing you to death without changing. Since many are unaware of their anger, they feel misunderstood or that you’re holding them to unfair standards.

    Here are tips on how to communicate with passive aggressive people from my book The Ecstasy of Surrender. To learn about other types of draining people read my article The Emotional Vampire Survival Guide

    Learning to Communicate With Passive Aggressive People

    1.Trust Your Gut Reactions

    With these types you may question yourself since their anger is so masked. It’s important to recognize the pattern. Their mixed messages will test your patience. So when you doubt yourself, take a breath and try to let the doubt go. Tell yourself, “I deserve to be treated more lovingly. I will trust my gut reaction when I feel jabbed.” This affirmation helps you release doubt so you’d don’t convince yourself you’re imagining things. Then move forward to improve communication. You must surrender the idea that these people will change without you speaking up. They aren’t motivated to change unless someone calls them on their behavior. When it’s not appropriate to be direct, such as with a boss who might retaliate or fire you, keep letting the zingers go by accepting your powerlessness to change him.

    2. Address the behavior

    Focus on one issue at a time so people don’t feel attacked or overwhelmed. Let’s say a friend is always late. In a calm, firm tone say to her, “I would greatly appreciate it if you can be on time when we go out to dinner. I feel uncomfortable waiting in a restaurant alone.” Then notice her reaction. She might say, “You’re right. I’m always running behind. I’ll try to be more organized.” Then see if the lateness improves. If she is evasive or makes excuses, request clarification about how to solve the problem. If you can’t get a straight answer, confront that too. Being specific pins down passive aggressive people. If nothing changes, keep setting limits or stop making dinner plans. With a close friend who continues to be late, it’s always an option to accept and acclimate to his or her shortcoming when the pros of the relationship outweigh the cons.

    As a psychiatrist I teach my patients to address passive aggressive behavior directly as the person may not be aware of the impact on you since they are short on empathy. Hopefully you won’t have many passive aggressive people in your life, but if you do, clear communication is a form of empowerment.


    How to Spot an Energy Vampire



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Carole Ann commented on 21-Apr-2015 01:08 PM
    This is so useful as usually self aware people think it's them that aren't communicating effectively with the Passive Aggressive person and it can be so frustrating. This is helpful as it helps us to see what is their stuff and how to handle it.
    Can you do narcissism/borderline personality disorder next? :-)
    Kitt commented on 22-Apr-2015 01:50 PM
    Thank you Judith, you hit it out of the park yet again. I have been dealing with a severe passive aggressive recently and this is very helpful though she is no longer in my life. Bless you.

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    Awaken Your Sensual Self

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, February 11, 2015

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    To fully step into your personal power it is important to awaken your sensual self. Doing this can offer you a primal connection, a satisfaction you can never get from your intellect alone. As you open to both sex and spirit, whether you’re single or part of a couple, you’ll be a vessel for an erotic flow, enjoying pleasure without insecurities or inhibitions.

    True sexual power is claiming your erotic self and mindfully channeling sexual energy. You never use it to hurt, manipulate, make conquests or get addicted to the ego-trip of sensual pleasure at the expense of others. Instead sexuality compliments spirituality by linking us with a greater force of love.

    To ignite your senses, try these techniques from my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender either by yourself or with a partner to arouse your sexuality and let go to pleasure.

    7 Ways to Surrender to Your Sensual Self

    Set aside uninterrupted time to playfully experiment. Begin to relax by breathing deep and slow. We habitually breathe shallowly to temper sexual and other feelings. I want you to sense, not think, to be fully in your body.

    Awaken Touch
    Take a fresh flower or a feather and gently stroke each other’s bodies. (For me, it’s a rose in full bloom with petals about to fall.) Start with the face, neck, chest, breasts, your heart area, gradually making your way down to the genitals. Repeat delicate, circular motions over these areas. They respond to a light touch. It’ll feel lovely and exciting. Let go. Revel in the sensations.

    Awaken Taste
    Select a few foods, herbs, or spices that have zing. Arrange them on a plate. My favorites are papaya, peppermint, and honey. I have an accountant-patient with a non-stop mind who perks up her sensuality by savoring a succulent piece of watermelon. To heighten your sense of taste, I suggest wearing an eye mask or a loose blindfold perhaps made from a silk scarf. Then, with eyes covered, have your partner offer you each selection one by one. The tongue is a sensual miracle of sensations. Let the pleasure of taste spread throughout your body. Allow it to arouse every pore.

    Awaken Smell
    Now, explore smell. It is an intimate and important part of sexuality which can turn you off or on. Let a blindfold accentuate your exploration of this sense. One patient, a full time mom, gets a sensual lift from a few whiffs of lavender or gardenia oil during the day. She keeps them in her desk and car. Test our various scents. See how your body responds to different aromas of herbs, oils, or perfumes.. Use them as a sensual refresher.

    Play With Movement and Rocking
    Experiment with moving your bodies together to build sensuality. Rocking your bodies while holding one another can be extremely sensual. Also, when you first see each other after being apart, a long, silent embrace or hug, combined with rocking is arousing. Dancing or spontaneous free form movements are beautiful too.

    Explore Sacred Slapping
    Sometimes slapping each other on say, the buttocks, awakens you erotically. Get feedback from your partner about the intensity of the slap that feels right. Do this in the spirit of love, play, never anger. Though this technique doesn’t appeal to everyone, it can jolt some people into a new level of openness and sensual participation.

    Tune Into Nature
    Draw on nature’s passion to heighten your sensuality. Storms, lightning bolts, mist, rainbows, wind in the woods--enjoy whatever manifestations of nature excite you. Let them arouse your body. Be aware of colors, textures, sounds. Absorb them all. For instance, I’ll twirl on my balcony to the sensual tone of distant fog horn, becoming one with it and the ocean nearby. Sensuality can be transmitted from nature to you, a spontaneous osmosis if you allow it to happen.

    These techniques will intensify your own sensuality and the erotic relationship between you and your partner. Exploring each other is never just a one-time event. Keep discovering the nuances of each other’s sensitivity and aesthetics. Experiment with what gives you both Goosebumps, tingles, or surges of warmth. Notice how your body feels, all of it, especially belly, genitals, breasts. Share what arouses you. This lets you both experience more pleasure and intimacy.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    bernie commented on 11-Mar-2015 09:14 PM
    Addressing sex as less than taboo allowing that it can be individualsad well as ccouples. I am married but we are not in sync withfrequency being far different than in the beginning. So I imagine lots of people in relationships have to maintain a sex life somewhat on their own. I'm finding of you don't use it you lose it.

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    Surrender to Miracles and Abundance

    Judith Orloff - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    Ecstasy and bliss are your birthright. The only thing that keeps you from these is fear. There comes a time when you can set aside this fear and simply rejoice is everything. Love is all there is, truly.

    Wonder and gratitude will tune you into the secrets of abundance that comes from love and the heart. When you know this, really know this, bliss will permeate your moments here.

    This is an affirmation / prayer based up The Ecstasy of Surrender to awaken the wonder in your heart and keep it alive. In hard times and good times, repeat it to keep you aligned with abundance, success, and miracles.

    I surrender to the miracle of all things.

    I surrender to abundance in every form.

    I surrender my fear and surrender to love every moment, every breath.

    I look up at the sky and see the wonder of the universe, so much larger than myself, my loved ones, the human species or even this lush, gorgeous Earth.

    I surrender to the wonder of children, and the sun, and the flowers and all the large and tiny blessings that happen each day.

    I surrender to the miracle of my life.

    I will not believe anyone who tells me miracles are not possible.

    Miracles are as much a part of our lives as our breath or our heartbeat.

    I surrender to the miracle of my spiritual path and trust my journey more deeply every day.

    I do not question my intuition.

    I do not question my heart.

    I am devoted to the wonder of the moment and the integrity of my path.

    Praise our world of miracles and wonder.

    Praise our world of darkness and light.

    I surrender my judgments and fear and small minded thinking.

    I embrace radical kindness towards myself and every being.

    I surrender to the miracle of the moment.

    I do not rush through my life, but bow to the sacred with every step and every breath.

    My life is a prayer to abundance.

    I do not believe in scarcity.

    I believe there is enough for all in every situation.

    I surrender to my success and to your success and the success of all my brothers and sisters.

    I surrender to goodness.

    I surrender to all the goddesses and the gods.

    I am humble and happy and grateful for my life.

    I vow not to miss the miracles in small things.

    I vow to touch the earth each day.

    I vow to honor my body.

    I vow to care for this planet as if it was my precious mother or precious child.

    There is no miracle too small to praise.

    I will not forget to praise myself and others.

    I will not forget to honor my journey.

    I know life is short.

    I know that love is the answer.

    I will keep these priorities in place

    As I travel through my days

    My path is one of joy.

    My path is not the path of fear.

    I let go to my heart.

    I let go to my soul.

    I raise my arms to the sky and say “thank-you”

    Accept me.

    Love me.

    Care for me.

    I am in love with myself, with you, and the world.

    I surrender to the wonder of all things.

    Click on the Link to download a PDF version of the Surrender to Miracles & Abundance Affirmations / Prayer



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Ingrid Ruhrmann commented on 29-Jan-2015 06:59 PM
    Judith Orloff ... I am ever so grateful to have found you and your work ... you have helped me through some very difficult times and I thank you

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    6 Survival Tips for Empaths

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, December 10, 2014

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    We all know the holiday season can be stressful but for empaths it can be even more challenging, almost overwhelming. This time of the year their ability to be emotional sponges heightens, which overrides their sublime capacity to absorb positive emotions and all that is beautiful. If empaths are around peace and love, their bodies assimilate these and flourish. Crowds or negativity, though, often feel assaultive, exhausting.

    For empaths to fully enjoy gatherings with family and friends, they must learn to protect their sensitivity and find balance. Since I’m an empath, I want to help them cultivate this capacity and be comfortable with it.

    I’ve always been hyper-attuned to other people’s moods, good and bad. Before I learned to protect my energy, I felt them lodge in my body. After being in crowds I would leave feeling anxious, depressed, or tired. When I got home, I’d just crawl into bed, yearning for peace and quiet.

    Here are six strategies from my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender to help you manage empathy more effectively and stay centered without absorbing negative energies.

  • Move away. When possible, distance yourself by at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. Don't err on the side of not wanting to offend anyone. At the gathering try not to sit next to the identified energy vampire. Physical closeness increases empathy.

  • Surrender to your breath. If you suspect you are picking up someone else’s energies, concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your power. In contrast, holding your breath keeps negativity lodged in your body. To purify fear and pain, exhale stress and inhale calm. Picture unwholesome emotions as a gray fog lifting from your body, and wellness as a clear light entering it. This can produce quick results.

  • Practice Guerilla Meditation. Be sure to meditate before the gathering, centering yourself, connecting to spirit, feeling your heart. Get strong. If you counter emotional or physical distress while at an event, act fast and meditate for a few minutes. You can do this by taking refuge in the bathroom or an empty room. If it’s public, close the stall. Meditate there. Calm yourself. Focus on positivity and love. This has saved me many times at social functions where I feel depleted by others.

  • Set healthy limits and boundaries. Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Set clear limits and boundaries with people, nicely cutting them off at the pass if they get critical or mean. Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.

  • Visualize protection around you. Research has shown that visualization is a healing mind/body technique. A practical form of protection many people use, including health care practitioners with difficult patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light around your entire body. Or with extremely toxic people, visualize a fierce black jaguar patrolling and protecting your energy field to keep out intruders.

  • Define and honor your empathic needs. Safeguard your sensitivities. In a calm, collected moment, make a list of your top five most emotionally rattling situations. Then formulate a plan for handling them so you don’t fumble in the moment. Here are some practical examples of what to do in situations that predictably stymie empaths.
  • If someone asks too much of you, politely tell them “no.” It’s not necessary to explain why. As the saying goes, “No is a complete sentence.”
  • If your comfort level is three hours max for socializing--even if you adore the people -- take your own car or have an alternate transportation plan so you’re not stranded.
  • If crowds are overwhelming, eat a high-protein meal beforehand (this grounds you) and sit in the far corner of, say, a theatre or party, not dead center.
  • Some empaths are highly sensitive to scents, if you are overwhelmed, for instance by perfume, nicely request that your friends refrain from wearing it around you. If you can’t avoid it, stand near a window or take frequent breaks to catch a breath of fresh air outdoors.
  • If all else fails and you absorb stressful or negative energy while at a gathering when you get home take a bath or shower. My bath is my sanctuary after a busy day. It washes away everything from bus exhaust to long hours of air travel to pesky symptoms I have taken on from others. Soaking in natural mineral springs divinely purifies all that ails.


    FOR HELP TO DEAL WITH ENERGY DRAINERS THIS HOLIDAY SEASON CLICK ON THE LINK TO GET THE SPECIAL ENERGY VAMPIRE SURVIVAL GUIDE.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Angie commented on 30-Dec-2014 10:20 AM
    Great info!!!!! At 50 years of age I finally understand why I get so exhausted being around groups of people!!!! Not to mention the borderline, narcissist that I am married to. It is truely a fight for survival at this point... I pray for love and light to fill every cell of our bodies!!!
    Latoya commented on 04-Jun-2015 11:15 AM
    I would love to share with you my story of being an empath. I believe that you might be hosting a great seminar and I wondered if I could write something for your book? Thank you so much for all the work you do Dr. Orloff.

    Latoya Beverly
    Rainer commented on 11-Jun-2015 03:32 PM
    I thought i never end up in a situation i am. I am a sensitive person and my new Partner in life for the last 4 months is in to Reiki healing, crystals, vibrations and so on. I am not but respect her passion& believes. My question is to you; How does one survive an empath? I feel as if i am not being able to be myself with such a person.Perhaps you could write or provide a strategy in dealing with such a person?
    Alyssa commented on 24-Jun-2015 10:56 AM
    In response to Rainer, you might want to check out the video "Living the Empathic Life" by Bernadette Dickinson. Even though it's geared towards empaths, it mentions some things about what family members/partners can do and be aware of with empaths.

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    Do You Have a Guilt Tripper in Your Life?

    Judith Orloff - Thursday, November 06, 2014

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    (Excerpt from Dr. Judith Orloff's "Energy Vampire Survival Guide PDF" and her national bestseller The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life)

    Guilt Trippers are world class blamers, martyrs, and drama queens. They know how to make you feel badly about something by pressing your insecurity buttons. They use guilt to manipulate so you do what they desire. They like to see you squirm and throw you off your game. This gives them a sense of power and control.

    Guilt can be conveyed with words, tone, or even a glance. Guilt trippers like to play dirty. To get their way, they exploit your desire to please them or be a good person. They often start sentences with, “If it wasn’t for you…” or “Why don’t you ever..?” They’ll talk about life being unfair and compare your efforts with others who’re doing it better. “Why can’t you be more like Buster--he’s so good to his wife and is such a hard worker.” They also remind you of how much they always do for you. After you’ve been guilt tripped, you may feel two inches tall if you believe these people’s crafty ploys.

    Are You in a Relationship With a Guilt Tripper? Take This Quiz

    To determine if you have a guilt tripper in your life answer Yes or No to the following questions. Then you can use the strategy in this section to protect yourself from being energetically drained by them.

  • Do you know someone who tries to get their way or control you by making you feel guilty? Yes/No
  • Do you know someone who makes you feel “less than” by constantly comparing you to others? Yes/No
  • Do you know someone who acts like an angry victim? Yes/No
  • Do you feel emotionally and/or physically drained after being with someone who is complaining or berating you? Yes/No
  • Do you know someone who you are always trying to please but never seem to do things correctly? Yes/No
  • Results of the Quiz:
    Give each Yes response one point and count up your score.

    Your Score: 0
    Good news! If you answered “no” to every question then it is unlikely that you are in relationship with a guilt tripper.

    Your Score: 1
    If you answered “yes” to one question then there is the possibility that you know a guilt tripper. Be watchful with this person(s) for any other indications and ensure that you address them early in the relationship.

    Your Score: 2
    There is an indication here that you know someone who is a guilt tripper. Make sure you understand all the ramifications and look for any vampire tendencies.

    Your Score: 3
    You are in a relationship with someone who has moderate guilt tripping tendencies. Be very careful of your interactions with them and ensure that you have established good boundaries.

    Your Score: 4
    This person(s) definitely has guilt tripping traits. Be very conscious of their manipulations and their ability to drain your energy. Keep your protection up.

    Your Score: 5
    You have a guilt tripper in your life and chances are this person(s) is also verbally abusive. Can you opt out of the relationship? If not, again set good boundaries and learn the action plan below to protect your energetic well being.

    Action Steps to Deal with Guilt Trippers from “The Ecstasy of Surrender”

    1. Surrender the notion that you have to be perfect
    The guilt tripper tends to lose interest if you don’t go for their misguided manipulations. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s human. You don’t have to be perfect or squeaky clean. If you hurt someone or made a mistake, accept that you can’t change the past. But you can make amends when appropriate. Apologize for offending a relative, pay back money owed, or simply convey, “I wish I had been there for you more.” Focusing on solutions instead of wallowing in guilt is a way to surrender to positive forces, rather than succumbing to the pull of negativity.

    2. Surrender guilt with tears
    One physical way to release guilt if you’re fixated on a mistake you made or not meeting someone’s expectations is to cry. Do this when you’re alone or with a supportive person. Tears release stress hormones and help you heal. As you cry, your body expels guilt and tension. This helps you let it all go. Don’t fight the surrender of crying. Let tears cleanse stress from your body.

    3. Know your guilt buttons
    No one can make you feel guilty if don’t believe you’ve done something wrong. However, if you doubt yourself, guilt can creep in. Believing you are doing the best you can in a situation can quell any guilt and bring comfort no matter what anyone says.

    4. Set limits
    Start a conversation positively. In a matter-of-fact tone say, “I can see your point of view. But when you say (fill in the blank) my feelings are hurt. I’d be grateful if you didn’t keep repeating it.” You might make some topics taboo such as money, sex, or personal appearance. Keep the conversation light, don’t go for their bait, and try to gradually heal your insecurities so you don’t buy into their guilt trips.

    Be aware that there’s a difference between healthy remorse and guilt. Remorse is regretting how a situation turned out or how you behaved. Then you can acknowledge the mistake and make amends. You’ll feel genuinely sorry, but you don’t stay stuck there. Guilt, however, is when you become attached to remorse and self-blame, a reverse form of ego where you keep focusing on a “lacking” or a mistake.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Guilty and being guilt tripped commented on 25-Jun-2015 06:55 AM
    My cousin is my best friend and I love him, I did a stupid mistake where I got him into trouble with his friends by mistake not knowing what the consequences would be for him, he ended up fighting with a few, and when we spoke about it all he guilt tripped me so bad, he said things that hurt my feelings and made me feel horrible about myself, he even said to my friend that he's gunna do this for a while and not be normal with me so he can teach me a lesson, my cousin is honestly a really good person, he's just a ... drama queen a bit, but no one ever made me feel so horrible in my life... Paragraphs of what's wrong about me, Ita been a few weeks now, he speaks to me normally texting Cuz we're not in the same place now but he's not the same, any advice?

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    4 Surrender Strategies to Communicate with Difficult People

    Judith Orloff - Thursday, October 09, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    Many of us spend an inordinate amount of time and energy contending with difficult people or “emotional vampires” at work and at home. It’s a reflex to emotionally contract around them feeling powerless, irritated, hurt, or miserable, reactions that just wear you out. But, they can’t steal your happiness unless you let them.

    Surrender can improve your communication skills in many kinds of challenging interactions. For instance, do you know when to surrender your need to be right in order to restore love at home, or when to surrender resentments so that you can forgive? How to avoid taking things personally? Or deal with a friend or spouse who’s doing something you disagree with?

    Be aware that your ego could resist the concept of surrender as its aim is to create open channels of communication between people rather than stonewalling or defending, responses the ego is more accustomed to. Instead if you value “we” as well as “me,” you become a master at diffusing negativity, not a pushover. Let’s say you’re deadlocked in an argument; nobody’s giving in. Then what? Don’t turn it into a battle for supremacy. Instead, give the first inch, an act of true strength. Apologizing for your part in the conflict shows that you value the relationship more than your ego. This opens the door for others to admit their part too. It’s people with real power who step up first to surrender their ego, promoting impeccable communication.

    Here are four strategies from The Ecstasy of Surrender to help you deal with the difficult people in your life.

    Strategy #1: Follow the Laws of Impeccable Communications

    Follow these general laws of communication so you’re able to flow with difficult people and prevent blocks. In your daily life, these will ensure that you’re leading from a position of strength not anger or desperation. You’ll be flexible instead of just meeting conflict with an oppositional force.

    The Laws of Impeccable Communication

    Do

  • Be calm, not emotionally reactive
  • Avoid defensiveness--it makes you look weak
  • Patiently hear someone out without interrupting or needing to have the last word
  • Empathize with where people are coming from, even if you disagree with them
  • Pick your battles, apologize when necessary
  • Don’t

  • Be drawn into drama
  • React impulsively out of anxiety or anger so you say something you’ll regret
  • Hold onto resentments or stay attached to being right
  • Attempt to manage other people’s lives or become their therapist
  • Shame people, especially in front of others
  • Get in the habit of applying these laws to both friends and foes. The “dos” involve surrender and discernment. They will move you closer to resolving conflict by first harmonizing with another’s position, even if you disagree. This sets a tone to resolve conflicts or set boundaries whereas antagonism just alienates.

    Strategy #2: Be Mindful of Your Attitude

    Your attitude is important. Difficult people can be like spiritual teachers who are meant to awaken us, though they aren’t conscious of their role. Nobody said awakening is always pleasant or easy. But they can teach you about surrender: the attitudes you must release to triumph over them or set boundaries and which of their behaviors you must not surrender too. Most difficult people aren’t trying to harm you: they are just unconscious or self-absorbed. Very few are truly dark and have evil motives.

    Strategy #3: Watch the Tone of Your Voice

    Your tone of voice is important too. A critical tone only inflames people. Set limits with them and firmly say “no” with love, instead of sounding snippy or blaming when someone “steps over the red line.” To get the attention of chronic talkers or those on a rant, it helps to open your remark by lovingly saying their name. Hearing one’s name aloud instinctively makes us pause. Remember, we all can be difficult at times. Let this sobering fact curb your enthusiasm for chastising the shortcomings of others in word or tone.

    Strategy #4: Be Compassionate

    Do your best not to vilify people, even when they’re obnoxious or unkind. Realize that anger addicts, guilt trippers, or the other types of difficult people are insecure, wounded, and disconnected from their hearts. The challenge around bad behavior is to maintain your power and priorities while setting clear boundaries, no matter how annoying, negative, or full of themselves others can be.

    People can be annoying and disappointing, as we all sometimes are. None of us is perfect; most of us are doing the best we can. So keep searching for a part of someone that you can empathize with, even when it’s a stretch. You may not always succeed, but keep trying. This doesn’t make you a doormat or a victim. Rather, such compassion allows you to become the finest version of yourself, even as you set limits with bad behavior.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Anonymous commented on 15-Oct-2014 01:23 PM
    Thank you so much for the much needed advice - couldn't have come at a better time!
    Elan commented on 15-Oct-2014 04:06 PM
    Your insights have been treasures for me. You've help me embrace the strength, understanding and joy of my blessed life. Thank you with all my heart!!!
    Colleen commented on 16-Oct-2014 01:48 AM
    Thank you for this advice. I run a support group for depression and anxiety sufferers and related problems, where it could be very useful.
    Debra richardson commented on 16-Oct-2014 06:13 AM
    yes i haveenergies vampires but why when i tell people good things in my life that positive they dont respond or say any thing
    Kate commented on 16-Oct-2014 09:15 AM
    The book rocks! I refer to it often. Highly recommend it to everyone!
    lucy commented on 16-Oct-2014 11:05 AM
    I bought my carless, jobless, abused neighbor a van. Helped her out financially. When she refused to help me with a little housework, actually she would agree and then never show up. I decided to end this one sided friendship. I never have known such a vindictive, hostile person. She sent me the most awful emails, called me names out her window, called me out in the street to fight. I'm 56 and have never fought a soul in my life, Her husband started stalking me and giving me death threats. I have called the police 3 times, after their children threw rotten tomatoes at me and my house and for the stalking and death threats. She finally stopped the emails and now they release their Pit Bull on me and I did warn them to stop and I finally after about 6 times called the animal control. It has been the worst summer of my life. I actually thought her husband was going to kill me. I have lost 40 lbs and now suffer from insomnia. They are neighbors from hell, that I just tried to help and as they say, "no good deed goes unpunished. I own my house 36 yrs, and they are renters, who I pray to God will move!, so I can get my life back. Sincerely, terrified in ,mo
    sue commented on 23-Oct-2014 10:33 PM
    LUCY!!! you need to get the law involved, that is terrible! Do you know the landlord? get them evicted, but in the process, get an order of protection, and maybe a HUGE male cousin that has a giant doberman to move in for a while! I'm not a counselor, but land sakes, thats more than an energy vampire/thats real earth demons!! Stand up for yourself! Get this done,top notch-without their knowledge. You are probably not the first human target, ya know? YIKERS
    JPJ commented on 23-Jan-2015 11:50 AM
    Lucy!! Stop being the victim and take control of your life!!
    You have the law on your side so use it and stop just complaining.
    The are intimidating you. Take charge here.

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    Are You Attracted to Unavailable People?

    Judith Orloff - Wednesday, July 30, 2014

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    (Adapted from The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your Life Harmony Books, 2014 by Judith Orloff MD)

    In my book, The Ecstasy of Surrender I discuss how a soul mate must be willing and available to have a relationship with you. If he or she is unavailable this is not your soul mate at the present time. A confusing part of being attracted to unavailable, commitment-phobic people is that the emotional or sexual chemistry can feel so strong. You accept behavior that you’d never tolerate in friends. Why? The electricity can feel so incredible and rare, you mistake intensity for intimacy. You make compromises you wouldn’t typically consider in order to give the relationship a chance. Still, connection or not, you must take a sober look to determine if someone is truly available for intimacy. Hear this: Not everyone you feel a connection with, no matter how mind-blowing, is your soul mate. You can fall for someone who is totally wrong for you, as unfair and confounding as that reality can be.

    For a relationship to work, a soul connection must go both ways. Even if the intuitive bond you feel is authentic, it can remain unrealized. Just because someone might’ve been your soul mate in previous eras, it doesn’t mean he or she is right for you today. Perhaps the person can’t or won’t reciprocate or is simply oblivious, a frustrating irony you must accept. Don’t put your life on hold for unrequited longing. Love that is destined can never be stopped. Meanwhile, keep your options open. How do you avoid getting entangled in dead-end or delusional relationships where you see someone in terms of how you wish them to be, not who they are? To start, here are some red flags to watch for. Even one sign warns you to be careful. The more that are present, the more danger exists.

    12 Signs You're Involved with Emotionally Unavailable People (EUP)

  • They are married or in a relationship with someone else
  • They can’t commit to you or have feared commitment in past relationships
  • They have one foot on the gas pedal, one foot on the break
  • They are emotionally distant, shut down, or can’t deal with conflict
  • They’re mainly interested in sex, not relating emotionally or spiritually
  • They are practicing alcoholics, sex addicts, or substance abusers
  • They prefer long distance relationships, emails, texting, or don’t introduce you to their friends and family
  • They are elusive, sneaky, frequently working or tired, and may disappear for periods
  • They are seductive with you but make empty promises--their behavior and words don’t match
  • They send mixed messages, flirt with others, or don’t give a straight answer--you’re always trying to “de-code” what they really mean
  • They’re narcissistic, only consider themselves, not your needs
  • They throw you emotional crumbs or enticing hints of their potential to be loving, then withdraw
  • At first, some of these signs may be more obvious than others. It’s tricky: we tend to show our best selves in the honeymoon stage of a romance. It can take time for a person’s unavailability to emerge. One patient lamented, “I need a crystal ball. The first few months of a courtship, a man is so attentive, caring, passionate.” Partially, she’s right, but it’s also true that we tend to see what we want to see. That’s why it’s eye-opening to look at a partner’s relationship history. Who he or she was previously with reveals volumes about their capacity for intimacy now. Beware of rationalizing, “I’m different. This person would never be that way with me.”

    I don’t care how mightily someone blames the blood curdling horrors of an ex for a relationship’s demise, this person played a role too. Being able to admit that or trying to understand the reasons for making such a terrible choice is a positive sign. Playing the victim is not.

    Over the years, I’ve worked with many perplexed, lonely patients to uncover why they keep holding a torch for unavailable, commitment-phobic partners and how to surrender this sabotaging pattern. Most of us aren’t purposely drawn to these kinds of people--their mixed messages combined with our particular susceptibilities, conscious or unconscious, can lure us in. Also, it helps to understand that unavailable people rarely choose to be this way. It’s an unconscious defense against trauma or some emotional wounding of the past. Research has shown that many are afraid of being clung to or smothered which stems from having had a controlling, engulfing, or abusive parent. Commitment-phobic men, in particular, may just prefer sex without love. They are afraid of being controlled by feminine energy, though they don’t know it or couldn’t admit it. Rather, they see themselves as macho dudes who think women always need more than they can give. Thus, they prefer to play in shallow water, not go deep. If being in a relationship with an unavailable person feels like love to you, I urge you to look closer. Commitment phobic women also fear intimacy and want to keep a distance.

    To find true love, ideally you want to avoid getting involved with anyone who can’t reciprocate your affections. If you are in a toxic, abusive, or non-reciprocal relationship, withdraw even when your passion is strong and says “stay.” It may feel excruciating to let go when you don’t want to or if you’re still hoping against hope that the person will change, but, as my Daoist teacher once told me, “The heart knows when it’s enough.”


    WATCH THIS VIDEO TO LEARN MORE HOW TO LET GO OF THE TORCH FOR UNAVAILABLE PEOPLE.



    Judith Orloff MD is a psychiatrist, intuitive healer, and NY Times bestselling author. Her latest national bestseller is The Ecstasy of Surrender: 12 Surprising Ways Letting Go Can Empower Your life. Dr. Orloff's other bestsellers are Emotional FreedomSecond SightPositive Energy, and Intuitive Healing. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. She passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom and total wellness. To learn more about the power of surrender visit www.drjudithorloff.com

    Comments
    Lynn Fisken commented on 19-Aug-2014 03:47 PM
    Thank you Judith I love your work & this arrived in perfect timing for me today. Much Arohanui to you xxx
    Bren commented on 19-Aug-2014 05:31 PM
    Brilliant...discovered I am an intuitive empath.. Now I understand why about things about myself. I want to ask..in desiring a partner, I find few people who are on the same wavelength. I just can't spend unnecessary time on men who just don't get it, so don't date...help where do I stumble on them? Love your work. Thanks B
    Lisa commented on 29-Dec-2014 04:46 AM
    I had a very disfunctional childhood, alcoholic father who would go into blackouts and do terrible things he wouldn't remember doing and of course the enabling mother. I have come to realize that I am attracted to unavailable men, and have come to the conclusion that I am attracted to men like these because as a child I always wanted my mother to choose
    What is best for her children , choose me over my dad! I am also an empath and have the want to heal people emotionally as well as physically. Not a good combination. I am working on it , but it has taken its tole on me I have been diagnosed with lupus and fatigue is a constant battle. I know I need to take care of myself and stay away from unavailable men! How do I help those I know need help without depleting my own energy?

    N





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