What is the difference between asserting your needs and being controlling?
Answer: It is healthy to assert your needs. Empaths are often reluctant to do this because of being judged as “neurotic” or “overly sensitive.” To healthily assert your needs it’s useful to say to someone, in a kind, firm tone, for instance, “It would mean the world to me if you can honor my alone time, rather than knocking on the door.” In contrast, being controlling means that you are trying to dominate the person’s behavior through nagging, whining, repetition, yelling, or harassment. Controlling people often use blame, guilt, drama or moodiness to get their way. Asserting your needs with respect creates positive relationships. Also it’s good to assert one need at a time so that the person isn’t overwhelmed by too many requests. Being controlling is a pressure-technique that can damage relationships.
Hope that helps. (More detailed information is in The Empath’s Survival Guide).
Judith Orloff, MD is the New York Times best-selling author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People. Her latest book Thriving as an Empath offers daily self-care tools for sensitive people along with its companion The Empath’s Empowerment Journal. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, Oprah Magazine, the New York Times and USA Today. Dr. Orloff has spoken at Google-LA and has a TEDX talk. Her other books are Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing. Explore more information about her Empath Support Online course and speaking schedule on www.drjudithorloff.com.