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  • Writer's pictureEmily Rigz

How to Stand Up For Yourself While Maintaining Empathy and Kindness

Updated: Nov 20, 2020

I've noticed a funny pattern in people over the years when it comes to taking responsibility. It may not be immediately obvious, but I have a history of being taken advantage of by others.

For a while now I've been exercising my girl power muscles and being very outspoken in a lot of areas of life. But, there are still parts of my personality that I protect because they are quite vulnerable. Opportunistic/ abusive people take advantage of me when given the chance.

I think this is part of the reason why I’ve been such an outrageously outspoken bad arse for the past few years. Part of it’s me, part of it’s the me I present to protect myself.


One of the common themes in my life that I am dealing with now is taking on responsibility appropriately.

What I mean by this is taking responsibility for my choices, without that being an excuse for people to lump all of their bullshit onto me and make an entire situation mine alone.

Let me explain; I think a lot of you will understand what I mean. It goes like this.

You end up in a situation where things go to shit. Something goes badly, people get offended, it's messy, emotional, complicated. And in the mess of it all, you don't deal with every aspect of it perfectly. You do alright under the circumstances, but you're only human, you fuck something up, say something that makes things a bit worse. Whatever.

The situation was created by someone else, they pushed it onto you leaving you no choice but to navigate it. But, it was originally their demon.

Being the empathetic and overly sensitive person that you are, you think about the small part of it that you fucked up.

Now, in these situations, 100% responsibility needs to be taken somewhere. Usually, in a really messy situation, the responsibility needs to be shared among a few people involved. But sometimes one person owns a large percentage of responsibility, and you only own a small little bit.

So, you think on it.

You like to be clear in yourself of wrongs towards others, so you decide to apologise for your fuck up that equals 3% responsibility.

And then your egotistical, maniacal acquaintance does the full peacock display of arrogance that looks something like this.

Your apology goes into their brain as full-blown ownership for their bullshit brigade. Before you know it, they are lecturing you on how they will let this one slide, they forgive you, they are so glad you can see how YOU made such a mess.

Ergh, it shits me. I have cut cut cut cut cut so many people from my life after this very situation. Sayonara!

But, I've also come up with a way to place the responsibility squarely back on them.

The answer, I believe, is NOT to become like them by refusing to take any responsibility for your actions. That is a trap, and it's the reason why people have so many problems in the first place.

Responsibility is control, and control is power. If you can have responsibility for your life, you can have control over it. Victims pass blame; powerful people look for the driver’s seat.

The answer is to be really clear about what you are taking on, in yourself and with the person.

Actually say "I'm sorry for saying that thing that didn't come across the right way, BUT. I think you need to get some help to sort out your issues, and I can't help you with that".

For me, with the many people I've been through this with, the next step is usually to make a decision not to have them in my life until they are prepared to stop hurting the people around them (FYI, they usually never do).

I know that every situation is different, but in a lot of cases, this is what needs to be done for the mental health of everyone involved.

That way, you can have clearance in yourself, process your own actions, make proactive choices to learn and grow and enhance your life, and the other's involved are left without a scapegoat, which is actually what they need. Sometimes love is harsh.

Well, that's my rant for today. Please feel free to share with me any of your experiences in this space. Peace X

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