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  • Esther Ruth Friedman

Sorry, Not Sorry--Some People Don't Deserve You

Last October, A Little Bit Culty, hosts Sarah Edmondson and Anthony "Nippy" Ames spoke with

me about my culty misadventure in "School" (aka, The Odyssey Study Group) and about Gentle Souls. You can listen to that conversation HERE. We touched on (without naming) betrayal trauma - the emotional destruction left in the wake of people who leverage your good nature, by winning trust to manipulate and deceive for personal gain.

I keep thinking about something that Nippy said:

" ...sociopath(s) know what it’s like to be you and you don’t know what it’s like to be them. You can’t project that type of mal-intent into them and they know that you can’t because you have that empathetic aspect to you and that’s what they’re manipulating.”

It's true. The charming, disarming, narcissistic/ sociopathic among us are motivated purely by personal gain -- they are savvy; hard wired to size up others, knowing which buttons to punch, or caress. Gentle Souls make perfect targets -- hard wired to extend the benefit of the doubt; believing in human goodness on principle. Gentle Souls want everyone to have what they need. So, Gentle Souls, unable to conceptualize of the grifter wiring, are especially susceptible to pathological parasites.

When I tell my clients, "Some people don't deserve you," they DON'T like that blunt assessment; I get it--if you are hardwired to believe in human goodness, this isn't going to sit well. But, I hold to it. People who prove themselves untrustworthy don't deserve you.

To be clear, most people are not pathologically deceptive. I'm not suggesting that you burn bridges over disagreements, or arguments. All relationships have bumps. It's the nature of the beast. I am saying that it's critical to recognize posers. If someone in your life consistently manipulates and lies to leverage your good nature to their advantage, it is not a relationship - it's a social fraud.

Protecting yourself begins by accepting this: human tornados armed with selfish agendas and callous disregard for the destruction left behind walk among us mere mortals. Gentle Souls -- empathic, overly emotionally responsible, idealistic, striving for and believing in human goodness, often quick to doubt themselves -- are perfect targets.  

The Gentle Soul principle of maintaining faith in goodness makes the betrayal trauma especially painful. When you see that someone recognized your gentle nature and saw it as an opportunty to benefit a selfish agenda, how do you trust anyone?

Fortunately, most people are not pathogically selfish. And walking through life suspicious of everyone is a recipe for a miserable existance; not to mention that it's an impossible state to maintain for Gentle Souls. That makes self protection critical to your life going forward.

That's why I maintain, Gentle Souls, that some people don't deserve you. You may be asking, how exactly should Gentle Souls protect themselves? Each of the following suggestions bubbled up from writing The Gentle Souls Revolution. My clients can attest to hearing these over and over from me. I will write blog posts for each one over the next few months:

  • Take it slow

  • Less is more - don't over explain

  • Discernment is your friend

  • The word "no" is your friend - boundaries are key

  • Consistent inconsistency is a red flag

  • Work the muscle of self trust: the more you work it, the more it works for you

  • The conference story - an effective "I don't agree with you..." strategy

  • You are allowed to change your mind

  • Valuing your natural proclivities: Your empathy is a ruby, not freely available to anyone

  • Self preservation is critical - your time, space & energy are your business

  • People who prove themselves untrustworthy don't deserve you

  • Perfectly, imperfect - humans make mistakes. You can always course correct.

Life is short and time is precious. Empath have excellent radars for character. You, Gentle Souls, have to practice trusting yourself. I'm willing to bet that most of the time, your instincts and emotions will be right on target. As you self empower, it gets easier to let go, or steer clear, of untrustworthy, parasitic people.

It's an inside game. But, I promise you, it's worth it!

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