Personal responsibility and relationships

Often when we are empathic and self-reflecting beings we are attracted to do a lot of inner work.  We tend to take responsibility for our lives, and we are loving and giving to others.  This makes us lovely people, but also gives us a tendency to stay in toxic relationships way too long.  In this post/video I look at this tendency, where it comes from, and hopefully give you some tips for righting the balance.


I started a video on this topic and then turned it into an article as well, slightly different information in each, as it goes!

Many years ago I went to a therapist looking for answers for a particularly difficult family relationship and she asked me ‘have you tried everything?’ It became my mantra and I worked on myself for years trying to fix the relationship – I thought that I was 100% responsible for this. After many years literally exhausting myself to try to fix it, I actually got to the answer ‘yes, I have’ and what shocked me was that nothing had changed. In effect I had failed to change anything. When you spin your wheels like this and take 100% responsibility for a relationship which by definition requires two or more inputs, you are doomed to fail. You cannot be 100% responsible for something that is not 100% your input.  It’s an easy mistake, and one that empaths make all the time – whilst some people believe they are 100% not responsible for anything, empaths believe they are 100% responsible for everything, but this stems from the ego, as only the ego thinks it has control over its external environment.

We have no control over the external environment! We can only control our internal environment, ie the way we think about things, and the way we respond to things, these are all within our control and we can gain an immeasurable amount of peace and inner contentment if we clear away the misconceptions and delusions we carry inside – but we cannot do that for others, and we cannot control other peoples’ actions.

In relationships it is a dance between two or more inputs, the other person is not your puppet, and you have no control over them whatsoever. So for every question you ask yourself about your own responsibility, you must also ask of them, this will give you a much clearer and fairer picture of what is going on.

For example, as I am asking myself my mantra ‘have you tried everything’, I need to also check in with ‘have they tried everything?’. When I ask myself ‘how could I respond differently next time?’ also begs the question ‘how could they respond differently?’ And it’s not to set up a ‘they should do this or that’ it’s simply to see, OK, am I holding up my side of nurturing this relationship, and are they holding up theirs? It helps you to come to a balance – especially if you are an empath. The balance needs to shift to 50/50.

When you start to see the imbalance, who is taking what, who is giving what you are then in a much clearer position to answer the question ‘when is enough, enough?’ Little hint, if you are asking this question, then you are probably there already!

That’s from a menta