There’s a few people in this family of mine that are solid empaths who worry so much about other people’s feelings that they often sacrifice their own wants and needs for the sake of others.
I WILL LET YOU GUESS WHICH FAMILY MEMBERS THOSE ARE.
Because I am one of those people and I know that tendency all too well, I started something called TRUTH TELLING TIME. If you are worried that someone is agreeing to something just to make you happy, or if you’re worried someone is trying to preserve your feelings and avoid telling you the truth, you can invoke: TRUTH TELLING TIME.
The rules are simple, if someone declares TRUTH TELLING TIME then they are saying either
A) My feelings WILL NOT get hurt or
B) My feelings might get hurt but I would much rather you tell me the truth and I won’t be mad at you if I don’t like the truth.
Here’s the thing…you can NOT declare TRUTH TELLING TIME if one of these does not fit. If you are going to get your feelings hurt or if you are going to get mad if you don’t like the answer…you can NOT call TRUTH TELLING TIME, it’s a betrayal to the system. And alternatively, if you respond to someone’s declaration of TRUTH TELLING TIME then you MUST TELL THE TRUTH.
Here’s a perfect scenario of how it can play out. I say, “Hey…I want to do this paint class on Friday, do you want to join me?” They hesitantly say, “Um…sure!” But the truth is, I have no problem going alone so I say: TRUTH TELLING TIME and they backup and say, “Okay, not really. It does not look like fun.” And then I haven’t dragged them to something they don’t like and they haven’t participated in something they don’t like for the sake of my feelings when I’m 100% happy going alone.
Of course I could have just said, “But I don’t mind going alone!” but without the invocation of TRUTH TELLING TIME, the other person would think I was just saying that to let them off the hook when in reality I really wanted them to go with me. This is actually almost the exact “empathy spiral” I discovered that made me create TRUTH TELLING TIME…a situation where both people were sacrificing what they really wanting because they were trying to make the other person happy.
Now, other times I recognize people in my family are doing something to make me happy that they don’t necessarily want to do and I do NOT declare it TRUTH TELLING TIME because I want the company. I just express lots of gratitude and let them take one for the team, so to speak, since I consider that fair in the family dynamic. Sometimes I really like an article of clothing and don’t care what anyone else thinks and so I don’t ask for TRUTH TELLING TIME to give me an honest answer. I want the answer that supports my love of the garment.
But this has become so handy and EVERYONE uses it. I have one child in particular that often worries I’m saying, “Yes!” to things to make them happy and this has really eased their mind because I can just say: NO! It’s TRUTH TELLING TIME! I really want to [insert thing here] because I enjoy time with you no matter what we’re doing!
I just thought I’d share this little tool with you in case you have a family of empaths as well.