Do you feel guilty when others around you are soaked in misery?
Don’t. Because if they are genuinely suffering, empathy requires a soft front and a strong back to help, you suffering along with them out of guilt doesn’t help.
There are also manipulative people who use and exaggerate their own suffering, sometimes even unwittingly, because they can see it makes you feel guilty and they either want to control you or just enjoy making you miserable as well.
If you are an empathic person this is really difficult, these people might be at work, family or friends, it’s all very well people saying “get rid of all the toxic people in your life” but circumstances don’t always make that possible.
In which case you need to shield yourself psychically to survive. Understanding what these people are doing to you is the first stage because once you realise what’s happening you can put a ‘psychic mirror’ between you and the person to reflect the energy back without any added animosity.
Then understanding that you can only help someone if they want help. Most people don’t want to change and it’s not your responsibility to get them to do so.
Using the mantra of ‘soft front, strong back’ means that you don’t become hard hearted, but remain kind and compassionate but won’t be taken advantage of and can remain shielded. The most productive help is often a balance of 10% effort from you and 90% from them.
This way instead of constantly trying to change your environment because it’s affecting you, you are able to make yourself a better, stronger person and that’s most likely to have a positive effect on both you and those around you.