Dad and Daughter

6 Ways to Teach Empathy to Children

The ability to understand the feelings of others is a core quality that contributes to healthy, prosperous relationships and social connections. At our integrative family wellness center, we look at the impact and the role that empathy plays in healing the family dynamic. We can work with you on how to teach empathy to children.

Parents who know how to empathy to children weren’t born with this knowledge – they learned and applied it. And you can too! We find in our integrative family wellness center, that many parents were not taught how to empathize with their own feelings let alone learning how to empathize with their children’s feelings. This is a struggle when you are trying to practice things that you yourself has not been taught yourself. 

The good news is that within our integrative family wellness center, we teach these skills for success. As a growing part of integrative family wellness, these skills can be tricky to learn, especially for toddlers. However, all of the work and effort you put in to teach this important trait pays off greatly. Please take your time, add one step and one component at a time. 

The founder of the school of individual psychology, Alfred Adler, said, “Empathy is seeing with the eyes of another, listening with the ears of another and feeling with the heart of another.” This is even when we do not want to see the other person’s viewpoint. 

A few questions posed by parents in our integrative family wellness center, look something like this: When is the right time to start teaching our kids empathy? How should we do it? Is the occasional lecture about the importance of the skill enough? Are there some creative ways to do it? Will your child end up overwhelmed by empathy? When looking at the role of emotions, beliefs, behaviors, and actions we begin to look at the integrative family wellness dynamic. 

Parents who practice conscious parenting deal with these and many other questions on a daily basis. Fortunately, even though it is a learned behavior, your child is born with the capacity for empathy. You just have to recognize it and encourage the attitude that cultivates this capacity. This can be a challenge when dealing with survival mechanisms such as keeping up with the demands of work, money, etc. However, slowing down and being present is a practice that we teach at our integrative family wellness center. Providing skills, tools, techniques, and walking someone through the process of healing holistically is a what we help families do in our integrative family wellness practice. 

Any parent who is capable of being kind and shows compassion already provides their children with a good foundation of empathy. Children often mimic behavior that they see and are around. These include healthy and unhealthy behaviors. 

Here are 6 ways to teach your child the art of compassion and empathy that we teach in our Integrative Family Wellness Center:

  • Teach about emotions. Emotional intelligence, the ability to recognize, differ, and name various emotions correctly is the key to future empathy. Use flash cards, discuss, and provide insight to various emotions. Remember children do not have the language to describe and connect with their emotions. Providing language and insight for children by providing connections to their emotions. Such as I see you are frustrated, do you want to talk about it?
    • A child cannot empathize with feelings they can’t explain. By pointing out and naming emotions you assume your child is feeling, and the ones you’re feeling as well, you will stimulate the development of emotional intelligence. Repressed emotions and repressed communications can create outbursts. People often have outbursts when they have stifled communications. Understanding this can be helpful and supportive to your child.
  • Model and interpret a variety of feelings. Use everyday situations of observing distress (in real life, books, or on TV) and talk with your child about how the main character of the story could be feeling. Teach them to take a pause and think about other people’s emotions before taking any action. This will teach more presence and educate them out of reactivity. Remember, emotions can feel very big and they can be overwhelming. Many adults have difficulty understanding their emotions, let alone children. Demonstrating low frequency (sadness, anger, grief) as well as high frequency emotions such as joy, happiness, etc. Placing names on these emotions to help build connections to these emotions is key.
  • Inspire curiosity for similarities. Kids feel greater empathy for familiar individuals and people who are more similar to them. People will feel safer if they understand that more people feel the same way as they do. Sometimes if a person does not see or experience another person feels the way they do they can feel wrong, bad, or like an outcast. Knowing and supporting this uncertainty can build confidence. At our integrative family wellness center, we encourage the use of emotions as a tool. We teach families how to harness the power of their emotions to teach boundaries, make decisions, and even manifest the things we want in life.
  • Our integrative family wellness approach, helps your children be aware of characteristics or experiences that they have in common with others. Allowing them to meet people from different backgrounds so they can hear their stories and identify with them.
  • Read stories and organize role-plays. Empathy is more than just “emotion sharing.” It means taking another person’s perspective as well and trying to walk a mile in their shoes. When situations come up ask questions like, how do you think this person felt or how a person would feel if this situation occurred.
Teach Empathy To Children
  • Fictional stories and real-life narratives offer excellent opportunities for teaching empathy. Discuss the story you are reading with your child and focus on the hero’s emotions. These can be non threatening and free.
  • Simulate common difficulties and life challenges with your children. This way they can perceive how they feel playing the role which will help them understand other people better. We have some excellent age appropriate examples at our integrative family wellness center.
  • Practice recognizing facial expressions. Being empathic is hard if you can’t read someone’s face. Toddlers often misinterpret facial expressions. Show them pictures of people expressing different emotions and help them name each one of them correctly. We tend to use emotion flash cards in our integrative family wellness practice.
  • After a conflict, share emotions. Conflicts happen in every family. Maybe you got angry with your child for something they did, or perhaps they got in a fight with their sibling. Forgive yourself for expressing your emotions. Sometimes, a part of the healing process is reparenting yourself.
  • Once you’ve calmed down after the conflict, talk to your child about everyone’s emotions. This will enhance their empathy and also help them express their feelings more adaptively.

The moment you decide to teach empathy to children, you can be sure that you’re on the right path. Remember, each time you demonstrate empathy on your own, you are one step closer to having an emotionally well-developed child. Remember this is a process, sometimes you will be the teacher and sometimes the student in the process of self-learning. 

Stressed wife

Are You a Highly Sensitive Person? Signs Your Are Overly Sensitive

Dr. Elaine Aron defines the highly sensitive person as someone who “has a sensitive nervous system, is aware of subtleties in his/her surroundings, and is more easily overwhelmed when in a highly stimulating environment.” At our alternative naturopathic center, we often see sensitive humans and teach them how to navigate life through teaching them coping skills. 

It’s estimated that as many as 20% of the population could be classified as highly sensitive. So, you’re not alone if you believe that you’re highly sensitive. This might sound like a defect, but it can be very valuable to be highly sensitive. At a holistic center near me, we teach you how to use your high sensitivity for your highest good to transform.

Highly sensitive people tend to be very thoughtful, creative, and intelligent. They can also be great partners. You have a lot to offer if you’re highly sensitive, and our alternative naturopathic center is designed to teach you as well as your partner how to live as a highly sensitive human. 

At a holistic center near me we discuss several characteristics that suggest you might be a highly sensitive person:

  • Your feelings are easily hurt. Do your feelings seem to be hurt more easily than those of the average person? This is a common theme in those that are highly sensitive. Highly sensitive people can feel quite a bit from other people. They can feel other people’s emotional upsets, and tensions which can effect the highly sensitive person. The challenge is to recognize what emotions are there’s and what emotions are other peoples, which is a part of what we teach you in an alternative naturopathic center.
  • Negative thoughts and emotions consume a lot of your time. Do you spend a lot of time dealing with negative thoughts and emotions? This can be draining and exhausting to experience negative thoughts and emotions all of the time. At a holistic center near me, we teach people the skills and the tools necessary to get well and heal.
  • Difficulty accepting criticism even if it’s accurate and constructive. Criticism isn’t easy for most people to hear, but is it devastating for you? Are you greatly upset by any type of criticism? Does criticism make you want to quit? This can be from previous programming where criticism made you feel bad, wrong, or judged. At our alternative naturopathic center, we teach you how to remain coachable, be open, and heal. We can help you to distinguish what is your “stuff” and their “stuff” so you can truly heal.
Stressed woman
  • Overreaction to perceived slights or mild insults. When someone fails to say “hello” to you, does it bother you a lot? Do you assume the worst when someone slights you or makes a questionable comment? At an alternative naturopathic center, we work with you on all of these perceptions and help you create healthy boundaries between you and other people. We also help you determine your perceptions and distinguish what if any learnings can come from these triggers.
  • Easily overstimulated by crowds, too much activity, bright lights, loud noises, or strong odors. Do you avoid places with a lot of people or loud noise? Do strong odors bother you? Are you easily overstimulated in general? A holistic center near me creates a calming healing environment designed to allow you to relax and not be over stimulated. We create a center for healing.
  • Easily upset by negative news media. When you watch or read about negative news stories, are you bothered more than most others you know? Watching or listening to the news media can create upsets which can lead to emotional reactions. These reactions often are not necessary when we are looking at self healing.
  • You enjoy spending time alone. Do you truly enjoy spending time by yourself? When you’re alone, do you like to keep things simple and quiet? Or, do you listen to loud music while playing video games? We often experience those that are more introverted at our alternative naturopathic center, until we help them find freedom through the process of becoming a practice member. We offer a step by step approach to help people transform. 
  • Does it drive you crazy when you have something in your shoe? Do scratchy fabrics drive you nuts? This is another good indicator that you might be highly sensitive. At a holistic center near me, we often encounter those with texture and touch sensitivities. We work to establish neurological or mineral deficiencies that may be contributing to the texture sensitivity.
highly sensitive

At our alternative naturopathic center we have discovered these advantages of being highly sensitive:

  1. More empathetic. If you’re highly sensitive, you can relate more easily to the emotions of others. It’s almost like you know what everyone is thinking and feeling. You can interpret other peoples thoughts and emotions while helping them through those thoughts and feelings.
  2. More aware of social cues. Highly sensitive people are very aware of social cues like body language, facial expressions, and how to use and interpret personal space. This can be designed for safety but it also helpful in communication. At a holistic center near me, we can help you to read body language and help you to determine the best communication style to be used.
  3. More alert to changes in environment. You know when something has changed, or items are out of place. You can feel when the mood of a room has changed. This is why learning about Feng Shui and the use of color is so helpful for you to help you feel safe, secure, and comfortable in your environment. We are able to teach you how to design your environment at our alternative naturopathic center.
  4. Able to enjoy subtle things. You can notice small things and appreciate them. You’re more likely to enjoy looking at art, a butterfly, or the clouds than the average person. This is almost like a superpower. You can entertain yourself with simple things. Subtly is a cornerstone of a holistic center near me, as it helps to determine the things missing or things that need support in the area of your health. Relationships, environment, mental and emotional states all impact your physical health so understanding these things is key to your recovery. 
highly sensitive people

It’s easy to see how these characteristics would be useful in art, negotiating, or working in counseling. There are many ways to use these abilities to your advantage. Embracing who you are, knowing how to transform these “feelings” into practical tools, and then using them to create the life you want is key to success. 

There are also fields that you should probably avoid if you want to feel happy and peaceful. Working on the bond trading floor in Manhattan probably isn’t your cup of tea. Selling door-to-door probably doesn’t appeal to you either.

Use your natural strengths and avoid your natural weaknesses. This is always good advice if you want to be happy and successful.

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Modern Rules for Minimizing Family Conflicts

In our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic, we often work with families. With the growing pressure on the family. Family conflicts tend to build. Family conflicts often escalate during times of change, especially in times of change which are derived from feelings of powerlessness. For example, when multiple generations are sheltering under one roof instead of going to work and school as usual it provides no reprieve from each others personality. Our Virginia Beach Health Clinic often works with families and the family dynamics.

Even ordinary squabbles over the remote control can grow more heated with the extra time spent with each other. That’s especially true if deeper issues, like sibling rivalry and clashing lifestyles, have been lingering under the surface.In our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic, we work to uncover these deep seated emotional and relationship issues. 

Mental Health

You can make your time at home more peaceful and enjoyable and we often recommend various strategies in our Virginia Beach Health Clinic. Try these strategies for preventing and resolving family disputes in a faster more loving manner.

Strategies for Preventing Family Conflicts

It’s natural to disagree even with those you love. We often see many disagreements in our Virginia Beach Health Clinic. On the other hand, you can also take steps to keep conflicts from multiplying by following some of these simple techniques that we teach in our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic.

Parenting the highly sensitive child II

Try these techniques for fewer conflicts:

  1. Appreciate each other. Your relationships matter more than any issue that could divide you. Think about why you love each other and express your gratitude often. This can be challenging when they are getting on our nerves. But we know from working with thousands of families in our Virginia Beach Health Clinic that the act and vibration of gratitude can help support the frequency of love which minimizes agitation.
  2. Establish priorities. Ask yourself if any particular event is worth arguing about. You can probably get used to the toilet paper hanging over or under the roll. You truly do not need to die on every hill. In our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic, we help provide a space for family members to express their frustrations and sort through what matters the most to the individual and if it will cause help instead of harm by sharing.
  3. Clarify boundaries. Understand your own needs and limits. Figure out the reasons behind your requests, so you can negotiate more effectively. Let others know how you wish to be treated and the consequences for crossing your boundaries. Setting healthy boundaries is a healthy and loving act for self. At times, it can feel uncomfortable to set boundaries with others, however it can allow for greater ease and less resentment.
  4. Schedule family meetings. Ongoing communication reduces misunderstandings. We tend to recommend within our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic to have family meetings. These are safe places, and spaces designed to allow for you to get well. You may want to hold formal family meetings or put aside time each day to give each other updates and cover important topics.
  5. Pull together. Share practical assistance, support, and encouragement. Aim to find solutions that benefit your whole family instead of trying to score personal victories. This can prove to be healthier for the whole instead of just the one. Our Virginia Beach Health Clinic is grateful for the health of the whole. 
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Strategies for Resolving Family Conflicts Taught at our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic

What if you’re already feuding with each other? Keep in mind that settling conflicts constructively can actually draw you closer together. We often delve deeper into these unconscious behaviors, beliefs, core beliefs, etc that can be driving these interactions. 

Keep these tips in mind that we recommend at our Virginia Beach Health Clinic

  1. Stay calm. Avoid saying anything in anger that you might regret later. Take a walk around the block if you need to cool down. Make sure to take a break when things get heated and learn to fight in a healthy way. Fair fighting rules include agreeing not to yell, name call, or disrespect each other.
  2. Listen closely. Let your family members know that you care about their opinions. Hear them out without interrupting. Validate their feelings even if you disagree with their conclusions. Validating and acknowledging what they feel, regardless if you agree or disagree can help everyone feel supported, loved, and accepted unconditionally.
  3. Narrow your focus. Stick to one subject at a time. When you’re trying to divide household chores fairly, it’s irrelevant to mention who ate the last slice of pizza.Those that do not want to take personal responsibility will often deflect and those that do not want to deal with the task at hand may send the conversation flying in thousands of directions. Stay focused, and be present in the conversation.
  4. Look ahead. Let go of past disappointments and resentments. Focus on what positive changes you can make for your future together. Resentments often come from suppressed communications. Disappointments come from thwarted intention or unfulfilled expectations. We can be responsible for our feelings of disappointment and accept the situation and the person for who they are and not who you want them to be. In communication, we work on fully expressing ourselves clearly. In our Virginia Beach Holistic Clinic, we often review methods and strategies surrounding communication.
  5. Be specific. Spell out your expectations. You may think that cleaning a bedroom means dusting the top of the door. Your teenage son may feel satisfied as long as the neighbors aren’t mentioning any suspicious odors. Being clear with expectations and gaining acknowledgement and acceptance of these expectations can provide clarity. In our Virginia Beach Health Clinic, we often dispel unclarified and dispel whether our expectations are realistic or unrealistic to manage emotional upsets.
  6. Offer compromises. Be flexible and creative about finding solutions that each family member can be comfortable with. Living together usually requires some give and take.It is about creating a compromise rather than being right, wrong, good or bad. Ensure that each person feels heard accepted, and that everyone gives a little bit in the discussion and in the solution.
  7. Sign a contract. Do you have the same arguments week after week? You may want to put your resolutions down in writing and ask each family member to sign off. Keeping a record is likely to produce more compliance. Signing an agreement can create clarity and gain agreement to all those involved in the struggle.
  8. Teach your children. Parents sometimes worry about how children will be affected when they see family conflicts. However, this can actually be a valuable opportunity for developing communication and relationship skills, as long as you provide a positive role model. Children mimic what they see in adults around them. You are not going to be a perfect parent no doubt, but being mindful of your behavior and your actions can help support little ones mindsets.
  9. Consider counseling. If you’re still finding it difficult to cooperate with each other, it may help to talk with an experienced and objective professional. Our Virginia Beach Holistic Health Clinic work within the family dynamics from a perspective of teaching skills and tools. We encourage that all members of the family have their voice and feel empowered with that voice.  

Family conflicts often stir up strong emotions and power struggles. Protect your relationships and restore harmony by treating each other with kindness and respect. The more you feel internal kindness and resect the more you can create that in the world around you. 

Top 5 Habits To Help Lose Weight: Effective Weight Loss

Do you need habits to help lose weight? Weight loss is a challenge that at times we can all face, especially as we get older and the metabolism slows down. In an ever-evolving modern world, it can be very difficult to find fresh food at a good price for integrative and functional nutrition. Searching for holistic health care near me can help guide you through these obstacles in a succinct manner. 

Fast food restaurants are often found on every corner selling a burger for a dollar, but a head of broccoli can be two or three times that price. Fast food restaurants capitalize on the fact that most people do not prepare for their meals and wait until they are starving to eat something. The challenge with accessibility in integrative and functional nutrition lie with our supply and demand chain. It’s a challenge that many people face when they try to eat healthy. Accessibility and affordability are often challenges in holistic health care near me as well. 

Chopping veggies

With varying opinions and decades of conflicting science showing that some diets work better than others, finding what’s right for you can be a challenge. It can also be very confusing as to what options are best for you specifically. 

With that in mind, hands down the best method you can use to achieve greater weight loss is to influence balance whenever possible. Quite simply, if the food that a person eats is G-D made, then eat it. If it is man made, then avoid it. 

Using a balanced diet as our foundation to successful weight loss, let’s break down five of the most important habits you can integrate into your life in order to lose weight and keep it off in integrative and functional nutrition. 

Holistic health care near me presents The 5 Habits of Successful Weight Loss

There are way more than five habits for successful weight loss in integrative and functional nutrition. Many people will find that by making one simple change to their life that they begin to lose weight. Seeking out holistic health care near me can also be helpful for the forward movement. 

With that said, these are the five most effective habits: 

Stay hydrated. This is perhaps one of the most overlooked components of weight loss. Not only is our body made up of at least 60% water, but hydration is important in muscle growth, circulation, and promoting healthy bowel function. Many people will avoid water unconsciously, and then drink coffee or not drink at all during the day.

Do your best to drink around half of your body weight in water daily. This daily consumption of water will help your body to remove toxins, flush out waste, and increase your potential for strength.

Additionally, this habit can stave off food cravings too. Sometimes, if you are hungry you are often thirsty. So ensure to drink adequate fluids in between feeding times. Try to limit the water consumption while you are eating as this can slow down the digestive process.

Wake up earlier. This is one of the habits that would be beneficial for all of us to aspire to. Waking up early will get your system into a natural circadian rhythm. Waking up at the same time everyday can create a structure that the body can easily follow and sets the tone for the day. It also promotes feeling tired enough at night to get to bed at an opportune time to allow you to get enough sleep.

Waking up earlier could help you sleep better, feel more energized, and promote a healthier weight. Drinking a glass of water upon waking and eating metabolism within an hour upon waking can help stimulate the metabolism. 

 habits to help lose weight
Diet and weight loss concept, fork and measuring tap.

Eat more fibrous foods. The average north American gets 1/5th of the recommended daily allowance of fiber. Not only is fiber essential in balancing out your carbohydrate levels, but it is also a crucial element in weight loss. Fiber can help the insulin balances within the system.

  • Integrative and functional nutrition have shown that fiber has unique properties that help to promote healthy bowel movements, which lead to greater weight management.
  • Holistic health care near me also recommends that fiber has also been shown to limit inflammation and be a great tool for recycling cholesterol. This allows for the digestive system to move in a healthy manner.
  • Limit trans fats and saturated fats. Although the debate is open to interpretation in integrative and functional nutrition, lowering the amount of dietary fat in holistic health care near me. It is recommended to consume 15-20% of your total calories which will help many people to start losing weight.
  • Why is this? Adapting your diet to a more balanced macronutrient scheme of 50/30/20 (50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat) will help your body to best handle the increased amount of exercise you will likely be committing to in your quest to lose weight. It is challenging for people to accept that fat is fat, many times people will think that healthy fat doesn’t count. It is important for people to be aware that healthy fat is included in your 20% macro ratio.
  • Increase your daily energy expenditure. This is a fancy way of saying become more active. In integrative and functional nutrition it is recommended to not engage in really difficult workout sessions every day ‒ simply by being more active throughout the day, you will start to increase your energy expenditure and influence weight loss.
  • In holistic health care near me it is recommended to do simple things, like parking further away at a grocery store or taking the stairs in the office.Natural activities such as taking the steps, paddle boarding, and walking to locations can be helpful to improve physical activities.
 habits to help lose weight

Successful Habits Instill Positive Lifestyle Behaviors

Your best bet at losing weight is to try out new things. Trying new things can make it interesting and fun to stay well. Consider this a holistic health lifestyle rather than a forced action. Try eating fresher foods and see how your body responds. Try going for more walks and see if you start to lose weight. At the end of the day, instilling more active habits and eating fresher foods will be a step in the right direction for successful weight loss. 

Mental Health

Recognising Emotional Manipulation by Family Members

Emotional manipulation is how others try to influence your behavior, thoughts, and feelings through misleading actions, words, and subconcious, as well as conscious behaviors. These practices can be harmful to everyone involved, inlacing the person who is exhibiting the manipulative behavior. When working with the environment and landscape of the home, our practice incorporates naturopathic family health into our Integrative family wellness center. Naturopathic family health includes and examines the actions of the family members and how that supports the whole. 

Family members may try to use emotional manipulation to control you. Especially if you are setting a boundary that they do not like. Many times, people become accustom to you not valuing yourself, not honoring yourself, and not knowing your worth. Quite simply we teach people how to treat us. These people, regardless if they are family or not grow accustom to our lack of self love, healthy boundaries, and trauma responses. Naturopathic family health looks to establish healthy boundaries as well as healthy communication amongst family members. At our integrative family wellness center, we work to address the underlying causes of these trauma responses, loss of boundaries, and unhealthy behavior so that each family member is feels heard and honored. 

No one likes to be controlled, manipulated, abused, or gas lighted. These behaviors especially when done to children can create suppression in self esteem. For your own benefit and awareness the following are signs we teach at our integrative family wellness center so that you can be conscious and aware of manipulative behavior. As we teach our families naturopathic family health, they begin to understand how their behaviors impact the whole.

Family together

Denial of the truth. One of the most common ways an emotional manipulator can use emotional manipulation is to deny the truth. This is a key sign. Often referred to as gaslighting. This is when you hold someone accountable to some behavior and they pretend as though you are making it up, you are crazy, etc. This can create deep levels of frustration, resentment, and acting out of the person on the receiving end of this type of abuse. 

  • The person who is an emotional manipulator will often make a promise or a statement but deny it later. They will pretend that the truth doesn’t exist, and conveniently blame your bad memory for it. This is key. They will always try to turn the situation or circumstance around where you are the one deemed “at fault” for their behavior. 
  • It’s difficult to prove the truth without a recording, email, or other physical evidence. In some cases, the manipulator will try to fight the evidence by saying it’s fabricated, project it, create another scenario, or distract from the original subject matter. In our integrative wellness center, we coach couples, family members, and the like to watch out for this behavior as well as naturopathic family health strategies to avoid this type of behavior. Emotional manipulation can be difficult to spot.
  • An emotional manipulator can make attempt to make you feel as if it’s your fault, you’re not remembering the previous conversation the same way., or pretend that the conversation or situation never occurred. They can attempt to trigger feelings of guilt and shame, so you don’t pursue the subject anymore. These are common tactics to take the heat off of them and onto you. Be mindful fo these tactics.

Using guilt. Emotional manipulators frequently use guilt to control their family. This is beyond a playful “guilt trip” where it is obvious the person is not serious but rather using a sad face when you don’t do what they ask but quickly move on. This is a persistent pressure and emotional guilt trip with the intent of shifting behavior into what the desired outcome would be for them. 

  • Family members can use passive-aggressive tactics to implement emotional manipulation. This includes silent treatment, withholding love and affection, being cold, and any other behavior that they know would trigger you. They can also find your weak spots, so it’s easier to make you feel guilty. In our integrative family wellness center, we often see those in abusive relationships such as child-parent or spouse to spouse in these kinds of dynamics. These can be very emotionally hurtful for both parties. When we look at the physiological impact of naturopathic family health we become concerned with the impact of increased internalized stress can have on the body
  • Manipulators will pretend to be victims, so you’ll feel sorry for them. If you refuse to go along with the charade, they will accuse you of being insensitive and mean. They can attempt to have you feel guilty for them in order to get sympathy. This is another important sign to recognize. Many times it can happen so fast with so many emotions being throw around. Be conscious of how you feel in the moment and the reactions from those emotions.

Using others. Emotional manipulators will use your friends and other family members to hurt you. They can try to turn friends, and family against you. They are capable of bullying you into doing what they want, or trying to paint you out in a negative light. They are hoping that if others view you in a negative manner, then they will side with them, isolating you. 

  • They can use others as messengers or mediators to control you. Emotional manipulators will use these people to send you hurtful messages or to blame you for their issues. They will try to gain sympathy from others against you. By involving another person, they’re able to blame someone else for the message being misinterpreted. The other person either unwittingly or in being empathetic can side with them. It is totally okay to let these relationships go, it is not worth being stuck in the middle or having to defend yourself. Those people that love you and accept you will be with you no matter what goes on around them.

Anger and threats. Family members can use their anger and threats to manipulate you. They can also use passive aggressive tactics such as subtle micro aggressions or acts of anger. It is important not to succumb to pressure or unhealthy behaviors. Remove yourself immediately if things escalate. Sadly, these situations rarely get better they only get worse. In our integrative family wellness center we have seen,

  • An emotional manipulator using anger to frighten and coerce people. Threats and angry outbursts are used to make the other person feel uncomfortable and upset. They can react at anytime and for any reason. Borderline personalities are often like this- they can erupt at anytime which leaves the other family members to tip toe around them. It is not the job of anyone in the family to tip toe around other family members. 
  • In Naturopathic Family Health, we observe Emotional manipulators using anger to interrupt or stop a conversation they don’t like. For example, a family member who refuses to discuss his affairs may use an angry outburst and threats to end the conversation or storm out of the room. This is a diversion tactic and a way to buy the person more time to figure out a new strategy. The emotional manipulator also does not want to be held accountable or responsible for their behavior.
Mental Health

The anger can escalate to physical violence, so it’s important to pay close attention to the situation and seek help if necessary. If there is violence, it is important to reach out for help. Our integrative family wellness center is a safe place, where we can help you find resources to help. 

  • Belittling tactics. Family members may try to belittle you, so they can manipulate you easier. This is to put you down and weaken your self esteem. Subtle and not so subtle name calling, put downs, and derogatory comments about you, your demeanor, and pretty much anything that you care about is off limits. It is not acceptable for anyone to be unkind to you.
  • Emotional manipulators will criticize you and point out your flaws. The main goal of this tactic is to make you feel inferior, so you’re easier to control. This can be as simple as your extra 5 lbs, or the loss of a job. An emotional manipulator will go after whatever wounds they know hurts you so they can continue to get you to do what they want you to do for them. At the first name calling or derogorty comment regardless of how small set the boundary immediately. Naturopathic family health includes developing fair and healthy fighting rule strategies which does not include name calling.

Focusing on vulnerable targets. Manipulators seek out sensitive people because it’s easier to influence them. They deliberately look for people who are vulnerable and insecure. They can spot your insecurities and use them. These can also be people who are deeply empathetic as well. Deeply empathetic people such as healers can often attract those who are in need of healing. At our integrative family wellness center, we teach skills and tools for healers to not create relationships with people who are going to be emotionally as well as energetically draining to them.

  • In the beginning, emotional manipulators may even seem kind and concerned as they gather information about you. However, this quickly changes to control. Noticing patterns that arise is key. Also, separation from family and friends is also key. These are key indicators that this is perhaps a controlling and unhealthy relationship.
  • Sensitive people are more likely to become victims of family members who want to control them. They’re less likely to stand up for themselves or speak out against the manipulators. It’s important to spot these signs in a relationship. These can also be people who have experienced some level of trauma in their lives as these types of behaviors are familiar to them. 

You can recognize emotional manipulation and refuse to let the family member take control of you or your actions. These relationships are unhealthy and toxic. Seek professional help if you need to, but it’s important to make positive changes to the relationship or let the relationship go. We are here to help you at our integrative family wellness center to create naturopathic family health. We are just a phone call away don’t fall victim to emotional manipulation.