Has someone in your life left you confused about how much they really care? I’ve had instances where I’ve questioned the intentions of the person I thought I trusted because the things they said were harsh and infuriating.
People who struggle with empathy and don’t have good morals seldom do what is in the best interests of others.
They will say things that either dismiss your feelings because they have no interest or they will use every opportunity to take advantage of you. This cycle creates confusion, unhappiness, and difficulty in understanding the relationship.
How do you know what to look for?
It’s all about how they communicate with you, like telling you that you’re overreacting or that everything is your fault, and if someone uses these phrases, they lack empathy and moral integrity.
Let’s take a look at a few of them below.
1) I’m sorry you feel that way.
If there’s one thing that infuriates me, it’s being told, “I’m sorry you feel that way.” There’s a reason for it.
I had a 10-year friendship that was going south. I wasn’t included in our usual group “catch-ups,” and I was always hurt and confused by our conversations. When I decided to tell this person how I felt, guess what her response was?
“I’m sorry you feel that way.” At that point, I knew that the friendship wasn’t worth fighting for, and we parted ways.
The problem with saying, “I’m sorry you feel that way,” is that it isn’t an apology. It’s insincere because it dismisses the other person’s feelings. It doesn’t show empathy, and the person who may have contributed to the situation avoids any accountability for what they said or did.
What someone is actually saying when they use this phrase is: “You’re overreacting; it’s not my fault, and I don’t get why you’re upset with me.”
If someone uses this phrase when they’re attempting to apologize, it’s a clear indication that they don’t empathize with your feelings or perspective on the matter.
2) Why are you so sensitive?
Why can’t you understand and recognize how I feel?
When someone tells you that you’re being too sensitive in response to expressing how you feel, they’re dismissing what you’re saying to them.
Not only is this a sign that they lack empathy for you, but it’s also a question of moral integrity. Such individuals tend to manipulate you and won’t think twice about betraying your trust if it suits their agenda.
If you’re told that you’re being too sensitive or too dramatic, understand that your emotions are valid and the problem is not you.
Whether in a relationship or in the office, if someone cannot support or validate your feelings but finds it easier to put you down, they’re toxic.
By taking advantage of you to control you in a relationship or to knock your confidence at work, they certainly don’t have integrity.
Think about it this way.
Whether a friend or significant other, when someone is compassionate and really cares about you, they will never make you feel like your emotions don’t matter.
3) Why are you making it a big deal?
You question your spouse about arriving extremely late after a work function. Their response is, “Why are you making such a big deal out of it?” Or, “Why are you always so dramatic?”
What they’re really saying to you is that they think you’re unreasonable and don’t care about what you think or how you feel.
You’re left to question your reaction, and they get away with ending the conversation. This way, they avoid accepting any responsibility.
This can happen in relationships or with a coworker who undermines you.
Someone who isn’t prepared to understand or care about your emotions and is only interested in meeting their own needs by deciding how a conversation should unfold lacks empathy and integrity.
4) Thanks, but.
If you’ve ever been with someone who is entitled, you’ll know what it feels like to be taken advantage of!
The words “thanks but” might seem a little odd on their own, but in the context of showing gratitude when you’ve sacrificed or helped someone in need, they can leave you feeling used and confused.
Nobody is saying that you want them to roll out a red carpet, but showing little to no appreciation could be a sign they don’t have moral integrity. That’s because they have no problem taking advantage of you.
You’ll get a “Thanks, but I was expecting something else” or “Thanks, but it’s not the one I normally use,” and they’ll move on.
Did they just thank you or find fault with your kind gesture?
Using the word “but” actually negates everything they said before that. It also undermines you. Someone who is entitled and lacks moral integrity has an expectation, and once they get what they want, they’ll either move on or try to exploit you for more.
Remember that someone with integrity will not lie, deceive, or use you to get their way.
5) Get over it already.
I remember telling my aunt about an incident that upset me at work. My manager at the time had called me out in front of an office full of colleagues. And while I do admit that I tend to hold onto things for longer than I should, I was really upset when she responded, “Get over it.”
Now, sharing a difficult situation is hard enough. Hearing that you need to move past it in such an offhanded way is hurtful because all you’re really asking for is their support.
Their intention might not be to hurt you, but it certainly shows a lack of empathy for your feelings.
How should they respond?
Rather than tell you when to quit feeling the way you do, someone you trust should have the patience and compassion to listen to your story and be there for you. You don’t expect them to be your therapist, but their inability to put themselves in your shoes and then get annoyed at your emotions is invalidating and cold.
If you need to talk about a difficult experience or work through challenging emotions, find someone you can trust who will listen and be honest but not dismissive.
6) It’s your fault.
It’s always your fault. Even if you know deep in your heart that you played no part in the situation, the person who doesn’t value you will always shift the blame.
If you’re not an empathic person and you don’t have ethical principles to guide your mind and heart, you will never take accountability for your actions.
Blame shifting is typical of manipulators.
They can’t be wrong, so when you expect them to take responsibility for what they said or did, they will flip the conversation around and blame you for thinking and feeling the way you do.
They’ll use phrases like “This is on you” and “Why do you think the way you do?” So you end up questioning the validity of your thoughts and emotions, and they get a pass.
Don’t allow anyone to invalidate your feelings.
Your emotions are valid, and if you’re being taken advantage of or feeling unsupported, reach out to friends, family, or a counselor who can help you in your journey.
7) I thought you knew better.
It’s ironic that someone who doesn’t have empathy or moral integrity would take the moral high ground and judge you for your decisions. Phrases like “you should have known better” or “I would have done things differently” are meant to demoralize and belittle you.
There’s no room for empathy here.
When you’re open about a mistake you’ve made, you don’t need someone you trust or depend on to question your judgment. It’s not about what they would do or about proving that they know better than you.
Why does this happen?
They simply cannot put themselves in your shoes. They don’t have the capacity to understand your emotions or position. Your emotions aren’t important to them, so they pretend to care, but you can only pretend for so long before you get caught!
When you hear the words “you should know better,” it’s not about your values or whether the other person is more intelligent. It shows that they simply cannot support you, and they aren’t willing to see that mistakes are a regular part of life.
Feeling unsupported or used by people we trust is incredibly painful. But rather than think that it’s because of something you did or didn’t do, take a closer look at how they speak to you and treat you.
Are you confused and sad after a conversation or argument? Have you caught yourself questioning whether your feelings are wrong or whether you’re silly to think the way you do?
The truth is that people who can’t empathize and don’t have moral integrity will use the above-mentioned phrases and behaviors to control, confuse, and use you.
If someone cannot give you emotional support and continues to deceive you to satisfy their own agenda, it’s time to stand up for your self-worth by moving on and creating meaningful and rewarding connections elsewhere.