How To Deal With Someone Who Doesn’t Care About You
Updated February 26, 2021
Medically Reviewed By: Aaron Dutil
There are a variety of reasons why you might care about someone who doesn't return that feeling. You may be in a bad romantic relationship, or you might be in the post-breakup stage. Also, you could have a parent or sibling who doesn't seem to care about you. Whoever the person is who's ignoring you or antagonizing you, it may be best to learn how to deal with someone who doesn't seem to care about you.
Why You Need to Address It
Continuing to care for someone who cannot, or will not, return your feelings, sets you up to feel miserable. There is no reason for you to allow someone to have that kind of power over you. No matter how someone is connected to you or what your past is with them, they have no right to continue to bring you down. You are not required to remain in such relationships. We have no control over anyone but ourselves. The more we allow ourselves to focus on things outside our control, the more frustrated we feel. We will talk more about solutions later in the article.
How to Handle Your Feelings about Someone
There is certainly nothing wrong with genuinely caring about another person. And sometimes we love someone even when they do not reciprocate our feelings. A critical responsibility of every healthy parent, for example, is to love their children unconditionally, regardless of whether that love is returned. Sometimes it's healthy, appropriate, mature, and responsible to be willing to love another who may be incapable of returning our love. But when you care a lot about someone who does not feel the same, or cares too little, and who is also an adult with the capacity to love appropriately, it is reasonable to critically evaluate your choices.
Perhaps it may be helpful to consider what constitutes genuine love. We often believe that if we truly love someone, we will accept virtually anything from them. But even parents have a responsibility to teach their children that some thoughts, attitudes, or actions, are unacceptable.
Of course, the parent should not suggest they are withdrawing their love from the child. But genuine love includes healthy boundaries, limits, expectations, and meaningful consequences for misbehavior. To forgo consequences is less loving than providing what the child truly needs in response to their inappropriate, or disobedient, actions.
Sometimes this may be the case with peers or other adults as well. The most genuinely loving, caring, and mutually respectful action we can choose in response to another adult is to allow them to experience the natural or logical consequences of their actions. If someone is treating you inappropriately, disrespectfully, or unkindly, and if you have tried to talk with them to no avail, it may be time to consider whether remaining in the relationship is best.
Also consider the relationship between your thoughts and feelings. While it is impossible to change your feelings, you do have a much greater capacity to change your thoughts, perspectives, conclusions, and expectations. Since your feelings are almost always directly created from those cognitions, changing them can change your feelings.
Much of the disappointment, hurt, offense, sadness, and anger we experience is a result of unmet expectations. So if we can change our expectations, we will be able to dramatically decrease the negative feelings that result from experiencing unmet expectations, right? This certainly applies to a situation in which a person about whom we care does not return our feelings.
Care More about You
You may find yourself spending a lot of mental energy on this person you wish also cared about you. But there is one person you can always count on to care about you, and that's you. While you're adjusting to spending less of your time and focus on another person, use that free time to think about what you want. What would you like someone else to do for you? When you figure out what that is, go ahead and give that to yourself!
Do you wish you had a partner to help you with the dishes? Hire someone to do it. Do you wish you had someone to compliment you on your appearance? Do things that make you feel beautiful. Do you wish someone would congratulate your successes with a nice gift? Buy yourself that thing you've wanted when you reach your goals. You do not have to wait for someone else to make you feel important. Choose to focus on what you can control. We often have much more control than we perceive. There is hope in choosing to look at ourselves, to ensure that we are the persons we want to be.
We all have room to grow, change, improve. And since our self-improvement is completely within our control, there is hope, power, and confidence in spending time gaining awareness of areas in which we may want to grow, and then being intentional to implement concrete actions to that end.
Often the characteristics most frustrating and offensive to us are those we are guilty of ourselves. So it's always a good practice to turn our attention to ourselves as soon as we realize we are annoyed with someone else. Awareness is critical to making changes in ourselves. What we don't understand about ourselves will control us. Sometimes, just gaining awareness of a tendency in ourselves is all we need to choose to think or act differently. We tend to attract those who compliment us in some way. This is the reason that abusers tend to be attracted to 'victims.' Those who are more dominant tend to be attracted to those who are more submissive and vice versa. Takers are drawn to givers, etc.
For this reason, it is very wise to do what we can to become as healthy as possible before entering a new relationship. The more independently healthy we are, the healthier others we are likely to attract and be attracted to ourselves. This may also be a good time to consider if we have experienced a 'theme' of being drawn to those who end up not liking us very much. If we recognize such a pattern, we may want to process through this with a professional counselor to help us both understand that trend as well as break it.
Care Less about Opinions in General
Sometimes the problem is not about what a person thinks of you. Sometimes you feel the need to make everyone else happy. You're the one who worries what your partner will think if you try a new look. You cover for others when they would never do the same for you. You're afraid to express your opinion because someone might not like you for it.
It can be difficult to break these anxious thought patterns. But you will be happier worrying less and surrounding yourself with people who aren't afraid of seeing your true self. Would you rather spend time with someone with whom you must constantly be on guard or someone with whom you can relax because they accept you?
What makes this journey difficult is the inner turmoil it brings. If you have feelings of sadness, try finding an outlet. Drawing or reading are just a couple of things you can try. Anything you can do to get your mind off things and be happy will work.
If you are feeling stress or anxiety, try yoga. Yoga can help you calm your mind and body, and it's a good form of exercise.
Understanding your worth will catapult you to success. If you are struggling with low self-esteem, practice daily affirmations. Being kind to ourselves is one of the most important skills we can learn. This is especially true when we are dealing with negativity brought about from others.
How BetterHelp Can Help
If the people around you would leave just because you express your true feelings, then your life will probably be easier and less toxic without them. To reduce anxiety about what others think of you, you can also speak with a licensed therapist who can discuss your concerns with you. BetterHelp can guide you to find a counselor who will be a good fit for you.
A professional therapist from BetterHelp can help you regain a love and appreciation for yourself. You don't need a partner to show you your strengths. You can find out what you love about yourself and feel proud of those qualities. When you work on yourself, you will start to see your quality of life improve, and you will feel happier and more fulfilled. Read below for some reviews of BetterHelp counselors, from people experiencing similar issues.
"Dr. Leclerc is amazing. I feel comfortable opening up and don't feel as though I'll be judged when I do. She offers great feedback and suggestions for managing stress as well as other problematic areas in life. She responds in a timely manner and takes the time to respond with messages. They are thoughtful and well written. I would highly recommend her!"
"Mary Smith is very thoughtful and a great listener. I can tell she has a lot of experience dealing with many situations and people, which gives me comfort. She always stays on track with my concerns and goals, and always offers relevant suggestions and tools to help me to conquer issues. I definitely recommend Mary Smith to anyone who feels stuck in their toxic ways formed by difficult past experiences, but you want to overcome. I believe Mary has the skills to help someone who really wants to change for the better."
Dealing with the emotions of being mistreated is never easy. If you can change your thinking or reach out for help, you will be much better off. The way you feel now doesn't have to be forever-it will only last if you let it. Take the first step to a healthier life with fulfilling relationships today.
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