Energy Drainers - how to deal with them
Are you going through some kind of change or just going through a difficult period? You will probably find it drains your energy! You have to deal with confusion, your own, and you may have to deal with other people’s, anxieties. You may find yourself giving out lots of your energy in support of others. But some people seem to take just a little too much – more than you can afford to give if you are going to stay fit and cope with all that might be ahead of you.
We all feel particularly insecure in the middle of life changes. But energy drainers are usually people who are insecure and negative in their everyday life! Quite often they find it difficult to tolerate their own company. You may find people like this start to depend upon you to help them make all kinds of relatively simple life decisions. They may phone or text you several times a day on any pretext – they can eat you, as well as your time, and sap your life force!
Very often these sad people are stuck in “Survival Mode.” They don’t know how to tap into their personal energy reserves to survive and, like children, they haven’t accepted responsibility for their own lives. But they find a variety of ways, including emotional blackmail, to persuade you to provide them with the emotional support and the reassurance they need. Life is frightening and they are very scared indeed!
We all know people like this – they can be old friends, family and work colleagues. You want to help but their needs are overwhelming.
So, what do you do? Keep in mind that you may need to conserve your energy to deal with your own response to the change. If they are part of the change, you are certainly not going to be in a position to cut them out of your life. Anyway, at the end of the day, most of us would actually like to be in a position to help.
The stance you take depends upon what your relationship with the person is, and upon the level of your energy reserves. However, your first responsibility is to yourself. You, too, may have to adopt a “Survival Mode” attitude.
It is certainly much easier to deal with someone who is an acquaintance or a work colleague. You have less of a personal commitment to them and you have every right to say goodbye when you finish work.
When you are dealing with them try to stay in a neutral space – give neutral responses and try not to get drawn into their or your emotions. When you are dealing with them, imagine you are wearing a breastplate to defend your energy – withhold your energy behind your breastplate – deliver a neutral, and deliberately, low energy response. Offer no more and no less than is necessary to accomplish that particular task or meeting! And if you are worried about them refer them to those who may be better able to help.
As a personal survival technique, this approach could be adopted for family and old friends. But, you may choose to take a more compassionate and supportive stance. Demonstrate your love but it may be “tough love.” Your goal here is to move them from negative to positive and to move them back into using their own energy resources. In this way, you can help them to become self-sufficient. Get them to think through their own options – to make choices and plan. When they do so give them lots of quiet praise – move them on from where they are now to thinking about concrete ways they can help themselves!
Be aware, though, that Energy Drainers will resort to many forms of subtle emotional blackmail to get access to your energy. Don’t let them! Let them know, through your actions, that your energy is no longer accessible to them. Encourage them to make decisions on their own and to enjoy their own company by simply not being available: physically or emotionally.
It will not be easy for you or them. You are breaking established patterns of behaviour and setting a brand new precedent. But eventually a new dynamic should be established. They should take responsibility for their own life and their own decisions. You may have to support them through a change as part of your role but do so in a managed way! With friends and family, if they will not take action, success will be impossible. So recognize when you have banged your head once too often against that proverbial brick wall and when the wisest step may be simply to “let go.”