Do you have someone in your life you’d call out as an energy vampire? Someone who seems to just suck the life and energy out of you in no time at all?
Sadly, too often the worst energy vampire in your life is someone close to you, a family member or a good friend. I’ve had those people in my life. I guess I still do really, I’ve just removed some of the worst offenders and chosen to limit my time with others.
One of the many lifestyle changes I had to make in order to cope with fibromyalgia was to reduce the amount of time I spend around these people.
This has left me feeling guilty at times, as there are those I know would like to spend more time with me (or at least they give me that impression), but I know I’m doing the best thing for myself and my health.
It’s also difficult because chronic illness can be so isolating that you often feel you should spend more time with others, even if it’s not as enjoyable as it should be.
But, I think it’s much better to spend my energy with a very select few people who make me feel better about myself and life in general. Who bring me energy and joy, rather than wasting my limited energy on those who would steal it.
As much as we might do our best to avoid the energy vampires, there are times when they can’t be avoided. During those times we have to do our best to limit the drain.
There are six things I’ve learned about energy vampires and keeping them in mind makes my decision to avoid them easier. Remembering these things also helps me feel better when I do interact with them.
1.They are not a bad person, they just have flaws
Everyone has flaws, and when we focus on the flaws of another person (whatever those flaws may be) it can make spending time with them excruciating.
However, if we can focus on their positive attributes and what they have to offer us, how we can grow from time with them, then we can find ways to turn the energy drainers into something positive (learning experience anyone?).
Of course, just because you can make it less negative doesn’t mean that they are someone you need to spend more time with than necessary. We can still appreciate their positive aspects, and still love them from a distance.
2. Set Limits on your time with energy vampires
By now you know who the toxic people are in your life. It’s up to you to avoid them. I’ve found that setting limits on the amount of time I spent with those people helps me greatly.
Generally, this means that I might have lunch with that person once every so many months. Lunch is great because it can be kept short. You can catch up with them and spend time with the knowledge that there will be an end.
If you don’t have choices on when you see the person or if they are the type to just show up, you can still set boundaries. Set a time limit for when you have to leave their company or for when you ask them to leave.
If they just show up at your house that’s a huge boundary issue that you should probably discuss and put a stop to. That alone could drain you and leave you feeling very resentful towards their existence.
3. Balance with Positive People
If at all possible when you must spend time with an energy vampire, bring a friend. It sounds mean to say that, I mean really if you know the person is toxic why would you want to ask someone else to spend time with them. But, if you can find someone who is equally positive to balance out the negative then everyone will come away much happier.
If you can’t have the positive person with you when you spend time with the energy vampire then plan to spend time with that positive person as soon as possible after. This will help replenish your energy and mood.
4. Don’t Pretend their Behavior is OK
If the energy vampires has specific behaviors that are toxic discuss those behaviors openly.
It’s possible that they just aren’t aware of their bad habits. Making them aware could help them, as well as your relationship. If you are really friends (or really love them) you will try to help them.
If you’ve expressed the problems with their behavior and it continues, set boundaries and let them know that you will not put up with the behavior and walk away when it occurs.
This is more difficult when it’s not a specific behavior but just an overall negative attitude. Unfortunately, you can’t really change people all you can do is make them aware. It’s up to them to change.
5. Don’t Take their Behavior Personally
There are specific people in my life that are just negative and it’s very difficult for me to not take their attitude/personality personally. I’ve spent too much time trying to turn someone’s negativity into a positive. To try to balance them out by being more positive.
While it can work in short bursts, it can’t work long-term because I can only carry that level of positive mental attitude for so long before it wears me out.
I can’t fix them, only they can do that. However, I can remember that it’s not me. I’m not the problem.
I don’t control them, but I do control my responses to them. And, when I take their behavior personally my response comes down to their level and makes the situation worse.
6. Don’t focus on their negativity
If I get hung up thinking about their negative actions, or what I did wrong, or how I can change them I’m only creating more negativity in my life. This will start me ruminating, running thoughts in circles, stuck in a loop that I can’t get out of.
Their negativity then becomes my negativity.
However, if I focus on staying positive, if I remind myself that their negativity has nothing to do with me I can rise above it and get through time with them with less of a drain.
People can change but I don’t count on it. The only way they will change is if they choose to. If someone continues to get what they want with their bad behavior they won’t change, they won’t have any incentive to change.
I have to set boundaries for myself, to protect myself. I have to be honest with those I love about their toxic behaviors and those behaviors are impacting me.
But, in the end I have to remember that my health and well-being have to come first. I have to protect my energy.
Do you have any tips on protecting yourself from the energy vampires? If so, please share your comments below, we all want to know.