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Monday, August 12, 2013

Close the Tap of Energy Drainers

"It’s great to be a giver, a carer and a feeler (sometimes), but now and then we need to take a stand with certain people.. because if we don’t, we begin to suffer and then nobody wins."           

Craig Harper


As social creatures, most of us thrive when our lives involve other people and receive great personal satisfaction in helping others and knowing we made a difference. But sometimes we have to stand outside of ourselves and observe the situation with a practical and objective perspective. We may think that if we work harder, love harder, invest more of our time, we can help. Sometimes, we just have to realize what we are dealing with and take a step back for our own good.

Craig Harper is a self-help educator and motivational speaker from Australia who uses a blunt, cut to the chase attitude to get through to people. The article below was taken from his blog, and focuses on how to deal with what he describes as energy vampires, those people in our lives whose negative energy seem to suck the very life out of those around them. We have to realize that we have control over whom we allow to influence our lives, even if those drainer types are members of our own family. Though we may feel trapped within certain situations, there are coping skills to keep ourselves above it all and preserve our own happiness, vitality and sanity. Learn how to live and love these types without destroying your own spirit for life.

Dealing with Energy Vampires

They live among us.
In human form.
To the untrained eye, it is almost impossible to tell the difference.
Typically they look like you and I.
But they’re not.
They’re not like us at all.
They are Vampires and their modus operandi is not to steal your blood but rather, your precious energy.
Your life-force.
Your mojo.
To drain you emotionally and psychologically.
To frustrate you with their repetitious, self-indulgent, attention-seeking diatribe.
They are often bitter, angry and resentful…. and they want you to share their pain.
They don’t want solutions, they want pity.
They don’t want constructive feedback, they want attention.
They don’t want to take responsibility, they want to blame and vent.
They seem to revel in their own misery.
Day in, day out.
They have the same conversations about the same issues with the same people and produce the same result; no change.
They major on minors.
They bring others down.
They have a gift for finding the negative.
They are emotionally exhausting to be around.
They inhabit our work places, our families, our schools and they permeate every corner of society.

Note: I will point out that Energy Vampires are not to be confused with the vast majority of people who simply need help, support, direction and care… and are serious about working on themselves and their situation. They are also not to be confused with people who are genuinely looking for answers (not attention or sympathy) and are prepared to accept responsibility, be accountable and be proactive.
No, the people I’m talking about here are relentless in their negativity and their ‘woe-is-me’ ness (a Craigism).

As most of you know, I am serious about helping people create their best life and I choose to spend much of my life working with a wide range of people to help them confront and deal with their issues and create their own version of amazing… but I’m not about letting people monopolise (or waste) my time and energy and I won’t buy into their crap attitude or their negativity. I don’t care how messed up someone’s life or situation is, if they have a good attitude, I’ll help them.
If they’re a Vampire, I’m outa there.
See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.
It’s great to be a giver, a carer and a feeler (sometimes), but now and then we need to take a stand with certain people.. because if we don’t, we begin to suffer and then nobody wins.

So here are my tried and proven tips for dealing with Energy Vampires.
(Not every tip is appropriate for every person and situation but you might find some of them useful)
1. Identify the Vampires in your life, acknowledge the impact they have on you and make a resolution to change the way you communicate (interact with, exist with) those people.

2. Don’t buy into their life’s-not-fair-and-nobody-understands-me monologues. Feed it and you’ll create a monster.

3. Be straight with them and tell them that you will not have the same conversations about the same issues any more (yes this takes courage).

4. This sounds harsh, but some Vampires need to be avoided.

5. Don’t give them too much time. When a Vampire walks into my office I stand as if I’m about to go somewhere. I’ll give them a few minutes and if I feel we’re heading down the same old path, I’ll start walking and shut the conversation down.

6. Ask them questions like “so you’ve identified the issues, tell me how you can change things for the better?”

7. If you have a Vampire who is in your life to stay (family perhaps), create some rules of engagement… “I will not talk about ‘these’ issues again until I see you doing XYZ.”

8. Choose your friends and acquaintances wisely. Make sure you spend (lots of) time with people who will drag you up, not down. You need to keep your tank full.
Spending lots of time with Vampires is draining and unenjoyable.

Came across another great article on this subject by Erin Janus