It may be the girl who keeps telling you about her great job. And she never asks for ours. It can be the mother who continues to comment uninvitedly on our relationship life, the colleague who constantly complains about everything and everyone without being interested in solutions, or the partner who constantly gives us the feeling that we are doing something wrong. “Energy vampires are everywhere,” said Judith Orloff, an American professor of psychiatry at UCLA University in Los Angeles, California. After each meeting with these people, we feel uncomfortable, alternately drained and exhausted or irritable or depressed. These mood swings are the classic signs of being in our lives among those around us energy vampires I am at work. “They can literally suck up our optimism and composure,” says Judith Orloff.
Orloff notes that empathic women and men who are good at putting themselves in others’ shoes often fall victim to energy thieves. But even those who have difficulty setting boundaries, always want to please others or have low self-esteem are at risk. We usually feel when the balance in a relationship between give and take is disturbed. People who steal our energy are often hurt in some way, the psychiatrist points out.
They may have had overly critical and perfectionist parents and thus find fault with others. Or everything in life has been taken away from them and they have never learned to take responsibility for themselves: then they adapt to the role of victim and constantly ask for help from others. By draining the power of others, energy thieves compensate for their own weakness and insecurity. Most of the time, they don’t do it on purpose, Orloff says. But consciously or unconsciously, they throw us off balance. That’s why you have to recognize them.
Features by which you recognize energy suckers
- You don’t accept your limits.
- They force you to justify.
- They pressure you with accusations, questions and innuendoes.
- They present themselves as victims or as intimidators.
- They make you feel guilty.
- They involve you in conflicts.
- His thoughts often revolve around her.
- They drive you crazy.
- You are not open to criticism.
- They feel bad, drained, guilty or even aggressive in their presence.
Because people become energy thieves
In the first place it is difficult to explain how one becomes such an energy thief. Often the reason for this lies in the past. Causes can be traumatic experiences, lack of parental love and attention, unfounded guilt, or the manipulation of another energy thief. Energy thieves mainly lack their own energy and courage. They try to get them out of their environment. As a defense strategy, they subconsciously try to compensate for their disturbed self-esteem through their behavior. Borderliners are also often energy thieves.
Typology of energy thief
Talking is his favorite thing and he prefers to do it on himself. He is often the center of attention at a party. “Narcissists can be very attractive at first because they can be very outgoing and funny,” explains Professor Hans-Werner Bierhoff, a social psychologist at the University of Bochum. But anyone who falls into a narcissist’s trap knows the unpleasant side: Narcissists want attention and admiration. Most of the time the conversations are about her; they ignore or trivialize the feelings and interests of others. But if our needs are not taken into account, frustration and disappointment spread quickly: we feel that we are not getting enough and must always give. “The reason narcissists are so dangerous is that they lack empathy and have a limited ability to love unconditionally,” warns Judith Orloff.
What helps? set the limits!
In an interpersonal relationship, clear boundaries should be established from the very beginning so that the narcissist does not take advantage of other people or even abandon them. A narcissist should be politely informed when complacent behavior is going too far. Getting in touch is always the best solution.
The control freak
“Do you know what you need now?” Thus begins a typical phrase of the control freak: a dominant person who thinks he knows everything best. And he likes to make it known. These can be tips for our love life, dogmatism in everyday life, and even unsolicited tips on how to best lose weight. Control addicts are perfectionists whose standards no one can live up to.
What helps? Show confidence in yourself!
It often helps control freaks to assert themselves a little and make it clear to the person in a conversation that controlling and command behavior will not be tolerated. Another option is to distance yourself from the person. You should also be calm with a control freak and avoid aggressive language behaviors.
The work is exhausting, the new boyfriend has already left and now the car is broken. This is how the typical victim complains. The message: everyone is against me, you have to save me now. It is far from these energy suckers to take responsibility. At the beginning of an exhausting relationship with a victim, there is often an urge to help. But it can be stressful to constantly feel how bad the world is – we feel exhausted. “People like that tend to look for someone who is very sociable. They need someone to keep rescuing them and solving their problems, “explains Meike Müller, coach and media trainer from Berlin.
What helps? show insight!
Even if it is difficult and the complaining becomes annoying in the long run. He tries to be insightful and listens to the person. After listening, it is important to seek together a solution to the problem you are complaining about.
The split one
Black or white, hate or love and nothing in between – this is how the split personality reacts. This is particularly tiring in friendships – you are quickly co-opted as your new best friend and feel elevated to the throne. But it rejects you just as quickly when we do something with another friend. And anyone who dares to criticize her will fall into the abyss of her favor. Then he makes you feel it with outbursts of anger or intrigue. Consequence: We keep our true beliefs and feelings behind the scenes because we fear their punishment and feel definitely trapped in this friendship. Because if you constantly try to keep the peace because you fear that the other person hates you and takes revenge, you will soon feel helpless because of your behavior.
What helps? Eliminate discrepancies!
Anyone who has been treated unfairly and repeatedly feels abandoned should urgently seek dialogue. shows eg. For example, with a girl who keeps letting you down, you have no insight, so you should ask yourself if distance from this person isn’t the best solution.
What to do against energy theft?
Have you identified a person in your circle of acquaintances who is constantly dragging you down emotionally and have you already applied the above tips? Then it’s time to decide. Whether it’s friends or family, urgently question your relationship with this person. Follow this pattern:
Are there any positive moments between you?
Yup: Are these moments enough to keep the friendship alive? If you too answer this question with yes, have an absolutely clear and clarifying conversation with this person again. Make it clear that you are attached to friendship but could not go any further under the circumstances.
No: If there are no more good times between you (anymore), you should no longer maintain this friendship and consider cutting off contact. Let it slowly fade and meet more people who are good for you as a source of energy.
What if the energy thief was a colleague?
Can’t you avoid the person who keeps dragging you down? Especially when you work together, it is all the more important to have an open and clarifying conversation. Have you already talked and it doesn’t help? Sometimes it’s worth trying to ask a third colleague or boss to join you.
If all this still doesn’t help, think about gaining distance, in the worst case even with a new position or a completely new job. We spend so much of our life at work that the long-term psychological consequences aren’t worth it. Think about how much suffering is behind it and if this would be a possibility for you.
What to do if my partner is an energy thief?
If your partner is an energy thief, you’ve probably tried talking to him often. If he still doesn’t change, he lets your partner feel that you hardly see any meaning in the relationship anymore. Perhaps the explosiveness will make him aware of how narrow the line is that he walks with his selfish behavior. If it shows at least some insight, the partnership still has a chance. Pay attention to yourself and your needs here too. Stand out and protect yourself from energy theft.
What to do if I am an energy thief myself?
Anything else that can weaken your energy
Yes, it’s not just people who can drain your energy. Other everyday things can quickly make you feel exhausted. These include, for example, problems with falling asleep, stress, boredom, worries and unfinished things that you have been putting off for a long time. An unhealthy diet and little exercise can also be the cause of feeling helpless.
How can I prevent energy theft?
Preventing energy theft is not that easy! It often takes a strong and stable personality to resist negative energies. Work on your self-care and try to distance yourself from energy thieves. It often helps if you create joie de vivre within yourself by not making your happiness dependent on the outside. Learn to say “no” and spend as little time as possible with people who aren’t good for you.