Tips to counteract energy thieves

It can be the girlfriend who keeps telling you about her great job. And never asks for ours. It can be the mother who keeps commenting uninvited 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 every encounter with these people we feel uncomfortable – drained and exhausted or irritable or depressed. These mood swings are classic signs of being in our lives among those around us energy vampire are at work. “They can literally suck our optimism and composure,” says Judith Orloff.

Orloff observes that empathetic women and men who are good at putting themselves in the shoes of others often fall victim to energy robbers. But even those who have difficulty setting boundaries, always want to please others or have low self-esteem are at risk. We usually sense when the balance in a relationship between giving and taking is disturbed. People who steal energy from us are often wounded in some way, the psychiatrist points out.

They may have had overly critical, perfectionist parents and therefore find fault with others. Or has everything been taken from them in life 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 weaknesses and insecurities. Most of the time, they don’t do it on purpose, says Orloff. But whether consciously or unconsciously, they throw us off balance. That’s why you have to recognize them.

Characteristics by which you recognize energy suckers

  1. Don’t accept your limitations.
  3. They pressure YOU with accusations, questions and insinuations.
  4. They present themselves as victims or as intimidators.
  5. They make you feel guilty.
  6. They develop you in conflicts.
  7. Her thoughts often revolve around her.
  8. They drive you crazy.
  9. You are not open to criticism.
  10. They feel bad, drained, guilty or even aggressive in their presence.

Why people become energy thieves

It is difficult to explain how one BECOMES such an energy thief in the first place. Often the reason for this lies in the past. Traumatic experiences, a lack of love and attention from parents, unfounded feelings of guilt or the manipulation of another energy robber can be the cause. Energy robbers primarily lack their own energy and courage. Both try to pull her out of her environment. As a defense strategy, they unconsciously try to compensate for their disturbed self-esteem through their behavior. Borderliners are often energy thieves too.

Energy thief typology

The Narcissist

Talking is his favorite thing, and he prefers to do that about 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 entertaining,” explains Professor Hans-Werner Bierhoff, a social psychologist at the University of Bochum. But anyone who falls into the trap of a narcissist gets to know the unpleasant side: narcissists want attention and admiration. Most of the time the conversations are all about her; they ignore or trivialize the feelings and interests of others. But if our needs are not taken into account, frustration and disappointment quickly spread: we feel that we are not getting enough and always have to 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 limits!
In an interpersonal relationship, a clear boundary should be set from the beginning so that the narcissist does not take advantage of other people or even put them down. A narcissist should be gently made aware 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?” This is how a typical sentence of the control freak begins – a dominant person who thinks they know best about everything. And likes to make it known. This can be recommendations for our love life as well as dogmatism in everyday life, and also unsolicited tips on how best to lose weight. Control addicts are perfectionists whose standards nobody can live up to.

What helps? Show self-confidence!
It often helps against control freaks to assert oneself a little and to make it clear to the person in a conversation that controlling and bossing 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 behavior.

The victim

The job is exhausting, the new boyfriend has already left and now the car is broken. That’s how the typical victim wails. The message: everyone is against me, you have to save me now. It is far from these energy suckers to take responsibility themselves. At the beginning of an exhausting relationship with a victim, there is often an impulse to help. But it can be stressful to constantly hear how bad the world is: we feel burned out. “People like that tend to look for someone who is very social. They need someone who keeps rescuing them and solving their problems,” explains Meike Müller, coach and media trainer from Berlin.

What helps? show insight!
Even if it’s difficult and the whining gets annoying in the long run. Much you to be insightful and to listen to the person. After listening, it is important to look for a solution to the problem you are complaining about together.

The split one

Black or white, hate or love and nothing in between – this is how the split personality reacts. This is particularly noticeable in friendships: you are quickly accepted as your new best friend and feel elevated to a throne. But just as quickly she pushes you down again when we do something with another friend. And anyone who dares to criticize her will fall into her favor abysmal. Then she lets you feel it with outbursts of anger or intrigues. Consequence: We keep our true beliefs and feelings behind the scenes because we fear their punishment – and feel downright trapped in this friendship. Because if you are constantly trying to keep the peace because you fear that the other person will otherwise hate you and take revenge, you will quickly feel powerless because of your behavior.

What helps? Clear up discrepancies!
Anyone who has been treated unfairly and repeatedly feels left behind should urgently seek dialogue. shows e.g. For example, with a girlfriend who keeps letting you down, you have no insight, and you should ask yourself whether 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 friends or family, YOU urgently question your relationship with this person. Follow this pattern:

Are there any positive moments between you?

Yes: Are these moments enough to hold on to the friendship? If you also answer this question with yes, then have an absolutely clear, clarifying conversation with this person again. Make it clear to her that you are attached to the friendship but could not go further under the circumstances.

No: If there are actually no nice moments (anymore) between you, you should no longer cling to this friendship and draw attention to a break in contact. Let it fade away slowly and meet more people who are good for you as a source of energy.

What if the energy thief is a co-worker?

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. You have already spoken and it does not help? Sometimes it is worth trying to ask a third colleague or boss to join you.

If all of 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 lives at work that the long-term psychological consequences are not worth it. Think about how much suffering is behind it and whether that would be a possibility for you.

What to do if my partner is an energy robber?

If your partner is an energy robber, you have probably tried to talk to him many times. If he still doesn’t change, then let 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 really is on which he walks with his selfish behavior. If he shows at least some insight, the partnership still has a chance. Pay attention to yourself and your needs here too. Set yourself apart and protect yourself from energy robbery.

What to do if I am an energy robber myself?

First of all, it is a good sign that you have recognized the fact that you are an energy robber. Everyone can mutate into an energy vampire from time to time. But don’t worry – there is something you can do about it! Dock with someone else to sap their energy when you should be working on your own zest for life. Keep your focus on yourself and smile, even if you don’t feel like it right now. You can also make a gratitude list and write things on it each night that made you happy that day. Just relax and try to enjoy the little things in life. It is also helpful if you look for a hobby that serves as a balance to the stressful everyday life. How about sports, for example? Exercise is and remains the best way to really work yourself out and get your mind off things. Talk therapy can also help if you don’t manage to escape the negative spiral on your own.

Anything else that can sap your energy

Yes, it’s not just people who can sap your energy. Other, everyday things can quickly make you feel drained. These include, for example, problems falling asleep, stress, boredom, worries and unfinished business that you have been putting off for a long time. An unhealthy diet and too little exercise can also be to blame for the fact that you feel powerless.

How can I prevent energy theft?

Preventing energy robbery is not that easy! It often takes a strong and stable personality to withstand 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 externals. Learn to say “no” and spend as little time as possible with people who aren’t good for you.

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