Are there people in your life who weigh you down?
Photo by Matthew Henry

Are there people in your life who weigh you down?

As highly sensitive people, it’s important for us to be aware of “energy vampires,” which are people who drain our energy and sap our joy. These are usually people with a consistently negative attitude and pessimistic outlook on life. They may be bringing you down, and more often than not, you may not even realize the harm being done.

Think about the people in your life. Do you have toxic people around you? Perhaps you know someone who belittles others, makes snide remarks, and passes it all off as “just joking.” Maybe you know people who are highly judgmental and thrive on constantly pointing out the negative side of every person and situation. 

There are also people who are “grievance collectors,” frequently portraying themselves as victims, even as they victimize others. These people are constantly on the hunt for things to be offended by and love nothing more than to complain. They are exhausting to be around, especially for highly sensitive people. After having a conversation with them, you will feel drained. You may even absorb some of their negative energy and walk away feeling bad about yourself and your own life.

If you have energy vampires in your life, you may not even recognize the damage that’s being done to your own psyche. Below are some signs to be on the lookout for:

  • After spending time in their presence, you find yourself edgy, irritable, and exhausted. You may find yourself uncharacteristically lashing out at others or suddenly feeling pessimistic about everything in your life. You may even turn to behavior that’s not good for you. For example, you might want to drink more alcohol to dull the anxiety you feel. Or perhaps you’ll be tempted to binge on calorie-laden foods in an attempt to feel better.
  • You hate the thought of getting trapped in a conversation with this person because you know you will walk away feeling terrible. You are certain that you have absolutely nothing to gain and everything to lose by interacting with this person. Your only goal is to get the conservation over quickly and without conflict. In this case, you are likely dealing with a grievance collector. These people are dramatic and relentless in their search for grievance. No one has a life as bad as theirs. Your efforts to help are thwarted because they don’t want to be helped. If you have a problem to share, you don’t get support. Instead, your concern is met with a competing problem, which (of course) is far worse than whatever trouble you’re experiencing. You find these interactions stressful, and as a highly sensitive person, it takes you a long time to recover from this experience.
  •  You avoid sharing positive things about your life with this person. Normally you love to share happy experiences or things you’re excited about, but you find yourself holding back. Perhaps this person tries to make you feel guilty about things going well. Instead, they would much rather shine a comparative light on all the terrible things happening to them. For example, they may have financial woes and try to make you feel guilty about being e more financially secure. A person that’s not good for you will not be happy for your success.

Not all relationships are good for you, even if it’s a family member. You might not be able to avoid them completely, but you can take steps to avoid getting cornered or drawn into a long conversation.

Keep in mind that the negative people in your life may not be harming you intentionally. They could simply be living their truth, however negative it may be. And you, as a highly sensitive person, are more sensitive to the energy of others. Instead of getting angry at them, focus your energy on taking actions to protect yourself.

You cannot change people who have a negative outlook on life. It’s not your job to do that. What you can do is protect your own emotional health by cultivating friends that are positive and loving. These relationships will be mutually nourishing and give you the freedom to grow. A true friend will support you and speak the truth to you in a way that doesn’t tear you down.

Do you have people in your life who weigh you down? If so, how do you deal with them? I’m interested in any thoughts or comments that you have.

This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. Fredericka

    Thanks for ones marvelous posting! I seriously enjoyed reading it,
    you may be a great author.I will make sure to bookmark your blog and will come back very soon.
    I want to encourage you continue your great work, have a nice afternoon!

  2. Cliff Harwin

    Thank you so much for your comments Frederica! Are there any topics that you’re interested in?

  3. Terri

    First off I want to say excellent blog! I
    had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head
    prior to writing. I have had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.
    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it
    just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes tend to be wasted simply just trying
    to figure out how to begin. Any suggestions or tips? Thanks!

    1. Cliff Harwin

      Hi Terri,

      Thank you for your comment about my blog!

      I don’t have a specific ritual to center myself to clear my head prior to writing. My suggestion to you is don’t think to much and just get words on a page. This will give you the momentum to start. You don’t have to be perfect. That’s what re-writing is for. Don’t make your writing a life or death situation. You can always make adjustments.

      Trust your ability to put thoughts on a page. Once you start, your subconscious mind will guide you. You’ll be amazed at what you can come up with. Keep writing! Write something every day.

  4. Lin

    Oh, my God. My young adult children and I were dropped into a family of toxic people! Have had to distance ourselves from my father, brother and sister. Currently struggling to survive in another toxic situation because I am homeless and recently unemployed. Aunt invited me to stay w/ her while I look for another job, but damn it, she’s as bad as they are! Find myself so overwhelmed and toxed-out that I entertain suicidal thoughts. I can’t find any place else to go. Last week, I spent a frigid night sleeping in my car, in a hotel parking lot, rather than return to her house.

    1. Cliff Harwin

      You might want to check with a social service agencies such as Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, etc to seek counseling and housing help. Don’t lose hope! There is not a shortage of help. It’s our inability to seek it.

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