Everyone faces challenges in life. And every one of us has to crawl through periods of adversity to come out the other side a winner. And in our current global crisis, we all seem to be facing challenges at the same time.
But that's not what this blog is about. I’ve recently been helping people overcome migraines, and a common trigger has been stress due to certain humans in their life who are draining them to the point of causing migraines and sleep issues. So in today's blog, I want to give you five ways to deal with an energy thief who is piling on stress during an already stressful time in history. And an energy thief can show up whether the world is in crisis, or in glorious abundance, so keep these tips in mind for all future situations.
You know her (or him). She's the one that thrives on negativity, drama and being the victim. She blames everyone else for everything that has happened in her life.
Enter: Debbie Downer!
Hurt people hurt other people. So it's really important not to engage in the cross-fire. You know what they say, "misery loves company" and the energy thief wants to bring you down to her level. It typically begins with a jagged insult thrown your way from out of the blue.
Do not, and I repeat: do NOT return the favor. Remember, she's hurting and you need to come from a place of compassion. This is tough when she's throwing daggers and attempting to suck you dry of your last drop of positive energy, but you must not engage in the negativity.
A great way to diffuse the situation is to create a feelings/needs response. For example, "Could you be feeling [angry] because your need [for job security] is not being met?" Fill in with the appropriate feeling and need that fits the situation and see how she responds.
Debbie Downer wants you in the trenches with her. For that reason, she will probably reject any sympathy you give her. She may be completely unable to allow sympathy, caring or even the space to hear anyone else's pain.
She has a very limited ability to see pain or tolerate your optimism. She has an expectation of a 5-year old embedded in an adult situation. It's all about HER, not you!
Remember that she is not your project. You were not put on this planet to save her. You can offer her some resources to create her own happiness, but don't absorb the negative energy, and don’t offer to actually hold her hand through your suggestions. It will cause illness (including migraines) and will take your focus away from your goals and joy.
Distance yourself from the situation. And, no, just because she's family doesn't mean you have to put up with her attitude. Unless you want to be a martyr or a victim, and in that case, she would love to have you in her circle of negativity.
You get to choose who you allow into your life. Treat it like a job interview. Only the best qualified individuals are allowed to hang out with you. That's how you keep your sanity. That's how you keep your happiness. That's how you protect your health. I like to remind myself of the phrase “Not my monkeys. Not my circus” when I’m tempted to step in to “help”.
Always remember ... negativity causes disease and robs you of your energy and joy.
Take a deep breath and go to your happy place in your mind. Imagine yourself surrounded by a protective shield that makes her negativity bounce off of you and miraculously disappears. I’m not saying that you should wish the negativity bounces back on her. She already has enough. Just let it bounce off of you and imagine it dissolving.
Use this imaginary force field to protect yourself. Remind yourself of your many positive traits, and of all the goodness and joy you spread in the world. If you allow her negativity to enter your world, it will take away from the joy you have to share with others.
Recharge yourself by being around positive co-workers, friends and family. Schedule a fun zoom meeting with your old college buddies or out of town positive family members. Play with a puppy, go for a walk in nature. Do whatever it takes to fill your optimism tank to the brim. You deserve it!
You didn't take the bait. Your sympathy was rejected. You offered resources. You protected yourself. And she's still trying to suck your energy. Thankfully, your smart phone and computer has a wonderful feature that comes in very handy in these situations.
Breaking news ... you can block her from all contact! When you use the "Block this Caller" feature on your phone, or “block” or “unfollow” feature on social media, you will not receive phone calls, messages or Facebook posts from her. And here's the big bonus - she will not know you blocked her. That's a good thing because that would be throwing fuel on the fire.
Thieves, when robbed of the very source they desire, will move on to the next easy target. Rejoice in the fact that you protected yourself, your happiness and your health by shielding yourself from this thief.
That's what I call W-I-N-N-I-N-G. And if you want to have a positive place to hang out, I would love to have you join my private (free) “Healthy High Performers” Facebook group where I like to share tips like this that make life a little more enjoyable.