Have you ever been the sounding board for friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers? The person everyone dumps their problems on when in need, while yours fall by the way side? Has this caused you to feel neglected? Well, it’s time to get those tears off your shoulders. In other words find a balance of being a friend without emotionally draining yourself. The first step is to realize your mental health comes first before anything. A similar concept is demonstrated by airline stewardess during in flight safety demonstrations. The key concept stressed is the following, “always put on your oxygen mask first before helping someone else”. This is not an act of selfishness, instead a way of getting what you need first, before you can effectively assist the next person. We can apply the same concept when dealing with those who tend to emotionally drain us. A great way of achieving this is setting boundaries with the individual. This can be accomplished via several outlets including the following:
-When constantly being consumed by other people’s drama, it is healthy to put a STOP to it. To put it bluntly, sometimes we have to politely tell others, “I love you but I have a lot going on, so I’m not able to be an adequate support for you right now”. The words may sting but it’s necessary in order to maintain your emotional health.
-Take a break from those that constantly drain you. Though it might hurt in the beginning, sometimes it’s best to take a break from certain people. It allows us to focus on our own problems and life challenges.
-In the most extreme cases, all ties need to be cut. Because we can’t change other people, we must change ourselves or how we operate. Therefore, once we discover a relationship is toxic and it isn’t getting better, we must end the relationship.
Self preservation is vital in order for you to continue to thrive and to effectively support others. We cannot pour all of us into other people, until there is none for us left. We need to set limitations so that we are emotionally well and this will make our family and friends healthier as well, as they will break their system of dependence and self absorption.
By Kanarian Kindred
I have included the following video to give a more in-depth breakdown of various emotional drainers. Most importantly, it touches bases on numerous ways of resolving the issue without confrontation. For those of you dealing with such individuals I hope you find it helpful..
Emotional Vampires: How To Deal With Emotionally
Draining People: Julie Hanks LCSW on Studio 5