The day is good, there is a positive energy in the air… We feel good! We have a conversation with a friend, family member, spouse, random person… and afterward our mood is different, we feel drained, a little less bright and shiny than we did before.
What the HELL happened?!
We came in contact with a Vampire!
No, not an actual vampire… I think we’d feel a little worse if it were a REAL vampire. Although, I’m not sure since I’ve never actually come across a real vampire.
What I’m talking about is an Energy Vampire. Someone who seems to suck all the positive energy and life from you. Sort of like the movie Hocus Pocus. I saw someone who used this term and thought it was the perfect description.
It is extremely hard to be around negative people. For some reason, the negativity is a lot stronger than the positivity. They want to drag you down, put you into the bottom of their black, negative cellar, it puts the lotion on it’s skin and eventually makes your positivity into a new body suit for themselves. There’s a quote in a movie,
You have all these negative ions that pop off you like fleas
It really does feel that way. After you leave you just feel all itchy with negativity.
So, how do we deal with negative people?
There’s no real easy answer. It is really a case by case basis. Some people we can cut out completely, some people we can distance and limit our time with and others… we just can’t avoid. I’ll tell you what I have done that’s helped in my life a little.
I say “a little” because I haven’t been able to get rid of all the negative people and the people still in my life still bring me down, but it’s better than what it was! I had to recognize the signs and try to figure out why these people are negative.
Some negative personality traits:
- They don’t see the good in life
- Don’t get excited about goals or make goals
- Put a negative spin on things
- Always see negative in situations first
- Complain A LOT, complain about the same things (even if it was 30 years ago)
- Never push themselves out of their comfort zone
- Can’t take any type of criticism
- Addicted to bad news
- Always worrying about something
Everyone at some point has a bad day or short burst of negativity, but these people are constantly negative.
Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.
Like I said, being exposed to these people is extremely draining and can make you look at your life with poop colored glasses. I have cut out a lot of negative people in my life, unfortunately most of them have been family members. I realized that by letting these people continue to be in my life was holding me back from taking charge of my own happiness. Family or not, they weren’t good for me. Other people in my life I couldn’t completely cut them out, so I have had to distance and limit my exposure. There are two major Energy Vampires in my life at the moment and I’ll describe both of them.
Energy Vampire “John Dracula”
Loves to bring up the past. I have a not so great past, some painful things in there, but I have moved forward and I don’t let that rule my life anymore. “John”, likes to bring it up in conversation. I feel, to keep me down and living in that moment to be able to control me better and so I’m living in a negative world like him. He can’t get over his own past, what someone said to him 40 years ago. He likes to “apologize” for things he’s done in the past, but it’s not a real apology… it’s more of a “pity apology”, you know when you feel obligated to say, “No, you’re not a bad person…”. He likes to argue and belittle me. He also likes to try to make me feel guilty for things that I know now I shouldn’t feel guilty about and I don’t.
What have I done about “John Dracula”? I have limited my time. I don’t answer the phone every time it rings. I take as much time in between as I need to regroup. I try to keep the conversation light. I also try to mentally prepare myself before hand, if he gets to talking about negative things, if it’s in his past I somewhat check out of the conversation and let him get it out and start to try to move the conversation to something else. I try my best not to engage in arguments, which is really hard. Sometimes we have really good conversations and then the next one can be horrible. I try to enjoy the good moments when they happen and let go of the bad moments. I don’t get caught up in being sad because last time was so nice and this time isn’t. It’s helped me out a lot just changing my mindset on that part.
Energy Vampire “Jane Dracula”
“Jane’, is extremely pessimistic. She tends to put a negative spin on most things. Doesn’t have any real goals or hobbies, a bit of an underachiever and way too stuck in her comfort zone. Loves to complain. She complains about things happening now, things that could happen in the future and definitely is stuck in the past complaining about that. Is usually the victim if it suits her or she’s better, either way it’s a competition. Her tales seem to get more extreme as the years go by. Has to use “if” or “but” in most everything… “It would be pretty here IF/BUT…”. Always trying to tell other people what they should do. Can’t take any type of criticism and zero healthy self reflection. The one thing I find the hardest is the passive aggressiveness.
What have I done about “Jane Dracula”? This one has been the hardest one actually. Jane hides behind the veil of “I’m the nicest person ever” and the passive aggressive attitude is always a hard one to deal with because it’s hiding behind a “joke” most of the time. It’s also hard because even though this stuff was still there, in the past our relationship was actually quite good. Although, since moving back to the area, I am sad to say it is if we never had a good relationship. I tried a couple of times to have an open, honest conversation about why things have gotten bad, but unfortunately it went nowhere. So, I have limited my time greatly with “Jane” and I make sure to not be alone with her and try to keep the conversation as light as I can. I have also found that not sharing certain things about my life helps. If I’m excited about something I don’t want someone else to bring that excitement down.
I guess the most helpful thing when it comes to negative people is making sure we change our own attitude. We need to make sure that we are in a healthy state first! (If you haven’t, read A Healthy Kind of Selfish?) We need to recongnize they are an Energy Vampire and come up with a healthy solution for dealing with them. We only have a limited amount of time and energy. We need to be careful of how and who we spend it.
I can tell a lot about a person by what they choose to see in me.