Do you ever just get drained by people?

I am a self described introvert, but truthfully i love people, and delight in good conversations.  People can inspire me, spark creativity, or even compel me to push beyond my capacity to just see if it can be done.  But i think we all have someone that has crossed our path who consumes our energy, leaving us with a bad headache, and no energy to continue, right?

A lot of the literature call these folks “toxic” or even worse – emotional vampires.  For the sake of this blog lets just say there are difficult people that spend all of our energy, and leave us in a heap, needing a big nap.

I have thought long and hard about the people that match this description and it seems that they can fit into several categories:

  1. Irresponsible Ivan – Adults who refuse to accept the responsibilities of being an adult and in particular their actions.  Yes, they ignore the negative impact of their lack of responsibility, and cannot seem to understand why others don’t see it like they do.   They seem to lack maturity, or a willingness to deal with the ups and downs of life…. and they bring large doses of negativity with them.
  2. Self Destructive Sarah – Insecure, anxious, unwilling to accept anyone’s feedback, and prefer instead to wallow in self pity, and look for you to join them.  They bring an arsenal of excuses, and will drop them like hand grenades.   Deep inside this person subconsciously chooses to destroy their relationships, and their life with choices, words, actions.  Choosing to help them will only bring on more troubles because they will criticize and blame you for being involved.
  3. Super Critical Carl – This person has an opinion on everything, and freely shares it.  Unlike a collaborative person, the super critic never listens to the other person’s view.  There is a difference between expressing one’s concern honestly and constructively, and pointing out the weakness in order to attack someone. If one of your friends is quick to emphasize your flaws and frequently criticizes your behavior, you are dealing with a toxic person that you should definitely avoid.
  4. Super Image Stan – Perfect Hair, latest styles, everything buffed, shined, and perfect, and consumed with only one topic – them.  Talking with them for 5 minutes and you quickly discover how many ways they can take a conversation and turn it back to them.  Literature suggests that these folks put on a big facade so nobody can really see them for who they are, because they are insecure enough to not know who they are.  Their beautiful shell doesn’t match with their insides… and often they just don’t want you to find that out.
  5. Jealousy John – Just breathing in their presence may be harmful because they are so jealous of what they perceive is your life.  Often their behavior includes minimizing your accomplishments, downplaying your strengths, reducing the value of what you bring.  All of this is offered without regard to anyone’s emotional well being.  Jealous John wants you to feel a sense of pain.  He wants you to suffer because you have stretched out of your comfort zone, and he is uncomfortable with your success.
  6. Emotional Vampire Edith – Emotional vampires come in many flavors, but you will know them the moment they cross your path.  Some people like to be pitied for problems they cannot solve, while others like to constantly speak badly about other people. Some will try to control your opinions about topics, and others will point out all the flaws in your behavior. Some might seek company in judging others, or challenge you every time you cross paths.

How do i say this delicately?  Here goes – If you encounter any of these types of people use great caution, minimize your exposure, and by all means it is perfectly necessary to step away from them.  Emotionally toxic folks can wear you down.  Certainly they need to be heard, and there is a point to accepting people where they are, but if you are finding the energy level in your own soul depleted its time to take a hard look at why the energy is low.  And it is important to care for your emotional health too.  Sadly, this may involve making decisions to limit or eliminate such people.

** The names for each of these emotionally toxic categories was picked at random, and although I confess having encountered people with these traits, i guarantee the names are not associated with real people that have crossed by life.