How to recognize & deal with draining people

In this podcast (episode #468) and blog, I talk about dealing with draining people while protecting your mental health.  

Relationships are great and have many benefits, but they can also be challenging, especially when you have to deal with someone who is a drain on your mental energy and resources. Indeed, sometimes the most draining people can be family, friends, co-workers, and even children! 

It's okay to admit to yourself that you feel drained around someone. You don't have to add guilt to the mental and emotional strain you are already feeling, as this will only make you feel worse. But, once you recognize and honor your feelings, you also need to take steps to help manage the situation so that you can protect your mental health and relationships. We need to acknowledge how we feel to manage how we feel.

Here are some useful tips to help you deal with someone who you are battling to be around: 

-Limit your exposure to them when possible. You do not need to give others unlimited access to yourself, even family! 

-Take charge of the conversation/situation. Remember that you are allowed to say “no” and redirect or pivot. 

-Don't feed the situation by asking more questions—know your own limits and boundaries.  

-Don't let the guilt of saying no or putting up boundaries be another reason you feel drained. Honor your mental health first. Like the oxygen mask in a plane, you cannot help others unless you put your own “mask” on first—make sure you are getting what you need as well!

-Explore the “why” behind your feelings: why do you feel that this person is draining you? Is something going on in your own life that you perhaps need to take care of? One great way to do this is using the using the Neurocycle mind management method, which I discuss in detail in my latest book Cleaning Up Your Mental Mess and my app Neurocycle. The Neurocycle is a way to harness your thinking power that I have developed and researched over the past three decades. It has 5 steps: 

1) Gather awareness of how you feel mentally and physically when you are around the person who is draining you. Are you frustrated? Angry? Tired? Angry? Guilty? Sick to your stomach? Do you get heart palpations? 

2) Reflect on how you feel. Why do you think you feel this way?  

3) Write down your reflections to help organize your thinking.  

4) Recheck: think about what your thoughts and feelings are trying to tell you. What does it say about how you view the person/situation? What is your antidote—how will you take action to protect your mental health and your relationship? Look for clues in your writing, then start to reconceptualize the way you are thinking about the person. 

5) Do your active reach. This is a thought or action you need to practice daily to help you reconceptualize what you worked on in the previous steps. What are you going to do to protect your own wellbeing and boundaries while maintaining your relationship with the person who is draining you? What action steps are you going to take? 

For more on dealing with draining people, listen to my podcast (episode #468). If you enjoy listening to my podcast, please consider leaving a 5-star review and subscribing. And keep sharing episodes with friends and family and on social media. (Don’t forget to tag me so I can see your posts!). 

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Podcast Highlights 

00:41 Why we need to acknowledge how we feel to manage how we feel 

5:16 How to use mind management to deal with draining people 

14:56, 20:13 Tips to deal with draining people while protecting your mental health  

This podcast and blog are for educational purposes only and are not intended as medical advice. We always encourage each person to make the decision that seems best for their situation with the guidance of a medical professional.  

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