©2020 Erin Newton, www.thewellnessgarden.ca, All rights reserved
We’ve all been there. You arrive at work prepared to take on the day. You’re humming your tunes, you’ve packed a tasty lunch and you’re feeling pretty good. Everything is in balance until you swing open the door and you step into the room. Then it hits you like an impenetrable wall. A wall of negativity. A wall of darkness. Somewhere in the room is an energy sucker.
Your heart rate increases and your eyes dart from side to side. You can feel them, but you don’t know who they are yet. Is it too late to get out of there? Will you be noticed if you (make a sudden about-face and) leave? But, wait a minute. You can’t leave; you work here. What are you going to do?
You offer the room an exploratory greeting. “Good morning, everyone’, you proffer. A few people throw salutations your way and then there it is; the energy sucker identifies themselves with what can only be called a grunt.
You proceed with caution. You extend pleasant conversation. Out of nowhere: slam! Negativity slaps you hard across the face. You regroup and attempt a clarifying question: Is everything ok? Slam! An uppercut to the jaw. With every second that passes, you feel yourself drooping, your earlier positivity draining from you. In very little time, you find yourself growing angry and anxious. You have deflated so much, so quickly that you can barely remember your earlier buoyancy. How did this happen? All you did was walk into the room and now your entire day seems greyer. Not even the very tasty lunch clutched tightly in your hands can help you now.
Let me take a moment here to be clear about what an energy sucker is and what an energy sucker is not. An energy sucker is not someone who is just having a bad day and is trying to hold themselves together. They are not those everyday folks like you and me who have problems, but are socially aware enough to know that others have them, too. Thus, when I speak of energy suckers, I am not speaking of the usually good-natured individuals who try hard not to dump their garbage load of bad energy onto others.
Rather, an energy sucker is someone who constantly drains the room of possibility and progress. To them, the answers are always no, we can’t, it won’t work, that’s not how we do it here. So mired in their own muck, the energy sucker has no ability to see the way their words, thoughts and actions are affecting the room. They are the antithesis of momentum and bring everything around them to grinding halt.
Now, those of you who know me and my usually sun-shiny self, may be anticipating my coping strategy. You may be thinking that I would advocate for having compassion, offering support, being a good listener, walking a mile in their shoes, having gratitude. You get the idea.
I’ll admit that’s how I used to handle energy suckers. I used to allow them to use me to keep themselves afloat, drowning me in the process. I used to absorb their negative energy in hopes of providing them--my fellow human being--with a little relief. I used to. But, turning 40 changes a woman and gone are the days when I would put up with being emotionally controlled or manipulated. A woman in her 40s has no damn time for that. She could do it, but she won’t.
and will result in you feeling bitter and manipulated. You doing their work only enables them to keep sucking people down into the mire. They don’t want to be in the muck alone! They want everyone in there with them. Do not get close enough. Do not get sucked in. Just run.
Be near people who lift you up. Lift others up where reciprocity exists or is possible. But, for gosh sakes, get away from the suckers and don’t ever feel a moment of guilt about it.