How to say no to emotionally draining people
Updated: Feb 27
Have you ever felt resentful to do yet another favour for a friend or partner... but you knew saying "no" would have consequences? Have you unofficially assigned yourself as the 'caretaker' of your friend group, so it's now the expectation that you drop everything and land an ear, a tissue and hours of your personal time whenever they need it? If so... congratulations.
You have officially assigned yourself as the care-taker of your group, and are so webbed into your role, that pulling back or stating an outright no will be met with protest, resistance and guilt trips... until you resign yourself to the position of being everybody's b**ch again.
Sorry, it's harsh but it's true. I love you and appreciate you... which means you need to hear this wake up call.
Because over-caring is making you exhausted, powerless and rundown. You are carrying the emotional load of people who could well be better off taking care of themselves.
So please afford that potent opportunity to others.
Now have you ever asked yourself... why does it have to be you? And more delicately... what may you be getting out of it? There is a kick to being needed, to being indispensable to someone. The honour and responsibility for someone's happiness and care. It, makes us feel important and indisposable... perhaps then they'll never leave. However the kicker is, that it's an unhealthy attachment. Because otherwise, you wouldn't be so tired and resentful. And over servicing the needs of others, what are you getting in return?
So, if you are:
- tired of people taking advantage of you
- almost imploding with helplessness, frustration and resentment at people who are meant to love you in your life
- over the guilt and sense of obligation you feel - or is put upon by you - to do 'nice' things for others Then you need to read on.
Having those boundary setting conversations can be scary / tough... so here are some scripts and guidelines to ensure you dont worry about being gaslit, guilted or ghosted.
First up, what is your gripe?
Is it an ailing relationship that drags on past its use-by date? A mind-numbing dinner party you wanted to miss? An abusive rant you did not need to endure? Up until this point, you've silenced your voice and allowed transgressions against your sense of autonomy to exist, simply because absorbing the toxin has felt easier than cutting the chord.
Think about that!!
You would rather put up with crap - and have the crappy connection... than not have the connection at all.
Because anything feels better than being alone. That is what we have been led to believe... or rather, had conditioned into our psyche.
So rather than risk 'cutting the chord', we process our frustrations in passive-aggressive ways, choosing to bitch and complain incessantly about our dramas with others, to others, for months on end, draining our other friends' patience at what would otherwise be joyous catch-ups... and becoming THAT draining friend you always carry on about in the process.
This cycle of insanity has to stop. This cycle of bitching, negativity and drama has to stop.
ALL you have to do is literally say no and stand up for yourself.
So, it's time to become discerning.
Cut the crap from your life (you won't miss it). Make room for new, beautiful people and adventures that reflect more aptly the quality of woman that you are.
The most important thing about boundaries is that they are upheld then and there.
Not in a month, not in a week... but ideally, in the moment.
That means that as soon as you feel even a twinkling of bullshit, you acknowledge it, firmly and politely.
Don't sit on it for months on end, allowing it to stew into an awkward explosion (although sometimes it can be better later than staying seething and silent for ever). If you can, act like a grown woman and speak up right away - NO! I don't like that! I don't want to do that! Here is a 5 step process to help you address and up your boundaries - like the self worth queen that you are. STEP 1 Get honest of what actually IS draining you. Stop making excuses for people. If you feel the rage well up inside you, then you probably don't like how you're being treated. Once you feel the burn of unrest within you, give yourself permission to pull away from it, permanently or temporarily. It's quite liberating even to admit to yourself - that if it doesn't feel ok then it's NOT OK.... and even if someone expects you to act 'cool' about it, doesn't mean you need to put up with it! STEP 2
As I've previously discussed on this blog, our emotional / magnetic power is based on holding our energy within our body (read my post on mystery for more). That means not draining yourself on conversations, tasks and ideas that lower this potent life-force! Boundaries, which is what saying "No" means, are designed to protect you from anything that steals your joy.
Many things can do that - people who talk endlessly about themselves, exposure to ongoing negativity on the news, chronic dumpers, criticisers and complainers, losing your day to doing tasks you resent, etc.
To preserve your emotional power, it is therefore imperative to have awareness of what your drainers are, how they affect you and distance or minimise yourself from these people / obligations at earliest convenience.
You can still be 'sweet' about it, if that is your prerogative... and just file it under #boundaries and #selfcare.
Wouldn't your energy be better spent on people and projects that uplift and inspire you?
And if you feel bad that you can't 'help' these people you've turned your back on... aren't you actually doing them a service to not indulge the negativity train that they're on also?
Perhaps without you enabling their patterns with your rapt attention, they can find the power within to change their circumstance and seek alternative, more appropriate support.
Authenticity (the topic of an upcoming post) is another great way to #cancel an influx of negative energy. Be REAL with people about where you stand. You are offering them a rare gift of honesty and feedback... which can help them get lucid and break out of their own drama trance. If someone is venting to you beyond the point of tolerance, gently point it out to them.
If someone is highjacking the dinner conversation at the expense of other voices, delicately interrupt and restore the group flow.
Kindness is still the name of the game, so why not step up and redirect the energy of the connection, if this person is valuable to you.
Instead of helplessly pandering to their blindspot like everyone else, display genuine care by speaking earnestly and upleveling your friend to shine with you.
If there's no escaping the draining scenario (uncle Glenn has cornered you at a wedding, a difficult client is ranting down the phone), then it's time to get out the energy shield. Cocoon your auric field with a sphere of light (pick any colour!) to keep your energy pure, powerful and clean whilst deflecting any negativity back to the sender as unconditional love.
You can have your own variation on these energy shields. Play with the substance, frequency and imaginative design that works for you.
Remember Drawing some boundaries is the first step to good relationships. It's the first step to self love. When you are strong in your core, it will strengthen ALL your connections. How can others not respect you more, once you start to respect yourself.
If you would like some help with this, then book in for a POWER SESSION with me here.
I will help release the insecurities that stop your from taking a stand for yourself, give you some energy work to build up your confidence and tell you exactly what to say when, to how and to whom... so you can create some space in your world and your self esteem and loving connection to others still intact.
Now it's your turn!
Are you the 'rescuer' in your friendship circle? What are you finding challenging or difficult about this role? What tools or tips would you like to empower you? What advice would you give others in a similar situation?