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Energy thieves: What should I do if I do not get along with someone?

«We often find energy thieves among our friends and family» states energy field mechanic Rico Brunner. He recommends that you talk to them about your concerns. Tell them that you feel as if your energy is being drained. If they take their concerns seriously, they may be willing to change their behavior. Another option might be to simply visit this “energy thief” less often. If this is a “negative” energy thief who dominates, manipulates and is excessively demanding, the only option is to distance yourself from this person.

Rico Brunner emphasizes that you have to establish healthy boundaries when interacting with energy thieves. This is especially difficult and requires a lot of strength if the person is someone whom you are close to. If a client is not strong enough to establish boundaries and repeatedly feels their energy being drained, Brunner works on improving their ability to set boundaries and to regain their strength. Brunner recommends: «It is important to work on your self-confidence because a confident person is less likely to tolerate their energy being stolen.»

Rico Brunner, who or what are your energy thieves?

I have sent my personal energy thieves packing a long time ago. As someone who works with energies, it was very important to me to have functional and strong energy fields. I would not be able to support others if I did not have my own energies under control. Therefore, I confronted this problem when I was around 30 years old. The main issue had to do with setting boundaries. On the one hand, there were people whom I liked, but they drained my energies. On the other hand, there were situations which were draining because my coping strategies were not yet optimal. These were the two energy thieves that I had to tackle.

Based on your practical experience, who are the biggest energy thieves?

Although it is hard to believe, the biggest energy thieves are typically among the people closest to you – family members or friends. It is easier identify and avoid energy thieves that we are not particularly close to.

It is much more difficult to realize and acknowledge that someone we like and have a close relationship with is an energy thief. This is a typical situation: we feel drained after spending an evening with a certain person. You might be able to distance yourself from them, but this requires strength and effort. I have supported several people who were not strong enough to distance themselves from the energy thief in their life. They needed help.

How does this look? Let us assume that there is a demanding family member who ends up stealing the energy of the people around them?

I think that the way we imagine energy theft is sometimes incorrect. It does not always involve someone intentionally taking away our energy. Of course, this can happen. However, our energy is often drained because we do not feel accepted, cannot act authentically, have to adapt to someone else’s demands, cannot stand up for ourselves or are pushed into difficult situations.

We can often find energy thieves among our family and friends. They may lack strength and try to recoup some of it from others.

If I understand this correctly, the ability to set boundaries – or lack thereof – is very important.

Exactly. The easier it is for you to set boundaries, the less likely it is that someone else can take your energy or wear you down. Nonetheless, boundaries are only a part of the solution: if someone constantly takes your energy or gets on your nerves, even the strongest boundaries will eventually not be enough. The final step would involve avoiding contact with this person.

I think that it is important to talk to this person about how they made you feel. They may take your concerns about how they have affected your energy levels seriously. If they do, it provides a foundation that allows them and your relationship to change. If they dismiss your concerns, I believe that you have reached a point where you need to decide how much energy you want to expend on trying to set boundaries for a person who is not even acknowledging that they are taking your energy. This is a decision each person has to make for themselves. Sometimes it is enough to just reduce the amount of time you spend with this individual.

This is not possible in the case of parents and their children. You cannot tell your daughter that you just will not see them for an entire week.

I have never met a child who intentionally robbed a parent of their energy. If a child happens to be an energy thief, it is usually caused by their behavior. In general, children develop so quickly that they are frequently overwhelmed . Adults do not feel overwhelmed as easily because we develop much more slowly.

For example, I am always amazed at how much my friend’s child has grown if I have not seen them for half a year. The way they look has changed dramatically. However, my friend still looks more or less the same, even if I have not seen him for two years. The child’s rapid development can be stressful for the parents, but this should not be confused with energy theft.

We might experience frustrating situations or discussions in which we do not seem to make any progress. That can certainly wear us down.

Absolutely, but that is not energy theft. Energy theft involves a certain demoralizing, manipulative component due to the other party’s decision to act in such a manner. Children cannot control their behavior too well. They are simply overwhelmed by the pace of their own development.

How do you support someone who frequently allows others to rob them of their energy?

First of all, it is imperative to improve the ability to set boundaries. Secondly, I work on strengthening and optimizing restorative and regenerative processes. Lastly – and this is very exciting – we have to work on increasing the client’s self-confidence. The more confident an individual is, the less likely they are to allow someone to rob them of their energy. This requires you to stand up for yourself so that you can behave in accordance with your needs. You might need to tell a friend: “Okay, I have realized that I am able to remain centered and maintain boundaries if we see each other every two months, and I thoroughly enjoy our get-togethers then. If we see each other every two weeks, I struggle to set boundaries and feel drained.”

We should not necessarily view energy thieves in a negative light. We just have to realize that certain factors contribute to them robbing us of our energy. You can try to change these factors. You might not feel drained if you see someone every two to three months, and you might truly enjoy the time you spend together on those occasions. However, you may feel robbed of your energy if you see this person too frequently. This indicates that this person and you are not compatible enough to be meeting frequently.

I want to point out that the term “energy thief” sounds very dramatic and it is necessary to relativize its negative connotation. Energy thieves are not vampires. They are people who need energy because they lack strength. You cannot solve their problem because that would be too overwhelming and taxing. If you try to help them, you might notice that they are lacking energy and that they are so overwhelmed that they start taking some of your energy.

You may realize that you can only see them every two months. Otherwise, it will be too much for you. I think that it is fair to talk to them about it, and I believe that the other party should accept your needs. Friendship is not (and should not be) the same as therapy. You can certainly help your friend, but you are allowed to set boundaries and limits.

    Nonetheless, the classic “energy thief” does exist, although they are quite rare in my experience. Such energy thieves are manipulative and controlling while stealing your energy. The fact that they are so manipulative and controlling makes it easier to recognize them because they try to dominate every situation.

    Finally, do you have some advice to help us recognize intentional energy thieves quickly and to develop healthy boundaries? 

    In my experience, positive, caring and helpful individuals are the most likely victims of energy theft. They do not expect it. They might make excuses for the energy thief, stating that this person is not stealing this energy on purpose or does not have any bad intentions. Their dismissal enables to other party to continue with this behavior.

    Once you realize that someone is stealing your energy, it is important to not take it personally. Tell yourself that this person drains you of your energy, and that this affects your strength. Take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. How does it feel when you re-engage? Maybe things will improve if you meet with them less frequently or if you reduce the length of each meeting. Such behavioral adjustments may help you to better cope with this dynamic and to establish firmer boundaries.

    If this person is a intentional energy thief, you will sooner or later have to distance yourself from them. This does not mean that you have failed or did not try hard enough. Instead, it simply proves that the energy thief was not willing to change their behavior.

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