Relationships are always an
energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It’s important
to be surrounded by supportive, heart-centered people who make us feel safe and secure. It’s equally important to pinpoint
the energy vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, leech our energy.
energy in others can be rejuvenative. For instance, you’re nervous about a job interview, but the minute you meet your
prospective boss you relax. He’s so calm and welcoming, you calm down too. Or perhaps you have a good friend around
whom you always feel loved. These are energy-givers, those we must gravitate towards.
In contrast, energy vampires exude negative energy that drains. Vampires range from the intentionally malicious
ones to those who are oblivious to their effect. Some are overbearing and obnoxious; others are friendly and charming. For
example, you’re at a party talking to a perfectly nice person, but suddenly you’re nauseous or weak. Or how
about the co-worker who drones on about how she broke up with her boyfriend for the tenth time? Eventually, she feels better,
but you’re spent. The bottom line is that on a subtle energy level these people suck you dry.
Exercise: Take an inventory of people in your life who give energy, and people
who drain. Specifically identify the energy vampires, and begin to evaluate ones you’d like to limit contact with or
eliminate. Plan at least one complete afternoon with people who give off positive energy and avoid drainers. Notice how this
beneficially affects your physical and emotional well-being.
Judith Orloff MD is a board certified psychiatrist, a practicing intuitive, and
author of Positive Energy: Ten Extraordinary Prescriptions for Transforming Fatigue, Stress, and Fear Into Vibrance,
Strength, and Love (Harmony Books.)Guide to Intuitive Healing and Second Sight. She’s an assistant clinical
professor of psychiatry at UCLA, has a private practice in Los Angeles, and is an international workshop leader on the interrelationship
of medicine, intuition, and spirituality. Her work has been featured on CNN, PBS, A@E and NPR. Dr. Orloff’s website
is http://drjudithorloff.com. You can also learn more about her on www.youtube.com/judithorloffmd
Warning! 4 Relationship Red Flags not to Ignore
your gut is telling you something just isn’t right in your relationship – then something is probably not right.
But how many of us have at one time or another ignored the “red flags” waving furiously in front of our faces?
Probably a good many of us. Some “red flags” are more serious than others – and the reality is, people
can get blinded by emotions to such a degree that major problems are minimized – only to become big time relationship
issues down the line.
Here are 4 relationship red flags
that would probably be best not to ignore:
Anger. This anger may eventually be directed towards you – and be dangerous.
- Lies. How can you develop trust with someone who often doesn’t tell the truth?
- Belittling and Sarcasm. The long term effect of this behavior is a whittling
down of your self esteem.
- Alcohol / Substance Abuse.
If your partner admits there’s a problem then perhaps this can be worked on. But if not, beware as this
can be a slippery slope that has the potential to impact everything.
What exactly is a boundary, when it comes to relationships? Simply put, a boundary
is a limit or space between you and the other person; a clear place where you begin and the other person ends. Think
of it as a fence in your backyard. You are the gate keeper and get to decide who you let in and who you keep out, who you
let into the whole back yard, or who you let just inside the gate. You may still be keeping a distance, but you are giving
them a chance to prove their trustworthiness both physically and emotionally. The purpose of setting a healthy boundary is,
of course, to protect and take good care of you.
Healthy boundaries do not always come naturally
or easily. We learn to “be” in all kinds of relationships by modeling. In other words, by watching how others
handle relationships. In early childhood, it is our parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, babysitters, and who ever else we
were around on a regular basis. As we grow into adolescents, we rely less on parents and more on our friends to help us define
ourselves and our boundaries or limits in relationships. If you grew up in a dysfunctional family, then chances are you have
not learned how to set a boundary or even really know what it is. Learning to set our own healthy boundaries is an exercise
in personal freedom. It means getting to know ourselves and increasing our awareness of where we stand and what we stand for.
It means letting go of the unhealthy people in our lives so that we can grow into the healthy person that we were meant to
Poor Boundaries Defined
How do you know
whether or not you are in an unhealthy relationship? Chances are, if you are in a dysfunctional relationship it will feel
“normal” or even “comfortable” to you, if you grew up in a dysfunctional home. You may not recognize
the signs, until you are well on your way to giving up your entire self for the other person. Below is a list of some of the
characteristics of healthy and unhealthy boundaries.
|Feeling like your own person||Feeling
incomplete without your partner|
|Feeling responsible for your own happiness||Relying on your partner for your happiness|
and separateness are balanced||Too much or too little togetherness|
|Friendships exist outside of the relationship||Inability to establish and maintain
friendships with others|
|Focuses on the best qualities of both people||Focuses on the worst
qualities of the partners|
|Achieving intimacy without chemicals||Using alcohol/drugs to reduce inhibitions and achieve a false sense of
|Open, honest and assertive communication||Game-playing, unwillingness to listen, manipulation|
relationship addiction or lack of commitment|
|Respecting the differences in the partner||Blaming
the partner for his or her own unique qualities|
|Accepting changes in the relationship||Feeling that the relationship should always be the
|Asking honestly for what is wanted||Feeling unable to express what is wanted|
to let go|
To set boundaries, first
we need to learn to communicate without blaming. In other words, stop saying things like: you make me so angry; you hurt
me; you make me crazy; how could you do that to me after all I have done for you; etc. These are the very types
of messages we got in childhood that have so warped our perspective on our own emotional process. Instead use “I
statements”: “I feel frustrated/angry when you ________ or when xyz happens”.
with good communication, is honesty. Learn to say how you feel. Beating around the bush will not help you or your relationship
in the long run.
It is impossible to set boundaries without setting consequences. If you are
setting boundaries in a relationship, and you are not yet at a point where you are ready to leave the relationship then don't
say that you will leave. Never state something that you are not willing to follow through with. To set boundaries and not
enforce them just gives the other person an excuse to continue in the same old behavior. For example: “If you call me
names I will confront you about your behavior each and every time and will share my feelings with you. I will not tolerate
verbal abuse. If you continue this behavior, I will weigh my options, including leaving this relationship. I do not deserve
this and I will not put up with it any longer”.
“If you continue to break your
plans with me by not showing up or calling me at the last minute to cancel, I will confront you about this behavior and share
my feelings. If this behavior continues, I will consider it to mean that you do not respect me or this relationship and I
will have no contact with you for a month, until we can both evaluate and figure out our priorities. If I chose to get back
in touch with you, and the behavior continues, we will no longer be in any type of relationship together”.
“When I ask you what is wrong, and you say “nothing”, but then proceed to slam doors or
kick the wall, and seem to be angry, I feel angry or frustrated that you refuse to communicate properly with me as if
I am supposed to read your mind. If something is bothering you, I will trust you to let me know after you have spent some
time cooling off alone. If you continue to punish me with your silence or fits, I will tell you how it makes me feel. If this
behavior continues, I will weigh my options for this relationship. I do not deserve this type of behavior and will not put
up with it any longer”.
Setting boundaries is not about making threats. It is about
giving them choices and then consequences for the poor decisions they make, much like we do with our parenting skills. We
cannot be in a healthy relationship without appropriate boundaries.