Have you been feeling drained and burnt out lately but don’t seem to know why? Are you usually positive and upbeat, but have now become more upset, anxious, and stressed than you’ve ever been in your life? Do you think there might be someone in your life triggering all these negative feelings in you?
The truth is, even if we love them and care about them, there are just certain people in our lives we can’t stand to be around for too long because they drive us crazy! Every conversation seems to quickly turn into an argument and it’s emotionally exhausting just being around them at times. They can be hyper critical, judgmental, and manipulative, or perhaps they’re needy, narcissistic, and overly dependent. Whatever their problematic behavior patterns may be, they are starting to wear down on you and your mental health.
With that said, here are 7 warning signs that tell you someone is draining all your energy and leaving you emotionally exhausted:
1. You dread interacting with them.
Is there a particular person you find yourself anxious to talk to? Do you often find yourself wishing you wouldn’t run into them? Or hoping you can escape before they see you and try to start a conversation with you? When you find yourself dreading to interact with someone, then that’s already a definite red flag. Because it means that every time you spend time with this person it leaves you in distress and emotionally spent. You feel like you don’t have the energy to go on with the rest of the day and your mood changes drastically after you see them (Domingue & Mollen, 2009).
2. You feel anxious around them.
Whether it’s because they seem to have a penchant for stirring up trouble, roping you into their needless drama, or making you feel like you have to walk on eggshells around them and their volatile emotions, this person makes you feel anxious and uncomfortable to be around them. You’re constantly waiting for something to go wrong, for the other shoe to drop whenever you’re with them. And every phone call or visit makes your mind immediately go, “Great, what did you do this time?”
3. You often ignore their calls/texts.
Just a simple phone call, text message, or notification from this person is enough to put you on edge. In fact, seeing their name pop up on your screen makes your stomach feel so knotted and tight that you’ve started to avoid them every chance you get. You ignore their calls, leave their messages on read, and make excuses about why you haven’t been keeping in touch. Because the truth is, you just don’t have the time or the energy to deal with their drama anymore – it’s just become too exhausting! Which brings us to our next point…
4. You’ve started avoiding them.
Every time you see them from a distance, you immediately start running away in the other direction. You don’t go to any place, event, or gathering where you feel like you might run into them, and if you do, you always have an excuse ready for why you suddenly have to leave so soon and cut the conversation short. You try to keep your interactions with them as brief but polite as you possibly can and you gradually spend less and less time around them (Hocutt, 2018).
5. You need to unwind after talking to them.
Another way to tell if someone is exhausting to be around is by taking a good look at how they make you feel after you talk to them. Do you feel happy, energized, and upbeat after every chat with them? Or do they make you miserable, worried, and upset more often than not? If it’s the latter, then that means this person really took a toll on your mental and emotional health (Behera & Rangaiah, 2017). Why else would you feel the need to have to cheer yourself up after each interaction? They dump all their negativity on you and keep you so busy attending to their every want and need that it drains you of all your energy and motivation.
6. You need to vent to someone about them.
“Ugh, you will not believe what this person said to me this morning.” “I’m so done with so-and-so and all their drama.” “They’re driving me crazy and I can’t take it anymore!” Does this sound like you whenever you talk about a certain someone in your life right now? Do you know anyone who always makes you feel compelled to rant, complain, and vent about them to others? Sometimes, even when we feel frustrated with someone, we don’t have the heart to let them know how we really feel, so we end up telling other people instead. But If you constantly find yourself at your wit’s end with someone and desperately running to your closest friends for comfort and support, then it might be time to re-evaluate your relationship with this person (Shulman & Knafo, 2017).
7. You experience physical symptoms.
Last but certainly not least is the experience of physical symptoms. Whether it’s fatigue, frequent headaches, muscle tension, chest palpitations, shaky hands, or an upset stomach, if you notice that your symptoms tend to start or worsen around a certain someone, then that definitely can’t mean anything good. Other common manifestations of anxiety and emotional exhaustion include: mood swings, irritability, apathy, sudden loss of interest, and even emotional numbness (Steer & Beck, 1997).
So, do you relate to any of the signs we’ve mentioned here? Did someone in particular come to mind as you were reading the list?
If you have someone in your life who is draining all your emotional energy and taking a toll on your mental well-being, then you owe it to yourself to establish healthier boundaries and protect yourself against toxic relationships. While it may seem difficult to let go of someone you care about, especially if you think they’re going through a really hard time right now and you feel obligated to be there for them, you need to put your mental health first and let go of all the negativity and anxiety they are bringing into your life.
- Domingue, R., & Mollen, D. (2009). Attachment and conflict communication in adult romantic relationships. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 26(5), 678-696.
- Hocutt, M. A. (2018). Relationship dissolution model: antecedents of relationship commitment and the likelihood of dissolving a relationship. International Journal of service industry management.
- Behera, S., & Rangaiah, B. (2017). Relationship between emotional maturity, self-esteem, and relationship-satisfaction: a study on adolescent relationship dynamics. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, 34(11); 109-121.
- Shulman, S., & Knafo, D. (2017). Balancing closeness and individuality in adolescent close relationships. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 21(4), 687-702
- Steer, R. A., & Beck, A. T. (1997). Beck Anxiety Inventory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 17(22), 94-106.