We’ve all been there before.
You’re out with your friends, and you meet someone new.
They seem like a great person at first, but eventually, you notice that they are always draining your energy.
They are never satisfied, and they always want more from you.
These people can be very harmful to your mental health, so it’s essential to spot them before they suck the life out of you.
By identifying the traits of an emotionally draining person, you’ll be able to protect yourself before it’s too late.
What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Drained?
Being emotionally drained is a feeling of exhaustion, both mentally and physically.
It can be caused by people that constantly demand your attention and energy without giving anything in return.
It also can be caused by stressful events and activities that are draining, but difficult people tend to deplete us the most.
Some signs of being emotionally drained by someone include
- Feeling overwhelmed and anxious
- Becoming easily agitated or irritated
- A loss of concentration and focus
- Apathy and emotional distance
- Bodily pain and aching
When one or more of these symptoms show up in your life, likely, your emotional tank isn’t full, and you need some time to restore and recover.
How Do You Tell If Someone Is Draining You Emotionally?
Emotionally draining people may seem like they are supportive and caring at first. However, over time, you will recognize their manipulative ways and realize that they aren’t as positive as they seem.
When your feelings around the relationship start to change, it’s a sign that your energy is being drained. You may start to notice:
- Anxiety: When you think about upcoming plans with this person, you may dread it and feel anxious.
- Fear: You may be afraid to speak up or set boundaries with this person out of fear of disappointing them.
- Guilt: You may feel guilty for not being able to please the other person, even when you have valid reasons for not doing something.
- Resentment: You may resent the other person for taking up so much of your time and energy.
- Fatigue: You may feel exhausted when you’re around people who bring you down, even when you haven’t done anything particularly strenuous.
Nobody wants to feel these things in their relationships, so it’s important to learn how to identify and avoid emotionally draining people.
15 Signs of An Emotionally Draining Person
Emotionally draining people are exhausting, but sometimes you won’t even notice that you’re draining your energy until it’s too late.
Here are 15 signs to watch out for that may indicate you have an emotionally draining person in your life:
1. They always ask for more from you than you can give.
The classic sign of an emotionally draining personality is someone who constantly demands your attention and energy but never gives anything back.
They may expect you to do favors for them or give emotional support without ever returning the favor.
One way this imbalance may show up is through time commitments. They may expect you to be there for them at the drop of a hat, but when you need a helping hand, they will suddenly be too busy to show up.
2. They never seem satisfied with anything and always push for more.
Draining people are constantly experiencing a lack of fulfillment or dissatisfaction. Even if you deliver what was asked of you, they may still find something wrong or suggest that you could have done better.
They bring down the energy of an event by pointing out all of the shortcomings of the situation or the people rather than enjoying and appreciating what’s going well.
3. They make you feel guilty for not meeting their expectations.
Not only is nothing ever good enough, but draining people will never let you hear the end of it. They may use guilt, shame, and passive-aggressive remarks to make you feel bad for not meeting their expectations.
The judgmental statements usually come out in a passive-aggressive manner. Because if they directly shamed you for every little thing, they know you wouldn’t stick around.
So keep an eye out for these subtle put-downs that try to make you feel like you’re not good enough.
4. They constantly seek affirmation and attention.
Sometimes it can be exhausting to continually let a person know you’re paying attention to them.
If your friend, partner, or family member always asks you if they look good or are doing something the right way, it shows that they are looking for constant validation.
You may start to feel like you need to be their cheerleader, constantly giving them affirmation and compliments. It may also begin to feel like they’re never content, no matter what you say.
5. They never understand where you’re coming from.
Do you struggle with relating to this person on an emotional level? If they never seem to get where you’re coming from and can’t empathize with how you feel, it could be a sign that they are emotionally draining.
You may find yourself constantly explaining why something is important to you or why something hurts your feelings. But the other person just can’t seem to understand.
Constant misunderstandings could signify that they are taking more than giving in the relationship and leaving you feeling unsupported and unheard.
6. They only talk about themselves.
If you’ve spent a whole social gathering listening to someone talk about themselves, you know what it’s like to be emotionally drained by someone who is self-absorbed.
Self-centered people rarely take an interest in others and will never ask questions about you or your life.
7. Anger is a common response.
Anger is an emotion that masks other emotions. So if someone doesn’t have the competency to deal with challenging emotions, they might lash out in anger.
Explosive emotions can be a sign of an unhealthy coping mechanism, which could mean that the friend cannot deal with their emotions effectively.
And in return, they are dumping on you, which is extremely emotionally draining.
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8. They invalidate your opinion or feelings.
Does this exhausting person always put you down when you express your opinion or feelings? Do they make you feel like your thoughts and ideas are unimportant?
They may say things such as “I don’t think that’s true” or “You’re overreacting” when you are trying to express yourself.
Dismissive behavior is a sign that they don’t have much respect for your right to your opinion and feelings, which can be very draining.
9. They make you question yourself and second-guess your decisions.
In addition to undermining your opinions, an emotionally exhausting person may take things one step further and try to convince you that your decisions are wrong or misguided.
It’s like they think they know what’s best for you and that you can’t make competent decisions, which is never a good feeling.
Gaslighting is prevalent in an emotionally exhausting relationship, so keep that in mind when dealing with someone who constantly questions you.
10. They constantly need your advice but never implement it.
When an emotionally draining personality wants your attention, they may seek it in the form of advice. They’ll ask things like “What would you do in this situation?” and “What do you think I should do?”
But when it comes to listening to or implementing your advice, they will often ignore it or make excuses for not following it. It can be a massive waste of time and leave you feeling like nothing you say matters.
11. They try to convince you to participate in harmful activities.
Draining people push you into doing things you don’t want to do. They may try to convince you to participate in unhealthy or even illegal activities.
If someone is pressuring you into something that makes you uncomfortable, it’s a sign that they don’t have your best interests at heart. It could be a warning sign of an emotionally draining relationship.
12. They conveniently forget details, like plans or promises.
When people are unreliable, it can take an energetic toll on us. It takes a lot of energy to constantly remind someone of plans or promises they made.
If you constantly have to remind someone of the details, it can make you feel like they don’t value the relationship as much as you do.
13. They have a “toxic positivity” attitude.
Toxic positivity is the belief that everyone needs to be happy and positive all the time and that any negative emotions are wrong or bad.
Constantly brushing off issues can be very draining because it makes you feel like you have to stay happy at all times and never express any negative emotions.
So if someone is pressuring you to act in ways you don’t feel, it isn’t sustainable.
14. They’re incredibly fatalistic and pessimistic.
On the other hand, some emotionally exhausting relationships might be the exact opposite and have a fatalistic outlook on life.
Constantly hearing pessimistic views can be depleting because it makes you feel like there is no hope for the future or that your actions don’t even matter.
15. They shift the energy of the room and make things tenser.
Finally, an emotionally exhausting personality can affect the energy of a room. When they enter a space, it can become tense and uncomfortable quickly.
These people are often absorbed in their own experiences and don’t adjust to the mood of those around them.
Everyone else will notice the energy shift and will likely become drained as a result.
How Do I Fix An Emotionally Draining Relationship?
You’re not helpless when it comes to people that are exhausting to be around. Finding the strength and courage to establish clear boundaries, speak up for yourself, and make decisions that will help you feel more fulfilled in your life is possible.
Here are some helpful tools that can help you heal and end the cycle of emotionally draining relationships:
- Acknowledge your feelings: Take a few moments to sit with yourself and identify your feelings in the relationship. Acknowledging where you’re at will help you determine how to move forward.
- Set clear boundaries: Establishing healthy limits is essential, especially when it comes to emotionally draining relationships. Determine what you are and are not willing to do and communicate that with the other person.
- Don’t be afraid to say no: It can be challenging to break away from people who drain your energy, but it’s important to remember that it’s ok to say no if something doesn’t feel right for you.
- Seek out support: It’s essential to have a strong support system when dealing with emotionally draining people. Surround yourself with positive friends and family who can cheer you on and offer advice when needed.
- Practice self-care: Taking care of your physical, mental, and emotional needs is essential for maintaining healthy relationships with other people. Is an emotionally draining personality trying to take away your self-care time? Return to bullet 2, “set clear boundaries.”
It takes practice to implement these principles into your life, so stay consistent, and with time, draining people won’t have the same power to suck the life out of you.
The Bottom Line
It’s never too late to untangle yourself from an emotionally draining relationship. Once you realize what’s going on, you can make the best decisions for your mental health and well-being.
It’s not always easy to cut draining people out of your life, but focus on what’s best for you. You’re worth more than someone who takes away your energy and peace of mind.
And in the end, taking a step back may help the other person too. When they see you taking care of yourself, they may realize they need to start doing the same.