Emotions Working with Negative People

Published on January 11th, 2015 | by Judith Orloff

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Free Yourself From Negative People At Work

By Judith Orloff, MD—

The quality of our relationships affects our health, especially at work since most of us spend so much time there. It’s important to stay positive at work so we can be the most productive and creative. That’s why our relationships with coworkers and our boss are governed by a give and take of energy. Some people make us more electric or at ease. Yet others suck the life right out of us. As a psychiatrist I want to verify that draining people or “emotional vampires” make the work environment toxic and sap our exuberance. With patients and in my workshops I’ve seen how depleted they make you at work. But most people don’t know how to identify and cope with draining people at their jobs so they become irritable, anxious and fatigued.

The quality of our relationships affect our health, especially at work since most of us spend so much time there. It’s important to stay positive at work so we can be the most productive and creative.

Here are some types of draining people at work to watch for and ways to deal with them from my book, Emotional Freedom.

Drainer #1: The Narcissist

Their motto is “Me first.” Everything is all about them. For instance, a boss who has a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement. He or she hogs attention and craves admiration. Narcissists are dangerous because they lack empathy and if you don’t do things their way, they become punishing, withholding or cold.

How to Protect Yourself: Keep your expectations realistic. These are emotionally limited co-workers or bosses. Never make your self-worth dependent on them or confide your deepest feelings to someone who won’t honor them. If you have a narcissistic boss don’t expect to have your efforts and work validated. You will always have to contend with tedious ego stroking. To have your needs met show how your boss and/or the company will benefit by granting your request.

Drainer #2: The Controller

These people are the micromanagers who are constantly watching you and trying to control your work. They have an opinion about everything. They’ll control you by invalidating your emotions if they don’t fit into their rulebook. They often start sentences with “Are you really going to do it that way?” and then proceed to tell you how to do your job. You end up feeling dominated, demeaned or put down.

How to Protect Yourself: The secret to success is never try to control a controller. Be respectfully assertive, but don’t tell them what to do. You can say, “I value your advice but really need to work through this myself.” Be confident but don’t play the victim or sweat the small stuff. Focus on high priority issues rather than on counting the paperclips.

Drainer #3: The Victim

Every time you talk to a victim they’re whining. They adore a captive audience.  They’re the coworker with the “poor me” attitude who’s more interested in complaining than finding solutions.

How to Protect Yourself: Set clear boundaries. Limit the time you spend talking about their complaints. With a firm but kind attitude say, “I’m sorry I can only talk for a few minutes today.” And go on with your work.

Drainer #4: The Drama Queen

This drainer has a flair for exaggerating small incidents into off-the-chart dramas. My patient Claire was exhausted when she hired a new employee who was always late for work. One week he had the flu and “almost died.” Next, his car was towed, once again!  After this employee left her office Claire felt tired and used.

How to Protect Yourself: A drama queen doesn’t get mileage out of equanimity. Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths. This will help you not get caught up in the histrionics. At work, set kind but firm limits. Say, “You must be here on time to keep your job. I’m sorry for all your mishaps, but work comes first.” 

Drainer #5: The Constant Talker

He or she has no interest in your feelings.  Constant talkers are only concerned with themselves. Initially, the person might seem entertaining, but when the talking doesn’t stop, you begin to get tired. You wait for an opening to get a word in edgewise but it never comes. Or he might physically move in so close he’s practically breathing on you. You edge backwards, but without missing a beat, he steps closer again. “One patient said about such a coworker, ‘Whenever I spot this man my colon goes into spasm.”

How to Protect Yourself: Know that these people don’t respond to nonverbal cues. You must speak up and interrupt. Listen for a few minutes- then from a neutral place politely say, “I’m a quiet person, so please excuse me for not talking a long time”—a much more constructive tack than “Keep quiet, you’re driving me crazy!”

Drainer #6: The Criticizer

This drainer has a sneaky way of making you feel guilty or lacking for not getting things just right. Whenever my patient Marie, a book editor, sees her boss she’s on guard; her boss had a way of cutting her down with constant negative comments that sapped her energy.

How to Protect Yourself:  Try this visualization. While around this person imagine yourself surrounded by a cocoon of protection, a shield that keeps you from being harmed. Tell yourself that you are safe and secure here. The cocoon filters out the negativity so it can’t deplete you.

See  My Video Dealing With A Narcissist: Emotional Freedom in Action

Judith Orloff MD

Judith Orloff MD is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life  upon which this article is based.  Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today.  Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom & total wellness. For more inspiration visit www.drjudithorloff.com.

(Adapted from Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life)

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Judith Orloff MD is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life upon which this article is based. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom & total wellness.

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About the Author

Judith Orloff MD is the author of the New York Times bestseller Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life upon which this article is based. Her work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. Dr. Orloff synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition and energy medicine. An Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, she passionately believes that the future of medicine involves integrating all this wisdom to achieve emotional freedom & total wellness.



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