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Energy Vampires

Nurses   (587 Views 10 Comments)
by dhbrn dhbrn (Member)

177 Visitors; 19 Posts

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I have read quite a bit lately on the topic of empaths and energy vampires (check out books by Dr. Christiane Northrup and Dr. Judith Orloff for some fantastic insights.) I’m all for paring down toxic people in your life, but what about when that’s not possible?

How do fellow ED nurses, case managers, home health nurses, etc. cope with patients you have to interact with on a regular, (often frustratingly) repeated basis who happen to also be “vampires”?

What are your favorite strategies for boundaries and self-care?

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RNperdiem has 14 years experience.

1 Follower; 29,120 Visitors; 4,139 Posts

I have always had good boundaries. A big part of boundaries includes drawing lines around what you control and what you don't. What you are responsible for and what is not your problem.

It is not my job to make you like me. I don't control that and I will be not turning myself inside out to beg for approval. I cannot fix the unhappiness in your life. I focus on what I can do.

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ruby_jane has 10 years experience as a BSN, RN.

3 Followers; 7,980 Visitors; 2,264 Posts

1 hour ago, RNperdiem said:

It is not my job to make you like me. I don't control that and I will be not turning myself inside out to beg for approval. I cannot fix the unhappiness in your life. I focus on what I can do.

AMEN. Brief, professional, focused interventions.  Do not engage in irrelevant conversations (for those of us who are extroverts, it's a hard thing to learn). Only focus on the complaint at hand. If there are other complaints that are emergent, deal with those. Otherwise shrug and apologize and say "We'll have to deal with that next time."

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Davey Do has 35 years experience and works as a Behavioral Health RN.

14 Followers; 1 Article; 73,886 Visitors; 5,973 Posts

1 hour ago, ruby_jane said:

Only focus on the complaint at hand.

Yes in-deed-dee, ruby jane. I'll often say, "Let's stay focused".

1 hour ago, ruby_jane said:

"We'll have to deal with that next time."

Or: "We'll burn that bridge when we come to it".

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by Mr.E

947 Visitors; 18 Posts

There are few things that I do to deal. One of which is something that my unit does as a whole is rotating the toxic patient so that one nurse doesn’t have to have the responsibility of caring for the patient continuously. Sometimes one may deal with not only toxic patients but a toxic work environment in general where in both instances boundary setting is important. Also, having enough down time off shift is essential as well to recovering and restoration. 

Edited by Mr.E
Grammar

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177 Visitors; 19 Posts

Thank you for the great tips, everyone. Really needed this today 💓

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TriciaJ has 37 years experience as a RN and works as a Retired.

10 Followers; 32,665 Visitors; 3,116 Posts

I get a feeling in my solar plexus when I'm dealing with an energy vampire.  It helps to remind myself why that person is in the hospital and stay focused on that.  Not be drawn into their myriad other problems.  These people love lobbing their multiple needs at you; you have to be willing to let them fall where they may.  Any attempts to offer solutions will only be met with "yes, but".

I usually just smile sympathetically and say "Gosh, that sounds really challenging.  Let me go grab that Advil I promised you."  It feels so good not to be reeled in.

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1 Follower; 13,283 Visitors; 1,469 Posts

I understand why people use the term energy vampire, but I don't find it helpful to think about the problem this way. It's not empowering for me. The other person isn't the problem, my response to him or her is the problem. Thinking about it that way fully empowers me to solve it.

 I check my emotional and thought responses during my interaction with the person. Some people call this practice mindfulness. I observe my own thoughts and feelings. This usually gives me the insight I need to change the way I respond to the person.

 

 

 

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Snatchedwig has 3 years experience as a CNA, LPN and works as a LTACH Medsurg.

1 Follower; 404 Visitors; 90 Posts

Im usually bubbly...however if the energy of the person is dark and negative, im the most straight forward person ever. Its to a point they would think im intimidating because aiht nobody got time for BS.

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177 Visitors; 19 Posts

I’m seeing a theme of establishing boundaries, being direct and straightforward. This is something I’ve really struggled with in the past, always worried about not being “nice” enough.

As I have been implementing stronger boundaries, I’m seeing pts who are needy but not necessarily toxic react in a more productive manner when they have someone directing the interaction. The toxic pts by and large realize they can’t manipulate you, and move on to more susceptible victims.

Not buying in to unrelated complaints has turned out to be the “nicest” thing I can do for the sake of being able to have energy to dedicate equal effort to all my pts. It also allows me to be kinder to myself and makes it easier to let go of what I cannot change or fix.

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