How To Stop Absorbing The Energy of Others

How do you constructively deal with intuitive empathy? What practical methods can you employ to avoid becoming overamped or depleted? I'm going to present some strategies I use. Try them. See which appeal. One is not more preferable than another. Most important is if your choice works.

Walk away

Let's say you're chatting with a man you've just met at a conference and your energy starts bottoming out. Here's how to tell if you're being zapped: Don't hesitate to politely excuse yourself; move at least twenty feet from him (outside the range of his energy field). If you receive immediate relief, there's your answer. Most people are oblivious to how their energy impacts others. Even energy vampires--people who feed off your energy to compensate for a lack of their own--aren't generally intending to sap you yet still they do. Obnoxious or meek, vampires come in all forms. Watch out for them. For years, reluctant to hurt anyone's feelings, I needlessly endured these types of situations and suffered. How many of us are so loathe to appear rude that a raving maniac can be right in our face, and still we don't budge for fear of offending? Whenever possible--if your well-being feels at risk with an individual or group--give yourself permission to make a tactful and swift exit. In a spot, physically removing yourself is a sure quick solution.

Shield yourself

A handy form of protection many people use, including healers with trying patients, involves visualizing an envelope of white light (or any color you feel imparts power) around your entire body. Think of it as a shield that blocks out negativity or physical discomfort but allows what's positive to filter in. For instance, your sister is on the rampage. She's about to blow up; you don't want her anger to shatter you. Now--take a deep breath, center yourself, engage your shield. Literally picture it forming a fail-safe barrier around you which deactivates anger. It simply can't get to you. Shielding is a deliberately defensive technique aimed at guarding your feelings, not repressing them. It works by establishing a perimeter of protection around you that functionally doesn't permit harm in.

Practice vulnerability

One tenet of my spiritual practice is to remain as vulnerable as I can to everything; not to shield, the antithesis of defense. Some people prefer my strategy, some don't. Use it if it succeeds for you. Here's the premise (not madness) behind this: if we solidify our bond to our inner self, we'll become centered enough not to need to defend at all. Thus, the best protection turns out to be no protection--a stance that initially alarmed me. It didn't seem possible I could do hands-on energy work with someone who had cancer or depression, for example, without absorbing their symptoms myself. But it was. What could be more liberating than to find I could hold my own and still remain open! Too often we're taught to equate vulnerability with weakness. Not so. I like being vulnerable and also strong. This disarms people. To me, the appeal of such an approach is that it's a non-fear-based way of living in the world. It requires that, increasingly, you harmonize with whatever you confront, let it flow through you, then recenter again, stabilized by your own resilience. Pace yourself. A vulnerable posture will feel safer the stronger you get. It is a choice and a life-long practice.


To cement your inner bond and hold your center in any situation, I recommend a daily practice of meditation where you focus on the spirit within. Doing so gets you into the habit of connecting with yourself. Start with a few minutes, then gradually increase the duration. The technique is simple: follow your breath and explore the silence. It is not void or empty; that's the mystery. As thoughts come, and they will, continue to refocus on your breath. Every inhalation. Every exhalation. The spaces between thoughts are where your spirit waits to be discovered. There is something real in there worth finding. My spirit feels like a core of head-to-toe warmth vertically aligned though the center of my body. Imbued in the warmth itself is an intelligence and intuitive responsiveness to my rhythms and questions. It speaks only truth, which resonates like a chiming in every cell. Silently become acquainted with your spirit. You can return to it to reinforce who you really are--not just the self you present to the world, but that part of you that is timeless. Make room to pursue it.

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oreesa 27th September 2008 7:12 pm

I really enjoyed this article. I can be in line at the grocery store and people will begin to tell me their problems. I have been married for 26 yrs My hubby will tell you how people just come up to me and start telling me things. Complete strangers. I need to train myself to just walk away. They do drain me. I find myself praying and worrying for strangers. I know we have to care for each other but this does drain me at the end of the day. Heaven help me if I am at a hospital. doctors office etc... Many are worse there lol.

dick 28th September 2008 3:54 am

your post just drained me :buck2:

Lisa 29th September 2008 2:59 am

Thanks for that info, wish I had read it last week! Met a really agressive man who, when I tried to walk away, followed me, shouting behind me! And then he went into the same bank I was going into! How much energy did he need!?
I'll remember to use a strategy if it happens again, thanks

Desika Nadadur 30th September 2008 12:05 pm

I like the technique of "Being vulnerable."

Very nice article!


Allan 1st October 2008 2:57 pm


That's all i have to say. Perhaps you absorb the energy of others for a reason? It is true it drains other people but maybe you're a revolutionary. Perhaps you are a shaker and a mover in this world. Have more confidence in the energy you receive from others. The energy gives you life, strength, and courage. Use it productively, Use it in a way so that the energy does not go to waste. Life gives you lemons, but in this case energy, it's up to you with what you want to do with it. If you want to throw it away or decline the offer.

Then go right ahead.

Ava 1st February 2009 12:36 am

I've started to become more sensitive to the weight of certain people's energies. Whenever I interact with a negative person, I literally begin to feel bogged down by their load. I'm definitely going to try these techniques...hopefully they work. Thanks!

quincy 24th March 2009 11:26 am

Like others who commented, I've absorbed people's energy my whole life. I sit down next to a stranger and in minutes they're telling me their whole life story. I've been told I'm a clearing for other people's drama, which can get very wearing.

The strategies you mention are good and do work. I have the most problem with walking away from energy drainers. Recently I had just begin lunch with close friends at a conference when another conference goer asked if she could sit with us. We said yes, and she proceeded to talk so fast and usurp all conversation at the table. I couldn't breathe and wanted to excuse myself and run away. After about 15 minutes of this, one of the other people at the table brought up the subject in a nice way, the woman admitted that she was often overly energetic and talkative. Things calmed down a bit, but her negative energy was still there. She avoided all of us the rest of the conference.

Not sure how better to handle such a situation, other than lie about having to leave the table.

My mother is also energy drainer, but I've got that handled now.

JoeAnne10 8th November 2009 2:03 pm

I find this website really helpful to be honest. I don't actually practice this things, because I have a normal job, working for a movers company and it takes me pretty much all day. But I was thinking to begin to apply a few things I read about here.

missvindigo 3rd January 2010 3:38 pm

I think this article is useful. I will try it out.

theangelwhisperer 23rd May 2010 6:41 pm

Love you very much, Judith! :smitten:

deb58 2nd August 2010 8:58 am

How do you have that handled? I and others have the same problem with my mother. Please advise.


ilyzium 29th September 2010 8:10 pm

I can certainly relate to what the author is saying, as I recently had to end a friendship. I actually had tried a couple of her suggestions, but they didn't really help with regard to a former friend. There are some people that are just way too toxic to be around, and if being around them zaps away all feelings of positive energy that you may have...well then that's your answer. Now this friend was a genuinely nice person, but she was also extremely needy, clingy and dependent, always dwelled on the negative and was constantly feeling sorry for herself. I always felt like a garbage can as she was continually dumping her garbage on me. But of course SHE felt better immediately. I remember at one point I had to tell her that I'd left the country, and felt such a sense of relief to have her temporarily out of my life.


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Author Information

Dr. Judith Orloff

Judith Orloff, MD is author of The Empath's Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty.

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