How Do You Protect Yourself From Emotional Grabs?

How do you protect yourself from emotional grabs?

Emotional grabs are like black holes. They drain you with their questions and exhaust you with their behavior. They can be exhausting because they are not aware of how abusive, manipulative or hurtful they are.

Parents, couples, friends and even children can be grabbing hands. They are people you give the power to abuse you. At the same time, they rob you of all authority and dignity.

Mark Twain has made an ironic statement about this. He said the idea of ​​give and take means you have to know how to give one thing and get ten in return.

Adam Grant is a professor at the University of Pennsylvania and author of the book  Give an Take.  He also says that grabs cannot exist without givers. That means it’s not always the takers who get you into the spiral of non-reciprocal exchange. On the contrary, there are times when you are actually the person who tilts the balance in that direction.

A process of interaction

However, that doesn’t mean you have to blame anyone. The important thing is that you realize that any kind of interaction involves an exchange. You offer your time, you give ideas, encouragement, advice… You rely on other people and other people rely on you.

The positive side of this exchange is those people who possess a natural ability to spice things up. They always give the most nourishing, encouraging and helpful part of themselves. They do it without even knowing it. After all, that’s how emotional givers live their lives.

Unfortunately, there is always a grabber for every giver. They are the kind of people who feel more empowered the more they experience being waited on. These people (never forget this part) usually have a ‘radar’. They use it to discover the people who care the most. They will then feed on those people endlessly.

Are emotional grabbers born or formed

Are emotional grabbers born or formed?

There are actually no studies on the subject of whether emotional grabbers are born or formed. Pediatrician and researcher William Sears is known for his work on parental attachment. In the 1990s, he coined the term “high-needs baby.”

He said some babies are born with more intense emotional needs. They are the kind of kids who have trouble sleeping. In general, it is also more difficult to raise them for several reasons.

This may explain why some people are more apt to receive than to give. Those people would therefore be more interested in getting attention than paying attention.

Yet there are still many experts in this subject who are heading in a different direction. One of their ideas is equally interesting and can be even more revealing. The theory is that emotional grabbers have a narcissistic personality.

Professors Robert Raskin and Calvin S. Hall designed a scale in 1979 to measure narcissistic personalities. Their shell has shed light on this toxic, exhausting pattern of behavior.

Emotional grabs and narcissism

Emotional grabs are just another side of narcissism. They feel superior. They use that feeling to justify being the center of attention or taking control of every conversation. Moreover, they also use it to gain special access to things or take charge of projects.

In every situation they suck the attention and in every conflict they receive the apologies. These people are like a black hole that sucks everything in. They steal the energy, rights and self-confidence of everyone else.

Protect yourself from emotional grabs

How can you protect yourself from emotional grabs?

Emotional grabbers have a wonderful gift for noticing other givers. Givers are the kind of people who are used to giving everything and wanting nothing in return. They see relationships as a genuine, mutual exchange of affection and attention. However, these people are also terribly inept at spotting narcissistic grabbers.

That’s why we’re going to show you here how to protect yourself from that personality type.

Listen to your body

Emotional grabs will make you feel uncomfortable. You may not be aware of their attitudes, their intrigues, or their intentions at first. What you will notice is the contradiction within yourself. You will feel physically exhausted and tired when you spend time with them…

Don’t idealize them or try to justify their behavior

When someone does something that makes you feel uncomfortable or creates an inner contradiction, you will usually try to justify it. You will tell yourself it might just be stress. They didn’t do it on purpose. They will soon realize that and apologize.

You idealize this other person because it is your partner, a friend or a family member. Because you love them, you idealize them. However, you do not realize that you are actually feeding an emotional grabber.

That is why you must learn to turn off the filters through which you view your reality. You have to be able to see people as they really are.

You are important too

Remember you are important and make sure they know: be assertive

We can tell you that taking some distance is the best way to protect yourself from emotional grabs. However, that is not always possible. Plus, it’s not always the best idea either. Narcissistic takers are usually aware of the effect of their actions. So the best thing you can do is show them your limits, along with the (possible) consequences of their actions.

  • If you always put yourself first, people will eventually stop treating you as a priority.
  • When you think you are more important than other people, people will eventually become indifferent to you.

You must adopt a zero tolerance attitude towards anyone who does not respect your limits. To do that you have to be assertive. That means showing them what you don’t allow and what you need. You have to show them what you are willing to give and what you expect to get in return.

We have one last comment. When it comes to emotional grabs, you better be prepared. It’s better that you know how to spot people who have no problem emptying you or sucking your happiness away. As Benjamin Franklin said, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. 

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