Gorgeous soul, I am pretty sure this episode of the Calm AF podcast is meant just for you. Today, I am talking all about energy managers. And if you’re not sure what I mean by “energy manager,” think of energy managers as people pleasers who have taken people pleasing to a whole new level. They’re the ones who are not merely seeking the approval of one person, they are seeking to control all the moods of all the people. Yeah. It’s intense, it’s exhausting, and it definitely takes its toll on the soul.
But first, let me start by saying THANK YOU for being here with me. It truly lights me up knowing that I’m a part of your journey. I don’t take it lightly. I was just talking to a client the other day about how I give away EVERYTHING in this podcast…there’s nothing you get in coaching with me that you can’t get here. That said…coaching is what takes all the good stuff out of your AirPods and into your REAL life in a major way. But you can get EVERYTHING here.
I got a message a few weeks ago from a gorgeous soul who said this: “I started listening to your podcast about a week ago because I had so much anxiety and for some reason your podcast popped up on my Spotify. I listened to your first podcast where it talks about taking control of your overthinking and it has literally changed my LIFE. I haven’t had an anxiety attack in two weeks. As soon as I feel myself heading there I stop and take deep breaths and focus on my surroundings. Listening to your podcast has helped me take better care of my body, I am working outing eating healthy and it’s all coming naturally. God truly answered my prayers when he gave me your podcast and I just want to say thank you.” THIS is why you leaving a review matters so much. Because Calm AF was pushed into her app, however it works…God, the algorithm. This is NOT about me, this is about women out there who are struggling who find a message they really needed to hear.
Today I’m going to dive deep into energy managers.
Back in Episode 179 Why your SOUL is Tired and What to Do About It, I introduced you to an elite member of the people pleasing, perfectionist, overthinking family: the “energy managers.”
I have spent my entire career coaching energy managers.
In fact, before I became a coach, I was learning all about energy managers. After my husband’s book about our neurodiverse marriage was published, I had all these women coming to me. Women in neurodiverse marriages asking me for help because no one else understood their struggles.
And it took me a while to unpack this. When they would ask me, “What did you do? How do you stay calm in this marriage? It seems different than other people’s, seems harder. Why is it not horribly hard for you?” My response was always the same: “I stopped focusing on fixing my marriage or my husband and focused on myself.”
Simple, right? This was not what they wanted to hear. Because what they were experiencing wasn’t just the invisible workload, it wasn’t just the miscommunication. It was that they were always walking on eggshells, they were always mentally exhausted, and they often felt resentful, lonely and defeated.
Why? They weren’t just people pleasers or perfectionists, they were next-level. They were energy managers.
The Difference Between People Pleasers and Energy Managers
So what’s the difference between a people pleaser and an energy manager? People pleasers are chameleons. They know who they need to be, depending on who they’re with. They might tell people what they want to hear rather than telling the truth. They are the ones saying yes to things even if they don’t have the time or energy for it. People pleasing is a skill we use as an attempt to control other people’s thoughts about us.
When we don’t believe we are inherently worthy — when we feel we need external validation — people pleasing is an attractive way to manipulate the opinions other people have about you. People pleasers need everyone to be okay so that they can be okay.
Now, all energy managers are people pleasers. But not all people pleasers are energy managers.
Here’s the difference. The energy manager isn’t just making sure to say the right things so that everyone feels good about themselves. The energy manager is managing all of the energy in the room. Managing the moods. Hyper-vigilantly trying to prevent someone else from getting upset or agitated or over-excited. The energy manager has learned that her life is going to be made harder in those moments if the person she’s “puppeteering” gets crabby or enraged or overstimulated.
Who Are the Energy Managers?
What takes someone from garden-variety people pleaser to next-level energy manager? Typically, it is someone whose childhood was marked by repeated emotional trauma:
- Children who grew up with a parent who was emotionally immature or who had low emotional intelligence
- Children who grew up with parents who were volatile or highly critical
- Children who perhaps had a parent on the autism spectrum — either diagnosed or undiagnosed — who wasn’t taught emotional regulation by their parents or loved-ones
- Children of narcissistic parents
- Children of alcoholics or addicts
People pleasers learned how to please their parents to get love and attention. But energy managers learned that they needed to manage their parent’s moods. In other words, they assumed the impossible job of keeping their parents happy. They constantly watched-out for anything that might upset their parents, and then they solved for those hazards ahead of time in order to feel psychologically safe. Or sometimes physically safe.
And even though the energy manager seeks to get away from this pattern when they grow up (“All I want is to partner up with a mature adult…”), guess what often happens? They end up in relationships with people who are used to being managed: people for whom emotional regulation and awareness doesn’t come naturally. People on the spectrum, narcissists, people desperate to be in control, and a lot of times, alcoholics and addicts.
Why does that happen? Well, the energy manager, as much as she doesn’t want the role, is really, really, very, very good at it. Too good, for her own good.
It Almost Had to Be
Even on paper, it’s a natural fit: someone who is programmed to manage and someone who is used to being managed. And I don’t just mean in the context of marriage or romantic relationships. Energy managers consistently, and almost predictably, end up in jobs, friendships, and other social commitments with people who need energy managing.
And if you are an energy manager, you definitely know that the exhaustion of a typical day is only multiplied by the number of relationships you have: You wake up extra early to make sure your kids and your husband/partner/wife have everything they need from you to start their days in good moods. Then it’s minimal time to put yourself together how you want, because pronto-pronto you have to head off to work, where the other people in your office need to be energy-managed so that the boss doesn’t get surly. You do this all day at work, while fielding texts from your sister who is annoyed at your mom, who is simultaneously texting you about your sister and her deadbeat boyfriend. Hop in the car, drive home, and — even though you’re starving and your head is pounding from tension — take the dog for his walk so your husband doesn’t have to do it, so that he doesn’t come back and chastise the kids, who will surely fall apart in front of him and then guess who gets to clean up that emotional haz-mat spill? YOU!
I mean, my god. I am exhausted and worked-up just typing that.
Why Do Energy Managers Go to All the Trouble?
Energy managers, I’ve found after nearly a decade of working with them, often are empaths. As such, their logic goes something like this: If I can prevent conflict, if I can prevent a situation that will cause someone else to be upset or in a bad mood, then really I am protecting myself. After all, an empath feels the other person’s mood like it’s their own.
If you are an empath, and someone in your energy space gets upset, you can almost see the energy change. If people are around, you can feel their discomfort. It’s a lot.
Feeling Like There Is No Relief from Their Duties
This is why every last one of my energy managers is exhausted right now — soul tired . Since before the pandemic, even, there has been an elevated degree of intra-humanity conflict in the world, and to us empaths, those feelings are palpable. It feels as if there is no resolution, no respite. These are horrible feelings to be filled with day and night without stop.
Then, we all stayed home for two years and had to manage the energy in our homes without having the escape that busy-ness provides. Yyyyyyyikes.
There was no escape, there is no escape, and it feels like there may be no escape anytime soon. Can I get a ffffuuuuuuuck!
Gorgeous soul, you need to unlearn the thinking that got you to this place.
Good News: You Are the Solution
The reason I told all those women with neurodivergent partners to stop focusing on their relationships and switch the focus to themselves is because I knew, even way back then, that this pattern never changes if you don’t stop energy managing.
If you don’t learn how to set energetic boundaries for yourself you will always — and I mean, always — feel the need to hyper-vigilantly protect your universe from danger. You will always — and I fuckin mean, always — feel this burnt-out, horrible, deep-in-your-soul exhaustion.
If you don’t learn how to feel — if you don’t learn to recognize and make room for your own feelings, instead of avoiding them or numbing yourself out — you will forever feel like a victim to other people’s moods. That is true whether it’s your partner, your parent, your child, your boss, your best friend — hell, your parrot.
Energy Managing Is a Learned Mindset
This mindset is LEARNED. Energy managers learned at a young age that they can either be seen or they can be safe. As people, and as the de facto culmination of the evolution of our species, we are wired to pick safe, every time.
Energy managing is not who you are. It is a skill you learned to keep you safe.
Understand this difference, because it will change your life: Energy managing is not who you are. It is a skill you learned to keep you safe.
But it’s not keeping you safe anymore.
It’s keeping you small.
It’s keeping you stuck.
Keeping you exhausted and overwhelmed and resentful.
Keeping your relationships superficial and surface-level.
It is blocking you from manifesting the life you want.
The Calm AF Process: How to Recover from Energy Manager Mindset
There is no mindset so ingrained that you can’t course-correct, regardless of your age or your station in life. There is a proven method, though, and it is the Calm AF process:
1. Unlearn the thoughts and stories that keep you stuck in the role.
Ask yourself, “What are the stories I’ve been taught about my emotions and the emotions of other people?” Those stories may have kept you safe at one time, but they definitely are not serving you anymore — in fact, they are now working against you.
2. Remember who you are WITHOUT these stories.
If you didn’t have to energy manage, if you weren’t walking on eggshells, if you weren’t hyper vigilantly thinking 10, 20 steps ahead to make sure this person doesn’t say this thing to this person to upset them….who would you even BE?
3. Rewire Your Mind for a New and Better Story.
Rewrite your story where you are empowered, where you are not responsible for everyone else’s moods and feelings and then REWIRE the thoughts that support that story.
I *love* the Integrate phase of the Calm AF process. Here, your new story becomes the more efficient neural pathway that your brain will choose automatically, as a natural reflex (neuroplasticity!). In other words, in time and with deliberate practice, you become that better story.
Keep in mind that the MOST important part of this process is learning a WHOLE new way to think about and interact with your feelings. You are, in essence, changing your relationship with feelings.
We energy managers like to think that we’re SUPER emotionally intelligent. We believe that no one can read a room like we do, that no one can control a room or a person or a family like us.
But when it comes to our OWN feelings? “Umm, yeah, I’m too busy dealing with everyone else’s, thank you very much.”
You’ve spent your entire life looking at OTHER people’s feelings, solving for other people’s moods, that you have spent almost no time dealing with your own. And aren’t yours the only ones that truly matter?
The Big Myth of Negative Feelings
Negative feelings don’t feel safe, so you do whatever you need to do to avoid them. But when you learn that feelings are simply temporary sensations felt in the body and NOT the dangerous emergency your story has told you, then you won’t be afraid of them anymore.
And if you are not afraid of your feelings, you won’t need to manage other people’s feelings.
You can simply let them feel their feelings. You can let them either get better at managing their emotions, or not. It can ultimately lie with them, not with you. (Go ahead, breathe a huge sigh of relief. That’s what this sentence was for.)
Most of us aren’t taught how to process feelings; we’re taught how to avoid them. So, if all of this is sounding super familiar, please know this: it is not your fault. But. If you want to stop feeling exhausted, overwhelmed, resentful and like it’s never going to end unless the people in your life magically become emotionally mature…then you’ve GOT to learn how to feel your feelings.
Rewiring Your Brain to Serve You Better
This is where we spend most of our time in Rewired AF, by the way. In fact, a few weeks ago, I was talking to an energy manager who wanted to work with me. Unfortunately, I have no more one-on-one space, and my next group is not happening until probably July. And I keep my groups small, in part because of the in-person retreat that kicks everything off.
So I started thinking…You know what would be fun? If I could do a hybrid…like part class, part workshop, part coaching — specifically for the people pleaser / energy managers.
Here’s how it’s shaping up:
Weekly classes where I will teach you ALL the things to STOP the pattern of energy managing.
The entire Calm AF process, the unlearning and the rewiring will be taught, we’ll talk neurodiverse relationships, I’ll bring in Dave for some insight from his brain.
I’ll teach you boundaries INCLUDING energetic boundaries for the empaths.
I’ll teach you the process I created to help my clients feel their feelings…I call it the Feelings Room….my clients LOVE it. I noticed the fear to feel was often coming from the But HOW? So I made it into a process with steps and guidelines.
I’ll teach you how to take your time and your life back through intentional time blocking.
How to feel ALIVE while you’re alive.
Listen…this program has been grabbing me by the cheeks to create it. This is the energy my BEST work…the most MAGIC comes from. You don’t want to miss it.
OH and if you join before May 4th we will send you an amazing Swag Bag…a Calm AF tote bag with a Calm AF notebook and a water bottle and other fun things I can fit in the box. That’s what she said.
All of your questions are answered in the email you’ll get when you click the link, so make sure you do that! Next week we’ll go even DEEPER into energy managers and how to feel those feelings.
Love you so much!
– AND –
If you love this show, you can help spread the love by leaving a review online, wherever you listen to it. I read all of them and it just makes my day. Just click your favorite icon and share what you enjoy about Calm AF!
And if you want to dig deeper and work with a coach who’s GOT YOU, contact me to set up a free consult or to apply for my exclusive coaching program, Rewired AF. I love working with people who are hard on themselves, the over-thinkers, people pleasers, perfectionists, and overachievers. Any of this ringing your bell? I’d love to hear from you!