Do you know that one person that always leaves you feeling exhausted and drained, even physically ill? There is simply something wrong with them, and you can’t figure out what. The only thing you know is you want to avoid them, and it makes you feel guilty.
The chances are, you’ve come across an energy vampire.
They won’t suck your blood like their better-known relatives but can be equally bad for you. Here’s how to recognize them and how to deal with them.
What exactly is an energy vampire?
An energy vampire is a person that feeds on your emotional energy. The main trait of this type of person is the ability to make a giant impact on other people’s mood and psychical state. They crave attention, overwhelm you with their problems and the injustices that other people always do to them, and leave you emotionally and physically exhausted. Even if you recognize how bad every interaction with them makes you feel, they’ll manipulate you into feeling guilty, and you probably won’t do anything to stop them.
Some similarities with several personality disorders do exist, but being an energy vampire is not one. There’s nothing wrong with how the brains of this kind of people function, and you won’t find such a diagnosis in any psychiatric textbook or classification. But even though it is not considered a disorder itself, ‘energy vampirism’ may come in a package with actual psychiatric conditions, for example, narcissistic personality disorder, or psychopathy.
The traits of an energy vampire are more like learned wrong behaviour. This dramatic, self-centred, and manipulative thinking and acting is often adopted or inherited from a parent. Energy vampires are addicted to the attention that they get from it. Some vampires behave so on purpose, but many of them are unaware of the terrible impact they make on other people. They are even willing to change when their wrong behaviour is pointed out.
Types of energy vampires
All the energy vampires affect your mood terribly, but the way they do it, and their character traits vary considerably. Here are listed some of the most common types of energy vampires out there.
This type of energy vampire is self-centred. Everything is always about them, and their wishes and needs always come before everyone else’s. They don’t show understanding, and they feel no empathy for other people – all they see are themselves.
Narcissist vampires will expect you to put them in the first place too. They will try to manipulate you into meeting their needs before your own. Being admired and being important is what they enjoy the most. They will play different psychological games to gain power and control over you, which will make you feel helpless and disempowered.
The Drama Queen
There’s always some drama going on in their life. Just as one dramatic situation ends, another one begins, and they’re always victims of circumstances. It’s simply unbelievable that so many things can happen to a single person.
And they don’t. The thing is, none of the drama in their lives is real. They create it themselves, with their tendency to amplify the importance and severity of every event in their life. The reason for this is usually the lack of actual events in their lives, though sometimes all the fake drama is there for them to escape from the real problems.
If they’ve been single for a while, they’re dying alone. If they have a headache today, it must be a brain tumour. And if you happen to be the audience for their melodrama, you’re going to end up feeling all negative. That negative energy that all their drama produces is exactly what they feed on and what they’re addicted to.
The victim vampire is always poor and suffering. What’s worse, it is other people who are to blame for that. There’s nothing they can do to change anything in their lives – except to self-pity.
This vampire is a person with very low self-esteem, who doesn’t take responsibility for the things happening in their lives. They won’t do anything themselves to solve their problems – instead, they’ll find someone else to blame for everything. That way, the only thing left for them is to be miserable.
Due to the low self-esteem and the need for love and approval, these vampires will want to gain empathy by making you feel guilty and pitying them. They will manipulate and emotionally blackmail until they have the attention they need.
Where do you find them?
The answer is simple, you don’t find them, but they find you. Energy vampires prey on their victims. If you’re a kind, compassionate person, that is willing to listen and has trouble setting boundaries in relationships with other people, you’re a perfect victim for an energy vampire. Though other people can be victims too, people like this are more easily manipulated and tricked into feeling guilty. This guilt and the general incapacity to set proper boundaries will stop them from cutting the energy vampire off.
A working colleague, a family member, a friend, an acquaintance – anyone can be an energy vampire. It is best to exclude them from your life, but it is not always possible. This is why it is important to recognize and block their toxic behaviour before they drain all your energy.
How can I tell if someone is an energy vampire?
Think of a person in your life that you want to avoid for no particular reason. A person that never did anything nasty to you, so you feel guilty over wanting to avoid them, but you can’t help it. Being around them makes you feel negative, overwhelmed, stressed, and nervous. You find yourself in the vicious circle of this need to avoid them, feeling guilty and then spending time with them anyway to compensate for that guilt.
That person is most likely an energy vampire.
Energy vampires are usually overly dramatic people, who perceive minor problems and events as catastrophic. Anything bad that can happen will happen to them, and they’ll expect you to listen and absorb all the drama that they’ll overwhelm you with.
However, none of that is ever their fault or a thing they can do anything about. They won’t take responsibility for their lives, and they will always blame other people for everything. They may use you to complain about the injustice and harm that other people did to them, or they can even make you the culprit!
Just like they’re never guilty for anything bad that happens, they’ll try to take credits for anything good. Whatever you did, they did more and better. They always know everything better than you and everyone else. Their constant one-upping you will drive you mad. They may use every opportunity to point your mistakes and faults out, to the point of bullying.
Energy vampires live in a self-centred world. Their problems are bigger and more important than everyone else’s, they’re better than everyone else, impeccable, and always a victim. The world revolves around them.
The behaviour of energy vampires arises from their insecurity, emptiness, and low self-esteem. They’re hungry for attention, empathy, and approval, but the way they get this is ruinous for people surrounding them. They can’t, or don’t want to see how bad of an impact they make on other people’s mood and energy.
Coping with energy vampires
Energy vampires can be very charismatic, and with their tendencies to manipulate, emotionally blackmail and guilt-trip, it is difficult to cope with them. On the other hand, spending time with them and their drama can make you feel sick, so it is useful to adopt some tips on how to block them.
Cutting off contact with energy vampires is the best solution. However, it is not always possible, as an energy vampire can be a close family member or someone you work with. In that case, avoiding them as much as possible could be an adequate alternative. Text them instead of talking on the phone, limit the time you spend with them and don’t feel guilty over that. There is no reason to let them jeopardize your health and well-being.
Try to set some boundaries. Limit seeing them in places and situations where you know they’ll tire and annoy you. For example, if you’re not comfortable with going out for a coffee with them, don’t do it. Learn how to politely say ‘no’, or offer an excuse. Sometimes saying you’re tired will be sufficient – if you’re already out of energy they could use, they’ll move on to another victim.
Keep in mind what energy vampires feed on, so don’t give your energy to them. Try to be neutral when interacting with an energy vampire. Don’t let yourself get emotional or upset over their drama. Be like a grey rock. Limit the eye contact, speak as little as possible, and refrain from asking abundant questions – if you show interest, they’ll talk more and more until they suck you dry.
If your energy vampire is someone you care about, point them their toxic behaviour out. Tell them why it’s wrong, and how it makes you feel. They are humans too, and they’re often unaware of what they do to other people. If they’re willing to change, you can work together on fixing the problem.
Of course, all of this is easier said than done. But start with small steps and gradually build your resistance toward energy vampires, until they’re no harm to you.
Energy vampires aren’t monsters; they are insecure and emotionally immature people that solve these problems in the wrong way. Their state is not permanent; they can mature and learn to take responsibility over time.
However, they have no right to use your energy and mistreat you. Your well-being must be your priority, so set clear boundaries and protect yourself from their bad impact.