They will suck the life out of you. The greatest energy drain comes from relationships. Some relationships are positive and improve mood. Others can suck your optimism and serenity.
They do more than drain your physical energy. The clever ones can make you believe that you are unworthy and unlovable. Others do damage with smaller digs to make you feel bad about yourself: “Dear, I see you have gained a few pounds” or “You are too sensitive!” Just like that, they distracted you by pushing your shaky self-esteem areas.
There are five signs that you have encountered an emotional vampire in your relationships, be it a romantic relationship, a friendship or even in your family.
- Your eyelids are heavy and you feel ready for a nap.
- Your mood is off.
- You want to consume carbohydrates or comfort foods.
- You feel anxious, depressed or negative.
- You feel like you are put down.
To protect your energy, it is important to fight against these people. The following strategies can help you identify and fight emotional vampires. Let’s take a look at the 5 types of emotional vampires and how you can protect yourself:
1. The narcissist vampire:
Their motto is “Me first”. Everything revolves around them. They have a grand sense of self-importance and law, want attention and admiration. They are dangerous because they lack empathy and have a limited capacity for unconditional love. If you don’t do it their way, they become arduous, withholding or cold.
How to protect yourself: keep your expectations realistic. They are emotionally limited people. Try not to fall in love with one or expect them to be altruistic or to love unconditionally. Never depend on your self-esteem on them and do not share your deepest feelings with them.
To communicate successfully, the hard truth is that you have to show how something will benefit them. While it’s best not to have to deal with this tedious ego stroking if the relationship is inevitable, this approach works.
2. The victim vampire:
These vampires annoy you with the attitude of “poor me”. The world is against them and that is the reason for their dissatisfaction. When you offer a solution to their problems, they say, “Yes, but …” Ultimately, you may end up screening your calls or deliberately avoiding them. As a friend, you may want to help, but their unhappy stories overwhelm you.
How to protect yourself: set nice but firm limits. Listen briefly to the friend or relative, then say, “I love you, but I can only listen for a few minutes unless you want to discuss solutions.” With a colleague, sympathize by saying, “I will continue to have good thoughts to make things better.” Then add: “I hope you understand, but I’m on schedule and have to get back to work.”
Body language that shows that “This is not the right time,” such as crossing your arms and breaking eye contact, can help enforce these healthy boundaries.
3. The controller vampire:
These people are obsessively trying to control you and dictate what you are supposed to be and feel. They have an opinion on everything. They will control you by invalidating your emotions when they do not fit into their own rulebook.
They often start sentences with “Do you know what you need?” then go on to tell you. You end up feeling dominated, demeaned or put down.
How to protect yourself: The secret to success is never to try to control a controller. Be assertive, but don’t tell them what to do. You can say, “I appreciate your advice, but I really need to resolve this myself.” Be confident and don’t play the victim.
4. The constant talker vampire:
These people are not interested in your feelings. They only care about themselves. You can wait for an opening to enter say a word but that doesn’t happen. Or they could get physically so close that they practically breathe on you. You step back, but they get closer.
How to protect yourself: these people do not respond to non-verbal signals. You must speak and interrupt, as hard as it can be. Listen for a few minutes, then say politely, “I hate interrupting you, but I have to talk to these other people / go to an appointment / go to the bathroom.” (It’s a much more constructive tactic than saying, “Stay quiet, you’re driving me crazy!”)
If it is a family member, say politely, “I would love you to give me time to speak so that I can add to the conversation.” If you say that in a neutral way, it can be better understood.
5. The drama queen vampire:
These people have a flair for petty incidents in off-the-charts dramas. My patient Sarah was exhausted when she hired a new employee who was always late. One week, he got the flu and “almost died”. Then his car was towed again! Each time this employee left her office, Sarah felt tired and used.
How to protect yourself: a queen of drama cannot draw energy from equanimity. Stay calm and breathe deeply. This will help you not get caught up in histrionics. Set nice but firm boundaries. Say, for example, “You have to be here in time to keep your job. I’m sorry for all your mishaps, but work comes first.”
To improve your relationships and increase your energy level, I suggest you make a list of the people who give you energy and those who drain you. Try spending time with loving and caring people and learn to set boundaries with those who exhaust you. It will improve the quality of your life.