Emotional vampires, also known as psychic vampires, are emotionally immature individuals who drain the time and energy from those around them. They are usually highly self-interested and lack empathy. The relationships they form are largely self serving. I call these "draining people" emotional vampires. They do more than drain your physical energy. The worst ones can make you believe you're unworthy and unlovable.
Relationships are always an energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who saps it? It's important to be surrounded by supportive, loving people who make us feel safe and secure. It's equally important to pinpoint the emotional vampires, who, whether they intend to or not, suck our energy.
At first glance, energy vampires can seem highly attractive. They often are good-looking, bold, flamboyant or intelligent, and may appear to have a high opinion of you as indicated by their flattering attention. Drawing you into their inner circle may seem just the boost you need.
However, be aware that they are “grooming” you — setting you up to exploit you in whichever way best suits their purposes later. What seems quite innocent at first, such as finding a good friend, may lead you to compromise your ethics, morals and values against your will — maybe even breaking the law in due course. And because energy vampires are masters at avoiding responsibility, you could be the one who takes the blame when things go wrong.
To protect yourself, it's imperative to name and combat these emotional vampires. They're everywhere: coworkers, neighbors, family, and friends. In Energy Healing I've treated a revolving door of people who've been hit hard by drainers--truly a mental health epidemic that conventional medicine doesn't see! I'm shocked by how many of these "emotionally walking wounded" (ordinarily perceptive, intelligent individuals) have become resigned to anxiety or depression. Emotional draining is a touchy subject. We don't know how to tactfully address our needs without alienating others. The result: We get tongue-tied, or destructively passive. We ignore the SOS from our gut that screams, "Beware!" Or, shaking in our boots, we're so afraid of of appearing "aggressive" that we become martyrs in lieu of being respectfully assertive. We don't speak out because we don't want to be seen as "difficult" or uncaring.
Vampires do more than drain our physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you're an unworthy, unlovable person who doesn't deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage that's more of a slow burn. Smaller digs here and there can make you feel bad about yourself such as, I see that you've gained few pounds." In a flash, they've zapped you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth.
This is my take on emotional vampires: Their behavior are unacceptable; you must develop a successful plan for coping with them. I deeply believe that taking a stand against draining people is a form of self-care and self love that you must practice to give you freedom.
What turns someone into an emotional vampire? First, a psychological reason: children often mimic their parents' most unflattering traits. A self-absorbed mother/father can turn you into a self-absorbed son/daughter. Early modeling has impact. Studies of Holocaust survivors show that many became abusive parents themselves. The second explanation involves subtle energy. I've observed that childhood trauma--mistreatment, loss, parental alcoholism, illness--can weaken a person's energy field (aura). This energy leakage may condition those with such early wounds to draw on the vitality of others to compensate; it's not something most are aware of. Nevertheless, the effects can be extreme. Visualize an octopus-like tendril extending from their energy field and onto yours. Your intuition may register this as sadness, anger, fatigue, or anxiety. The degree of mood change or physical reaction may vary. A vampire's effects can stun like a sonic blast or make you slowly wilt. But it's the rare drainer that sets out to purposely enervate you. The majority act unconsciously, oblivious to being an emotional drain.
Let me tell you the secret of how a vampire operates so you can outsmart one. A vampire goes in for the kill by stirring up your emotions. Pushing your buttons throws you off center, which renders you easier to drain. Of all the emotional types, empaths are often the most devastated. However, certain emotional states increase everyone's vulnerability. I myself am most susceptible to emotional vampires when I feel desperate, exhausted, or dis-empowered.
Here are some others:
A victim mentality
Fear of asserting yourself
Addiction to people-pleasing
When encountering emotional vampires, see what you can learn too. It's your choice. You can simply feel tortured, resentful, and impotent. Or, as I try to do, ask yourself, "How can this interchange help me grow?" Every second of life, good, bad, or indifferent, is a chance to become emotionally freer and stronger.
Exercise 1: Determine If You Have an Emotional Vampire in Your Life
Anyone who has ever shared an office, carpool, or attended a family dinner with a vampire can attest to experiencing some common emotional side effects. Even after a brief contact, you feel worse; they feel better. To find out if you've been bled, watch for these signs.
You feel put down or like the rug was pulled out from under you
Your mood takes a nosedive
You have a desire to binge on comfort food
You feel sniped at or agitated
Have intuitive flashes or dreams
In addition, sometimes intuitive flashes and dreams can raise a red flag. Pay attention. Whether you're awake or asleep, notice telling imagery that conveys emotion. This will help you identify a vampire.
Take an inventory of the people in your life who are potential drainers. List all your key family members, friends and co-workers in the left hand column and check off if any of them have an adverse affect on you when in their company or on the phone. Experiencing even one of these effects indicates that person is a drain on the prowl. By doing this you become aware of who vibrates positive vibes and who doesn't.
Please feel free to share in the comments below if you've ever had an energy drainer and what you did to help yourself deal better. Looking forward to hearing from you!