definition of an energy vampire: a person who sucks the emotional, physical, and/or spiritual energy from another person.
So who are these energy vampires? They are friends, co-workers, even family, that leave us feeling depleted of energy. These are the people who always have a lot of time to talk about their problems, but, oddly enough, don’t have a minute to spare when it comes to listening to our issues. And boy, do these suckers usually have a lot of problems!
Most, if not all, of us have come in contact with at least one energy vampire in our lives. For those of you who can spot one a mile away and avoid them like the plague, my hat goes off to you. For the rest of us, I’ve categorized energy vampires so you can spot one more easily and avoid falling prey to their drama.
1. Reality Show Vampires
These people live lives that could easily be material for a reality show. Not only do they have drama in their lives, but they like that they have drama. They cravedrama. For them, chaos is normalcy. These energy suckers are usually very impulsive and live their lives by the motto “act now, think later.” They will always jump from one controversy to another. If you know one of these people…run. Quickly!
2. Lifetime Movie Vampires
You know all those cheesy, (I-can’t-believe-this-is-) based-on-a-real-story movies you see on Lifetime? If you know someone whose life situations could be the actual basis for one of these movies, you’re probably looking at an energy vampire. I’m not saying weird things don’t happen to people. But weird things usually always happen to energy vampires and they’re going to tell you all about it.
3. Dr. Phil Vampires
These energy vampires have problems that could easily land them on Dr. Phil, and their episodes could probably be two-parters. These people will always talk about their problems as if they want to find solutions, but they really don’t. What they want to do is vent. And vent…and then vent some more. These are often the people who ask you for advice, but don’t fool yourself into thinking they’ll take it. They just want to keep the conversation focused on them.
4. Mean Girls Vampires
Now these are your really nasty vampires. They are the family and friends you have that suck the life out of you through the use of covert invalidation. In fact, another word for them is “invalidator.” They’re rude, but sneaky about it. These are the people who will tell you your house would be a perfect choice to be on one of those home shows…the ones where someone comes in and organizes all your junk. Or, they’ll tell you how great you look…for someone your size. They suck your energy by making you feel really bad, but they do so in a way that, if you call them out, you’re the one who looks like a jerk (while they act wounded when you confront them).
Sometimes people don’t show their true colors until after they’ve sunk their teeth in real good. However, there are usually some early warning signs to look for, such as:
You feel stressed or outright bad after talking with this person.
You do 90% of the listening.
This person rarely asks you about you, and only then does so in a disinterested fashion.
You don’t feel comfortable talking about yourself with this person.
You are this person’s crisis counselor and the person’s crisis starts to seem never-ending.
This person seems to get along with few people and has multiple falling-outs with others.
For these relationships, good boundaries are the key.
When you do spot an energy vampire, it’s really important to not let them close enough to suck you dry. If it’s friends or acquaintances, you often have the option of not getting into a relationship with that person or at least of ending it. If it’s family or even co-workers, it can be a bit trickier. For these relationships, good boundaries are the key. Maintain these relationships at arms’ length, without getting close enough for these people to latch onto you and drain you dry.
Remember that healthy relationships are give-and-take. In any friendship, sometimes one person will need to talk more than the other, but if you find over a period of time that you’re dealing with someone who can only take (and never give), it’s time to make yourself a priority and walk away.
Do you have an energy vampire in your life? I would love to hear how you deal with those pesky suckers.