How To Identify And Protect Yourself From An Emotional Vampire

Posted: November 3, 2015

When someone drains you each time, it might be that you are a victim of an emotional vampire. Here is how to identify and protect oneself from one. 

Long back, in the long summer afternoons of my childhood my grandfather had something to say to my father. He said, “Not everyone is worth every gift.” My father was a very kind man. His goodness, came back to harm him. Even in your goodness, you need to be wise. You should not be good to a fault. This is how I see my father now.

Born in a middle class Indian family in a small town, we were taught to be kind, polite and giving, like many girls in India. Saying ‘No’ was a bad thing. We were taught to ‘get along’ with people. We were so conditioned to mix with the crowd, that sometimes we forgot to draw lines, somewhere we compromised on self care. And this led to bearing with the emotional vampires.

So, who is an emotional vampire? To answer this question, tell me, when was the last time a meeting or a conversation with someone left you drained or fatigued? Also, it could be that, you had a headache or felt really low. Was it today, yesterday or just last week? If you are living in the same world as I am, I am sure, there is someone in your environment, who does it to you. That person does not need to be a stranger; it could be anyone, friend, lover, spouse, boss or a family.

That one person who drains you out of all your energy can be termed as an “Emotional Vampire.” It’s like we all have a mix of positive and negative energies. Emotional Vampires are higher on the negative side, so they end up taking up your positive energy to function.

I personally have been victim majorly. Ofcourse I was at fault, because emotional vampires thrive on your attention, which I provided. Also, my fear or the guilt of being the bad person did the trick. Saying NO was not a part of my vocabulary.

It took me long, to really recognize the harm, these people really meant no good to me. They constantly drained me through their presence. I had this friend, whom I met just a couple of years back. The vampiring began from then on. It was always about her problems. And years passed, but her problems will stay the same. The thing with emotional vampires is that they need to be the centre of attention. Remember it is ALWAYS about them. They will crib, cry, fall, scream or shout. But the bottom line remains the same. They thrive in your attention.

Emotional Vampires can be of five types:

The Narcissist: This type of people can’t see anything beyond themselves. It’s always about me, me and me. They have very limited capacity to love or connect to the other person.

The Victim: This kind will always have all sob stories about them. Nothing good ever happens to them. People always hurt them. No matter what you do to help them, they are always the hurt party. Remember pain is there comfort zone.

The Drama Queen: They create mountains out of mole heels. They create huge scenes out of ordinary situations and makes sure that the attention just stays on them

The Criticizer: This person always seems not to like anything about you. No matter how hard you try, this person has that special quality of not liking anything about you. This person can absolutely, make you doubt yourself, if you tend to stay for real long.

The Controller: This person needs to control everything about you. From what you do to how you should feel. This person is dangerous of all.

But the most common thing about all of them is that they will drain your energy, you will walk out as a tired person, feeling low.

Now, how to protect yourself from them. The first thumb rule is not to give them attention. That is there drug. They thrive on it. Also, when an Emotional drainer comes to you, changing the conversation to something positive about yourself always works. However, if you think that nothing is really working, detaching yourself from the person is the best antidote.

Yes, relationships are fluid and its changing. People change, but until then keep yourself safe and healthy. I learn it the hard way, that the healthiest way to live a life is to be surrounded by positive people who mean your good. WE become like people we attach ourselves with. Yes, helping others is a great thing, but remember emotional vampires rarely help themselves. Unless and until a person takes responsibility about one selves, you cannot help that person. It’s foolish to stay in places where you are not nurtured. Draining yourself for someone is an act of injustice. You as a human being can fuel someone’s change, but you cannot become the change in someone’s life.

Next time, you feel drained after being with someone, have a minute with yourself, you might be with an Emotional Vampire. In my personal experience, your well being is not their priority and you do not deserve to be someone else’s toxic dump. Stop tolerating these self-harms. You deserve better.

As Iyanla Vanzant would say, “When you know something or someone in your life is unhealthy or unproductive, that you have grown beyond where they are and where they want to keep you, you must let go. If you tell yourself you do not see it when you do, or if you tell yourself it will get better, you are not being honest with yourself. Stop trying to fix things or change things. Simply let go.”

Hope you make the best choices for yourself, for no one deserves your best as much as you do.

Cover image via Shutterstock

Proud Indian. Senior Writer at Women's Web. Columnist. Book Reviewer. Street Theatre - Aatish. Dreamer.

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