It’s important to kick off this information by stating that it’s been my personal experience that MOST energy vampires have NO IDEA that they are energy vampires and therefore don’t realize they are stealing and draining your energy. Nonetheless, protection is still necessary.
Understanding this about energy vampires makes it even more important for YOU to understand what’s happening, how to handle it, and be proactive in your ability to manage and protect your own energy.
You must be in the driver’s seat in every part of your life, because undoubtedly, energy vampires will enter your life at some point (if they aren’t already there).
You’ll know if you’ve been “hit” by energy vampire when you’ve experienced symptoms similar to the ones below AFTER you’ve encountered them:
- heavy eyelids and you’re suddenly ready for a nap
- your mood suddenly takes a turn for the worse
- you seek to binge on carbs or comfort foods
- you feel anxious, depressed, or unusually negative
- you feel put down (and then second guess yourself)
- sudden nausea or stomach ache
- tightness in the chest or shortness of breath
5 Type of Energy Vampires and How To Protect Yourself
1. The Narcissist
In "me first" mode, everything is quite literally all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, hog attention, and crave admiration (especially from the loyal empath). They're dangerous because they lack empathy and have a limited capacity for unconditional love. If you don't do things their way, they become punishing, withholding, or cold and aren’t afraid to express it to the empath…even blaming them.
Protecting Yourself: Be realistic about what you can expect from narcissists (which is next to nothing), they are are emotionally unavailable (even if they’ve shown you a tender side of themselves…BEWARE). Never expect them to love without strings attached. Never make your self-worth dependent on them. Never confide your deepest feelings to them (it’ll backfire on you). To successfully communicate with them, you must show how something will be to their benefit, which means constructing planned conversations that lend to massive energy drains (in the form of ego stroking). However, if you can’t avoid the narcissist, Dr. Orloff, recommends that this approach works best.
2. The Victim
These energy vampires grate on you with their "poor-me" attitude. The world is against them and they blame everything and everyone else and it's the reason for their unhappiness. Offering a solution to their problems may result in them saying, "Yes, but..." There’s almost always a “but”…because success isn’t what the victim wants. They choose to live in misery and the attention they get from being a victim. Screen your calls and avoiding them. Period. As a friend (if that’s what you want to call them), you may want to help, but their tales of woe will eventually overwhelm and drain you.
Protecting Yourself: Kindly set firm limits. Listen but also clearly express that solutions must be a part of conversation, if they want to continue to talk with you. If this is a co-worker, sympathize by saying something like, "I'll keep positive thoughts that everything goes your way." Express you have time constraints in your work day (after all, they are not your first priority at work, are they?). Try using body language that signal cues like "This isn't a good time," by crossing your arms and breaking eye contact. You can also stand up as soon they enter your office or work space to signify, “don’t get too comfortable sitting down for a chat.”
3. The Controller
These people obsessively attempt to control you and dictate how you're supposed to be and feel. Opinion about everything are never in short supply. They'll control you by invalidating your emotions when your emotions don't fit into their own set of rules. They often start sentences with "You know what you need?" or “You know what your problem is?” or “You know what’s wrong with you?” and then proceed to tell you. You end up feeling dominated, demeaned, or put down.
Protecting Yourself: Simply put, never try to control a controller. Why? Practice being more healthily assertive, without telling them what to do. You can say, "I value your advice, thank you.” That’s it and trust your own instinct from there. If you recognize you have a controller around you, it’s best not to go to them in the first place seeking advice. Practice more confidence, and don't play the victim role, yourself.
4. The Constant Talker
Constant talkers aren't interested in your feelings. They’re only concerned with themselves. You find yourself waiting for an opening to get a word in edgewise—but it never comes. You may experience that they physically move in so close that they're practically breathing on you. As you edge backwards—they step even closer.
Protecting Yourself: Constant talkers have NO CLUE how to read nonverbal cues. Interrupting them is the only way to get through. Here is where white lies are OK according to Dr. Offoff. Politely say something like, "I hate to interrupt, but I have to talk to these other people or, get to an appointment or, go to the bathroom." (It's a much more constructive tactic than saying, “shut up, you're driving me nuts!") When the constant talker is a family member, try a more constructive and neutral approach like, "I'd love it if you allowed me some time to talk, too so that I can add to the conversation." If you stay neutral, you’ll more likely be heard and even set better expectations and experiences with future conversations with them.
5. The Drama Queen
Ever heard this expression, “Making a mountain out of molehill?” These people have a talent for taking small incidents and turning them into off-the-chart DRAMA. There is always something and it’s always DRAMATIC. After continuous encounters with them, you’ll feel used up and drained.
Protecting Yourself: A drama queen can't draw energy from a place of balance, peace, and calm. Take a few deep breaths and help yourself get to that place of calm, first. Do the best you can NOT to get caught up in the drama. If you have to work and manage people like this, be clear about what you expect and follow through with what you say, what you expect, and practice boundary setting.
Conclusion and Moving Forward
Empath or not, all of us have energy vampires enter our lives from time to time. Some stay longer than you’d like but it’s manageable when you stay on top of how YOU feel day-to-day and practice the protection techniques.
Improve your relationships and increase your energy level, by taking an inventory of people who give you energy and those who drain your energy.
Invest time with the loving, nurturing people (and love and nurture them in return), and learn to set limits with those who drain you. This will certainly enhance the quality of your life and create space for more of the kinds of relationships you desire and deserve.
Reference and Resources
This article comes from the information resourced and authored by Dr. Judith Orloff.
Dr. Orloff, is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at UCLA, who has helped patients find emotional freedom for over 20 years. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality to achieve physical and emotional healing.
Dr. Orloff passionately asserts that we have the power to transform negative emotions and achieve inner peace.
Please be sure to read her book, Emotional Freedom
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About the writer, Maria Flynn