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How to Identify an Emotional Vampire

Updated on January 7, 2011

Understanding Emotional Vampires

When I first heard the term ‘emotional vampire’, I was intrigued by the idea. The term captured the experience of dealing with a particular class of people in our lives who live for emotional drama and often leave one feeling emotionally drained after interacting with them. The emotional vampire often looks for ‘nice’ people as their victims. They know that mean, angry or unstable people will not put up with their antics. Nice people often have a sense of decency and manners which are used against them by the emotional vampires.

Although they are ‘emotional’ vampires, and do not physically drain your blood, one still experiences the sense of emptiness after dealing with them. At times the experience has been described as ‘feeling hit by a tidal wave’. Although bad news can drain us when it is exceptionally bad or tragic, with emotional vampires, the drained sensation occurs routinely. I have also seen where the emotional drain of these persons impacts objects in the rooms they occupy. I have seen clocks slow down and even stop due to the emotional drain. It is not unusual for them to have problems with watches or anything mechanical due to the energy drain. Besides clocks, I have seen ceiling fans slowed down by their presence. The slowing down does not usually occur all at once, but rather gradually. Over time, you will notice that the life or energy of things around the vampires has been affected. In the movies, and novels about vampires, there are often no reflections, my own suspicion is that this is a novel way to address this energy drain. In the case of mirrors, it is the energy of the light waves that has been impacted.

Even energy companies have come to see the connection between vampires and energy.
Even energy companies have come to see the connection between vampires and energy.

The Habitat of Emotional Vampires

The movies often portray vampires as sleeping in coffins and being among the dead. My own experience is that the habitat of emotional vampires is often sterile and focuses on dead things as well. Their homes and apartments often remind people of funeral homes or morgues. Yes, I have seen some that even went so far as to keep the temperature down like a morgue as well. Their abodes have there are furniture and decorations, but there is a sense of lifelessness in their abodes. They often have pictures of dead people on the walls and keep the lights dim. Some even keep the remains or ashes of loved ones near to them. I have rarely seen an emotional vampire that uses fresh flowers in their habitat. They prefer the artificial or preserved ones. It is not by accident that the term the ‘undead’ is often applied to emotional vampires.

Even the color schemes of their homes have a dark or earthy feel. If they have music in their homes, it is often subdued and non-energizing. Bright colors are rarely seen, since they often bring with them a sense of liveliness. They may wear something bright on occasion, but their normal dress is often subdued.

Other Traits of Emotinal Vampires

The conversation of emotional vampires is also telling. On occasion they will talk about themselves. They prefer to talk about others and the horrid things that others are doing or happened to them. Within minutes of starting a conversation with them, there is a sense of fearfulness and dread. The talk of horrors has become a way of life for them. They often do not even realize how they talk badly about others or the fear their talk brings with it. At times, they may discuss heavy topics or something that is emotionally stimulating. During those times, they seem to thrive off of the victim’s emotional reactions rather than focusing on their reactions.

It is as if they tell you something stimulating so that they can enjoy the show, then suck you dry. If you begin to experience cheer or hopefulness, they will quickly change topics and find a way to ‘somber’ things up. They often want to be the center of attention, even though they do not talk about themselves. Sure they will give you their opinion on matters, but a careful listen to their conversation will reveal that their talk is seldom about them, unless it concerns their medical problems. In the case of medical problems or other morbid topics, they thrive. Emotional vampires have no problem bringing up the topic of death or morbidity at the dinner table.

Emotional vampires are often more solitary than other predatory types. They look for ‘nice’ people who feel sorry for them. The nice people often allow themselves to be drained by them just so that do not offend them. The emotional vampire uses threats, charm and guilt to ‘paralyze’ their victims. When people have been drained by these types, they often talk of feeling ‘numb’ or ‘paralyzed’ to the point that they could not say or do anything to stop the emotional vampire.

The emotional vampires are often very crafty. They tend to like planning and scheming. When they drain you, it is not out of innocence. They know when they have a person ‘under their influence’. Once people are under their influence, they are ‘exploited’. The emotional vampires often play with their victims emotions. The longer the victim is around, the better the emotional vampire gets in manipulating and controlling their victim.

These are some of the ways to identify an emotional vampire. As I continue researching the topic, I will share more. These signs will help you become aware of them and take the necessary steps to avoid them

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    • profile image


      6 years ago

      vampires r awesome

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i know alot of people that sound like an emotional vampire in family but i have never actually have known that they were vampires but i gues everyone has a little vampire in them and dont realize it

    • Sue St. Clair profile imageAUTHOR

      Sue St. Clair 

      7 years ago from I would rather be in Paris


      The term emotional vampire has power. When I came across it, it resonated with me, so it stuck. It has helped me understand those people who have literally sucked the life out of me and then wanted MORE!

      Your mother definitely sounds like one, right down to the selfish way of life, where all revolves around her. They are often not aware of others unless they are needed. Mine still cries and tries hooking back into her games.

      Being a mom with a mom and teens has you burning on both ends. Squeezed is the way I used to describe it.

      The guilt is what held me in until I saw how she destroyed my life, my children, my bank account and my marriage. She was not worth all that. No emotional vampire is worth the energy they suck out of us.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      My mother is an emotional vampire. There, I've said it! I often compared her to a vacuum, sucking the life out of me, but "emotional vampire," works! She's 62, but acts 80. Yes, she has health problems and is legally blind, but she should not be felt sorry for! She is addicted to pain killers, which I now must prepare her weekly medication box. She is a heavy smoker and does care about the countless holes in her carpets, clothes, bedding, her life or the lives around her (she lives in an apt.complex). She never asks for anything directly, always tries to guilt you into it. When she can't get in touch with me or goes for more than 1 day without talking to me, she is in tears, because I have abandoned her. I'm not sure how much longer I can do this. I am a single mom of 2 teens, work full time and need my own life. It is heartbreaking and so frustrating,all at the same time


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