How to deal with emotional vampires
An introduction to emotional vampires
Emotional vampires come in various shapes and sizes. Despite the several sub-types, one factor that they all have in common is that you feel emotionally drained after spending time with them. Besides feeling drained, they often take up your time and in some cases money as well. Emotional vampires tend to run in families. If you encounter one, you will want to avoid it and their family members as well.
Some emotional vampires have money. Those with money often use their money as a lure to entice you into their power. Once you are caught in their power they will take the life out of you. In the case of those with money, they will use your desire for money and greed as a way of keeping you in their clutches. They will use not only money, but also drugs, sex, secrets and anything else to have something on you in order to keep you in their control. “You owe me” is a frequently heard phrase coming from these types.
Some people use the term emotinal vampires. Other terms used are 'users' and 'takers'. We often have a sense about these types although there are different names for them depending on our experiences with them.
What are the types of emotional vampires?
The first type is the needy, helpless type. The needy persons often play the helpless role in an effort at getting you to take action. They often interact with a passive way of taking action. They ‘suggest’ or ‘ask’ for what they want from you. Sometimes it is direct, sometimes it is indirect. Whether direct or indirect, they know what they want. For example, if they want a glass of tea. They may make a comment that they are thirsty, or ask you for a glass of tea directly. When I think of this type I often see those large eyed cats that often look so pitiful and helpless.
Another type is the depressed vampire. These are the ones that move slowly. Sometimes they make sounds of struggle as part of their routine. They make every day look like it is a struggle for them. These are easily recognized. They often say very negative things and seem to energize themselves by cutting down and talking about others. They often have a long term frown on their face. When there is laughter it is often forced and almost a cackle rather than genuine belly-jostling laughter. Due to their extreme depressed mood, they often suck the life energy out of you and everything in the room. I have seen these types suck the life out of electric fans and other inanimate objects as well. You can feel these types when they enter a room.
The worst is the necrophilia type. This type is the depressed vampire on steroids. They take depression to a new low. This type does not enjoy life at all, They often talk about their losses, and surround themselves with somber music or even the lack of music. Their rooms are often morgue like, with photos and mementos of life that no longer exists. They items they have reminded them of their losses rather than the happy times they had. When they review their lives, they recall the mistakes, deaths and losses. They talk about death and how life itself is a struggle. If you listen to them, there are often themes of ‘revenge’ or talking about how people do not deserve things. It is this morbid aspect that separates them from the depressed type. Goths may look scary, but these types of persons actually do take the life and enjoyment of life out of you.
How to deal with them
1, Set boundaries. Know ahead of time how far you will go with people. Do not let them violate your boundaries. When they hook you into a crisis, they often violate your boundaries or force you to compromise so that the guilt from compromising your values can be used as leverage against you.
2. Pay attention to your gut feelings. If you gut tells you to stay away, listen to it. When you sense the draining of energy, do not ignore the sensation. The good Lord gave you those sensations in order to protect you from such types of people.
3. Learn how to turn away from guilt. When you can not be hooked, they do not have any power over you. Remember they only have the power that you give them. The more you give into them, the stronger the hold they have on you. Don’t feel guilty if they have hurt feelings.
4. Surround yourself with life and lively things. Listen to lively music dress lively and so forth. Make it a point to enjoy life. Since emotional vampires avoid life and liveliness like the plague, use it to re-energize yourself and keep them away. Rather than garlic, the thing that keeps away these types of vampires is liveliness.
5, Move a lot. Activities like dancing are invigorating. The despondency that often accompanies emotional vampires tends toward extreme passivity the antidote to that passivity is activity and lots of it.
What are their methods?
It is not unusual for emotional vampires to be in crisis and have ways of ‘hooking’ you into their crisis. Once hooked a kind of bonding takes place. Since you went through a crisis with them, they expect you to stay with them. You may hear themes of how only you could understand them, or how only you can help them. There will be other comments of how you are the exception to miserable world in which they live.
Besides crises, they often use crying episodes as another hook. The crying or threat of crying often creates guilt feelings in their victims. True guilt occurs when you violate a moral principle or law. In dealing with them you have broken no law or principle, they want you to feel like you owe them something. Some family structures used guilt as a motivator in raising their children. Children raised in such homes are often more vulnerable to these emotional vampire types.
Books I recommend
The account of my own personal struggle with my "emotional vampire" which happened to be my mother. Partly a struggle with meanness and partly a struggle with dementia. You can learn what worked and what did not work as my family and I struggled with her.