Emotional Vampires or "When your friends suck."
Friends that suck, we’ve all had them at one time or another or maybe it is a family member that drains the life out of you. These people suck the fun out of everything. They enjoy gossiping about people, needling others, and in general draining all that is good out of life. They are narcissistic and hold onto grudges as if it they were part of their DNA.
Sometimes we can easily dismiss them, and sometimes they are part of our family. When they are a family member it is a most tenuous situation. It is sad because all they do is cause derision. They are always looking for ways to use others or situations to their advantage. Everything is fair game to them, and they will even resort to legal means to solve problems that really never existed to begin with. They always escalate situations to the point where everyone is miserable and then they play the victim. Does this sound familiar to you?
The lowest creatures
If so, you are in the company of one of the lowest creatures on Earth – The Emotional Vampire. Sometimes they are very nice and maybe even charismatic, but unfortunately these times are few and far between. People cringe when they have to invite them to functions and worry about how they will ruin the day. Will they say the wrong thing, bring up childhood embarrassments, or tell off your mother-in-law. Will they steal the day with their own agenda?
Yes, the emotional vampire is the drama queen. They are more often women than men. They more often than not dress very provocatively also, because they like sexual tension. They are jealous, and always looking for the reason you are successful and they are not. They always want to know what you’ve got that “they” do not, and then go about taking it from you. If they can’t take it from you then they will work on chipping away at your self-esteem. They will resort to almost any tactic to level their playing field.
They claim they want to be a better person, attend support groups, try yoga, releasing, or other forums for making emotionally healthy people even better individuals. The problem is the vampires never incorporate anything, except the jargon they have learned as a participant. They demonstrate no changes in their personal life or situations. As a matter of fact the more enlightened they think they become the worse they behave. For some reason they always take from these situations that it is because of others reactions to them that they are miserable. The answer is always outside of their behavior and they are never viewed in their own minds as the instigator or the core problem.
Emotional button pushers
You see to vampires sucking you dry gives them a kick. They get energized when they know they’ve pushed your buttons a bit. They are miserable and do not have the emotional strength to face their inner demons, so they must make you feel less for it so they can take some perceived power from you. They do not want you to be better than they are. They try to hold you back because they need for you to need them somehow. They will blackmail you with secrets they know about you to keep you in check. Really, these are low creatures. What happened when you were a kid shouldn’t be a topic of conversation outside of a family reunion thirty years later. If it is a current theme then you know this person cannot be trusted and really just wants to keep you stagnant and in place.
It would be easy for me to say to ditch these individuals but that is not always possible. If it is, by all means do. Sometimes though you must keep them around, but you can make them peripherals instead of headliners in your life. You must learn to keep them in their place.
You see once they start destroying their relationships which they do routinely, one by one, you are going to become more important to them. You may wind up being all they have left and that is the worst placement to be in. For now they can focus all that brain draining energy on you. You need to go into overdrive yourself now, and they know that. Even this little tidbit gives them a kick. They know they have a reputation (or they should unless they really are insane) and know now that you must be on high alert.
It is time for them to go into best friend mode and be all charismatic again. It won’t last though. They need to do things to piss you off. Invite them to a party and they will jump on buying the cheapest and least desirable of a high end item keeping someone of better means purchasing what the person really wants. Why do they do this? So you can insult them by returning their gift for the one you really wanted in the first place, but that they blocked others from getting for you. They are petty and this is how they roll. You are now the bad guy for being ungrateful. It isn’t fair, but that is not what they care about. They need to see you unhappy so they can feel better than you. They also have a grudge against you now never seeing that you were the one hurt here. That shoddy cheap gift was an insult, because most people try to impress people they care about. Their cheap gift is a very overt statement of how they do not think you deserve the best. They are trying to hold you back, and make others think less of you. They are very manipulative and cunning to say the least.
Oh, and when they need you, you had better be available or otherwise you are not a good friend, never mind you are ignored when you need their help. They will remind you of everything they ever did for you, and totally not acknowledge how they ignored you in the past. This is called bullying, but they do not see that. No adult needs this. If you could do it you would, but vampires badger you until you give in. You do it out of guilt and feel abused. The vampire is happy, because they got what they wanted and couldn’t careless that you feel battle scarred because of it. Everything they do is justified, and everything you have or haven’t done will be used against you when they decide it is in their best interests. You do not matter to them no matter what they say. Anyone they think has a better lot than them in life is secretly hated and resented.
When you are ill it is the vampire who will always inquire into how you are feeling. They pretend that they are acting out of concern by inquiring. I have a chronic condition but I am not my chronic condition, and therefore really do not enjoy talking about it. Talking about what is bad in our lives holds us back from what is good. Unless my health takes a real dive it is not what I focus on. Heck, most of the times I forget about it and just go about my day to day very happy.
Had a car accident, money problems, child problems, the vampire wants to know all the sordid details so she can get a charge out of you. She can feel good knowing you are now feeling miserable. This is how they roll. Getting you to talk about bad situations will leave you feeling worse. The vampire has once again succeeded in sucking the life out of you. They do not care about your situation. Hell no, they are getting off the phone and calling someone else to tell them all about what you just expressed in confidence to them. They are not trustworthy, and you just gave them some gossip to make them feel better about. They have news to spread and they are completely innocent because they just asked you out of concern. Remember this; small people talk about others.
There are male vampires too. Many of these like to play women against each other as they vie over his affections. Or, they are super competitive on the business front and never know when to quit. They abuse their underlings and keep them in check any way they know how. They are ruthless to the core, and usually have a Stepford wife making it easier for you to identify them.
Do you have emotional vampires in your life?
What can you do?
What happens when an emotional vampire is in your midst? Trouble with a capital “T” happens. Friendships are terminated, jobs lost, marriages destroyed, and siblings separated. Lawsuits brought against family members and business partners when the emotional vampire’s personal finances take a nosedive. Why shouldn’t the vampires problems become yours too? They have a very low moral compass and the stunts they pull can be mind blowing. As a friend or family member not involved it can be very hard not to identify with the victims of the vampire, but you of course must keep this to yourself or else you may face a similar fate. It is always a round robin of misery, drama, and negativity.
What can you do about the emotional vampires in your life? It really depends on who and where they are. If it is your boss I’d say you need to find a better job situation, if it is your mother-in-law then you need to try to rectify it. How many divorces are caused by emotional vampires? I bet many. When it is a close family member it is the most difficult. Sometimes drastic means are taken, but if it is for emotional or familial survival then by all means possible do it.
Turning the tables on them
If you are a victim I would suggest doing more research on this topic and seeing what other coping skills people have devised. I mentally “suit up” when I know I will be in the presence of a known vampire. I will be my own best friend starting way earlier in the day by giving myself kudos, and saying positive affirmations to myself thereby bolstering my self-esteem. On the car drive to meeting them I will tell myself how I know they like to push buttons, but how I am mentally and emotionally better than that and how I will not allow that to occur. They do not like it when they go for the knock-out punch and you can spar with them. Uh uh….now you are draining them. You not responding to their exploits makes the vampire think they are slipping or even worse that they have been found out. You have turned the tables so to speak and they do not like it. They are addicts and you are keeping them from their fix.
Emotional vampirism is a serious problem and it is also a trending topic in general. I imagine now that people are actually aspiring to this level whereas; in the past it was just purely in a person’s nature to be one. I do believe in most cases it is nature, but there are some people who are just drawn to deviance. I do believe it is deviant because I think many more people aspire to be liked, whereas the emotional vampire is merely tolerated.
I would very much like to know how others deal with the emotional vampires in their lives and I do appreciate your comments.