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Personal Development

Inspiration or Dehydration?
Be Aware of Emotional Vampires

“People inspire you, 
or they drain you, 
pick them 
Hans Froði Hansen”

Jacqueline A. HindsContributor
Be Aware of Emotional Vampires
Jacqueline A. Hinds

Jacqueline A. Hinds

Have you ever been in conversation with someone and, by the time you have finished speaking with them, you feel so inspired and full of ideas that you are buzzing for the rest of the day?

Okay, so, here’s another question…

Have you ever been in conversation with someone and, by the time you finish speaking with them all you want to do is go home and dive straight under the duvet and sleep because you’re exhausted?

Can anyone relate to this? Well, on the latter question, I’m afraid to inform you that you’ve been bitten by an emotional (or energy) vampire!

Yes, you heard me correctly, and yes, they do exist! They come in many forms, a friend, loved one, work colleague, boss – the list is endless.

Some of your family, friends and colleagues in the workplace will make you feel positive and elevate your mood and overall disposition, whereas others will suck the optimism and serenity right out of you, disturbing your equilibrium in the process!

Inspiration or Dehydration?
Be Aware of Emotional Vampires Jacqueline A. Hinds – July 2023

Energy vampires do more than drain your physical energy, your emotional and spiritual energy gets knocked and let’s not forget there are the super malignant emotional vampires who will gaslight you, making you feel that you are not good enough in whatever goals and aspirations you may share with them.

These individual(s), feel no remorse whatsoever in giving your self-esteem a good battering.

This brings us to the more super subtle emotional vampire.

These individuals will inflict damage by making smaller ‘digs’ which knocks the individual(s) confidence and self-esteem.

Their subtle approach doesn’t come across as damaging or vindictive at first, but the comment sits with the individual throwing them emotionally off centre.

You’re probably thinking how one can tell if someone is an emotional vampire.

Well, think about some conversations you may have had in the past, with someone, be it friend, work colleague or loved one.

During your conversation with them, your eyelids are feeling heavy, and you have an overwhelming urge to sleep, or after your conversation with them you start to feel a bit moody, and your equilibrium takes a nosedive.

In some cases, the individual demands and commands your nonstop attention, and the conversation seems to be always centered around them.

Do not get me wrong, some emotional vampires are such lovely people, and come across as charming, charismatic with a ‘life-of-the-party’ personality, but the effects are draining after your encounters with them.

Inspiration or Dehydration?
Be Aware of Emotional Vampires Jacqueline A. Hinds – July 2023
Be Aware of Emotional Vampires

Be Aware of Emotional Vampires

What causes an emotional vampire?

Well, there are many things that can turn people into emotional vampires.

Some of the reasons why people develop energy-draining behaviours, could be a result of them suffering mental health conditions or, they may have certain attachment types, and there are some people who may be still reliving past trauma, which in some cases (due to stigma, culture or shame), may have gone untreated for a considerable time hence, wanting to ‘latch’ onto an empathetic and caring person who will listen to them.

There are many people, including empaths, who are more susceptible to being emotionally drained than others.

A frequent ‘lived experience’ of mine, and tell-tale sign for me that I’m being drained by an emotional vampire, is when I’m contacted by email in the first instance, with an invitation to have a ‘virtual’ coffee on Zoom or MS Teams or, I’m invited to have a conversation with them over the phone.

They may (or may not) outline what the subject matter is at the time but, will dive in and start the conversation on one subject matter, then the conversation will move onto another completely different subject matter.

It’s as if the individual came fully prepared with an agenda with items to cover! As an Emotional Intelligence coach and business owner, I am often approached by people wanting to frequently drink from my EQ well.

I’m approached because of the work I do within the Emotional Intelligence arena. So, I’m seen as and to a certain degree (if I allowed it), I’m treated as a public drinking fountain, where people will frequently come and drink deeply from my knowledge base!

On a few occasions, I have been left feeling completely drained, like my life-force has been sucked out of me! In the past, I have even gone straight to bed to sleep because I have felt so tired after the conversation, that I have to recharge my batteries, and sleep is the only solution.

To be honest, there have been moments of reflection, where I’ve felt like an ATM more so than a drinking fountain and I’m sure there are many of you who can relate to that statement.

I’m sure you can think of certain individual(s) in your lives, whether it’s within the working environment, your home life or that one friend you’ve known for years: you know the person I’m referring to; the one who’s always coming to you with issues or problems they want you to resolve.

These individual(s) will regularly ‘tap into you’ and withdraw frequently be it daily or weekly.

Funny thing is these individual(s) never seem to reciprocate in any way, and never seem to be available when you need support or just someone to talk to!

Here are some emotional vampire traits:

They don’t or won’t take accountability for their own actions or behaviours that may have triggered an issue or incident.

They are always involved in some kind of drama that needs someone else’s input (and energy) to resolve.

They are very much into one-upmanship and showboating.

They diminish your challenges and problems whilst ramping up and amplifying their own.

They are ever the martyr in whatever challenge, issues, or problem they bring.

They mistake kindness for a weakness, using your good nature against you.

They are adept at guilting you into doing things for them and/or issuing ultimatums when they feel you are not wholeheartedly buying into their plight.

How do you deal with an emotional vampire?

You must set clear and consistent boundaries with them, and whilst empathy can give you the stamina to deal with unavoidable emotional vampires, it does not mean that you should tolerate this type of behaviour, otherwise they will consistently be looking for weaknesses so they can continue to drain you.

Types of Emotional Vampires (EV):

EV #1: The Narcissist – whose motto is always ‘me first’, making everything about themselves. This emotional vampire may have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, hogging the attention in group settings, whilst consistently craving admiration.

These individual(s) lack empathy and have a limited capacity for unconditional love.

If things are not done their way, these individual(s) will punish, withhold themselves emotionally and physically and are cold in their demeanour.

Protecting yourself from EV #1: Keep your expectations realistic. These are emotionally limited individual(s), so try not to expect too much from them and never compromise your self-worth by consistently giving your time and energy to them if it is never reciprocated.

EV #2: The Victim – These individual(s) will always have a ‘poor me’ attitude and stance, never taking responsibility for their behaviours and acting as if the world is against them, causing their distress and unhappiness.

When offered a solution, this emotional vampire will always start a response with “Yes but…”. This is frustrating for you as a friend and supporter, but there is a limit that is reached and you may find yourself screening your calls to avoid speaking to them, and as a friend, you want to help them, but their consistent tales of woe is too overwhelming for you at times.

Protecting yourself from EV #2: Set kind but firm limits with this emotional vampire. Listen briefly to them and let them know at the outset that you can only spend a limited amount of time with them at this juncture.

If it is a colleague within the workplace, you can empathise with them and their situation, but let them know you have deadlines to meet in your work, and always leave them with your best wishes for them to resolve the issue or concern they have.

EV #3: The Controller – These individual(s) will obsessively try to control you and dictate what you’re supposed to do and, how you’re supposed feel. This emotional vampire will have an opinion about everything you say or do; invalidating your emotions if they don’t fit in line with their own thinking and actions.

These individuals will always ‘tell’ you what you need to do, leaving you feeling totally dominated, demeaned, or silenced by them. Protecting yourself from EV #3: Never try to control a controller!

Be assertive in your response to them, letting them know that you value their advice, but will take your time to work through the situation or problem yourself. Be confident, when responding to them, whilst at the same time, you are reasserting your authority over the conversation and topic.

EV #4: The Splitter – These individual(s) seem to have dual personalities. They will see things as good or bad and, will have a love/hate attitude in relationships; one minute you are the best thing since ‘sliced hard dough bread’, or you may be regarded as not a nice person to be around or trust, because you’ve offended or upset them in some way!

They will keep you on an emotional rollercoaster, where you feel you have to walk on eggshells around them.

They also have a somewhat sixth sense for knowing how to pit people against each other – lighting the blue touch paper so to speak and will retaliate if they feel you have wronged them in any way.

This mindset and typical behaviour is somewhat damaging for people who are involved with this emotional vampire. If hurt or offended by anyone, the emotional vampire may seek to damage the offender’s career or character by having a targeted approach with an innocent ‘coffee’ with their contacts and/or clients to drip-feed poison about the person into the conversation, spoiling the relationships or potential business for the offender.

Protecting yourself from EV #4: Stay calm, try not to react when this emotional vampire tries to press your buttons. They feed off anger, so this is what they will try to evoke from you at the outset.

It is best to have a structure and limit setting in any situation, as it allows you to walk away from such encounters in order to calm down before going back to them.

You may find that a united front needs to be adopted by all dealing with them, especially where this emotional vampire presses individual(s) to take sides when issues are raised that may lead to arguments, as this will poison relationships, and sometimes the damage caused is irreparable.

Who inspires you and who drains you..

Can you tell who your emotional vampires are?

Black Wall St. MediaContributor

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