How to Spot an Emotional Vampire in 10 Steps
Emotional vampires: I have one in my life. I have been one. I see them every day. What are the signs that one of your nearest and dearest is sapping the life out of you?
Here are a few essential signs that your energy is at stake.
1. Talks about themselves a lot
An emotional vampire always has lots to say about their own achievements or their past achievements. You would think that the sun rose and set in their eyes. This trait is called narcissism and many people have a certain degree of it, but an emotional vampire will make sure that the time you spend together will be a non-stop “talk about me” event.
2. Refuses to listen, or feigns interest
Often emotional vampires won’t hear a thing you’ve said. They are too busy thinking of ways to bring the conversation back around to them and their interests. Most of us can tell when someone is not listening; their eyes glaze over, they start to fiddle or they interrupt you with meaningless questions. If it happens frequently during your time with someone – they could be an emotional vampire.
Often emotional vampires have little or no empathy. They might talk about a situation that day where they came across some trouble, for example a friend who was late to meet them for lunch, despite that person having three small kids. Often they will not be able to understand another person’s point of view, speaking in harsh tones that you feel may be too extreme for the situation. If someone you know just seems out of touch with the rest of the world, then they could be an emotional vampire.
4. May have very little in their own lives
Often emotional vampires have a limited set of friendships and family commitments or their work lives are small and unfulfilling. Sometimes people who take up a lot of your time and energy are just trying to fill their own lives, which need attention. It’s sad and these people do require help, but you can’t be the cheer squad for another person’s life – they need to do it themselves.
5. Takes up lots more of your time than other friends
We all have friends who have gone though something, who have taken up some time in our lives for a personal crisis. There is a difference with emotional vampires because these people will take up more time than they deserve. These people might demand that you miss your best friend’s farewell or birthday party just to spend more time with them, often claiming a “crisis” to suck you in.
6. Has a victim mentality
It’s always poor me, poor me. Have you met people like this? It’s like the whole world is out to get them. People who have a victim mentality never understand their parts in problems, ascribing blame to everyone else, unable to see the way which they have contributed to the issue. Very often these people will get a thrill after exaggerating negative traits in others and gossiping about them.
7. Likes to control elements of your time together
Emotional vampires like to have you on their terms. Are you always travelling to their house or the cafe that they like? Do you have to listen for hours without getting a word in? Do they constantly call you during a time when it’s difficult for you to talk? People who are controlling may not consciously know that they are doing it, but they are manipulating you because it makes them feel good. It makes them feel like they have some meaning and control in their otherwise empty or messy lives.
8. Is constantly finding fault with you or others
Can’t do anything right? It may not be you. Emotional vampires may seek to keep you in your place by constantly finding fault with things you or others have done to them. Often people they know start out as ‘golden angles’ and devolve quickly to ‘evil demons’. They may see people as good or bad, with no grey elements in between.
9. Is frustrated with their life
Often emotional vampires suck the life out of people because they are frustrated in their own lives. If you know someone whose dreams have been dashed, someone who has lost their job, their money or the love of their life, then they may be an emotional vampire. We can all go through periods of neediness, the difference is that emotional vampires never recover, and never get their shit together.
10. Makes you feel drained whenever you leave them
Is the time you devote to this person never enough? Do they always need just another cup of coffee, another few minutes on the phone, another hour of your time? Do you leave this person’s presence feeling like the life has been sapped out of you? Do you leave them feeling worse than when you met up with them? Then this could be one of the most major signs that you are dealing with an emotional vampire.
So now you know how to find them – so how do you deal with them? More on this topic this week!
photo credit pasukaru76