Is there someone in your life who drains your energy? The world is full of energy vampires: learn how to protect yourself
First of all: the act of taking energy is a natural process, so it’s not necessarily a bad thing. All living beings, all organisms on Earth — including us — need energy to survive. For humans, food is the main source of energy; without food, we wouldn’t be able to survive.
In a nutshell, energy vampires are people who take energy from other people. They do it excessively, pathologically and, often, subconsciously. This means that most of the time they don’t even realize what they are doing, or why they are doing it.
Being one of their victims can literally ruin your physical and mental health, so it’s crucial that you learn how to protect yourself. In this article I’m going to share how to identify them, what are the types of energy vampires, and how to deal with them.
At the end of this article you’ll also find a short summary of everything I’ve explained. You can download it, so you can go through all the tips whenever you need them.
Without further ado, let’s begin.
How do you know if someone is an energy vampire?
If you are not sure whether someone is an energy vampire, you need to ask yourself a very simple question: “how do I feel after meeting them?”
If you are feeling worse, then you probably interacted with a vampire. Depending on how long the interaction lasted, or how intense it was, then you may feel worse mentally (such as feeling more negative, feeling empty, afraid, depressed, or confused), or even physically (such as having headaches).
Conversely, the vampire will probably feel better, as they just stole and fed on your energy.
Perhaps there is someone in your life that interacts with you every single day, such as your partner, or a relative, or a colleague, and you are wondering whether they are draining your energy. So if you are feeling depressed all the time, how do you know it’s them, and not you?
For example, you may have noticed that your energy levels have been lower since you started having a relationship with someone. You feel tired, more anxious, and can’t concentrate on anything. But… is it just you? Or is it the other person? How do you know?
Again, it’s quite easy to find out. All you need to do is take a break and stop seeing them for a while (a weekend isn’t enough). If you notice that the longer you don’t interact with them, the better you feel, chances are they are energy vampires, and you should take immediate action to either set boundaries or cut them off from your life.
It can be very disheartening — or even shocking — to find out that a relative, a partner, or a close friend is constantly taking energy from you. However, it’s not impossible; depending on your personality type (more on this later), it may be likely.
Let’s have a look at the most common types of vampires, so you can identify them faster. As you go through this list, you may realize that someone in your life belongs to one of the categories.
If that’s the case, it’s important that you are 100% honest with yourself. Ask yourself how much energy this person has taken from you, and how they make you feel: if they are without a doubt energy vampires, then take action before the situation gets worse.
Energy vampires: the most common types
1. The victim
This is the kind of person who complains about his or her life all the time. Not just in their mind: they are very vocal about it.
“You won’t believe what happened to me yesterday. I’m always unlucky. Why is life so unfair? Everyone is so mean to me. Nothing works in my life. Poor me!”
Though in some cases these people are able to change once they realize they are simply engaging in negative thought patterns; most of the time you simply want to avoid them. Don’t listen to them, and don’t give them advice, because subconsciously they don’t want to get help (and certainly don’t want to change).
Through their attitude, they accomplish two goals. For one, they automatically rule out that they are in control of their life. According to their mentality, they aren’t making mistakes, it’s just life being unfair; they never make the wrong decisions, it’s just that they are unlucky; whatever negative experience they had, they didn’t create it, or attract it — it just happened to them.
By playing victim, they are able to blame everyone else for their faults. This makes their life a lot easier, because they have no responsibilities.
The second goal they accomplish is, not surprisingly, stealing other people’s energy. Their “bad luck” gives them an excuse to complain. It’s as if they were special, and had the permission to get all your time and all your attention, simply because things aren’t working their way.
When you are certain that this person is playing victim, don’t feel sorry for them, and definitely don’t feel like you have to help them out. Again: they don’t want to improve their life, they just want to feed on other people’s energy.
2. The naysayer
Our biggest goals may also be the most difficult to accomplish. So whenever we are working toward them, it’s vital to ignore the naysayers — those telling you you can’t do it, or shouldn’t do it.
Now, some of them actually care about you. They may not understand your vision, or your dreams, but they tell you to give up because they genuinely think it’s the best thing to do.
And then there’s the “vampire” kind: the naysayers who try to discourage you because they know it has a negative effect on your mood. They want to feed on the energy you would normally use to work on your goals, so they can feel better.
Some of these people also had big dreams in the past, but couldn’t accomplish them for whatever reason. They had big expectations, and then experienced disappointment, so seeing other people’s success makes them jealous.
I will explain how to deal with all energy vampires shortly, but with this category it’s particularly important to keep your mouth shut. The more they know about your plans, your projects, your vision, the more they will attack you. Never share your goals with those who don’t understand you, because it’s easy to get demoralized.
3. The extreme pessimist
This person is similar to the first type (the victim), however when they talk, it’s not just about themselves, it’s about the whole world.
They will do anything to grab your attention, then bombard you with the latest horrible news. To them, the world is a miserable place, and they’ll do anything they can to prove that it’s miserable.
They will tell you about one of their friends getting sick, or someone losing their job, or some kind of natural disaster. They will literally list all the negative things they can think of (some of them being imaginary).
Once again, these people — except in rare cases — aren’t interested in making the world a better place. They simply follow the same thought pattern over and over again, so they have a reason to drain your energy.
Interestingly enough, they always talk about problems, but never mention any potential solution. If they truly wanted to improve their life (or someone else’s), don’t you think they would have a more constructive approach?
There’s enough negativity out there, so avoid these people like the plague. Your mental health will thank you.
4. The teacher
The types we’ve seen so far are quite easy to recognize once you know them. They are very negative, and can only make you feel worse, so it’s logical to avoid them.
The fourth category, however, is more insidious. I called them the teachers, but you could also call them the “experts”, or the “gurus”.
These people will pretend to be more knowledgeable about you. They will speak like someone who knows everything about life; someone you should trust, admire, and learn from. They do this for three main reasons:
- It makes them feel superior. They may have a low self esteem, or insecurities, so by acting like some kind of guru, they instantly feel better.
- (If you don’t know them) it makes you feel inferior. You may think that, compared to them, you are nothing, so you’ll feel worse.
- It gives them permission to tell you what to do, thus making you more vulnerable.
As I’ve said, this is an insidious type because when they deceive you, you may think that their goal is to actually help you. You may think that you have a lot to learn from them, so it makes sense to follow their advice.
Unfortunately, these people only want one thing: your energy.
Don’t get me wrong: someone who is happy to share their knowledge, and make you a better person, can be a blessing. However if someone is invasive, or too direct; if they talk too much; if they always tell you what you should and shouldn’t do, then be careful: they may be an energy vampire.
5. The abusive narcissist
This is by far the worst type. It may be someone in your workplace (usually your boss, but it could be any colleague), or a partner.
Because they lack self confidence, narcissists crave attention. They want everyone to admire them, see how great their life is. They need to know that they are better than anybody else.
This would be enough to classify them as energy vampires. However, narcissists who are abusive won’t just use arrogance: they will turn your life into a nightmare.
They are often deceitful, and very insidious. For example, in the early stage of a relationship, they may compliment their partner excessively, and tell them they’re the best person they ever met — so their partner gradually becomes emotionally dependent, and easier to manipulate.
The abusive narcissist wants you to feel terrible, so he or she can feel better. They will lie to you, blame you for everything, and attack you personally. Then they may say they’re sorry for what they’ve done, so you can forgive them, and fall into their trap one more time.
That’s why it’s super important to stop interacting with them: the more they’re around you, the easier it will be for them to manipulate you. I’ll expand on this in the last section of this article.
6. The control freak
A control freak isn’t necessarily a bad person: he or she may simply be a perfectionist — someone who is extremely accurate, and wants things to be flawless.
However a control freak who is pathological can quickly turn into an energy vampire.
If you work with a pathological control freak, chances are they have unrealistic standards, and are willing to do whatever it takes to achieve those standards, regardless of their colleagues’ physical and mental health.
Control freaks rarely try to change themselves; they are obsessed with the external world, which includes other people. They need to tell you what you should do, what’s right and what’s wrong, what the correct way of doing something is.
By doing this, they feel better, and you feel drained: your energy becomes their energy.
If someone you know wants to achieve “perfection” by making others miserable (at work, at school, or in their family), then it probably means he or she is an energy vampire.
7. The compulsive talker
A person who talks non-stop for minutes or even hours, and expects you to listen, has no respect for your time.
Again, if you know someone like that, you should ask yourself: how does he or she make me feel?
There’s a big difference between extroverts and compulsive talkers. We all know someone who is outgoing and charismatic, and likes to talk a lot. If their personality is pleasant, and they make us smile, then these people are likely to increase our energy. Compulsive talkers, however, are a whole different category.
The first red flag you should pay attention to is if someone talks excessively yet doesn’t listen. A compulsive talker will never listen to you because their goal isn’t to have a meaningful conversation: like all energy vampires, they want your time and your attention.
Your thoughts, your opinion, your answers, your life doesn’t matter. It’s always about them.
Another potential red flag is when someone suddenly switches to a different topic, or mentions details that are completely irrelevant, just so they can keep talking and steal more of your time. They’ll tell you about a friend’s birthday party, then the weather, then the current political situation, then the cute yellow bag they regret buying.
Chances are this isn’t interesting to you, so don’t waste your time with them.
8. The parasite
Basically this is someone who is too selfish and too lazy. Their energy, time, and money is so precious they can’t use any; other people’s resources, on the other hand, can be taken as they please.
So for example, if they’re supposed to meet you at a certain time, then they show up half an hour later, and won’t apologize, because they think you have an infinite amount of time. When they’re short of money, they won’t hesitate to ask you, because after all, you’re doing better than them financially.
The real problem with these people is that they’re very comfortable taking, but they rarely give anything.
There’s nothing wrong with helping out a friend, or accepting some of their negative traits, or mistakes. But too much is too much. Nobody wants a friend who’s a vampire.
So, how do you deal with energy vampires?
First of all, if you realize there is an energy vampire in your life, and they are the worst kind (or they just make you feel horrible), then my advice would be to cut them off from your life completely.
I don’t care if they are your partner, or a close friend, or a relative. Someone who is abusive has no place in your life. If it’s your boss, and he or she isn’t going to be replaced any time soon, then do whatever it takes to get out of that workplace.
Remember: your mental health is your number one priority. Always.
The problem with talking to an abusive narcissist (or anyone whose goal is to steal your energy and happiness, even if subconsciously) is that initially they will say they are sorry, apologize, and swear to treat you differently, only to start it all over again shortly after.
Or, they may even react aggressively, and say that you are being unfair, you have to grow up, you have to change, you don’t understand their feelings.
These people are evil, and don’t deserve a single second of your time. If you are 100% certain that your relationship with them is over, my advice is: stop seeing them. You can choose to simply disappear, or tell them politely. But if they insist on seeing you, or ask too many questions, or react aggressively, do not interact with them any longer. It would be a waste of time and energy.
It’s important to trust your gut, because some energy vampires are manipulative. So before they convince you you’re wrong (for example, by playing victim), cut them off from your life and be proud of your decision.
What about the other ones?
Thankfully, not all energy vampires are that bad. It’s quite easy to deal with some of them, and you definitely don’t need to stop seeing them (unless you want to, of course).
Here’s four tips you can start using immediately.
1. Say no
The more you give, the more they’ll take. Initially it’ll be a ten minute conversation, a quick phone call, a single text message. Eventually, they’ll expect you to be available 24/7. Same if they are asking for money, or a favor, or help.
No matter how much energy they have taken from you already, it will never be enough. The longer you keep accepting their behavior, the harder it will be to say no.
Many people find it hard to say no: if that’s you, I encourage you to read this article.
In essence, declining someone’s request is easy, but if it’s the first time it may feel a bit awkward. Once you practice being assertive, it’ll be the easiest thing in the world.
Perhaps you have interacted with a vampire for months or years already, and you think it’s too late to change. But it couldn’t be further from the truth: all it takes is changing your mindset, and being able to say no. That’s literally all it takes.
Because vampires tend to drain your energy gradually, it’s actually quite common to understand what their intent is after a month or more.
2. Be emotionally detached
Remember: these people feed on your emotions.
If you keep your cool, if your facial expressions don’t change, if you act like what they say (or do) isn’t interesting at all, they won’t have any power on you.
Energy vampires are terrified of those who ignore them. If you don’t react emotionally, it’s impossible for them to take your energy.
So whenever they are talking to you, be impassive. Just imagine you’re a poker player, or a robot.
When they mention anything that’s supposed to generate fear, be as calm as possible. When they are talking about their greatest accomplishment, don’t smile. When they bombard you with questions, shrug your shoulders. If they raise their voice, don’t change your posture.
If you find it difficult to be impassive, at least try to keep calm. The more you ignore them, the more they’ll be frustrated: after a while, they’ll simply give up and find another victim.
3. Surprise them
This works particularly well with the victim type and the pessimist type.
Whenever an energy vampire approaches you, they expect a certain reaction. For example, someone who tells you about their bad luck, they expect you to feel sorry for them. They expect you to change the tone of your voice, or nod in silence.
If your reaction is completely random or the opposite of what they imagined, that’s going to catch them off guard.
Start laughing for no reason. Say something that’s completely irrelevant. Tell them a joke. Sing a song. It may be hilarious, but it works.
They’ll be very confused (as it will probably be the first time they see this kind of reaction). They may suddenly stop talking, and go somewhere else. If they become upset, either continue reacting in an absurd way, or ignore them.
Eventually, it will be too overwhelming for them to keep talking, and they’ll leave. When a vampire realizes his or her attacks don’t work, they will surrender, and leave you alone — when this happens, pat yourself on the back!
4. Become a stronger person
Being attacked by an energy vampire could be the best thing that ever happened to you because it forces you to become a stronger person.
If you have a hard time saying no to people; if you think you’re “too nice”, or if you have a low self esteem, then read this post (this one is way too long already).
It’s never too late to change your behavior and be the best version of yourself.
Thank you for reading this article! As promised, here’s a quick summary of everything you’ve read so far: