There are some people in your life who are purely a joy to be around. They almost glow with a wonderful aura of positive energy. Spending time with them is a pleasant, uplifting and exciting experience that leaves you feeling balanced and happy. These people provide a wonderful exchange of positive energy that is vital to our social existence.
Then…there are the other type. Some people are on the opposite end of the spectrum and seem to drain all the positive energy out of every interaction. They are usually selfish and seemingly wrapped up in their own world to the point of being incapable of a healthy, balanced relationship or even a single exchange.
Of course, most people will fall somewhere in the middle of this spectrum, but in this article we plan to focus on the latter of the groups described above. They are the ones that leave you feeling drained and emotionally exhausted after almost every conversation. They will try to draw you into their world in which they are the center and are unconcerned with having a balanced, give-and-take relationship. These people are known as “energy vampires.”
There are approximately 15,000 people on the interweb who will take credit for coining the term, so I will not pretend it is a creation of my own. I first came across the term in a strange article by Dr. Bruce Goldberg, although he probably heard it from someone else as well. His article was honestly a bit “out there” in my opinion and dealt mainly with psychic powers and literal mental vampirism. That is not what we are referring to here, but you’re welcome to click the link if you’re into that kind of thing.
Energy in Relationships
Despite my opinion on the origin of the term, it is a perfect description for some of the people we all know and unfortunately have to interact with. To really get an understanding of what I mean by energy vampire, you need to understand the basic idea of energy in relationships. We all contain and share our energy in every interaction we have with others.
Just how our energy affects how we feel on a day to day basis, it also affects everyone with whom we have contact. In fact, relationships are mainly an exchange of energy. People will either inspire positive feelings and uplift you, or they will drain your energy and cause you to feel badly during and after the interaction.
Relationships are all about balance. Healthy relationships contain an appropriate and proportionate amount of give-and-take. With those whom you care about, you will want to help them and create positive feelings in them. Healthy people who really care about you will feel and do the same. The difference with an energy vampire is that they are only concerned with taking. They are selfish individuals who are either unaware or unconcerned with how energy should be exchanged and how to create balanced, healthy relationships.
Types of Energy Vampires
Energy vampires come in all shapes, sizes and styles. You almost certainly have come across several different types and may interact with them on a daily basis. They can be friends, family, lovers, colleagues or even complete strangers. Some of the most common include:
- The Blamers: They blame every problem they have on someone or something else and are incapable of taking responsibility for their own lives.
- The Bullies: They stomp on those around them to give themselves a sense of power.
- The Insecure Ones: They always feel inadequate and pull others down to their level.
- The Guilt Trippers: They will shame people around them to get what they desire.
- The Jealous Ones: They are incapable of being happy for anyone else because they always envy happiness.
- The Drama Queens/Kings: To them, every event is either a catastrophe or a miracle…and everyone around them has to hear about it.
- Almost countless others: The whiners, the fun haters, the short-tempered, the busy bodies and so many others.
So what do all these people have in common? They are selfish. It may not even be intentional, but these people are incapable of experiencing happiness for others and are only concerned with what they can take out of a relationship.
How to Deal With Them
Short answer: get rid of them. We realize this is not always possible, but if you have recognized the signs of an energy vampire in someone you know, you need to take a deep look at the relationship and assess its importance and whether or not it is truly vital.
Unfortunately, many of these people will be loved ones, bosses or others with whom you are forced to associate, and you have no choice but to deal with them. So in order to deal with them, it is important to remember one thing above all: There problems are about them, not you.
So often, we are drained by energy vampires and feel as though it is our own fault. We should be more helpful or more empathetic or less selfish, right? Wrong. Being an energy vampire is all about making you feel this way. When you feel guilty or unhappy, they feed on it and are more likely to get their way. Know that these negative interactions are about them alone and have nothing to do with you.
Now that you have identified them and realized it is not about you, just take a breath. Literally, breathe and step back for a moment. Recognize that their behavior is unacceptable and do not give them permission to suck your energy. Put their words or actions into perspective and remind yourself that they are a reflection of them, not you. Then remind yourself of why this relationship exists and know that you are able to walk away.
If you still feel as though they are being successful in draining your energy, visualize a protective energy shield around you. Imagine a barrier of neutral energy that will block their attempts to suck out your positive energy. Then simply affirm your self-worth and remind yourself that you are a good person who deserves balanced, healthy and positive relationships.