5 Types Of Emotional Vampires: How To Identify Them and Protect Yourself

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Types Of Emotional Vampires Protect Yourself

Being in the vicinity of emotional vampires is enough to make you feel emotionally depleted and exhausted. Constant interaction with them can even lead to prolonged sadness and depression. That is why it is important to know how to deal with emotional vampires so that you can protect your peace, and sanity.

As a physician, I’ve found that the biggest energy drain on my patients is relationships. Some relationships are positive and mood elevating. Others can suck optimism and serenity right out of you. I call these draining people “emotional vampires.”

They do more than drain your physical energy. The malignant ones can make you believe you’re unworthy and unlovable. Others inflict damage with smaller digs to make you feel bad about yourself. For instance, “Dear, I see you’ve put on a few pounds” or “You’re overly sensitive!” Suddenly they’ve thrown you off-center by prodding areas of shaky self-worth.

To protect your energy it’s important to combat draining people. The following strategies from my book “Emotional Freedom” will help you identify and combat emotional vampires from an empowered place.

Related: 5 Ways to Protect Yourself From Energy Vampires

Signs That You’ve Encountered an Emotional Vampires

  • Your eyelids are heavy — you’re ready for a nap
  • Your mood takes a nosedive
  • You want to binge on carbs or comfort foods
  • You feel anxious, depressed, or negative
  • You feel put down
Setting boundaries with emotional vampires

Types of Emotional Vampires and How to protect yourself from them

1. The Narcissist

Types Of Emotional Vampires narcissist

Their motto is “Me first.” Everything is all about them. They have a grandiose sense of self-importance and entitlement, hog attention, and crave admiration.

They’re dangerous because they lack empathy and have a limited capacity for unconditional love. If you don’t do things their way, they become punishing, withholding, or cold.

How to Protect Yourself:

Keep your expectations realistic. These are emotionally limited people. Try not to fall in love with one or expect them to be selfless or love without strings attached. Never make your self-worth dependent on them or confide your deepest feelings to them.

To successfully communicate, the hard truth is that you must show how something will be to their benefit. Though it’s better not to have to contend with this tedious ego stroking if the relationship is unavoidable this approach works.


Related: 4 Ways To Deal With Toxic Energy Vampires Who Are Stealing Your Positive Vibes

2. The Victim

Types Of Emotional Vampires victim

These vampires grate on you with their “poor-me” attitude. The world is always against them, the reason for their unhappiness. When you offer a solution to their problems they always say, “Yes, but…” You might end up screening their calls or purposely avoid them. As a friend, you may want to help but their tales of woe overwhelm you.

How to Protect Yourself:

Set kind but firm limits. Listen briefly and tell a friend or relative, “I love you but I can only listen for a few minutes unless you want to discuss solutions.” With a coworker sympathize by saying, “I’ll keep having good thoughts for things to work out.” Then say, “I hope you understand, but I’m on deadline and must return to work.”

Then use “this isn’t a good time” body language such as crossing your arms and breaking eye contact to help set these healthy limits.


3. The Controller

Types Of Emotional Vampires controller

These people obsessively try to control you and dictate how you’re supposed to be and feel. They have an opinion about everything. They’ll control you by invalidating your emotions if they don’t fit into their rulebook.

They often start sentences with “You know what you need?” and then proceed to tell you. You end up feeling dominated, demeaned, or put down.

How to Protect Yourself:

The secret to success is never to try and control a controller. Be healthily assertive, but don’t tell them what to do. You can say, “I value your advice but really need to work through this myself.” Be confident but don’t play the victim.

Emotional vampires

4. The Constant Talker

Types Of Emotional Vampires talker

These people aren’t interested in your feelings. They are only concerned with themselves. You wait for an opening to get a word in edgewise but it never comes.

Or these people might physically move in so close they’re practically breathing on you. You edge backward, but they step closer.

How to Protect Yourself:

These people don’t respond to nonverbal cues. You must speak up and interrupt, as hard as that is to do. Listen for a few minutes. Then politely say, “I hate to interrupt, but please excuse me I have to talk to these other people… or get to an appointment… or go to the bathroom.” A much more constructive tactic than, “Keep quiet, you’re driving me crazy!”

If this is a family member, politely say, “I’d love it if you allowed me some time to talk so I can add to the conversation.” If you say this neutrally, it can better be heard.

Related: 6 Types of Energy Vampires and Ways To Cope With Them


5. The Drama Queen

Types Of Emotional Vampires drama queen

These people have a flair for exaggerating small incidents into off-the-chart dramas. My patient Sarah was exhausted when she hired a new employee who was always late for work. One week he had the flu and “almost died.” Next, his car was towed, again! After this employee left her office Sarah felt tired and used.

How to Protect Yourself:

A drama queen doesn’t get mileage out of equanimity. Stay calm. Take a few deep breaths. This will help you not get caught up in histrionics. Set kind but firm limits. Say, for example, “You must be here on time to keep your job. I’m sorry for all your mishaps, but work comes first.”

To improve your relationships and increase your energy level, I suggest taking an inventory of people who give you energy and those that drain you. Try to spend time with the loving, nurturing people, and learn to set limits with those who drain you. This will enhance the quality of your life.

Want to know more about the signs of emotional vampires? Check this video out below!

Signs of emotional vampires

Adapted from Dr. Judith Orloff’s NY Times bestseller “Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)


Written by Judith Orloff
Emotional Vampires How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Them
How To Identify And Protect Yourself From Emotional Vampires
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