Maybe it’s the lack of sun in Texas over the past month, but the vampires have been out in full force lately.
Not Dracula nor the teens with six pack abs, from Twilight, I’m referring to the vampires that we come into contact with more often than we realize. These vampires don’t suck our blood, but prefer to take our energy instead.
Emotional vampires—they come in and leave us feeling drained, tired and unsuspecting. They are in and out without a trace. Sneaky, energy draining vampires.
How many of us continue to maintain relationships that we feel are heavy and hard, chalking it up to being a good friend or family member?
When who we hang out with or listen to has a direct negative effect on our lives, that’s not being a good friend. That’s piloting life with a blindfold on.
Their lure can be enticing. Emotional vampires are in need and instinctively we all want to feel needed. We listen and tell them we will be there for them, so they come back.
Vampires are relentless with their negativity and/or drama. There’s more wrong than right going on in their lives, with no sight of improvement or they like to make us feel that what we have to say isn’t valid or important. The super sneaky ones make us think they are the life of the party, until we leave feeling railroaded and unsure of what just happened.
The good news is we don’t have to wear a necklace of garlic cloves to protect ourselves against these emotional vampires, we just have to be aware of them.
Here are a few things you can do to bring awareness to our circle.
Four ways to identify emotional vampires.
1. How do you feel when they leave—as in how do you feel in your body, mind and spirit? Do you feel tired, uneasy, drained, anxious, hopeless or down? Were you feeling this way before your encounter? If not, chances are you’ve just been bitten.
2. Negative talk/ controllers—how much of what they say is negative? Friends share dreams, hopes and desires. Emotional vampires bitch and complain and find themselves in dramatic situations. They can also make us think we’re unworthy, unlovable or powerless. They want to control us by invalidating our feelings and telling us what you should or shouldn’t do.
3. Would you rather not take that call? When you see who’s calling, do you avoid the call or are you happy to pick up? We all get busy, but if a wave of anxiety or despair washes over you when you see their name, you may want to check your neck.
4. Ask—close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself, who is dragging me down? Who is making me feel disconnected from myself? Is there someone in my life draining me and making me feel tired? Is there someone in my life that I am trying to help but can’t? You have an immense level of knowledge within you, check in with it and trust your answer.
The emotional vampire has been identified, now what?
It’s difficult for a lot of us to self preserve when we feel we aren’t being a good friend or family member. We want to be the one they can count on. And besides, we can take it, we’re strong.
That’s when we blindside ourselves. Because strength also comes from knowing what’s not good for us. Strength comes from setting healthy boundaries and knowing we can’t save anyone when we go down with them.
When we allow ourselves to be drained, we go down in flames too. Our dreams and hopes and desires get pushed back.
Let the vampire go. It doesn’t have to be a dramatic release. You can send them off with love and let them know you care deeply for them, but until they can start to make positive changes about the things they constantly complain about, you can’t be let in on it. You’re happy to brainstorm about positive changes with them, but will no longer take the daggers of their complaints.
Be assertive—not bossy nor pushy, but assertive. If it’s a controlling emotional vampire, let them know you appreciate their advice, but that you’re ready to make this decision yourself. Be clear with the affect the relationship is having on you.
Let clarity be your elixir. When we acknowledge how we truly feel while we are around someone we gain clarity about who we are and what affects us. We are far more sensitive than we let on and people and situations can have a lingering effect on us. We don’t have to be so tough anymore.
It may not feel like it at first, but losing momentum on what’s important to us by being set back with negative emotion that doesn’t belong to us is like pedaling on a stationary bike—we just don’t go anywhere. And you’ve got places to go, baby, so blaze that trail.
I hope this gives you the courage to identify the emotional vampires in your life and take action to stop indulging them.
Your words matter, so please share them below. How do you deal with the ones that drag you down? Or have you just been made aware of a vampire you’ve been energetically feeding? Don’t be shy, what you have to say may be what someone needs to hear to break free.
With bite-free love,