How to Recognize and Respond to Energy Vampires at Home, Work, and More
by K. Holland
What is an energy vampire?
Energy vampires are people who — sometimes intentionally — drain your emotional energy. They feed on your willingness to listen and care for them, leaving you exhausted and overwhelmed.
Energy vampires can be anywhere and anyone. They can be your spouse or your best friend. They can be your cubicle mate or your neighbor.
Learning how to identify and respond to this toxic behavior can help you preserve your energy and protect yourself from a great deal of emotional — and physical — distress.
Read on to learn more about how an energy vampire acts and what you can do next.
They don’t take accountability
Energy vampires are often charismatic. They may slink out of trouble when problems arise because of this charm.
They’re crafty and may pin problems on someone else in almost every situation.
They never accept culpability for their role in any disagreement or issue. You’re often left holding the guilt — and possibly the blame.
…They act like a martyr
Energy vampires place their problems squarely on the shoulders of other people. They take no responsibility for their contributions to their difficulties.
What they’re seeking is emotional support to boost their self-esteem.
They use your good nature against you
People who are sensitive and compassionate are prime targets for energy vampires. You offer a listening ear, a kind heart, and endless energy.
In that way, energy vampires use your very nature against you, draining you of your vitality.
They monopolize your time at every social occasion so they can have as much of your energy as they can get.
They know you’ll feel guilty turning them down for coffee or a dinner date, so they ask regularly.
They use guilt trips or ultimatums
Energy vampires often rely on guilt trips to get what they want. They know shame is a great weapon against people who are compassionate and caring.
Likewise, ultimatums are an effective way to capture a person’s attention and coerce them into doing something they otherwise may not want to do.
- “I don’t know how you expect me to make it without you. I’ll fall apart.”
- “If you really care for me, you’ll call him and tell him how much I love him.”
Although this may be easier said than done at first, you can and should develop areas of your life where you won’t allow an energy vampire to enter.
Don’t agree to social events like dinner or coffee dates. Avoid weekend trips and other extended events where they’ll be in attendance.
Adjust your expectations
You can’t fix an energy vampire, but you can reshape your expectations about them.
This may involve shutting off your emotional valve and not offering advice when they vent their problems to you.
This may also mean you can’t use them as any type of emotional release either. They’ll want to reciprocate.
(Link): 10 Signs Someone’s Always Playing the Victim (6.05 long video)
(Link): The “Victim” Narcissist | How to tell who is playing the victim (17 minute long video)
(Link): When You’re in Imbalanced, Unfair Relationships – You’re the Free Therapist, The Supportive, Sounding Board Who Listens to Other People’s Non-Stop Complaining, But They Don’t Listen to You – re: The Toilet Function of Friendship