We have all had experiences when we feel absolutely drained after meeting someone. Have you ever wondered why that is?
This is not a matter of being an empath or a highly sensitive person, it can happen to anyone – plus I believe we are all sensitive empathetic beings at our core!
If you had such experiences, then you had an encounter with an energy vampire.
Energy vampires feed off your emotional energy and life force. They could be a good friend, co-worker, acquaintance, boss, family member and even your partner at times!
Whether you call them energy vampires, emotional vampires or toxic people, the end result is you feel emotionally drained like your energy has been taken and zapped out of you, without you consciously allowing it — how do they do this?
You may have even tried to set boundaries, leave early, postpone seeing them and put yourself in an energetic light bubble but nothing seems to work with these emotional life-sucking energy vampires. Even when you’re not around them, they seem to affect you. Just thinking of them can bring your energy down.
You feel emotionally exhausted every time you see them, even on the way to seeing them or with the thought of seeing them and may need a nap to recharge when they leave.
Other symptoms can include getting headaches all of a sudden straight after being around them, feeling depressed, sad, angry, anxious, agitated, unable to focus and all sorts. You may feel guilty for having certain thoughts about them as they may not necessarily be a bad person so this, in turn, creates more shame and guilt within you for feeling this way about them.
Just the thought of seeing them again makes your stomach drop and you feel awful for saying no.
Energy vampires seem to have some sort of power over you. You feel unable to speak your truth around them or be yourself. Otherwise, they may just disapprove of you. In essence, you fear their emotional reaction, whether it’s their anger or disappointment because of the drama that will proceed, there is an underlying threat of how they will react if you are true to you even if it’s in an authentic loving way that is for their highest and best!
When you are in their presence, energy vampires demand your attention. It’s almost like they own your attention! They demand you listen and make everything about them.
Energy vampires unconsciously impose that you dim your light, make yourself small in their presence and all your needs be insignificant compared to theirs.
Although some energy vampires may seem empathetic, it’s really superficial and just words they use to hook you and keep this unhealthy dynamic in place. If they were a true empath, they would most certainly have the sensitivity to pick up what you are feeling and ask you about it, right? They’d be concerned about your needs and feelings too and wonder why you shrink and don’t seem like yourself around them. What I noticed with some of these energy vampires is that they may even say things like “I know I talk a lot and I am grateful you’re here to listen”, “I know I’m always complaining but I am grateful for everything I have in my life” or “I know it always seems to be a drama but I’m learning my lessons”.
In reality, they are not aware of themselves, they feel like a victim and ungrateful emotionally and are most certainly not learning any lesson because if they were, they wouldn’t be draining your energy in the process of sharing the information with you.
– read this sentence again.
I remember some years ago, I went to meet a good friend of mine and her husband for coffee. We were catching up and I shared what was going on in my life which at the time was very heavy stuff – think smear campaigns, character assassination and attacks by flying monkeys if you’re familiar with narcissistic abuse. In the middle of the conversation, her husband stopped and looked at me and said:
– You know, you are talking about some very heavy stuff here and normally if it was other people saying this I would feel drained. I don’t feel drained around you when you speak about this deep heavy stuff, why is that?
I smiled and answered:
– Because I’m not looking for your sympathy or pity. Firstly, I am owning that this is all my stuff so I’m not projecting it at you — I’m not dumping any emotional baggage onto you, I am simply sharing the truth with no underlying agenda to get your approval. And lastly, I genuinely want to empower myself and heal with regards to this.
This was such a great perception on his part and nice ‘healthy’ validation for me even though I wasn’t looking for it.
You need to understand that these emotionally draining energy vampires are self-centred and self-absorbed, and are probably not aware of what they’re doing (well, some are). Although some may not be malicious, they emotionally and energetically demand toxic validation from you and project their negative emotions that they are unwilling to take responsibility for and process. As a result, they dump all their emotional baggage on you – energetically of course. But as you have experienced, energy is very much real — we just can’t see it, but we most certainly feel it!
What you need to understand about this dynamic is that by you allowing this to continue, you are actually being the energy vampire’s enabler. Think of energy vampires like a drug addict, except they are addicted to sucking your life force by dumping their emotional negativity onto you and demanding toxic validation. In short, there are victim vampires, narcissistic vampires, drama vampires, controlling vampires, complaining vampires, constant talker vampires, judgmental / criticiser vampires and there are so many more strands of this but you get the picture. The key is if you feel absolutely drained after an encounter with someone, it is highly likely they have just sucked a little bit of your life force! It could be that it was just a one-off and that the person was not having a good day — but if someone has this effect every time you see them, then you are most definitely in a relationship with an energy vampire.
Whichever type of energy vampire you are dealing with, by allowing these emotional-sucking vampires to continue, you are disempowering yourself, keeping yourself small and making yourself unimportant. You’re keeping them stuck in their emotional addiction to draining your life force for their own self-centred wounded ego (whether it’s semi-conscious or not) to feel better about who they are in an unhealthy way.
Here are some of the ways Energy Vampires suck your energy:
- Talking non-stop never allowing you the space to speak (they demand you only listen)
- Complaining all the time about everything and anything, there’s hardly ever good news and when there is, they criticise, minimize or dismiss it
- Heavily judging others and forcing you to agree with their judgment (seeking toxic validation)
- Constantly playing the victim and seeking your sympathy and pity (again toxic validation)
- Minimizing your ideas, thoughts, choices, viewpoints or problems turning the conversation back to themselves (after all, it’s all about them!)
- Completely neglect your needs and seem insensitive about how you feel (their emotional needs are more important)
- Demand (energetically and emotionally – they may not say this but you feel it) that you are always there when they need you but do not reciprocate when you need them
- Intimidate and bully you covertly into submission to comply with what they want, say and/or do (for example, they’ll say “promise me you will do this for me?” or “if you don’t help me, who will?”)
- Guilt trip you any time you attempt to set a boundary
- Covertly shame you if you dare to go against them in any way
- Provoke fear in you even if it’s subtle any time they are around, you will you have to please them, be overly nice and walk on eggshells around them
- Overstaying their welcome when at your home, never wanting to leave or if you’re at their place not letting you leave
- Take more than they give in the relationship
- Always makes the situation about them, even when it’s about you!
What you may not realize is that you are in a co-dependent relationship with this energy vampire. Metaphorically they need your blood to survive, in real life, the blood I’m talking about is your life force, your energy, your emotions and by you giving it to them you are allowing their emotional addiction to continue. Since this is a co-dependent relationship when it comes to healing, how you can empower yourself if you’re the prey is by exploring the emotional wound in which they suck your energy dry.
If you are in a relationship with an Energy Vampire, here are some questions for you to reflect upon:
- What emotions do these energy vampires evoke in you? Guilt, shame, fear?
- How do these energy vampires violate your boundaries?
- What are you getting out of this relationship? How is this relationship serving you?
Do you have a relationship with an energy vampire in your life? Please share your answers to these questions in the comments below!
Before I share how to handle energy vampires in my next post, I will say that some of these energy vampires are not bad or evil, they are simply also deeply wounded and unaware of their own behaviour and their impact on other people. It’s just a matter of you assessing what type of energy vampire you’re dealing with and how to handle them. Some may even have inherited these emotional vampiristic traits from their parents.
All techniques and information I share are considered coaching, self-help or complementary therapies. I am not a licensed psychologist, psychiatrist or medical doctor, I have a degree in Health Sciences in Complementary Therapies. Everything I write and talk about comes mainly from my own experience in healing myself and the tools, techniques and resources I learned throughout my own inner journey.