What Are Emotional Vampires, and How Can You Protect Yourself?

Updated on July 26, 2018
JenniferWilber profile image

Jennifer Wilber works as an ESL instructor, substitute teacher, and freelance writer. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing and English.

What Are Emotional Vampires, and How Can You Protect Yourself?
What Are Emotional Vampires, and How Can You Protect Yourself? | Source

What is an Emotional Vampire?

When you think of vampires, you typically think of cheesy movie monsters from horror films or bad Halloween costumes. Vampires are typically thought of as fantasy creatures from Halloween movies and scary stories, but vampires are all too real, though perhaps not in the way you might think.

Emotional vampires are those people in your life who seem to suck the life force out of you. Do you know someone who seems to drain your energy just by being in the same room as you? Is there someone in your life who seems to spread negativity wherever they go? Do you feel emotionally drained after spending time with a particular family member or coworker? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you just may have an emotional vampire in your life.

Though real-life emotional vampires may not physically suck your blood, they do suck your happiness, energy, and in extreme cases your will to live. Emotional vampires feed on negativity. It is nearly impossible to be happy around these people. Emotional vampires are those people who are never happy unless the other people around them are miserable, whether consciously or subconsciously. Emotional vampires can wear down even the most positive person.

If you think that you may be the victim of an emotional vampire, it is important for you to protect yourself from them before they wear you down. There are different types of emotional vampires, so it is important to understand what type you are dealing with to develop the best emotional self-defense strategy for your situation.

Emotional vampires are much scarier and more dangerous than the vampires in horror films!
Emotional vampires are much scarier and more dangerous than the vampires in horror films! | Source

The Most Common Types of Emotional Vampires

Emotional vampires can take many forms. The five most common types of emotional vampires, identified by UCLA psychiatrist Judith Orloff in her book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life, are the “Narcissistic” type, the “Victim” type, the “Criticizing” type, the “Controlling” type, and the “Splitter” type. These categories may sometimes overlap, so someone may fit into more than one category. There may also be other types of emotional vampires who do not fit into a category, as anyone who drains you emotionally on a regular basis may be considered an emotional vampire.

Narcissistic type emotional vampires only care about themselves. It's useless to try to get them to care about anyone or anything else.
Narcissistic type emotional vampires only care about themselves. It's useless to try to get them to care about anyone or anything else. | Source

The “Narcissistic” Type

"Narcissistic" type emotional vampires are those people who think that the world revolves around them. They often put themselves ahead of all others and never stop to see anything from anyone else's perspective. They don’t take responsibility for their own actions but criticize others for any minor indiscretion. Narcissistic type emotional vampires are often grandiose, self-important, attention seeking, attention hogging, and hungry for admiration. They can be charming and intelligent, especially when you first meet them, but they will turn on you the second you don’t give them the attention or recognition they crave.

The Silver Bullet: Realize that the “Narcissistic” emotional vampire will never put your needs first before their own. Keep your expectations about this type of emotional vampire realistic. If working with a “Narcissistic” emotional vampire is unavoidable, you must show them how your requests will benefit them. It is nearly impossible to get this type to cooperate without some benefit for themselves.

The Victim type emotional vampire is a pro at playing the victim card for attention.
The Victim type emotional vampire is a pro at playing the victim card for attention. | Source

The “Victim” Type

The "Victim" type emotional vampires are the people who constantly act as though the world is against them. They do not take responsibility for anything that happens to them and assume that everyone is out to get them. These emotional vampires continually try to make themselves seem like the victim in order to gain sympathy. They often insist that others must take the responsibility to rescue them from situations that they create for themselves. If someone won’t step in to rescue them from any perceived injustice, they think that they are being further victimized.

The Silver Bullet: Don’t give in to the “Victim” type emotional vampire’s cries for attention. This emotional vampire will do everything they can to drag you down into their drama. It is best to limit your interactions with this type of emotional vampire to avoid becoming involved in their self-pity.

There is no pleasing the "Criticizing" type emotional vampire.
There is no pleasing the "Criticizing" type emotional vampire. | Source

The “Criticizing” Type

The "Criticizing" type emotional vampire is someone who constantly puts down others for any reason. Nothing is ever good enough for the “Criticizing” type emotional vampire. These emotional vampires never see the good in anyone or anything but are quick to point out any perceived negative. They attempt to boost their own ego by judging, belittling, and putting others down. They see nothing but negatives in others, while only seeing the positive in themselves.

The Silver Bullet: Dealing with this type of emotional vampire can be difficult. It is important to remember not to take things that the “Criticizing” type emotional vampire says seriously. Don’t get defensive, as this type of emotional vampire feeds on a defensive reaction. Instead, address any misplaced criticism directly, and express gratitude for any useful criticism. Respond with extra kindness to this emotional vampire, as difficult as that may be.

The "Controlling" type emotional vampire always feels like they must be in control.
The "Controlling" type emotional vampire always feels like they must be in control. | Source

The “Controlling” Type

The "Controlling" type emotional vampire is that person who must always be in control of everyone and of every situation. These emotional vampires think that they know what is best for everyone at all times. “Controlling” type emotional vampires are often overbearing. The “Controlling” type emotional vampire always has an opinion about everything, and always think they know what’s best for everyone. They appear to have a rigid sense of right and wrong and a need to dominate every situation. This often takes the form of an overly controlling parent or spouse.

The Silver Bullet: When dealing with a “Controlling” type emotional vampire, it is important to speak up and be confident about your opinions and needs. Try not to get caught up in arguing over small details. Be sure to assert your own needs when dealing with this type of emotional vampire. Don’t be afraid to agree to disagree. This emotional vampire will do everything in their power to control the situation, so don’t feel guilty if you need to cut them out of your life, at least temporarily.

The "Splitter" type emotional vampire is prone to rage at the drop of a hat. You never know what you are going to get when dealing with them.
The "Splitter" type emotional vampire is prone to rage at the drop of a hat. You never know what you are going to get when dealing with them. | Source

The “Splitter” Type

The “Splitter” type emotional vampire is someone who acts like your best friend one day and your worst enemy the next. They will act like your friend when you are useful to them, then instantly turn on you over any perceived slight. These emotional vampires often have anger issues and can go from calm to full-blown anger almost instantly, with no apparent reasonable trigger. Dealing with “Splitter” type emotional vampires often feels like walking on eggshells.

The Silver Bullet: It is important to establish boundaries with this type of emotional vampire. Stay solution-oriented when dealing with this type. Try to avoid fights if you must deal with this emotional vampire and try not to take sides. Avoid eye-contact when they are in a full-blown rage episode. With this type of emotional vampire, it is usually best to avoid them altogether if at all possible.

Is is important to avoid toxic emotional vampires when possible to avoid becoming one yourself!
Is is important to avoid toxic emotional vampires when possible to avoid becoming one yourself! | Source

More Advice for Dealing with Emotional Vampires

Just like the vampires in the movies, emotional vampires are always seeking out new victims. If you spend too much time around one of these people, they may just suck the life and positive energy right out of you, turning you into one of them. If you aren't careful, it is entirely possible to become as cold and callous as the emotional vampire, becoming one yourself. If at all possible, try to limit contact with these toxic people, or cut them out of your life completely. Form emotionally healthy relationships with more stable people and surround yourself with positive influences instead. Life is too short to waste time on people who suck you dry emotionally. Don't let emotional vampires bring your down to their level.

© 2018 Jennifer Wilber

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)