I originally posted this a few years ago, but recent conversations have led me to re-post. Let me know what you think.
Do you feel tired and drained after being with some people? You know the ones – after spending time with them, you feel that you just need to go and lie down. They have sapped you of your energy, and your strength has diminished. They may be family, co-workers or friends. They come in all ages, and can be loud and overbearing or quiet and shy. They may even appear happy and confident, but they all have one thing in common – they are Energy Vampires.
What Is An Energy Vampire?
Energy Vampires usually aren’t even aware of the negative effect they have on people. To them, their life is in ruins, and they want as many people as possible to know about it. They often have had some tragedy in their life, but this is exacerbated by the continuous movie re-runs that play in their head. They are also expert at blaming other people for their circumstances – nothing is ever their fault, and they take no responsibility for events that happen in their life.
Their negativity about everything is endless. If something good “accidentally” comes into their lives, they are always looking for the negatives in it, or the person or circumstances that will take it away. By now, if you have Energy Vampires in your life, I am sure you have a list of people this description fits. Now, you need to know what you can do about it.
How Do I Handle Energy Vampires?
- Write down the list of people you thought of when you read the above paragraph. Recognize the impact they are having on your life. Keep in mind that Energy Vampires thrive on negative energy, and encourage you to be negative as well. Misery loves company.
- Recognize that you cannot fix their problems, and in reality, they don’t want you to. They want someone to vent at. If they truly were interested in a solution to their problems, they would work on that rather than spending time discussing the same issues over and over.
- Limit the time you spend with Energy Vampires. If this is impractical, limit the scope of conversations you are willing to have with them. Set your boundaries. Practice ways of limiting your conversation time -”You are on your way to a meeting, an appointment or to pick up the children.” Don’t be available whenever they want to vent.
- When you feel the conversation is heading down the old path AGAIN, turn it back for them to take action. Ask questions – “You have identified your problems, now what are you going to DO about them? The automatic response will continue to be negative. Again, this is where you need to set your boundaries. Make it clear that until they take action to rectify or move towards a solution, you no longer want to talk about that subject with them. BE FIRM. They will keep going back, as this is their comfort zone, but stand your ground. They will get the message, if you don’t give in. Don’t allow yourself to engage in the same conversations that their life is unfair, everyone else gets a better go, or nobody really understands them.
- Be aware that there may come a time when you recognize that these Energy Vampires should no longer be in your life. This sounds harsh, but when you continuously spend time with negative people, you may very well, end up as the next Energy Vampire to others.
Being a supportive, caring person is something I always aspire to. There is a difference between a person going through a time when they need their friends and family support, and having a person they can discuss their feelings with. This person is not an Energy Vampire – they are simply a person needing support.
However, an Energy Vampire has the same issues time and time again, does nothing to rectify the problem, and engages as many people as possible into their misery. They are the people you need to be firm with. They can have a very real effect on you. Your time, resources and energy are important, and you may need to either limit your time with these people or divert the conversations away from their favorite topic – their dramas.
They will feel better after dumping all their rubbish on you, and it is important that you don’t take that load upon yourself – because energy vampires will have another story for you tomorrow and the next day and the next day.