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Energy Vampires

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?

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

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81 Responses to Energy Vampires

  1. Rachel says:

    Your article has made me think about this. I see some of the characteristics in myself…arghhh. Time to have a good look at myself I think. Do people really see me as an energy vampire?

  2. Woody says:

    Just wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Love this one especially – time to cut back on some of the vampires I have in my life at the moment

  3. Emily says:

    Really enjoyed this article….a bit confronting though (in a good way) :)

  4. Kathyrn says:

    Really enjoyed this post – straight to the point and very helpful to me

  5. Fred says:

    Great article which has obviously touched a lot of people given the amount of comments you have received. Well done

  6. Rachel says:

    I really enjoyed this post – great information. Sending to a few friends :)

  7. Allen says:

    Showed this to my missus – she loved it

  8. Suzie says:

    Thank you posting this – loved it

  9. Dee says:

    I keep coming back to your site – absolutely love it and all the comments you receive

  10. Brett says:

    This has been an awesome post and great to see all the responses you have had from it. Obviously you have touched something in a lot of people :)

  11. Candice says:

    I just needed to say this really is an amazing post – just loved it. A bit scary when I realized what is going on in my own life though, but that will change. Go away you vampires :)

  12. Charlie says:

    Good post – like your different viewpoints and that you are not afraid to be controversial. Keep it up

  13. Deon says:

    Thanks for the great share m8. Cheers

  14. Lauren says:

    I love the way you have written this – great stuff

  15. Paul says:

    You were writing about my sister-in-law weren’t you? The best energy vampire ever

  16. Daniels says:

    Thank goodness I read this. I was gonna ask how do I set the boundaries but after reading down to the end I got the answer. I have to be firm and never allow the dump their rubbish problems on me, making me to spend valuable mental energy on stuff that doesn’t concern me in the first place. I have to make them own up to their responsibilities. Thanks again. I really gained a lot!

  17. Lucy says:

    Love your site, your articles are clear and to the point. Very helpful!

  18. alma says:

    Dear Brenda, Love your blog! You hit the nail on the head re energy vampires. I have been codependent in the past, unaware of the horrible consequences of listening to the never ending dramas. Literally made me ill. No more! I learned my lessons and avoid ALL energy vampires. I now have lots of energy to enjoy my own life. Blessings! Alma

  19. Vivian Anita Winberg says:

    Dear Brenda.. I have been addicted to diff. kinds of medicals since age 13/14.?
    At last-I became a heroine addict..Have followed treatment for nearly 20years-incl.Mindfulness.♡
    Sorry-Long story.
    My biggest problem is that-EVERYTIME-I am going to any kind of family visits, I got to take some relaxing tabl.(Benzodiazepam)
    Even though I wreally love my family and they loves me I always feel tens.
    What can I do so I don’t need to drug myself-before I leave my home.?
    PS: I have PTSD.
    Kindly provided me with some tips and tools. Thank you for your advices on your sites.
    VivianAnitaWinberg.

  20. It is a great blog post to post more than one time! Energy vampires are everywhere! Maybe it’s because I am an “empathic” person. Maybe I have to learn how to put a bubble of light around me when I am around others. It’s just seems to me, that everyone is so negative lately. Thanks for your post.

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