We all have a finite amount of energy to use each day and we’re exposed to people who either fill us with energy or drain us of energy. People who drain our energy are known as energy vampires. These people could be colleagues, friends, family members – even people we encounter while out running errands.
Some people bring unexpected lightness and comfort to your life. They crackle with energy, practically electrify you with their presence. And then there are those who leave you feeling stressed out. Or guilty. Or exhausted down to your very last molecule. They are called energy vampires, and obnoxious or meek, they come in all forms.
The sobbing people, always considers themselves the victim. The world is always against them and they’ll recount every horrible thing that has happened to them, wallowing in every perceived slight.
The charmer is a constant talker or joke-teller who has to be the center of attention. The blamer, on the other hand, doles out endless servings of guilt. And then there’s the drama queen, the co-worker who claims that he/she almost died from a high fever or the neighbor who lives in extremes of emotion—life is unbelievably good or horrifically bad.
No matter which type of energy vampire you’re dealing with, you’re allowed to walk away. Many of us find this really hard to do. We’re afraid of being thought of as impolite; we don’t want to offend people. But there are plenty of ways to remove yourself from a killing conversation. When leaving isn’t an option, you can still maintain your energy level by making a few minor adjustments.
One of the first things to do is to recognize when you’re being drained, and that begins with tuning in to your physical reactions. Is there a tightening in your chest when a certain person enters the conversation? Do you feel tired when you hang up the phone after speaking with someone?
Setting boundaries is one the ways of protecting yourself; you draw a line saying, for instance, “This is what I can do for you, and this is what I can’t.” You don’t have to convince the vampire of the rightness of your stance. Getting defensive simply adds to the negative charge of the encounter. You want to remain neutral. When someone starts pushing your buttons, and you start sizzling inside, you’ve got to make the decision not to react.
One of the first things to do when dealing with these people is to figure out if they are a temporary vampire or whether they are inherently an energy vampire. Temporary energy vampires might be going through a difficult time in their life (divorce, loss of a family member, job, etc.). In the short-term, they need to lean on others and that’s okay, even though it may be draining.
Conversely, inherent energy vampires are always this way; and they aren’t looking to change. The easiest way to identify this type of person is to assess how you feel after you walk away from them. If you feel exhausted, then chances are that person is an energy vampire.
In most cases, you have the freedom to excise this person from your life entirely. This may seem dramatic, but you have to remember that you’re protecting yourself in the end.
By recognizing the toxic behaviors of these people and trying to put an end to it, you’re protecting yourself, your health, and your overall well-being.
No one deserves to be mistreated or used in this manner. It’s certainly not your fault.
Some people refuse to accept responsibility for their own emotional maturity — and that isn’t your burden to bear.