Have you ever felt completely drained, depleted, and exhausted around a particular person, for no apparent reason?
If so, you may have come across an energy vampire.
And they’re more common than you think.
If you feel perpetually “sucked dry” by the people in your life, it’s time to get help.
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What is an Energy Vampire?
An energy vampire is a person who feeds off your emotional or psychic energy. People who display energy vampire traits generally lack empathy, consideration, and/or emotional maturity. As a result of the pain or insecurity they feel inside, energy vampires are addicted to preying on the vitality of others as an attempt to heal their inner suffering.
Essentially, an energy vampire could be anyone such as a friend, family member, colleague, acquaintance, child, son or daughter, or even a romantic partner. If you’re a highly empathetic caring person, it’s also possible to actively attract energy vampires into your life. Unfortunately, if you’re a highly sensitive person who doesn’t know how to set boundaries, it’s quite likely that you’re already surrounded by energy vampires left, right, and center.
Energy vampires are attracted to you because they unconsciously desire to resolve a deeper problem within their psyches — and they perceive YOU as the solution to their problems.
6 Energy Vampire Types
While it’s easy to feel resentful towards energy vampires, it’s important to remember that they haven’t developed the capacity to deal with their issues yet.
Energy vampires prey on others because they are in pain. However, the important thing to remember is that you are NOT responsible for resolving their issues. THEY are responsible for sorting out their struggles.
Often, an energy vampire leaves us feeling so drained that we are incapable of taking care of ourselves. As a result of constantly interacting with an energy vampire, we might feel chronically fatigued, depressed, anxious, irritable or angry.
It’s vital that you learn how to “draw the line” and set boundaries around these types of people. Without learning how to identify the different types of energy vampires in your life, it can be difficult for you to practice self-nurturing and assertiveness.
Here are the six main energy vampire types out there:
1. The Victim or Martyr Vampire
Victim or Martyr Vampires prey off your guilt. Victims/Martyrs believe that they are “at the mercy” of the world and suffer primarily due to other people. Instead of taking self-responsibility for their lives, Victim/Martyr Vampires continually blame, manipulate, and emotionally blackmail others. The dysfunctional behavior of the Victim/Martyr Vampire is due to their extremely low self-esteem. As their issues most likely stem from a lack of love, validation, and approval as children, Victim/Martyr Vampires feel fundamentally unworthy and unacceptable – and they try to resolve this pain by underhandedly gaining sympathy/empathy from you by making you feel guilty.
How to nurture your energy: When you’re around a Victim/Martyr Vampire, be aware of their self-pity cues. For example, a self-pity cue could be the person’s tendency to blame another person for their suffering, or perhaps a description of how terrible their day has been. Don’t get involved in their self-pity. Limit your interaction with them if possible.
2. The Narcissist Vampire
A Narcissist Energy Vampire has no capacity to show empathy or genuine interest toward other people. Narcissist Vampires carry the unconscious philosophy of “ME first, YOU second.” Therefore, Narcissist Vampires will constantly expect you to put them first, feed their egos, and do what they say – no matter what. Narcissist Vampires will also manipulate you with false charm, but will just as quickly turn around and stab you in the back when the fancy strikes them. If you have a Narcissist Vampire in your life, you might feel a sense of extreme disempowerment as you feel crushed beneath their limelight and self-absorption.
How to nurture your energy: If you’re unable to cut away this person from your life right now, try to limit contact. You could also show the Narcissistic Vampire how your requests satisfy their self-interest, particularly if you’re in a working relationship.
3. The Dominator Vampire
Dominator Vampires love to feel superior and like “alpha” males or females. Due to their deep inner insecurities of being “weak” or “wrong” (and therefore hurt), Dominator Vampires must overcompensate by intimidating you. Often Dominator Vampires are loud-mouthed types of people who have rigid beliefs and black-and-white perceptions of the world. They are often racist, sexist, homophobic, and/or bigoted.
How to nurture your energy: Agree to disagree. Practice calm assertiveness when necessary and limit your contact with Dominator Vampires. Realize that their attempt to scare you is sourced from their deep fear of being dominated and thus hurt.
4. The Melodramatic Vampire
The Melodramatic Energy Vampire thrives on creating problems. Often, their need to create constant drama is the product of a dark underlying emptiness in their lives. Melodramatic Vampires also love seeking out crises because it gives them a reason to feel victimized (thus special and in need of love), an exaggerated sense of self-importance, and avoidance from life’s real issues. Another reason why Melodramatic Vampires enjoy creating drama is that the negative emotions that they feed off are addictive (such as anger).
How to nurture your energy: Refuse to take sides or be involved in the Melodramatic Vampire’s pot-stirring. Pay attention to the patterns in their behavior and the triggers that make you want to get involved. Create distance and remove them from your life if possible.
5. The Judgmental Vampire
Due to their severely low self-worth, the Judgmental Energy Vampire loves to pick on other people. Their treatment of others is merely a reflection of how they treat themselves. Judgmental Vampires enjoy preying on your insecurities and bolstering their egos by making you feel small, pathetic, or ashamed.
How to nurture your energy: Remember that true self-worth must come from within. Refuse to take what the Judgmental Vampire says personally. Be aware of their deeper pain and their need to feel good about themselves. When you get defensive, you lose. Keep a balanced head, and try being sweet to them (that really throws them off balance!). Reduce, or cut off contact with them if possible.
6. The Innocent Vampire
Energy Vampires aren’t always malicious, as is the case with Innocent Vampires. Sometimes they can be helpless types of people who genuinely need help such as children or good friends who come to rely on you too much. It’s wonderful to help those you care about, but it’s also important that you encourage them to be self-sufficient. Playing the role of the constant “rock” or support will eventually erode your energy. As a result, you’ll have little energy to support yourself.
How to nurture your energy: Helping those in need is a display of compassion and love, but you also need to remember to love yourself. Gently remind the Innocent Vampire in your life that you need time to yourself as well. Encourage them to develop strength, fortitude, and resilience so that you can remove the role of constant caretaker or giver.
More In-Depth Help
If you feel like energy vampires are a major issue for you, check out our book Awakened Empath which provides in-depth and advanced help for energy-sensitive people:
How to Identify the Energy Vampire
So how can you know whether you’re dealing with an energy vampire or not? You’ll likely experience feeling:
- Physically ill (e.g., headaches, body aches, etc.)
- Mentally or physically exhausted
- Irritable and/or anxious
You may notice that most Energy Vampires display many of the following characteristics:
- Big ego, e.g., loves to debate, argue, and pick fights
- Aggressive or passive-aggressive tendencies
- Resentment and anger issues
- Melodramatic behavior
- Whining and complaining
- Bitching and gossiping
- Insecurity, e.g., the constant need for reassurance and acceptance.
- Manipulative behaviors, e.g., guilt-tripping, emotional blackmail, etc.
Energy vampires tend to take more than give. They use others for their own means without really considering how the other person is feeling.
It’s also important to understand that Energy Vampires are not always necessarily human beings. They can also be situations or even physical objects in your life. Examples include:
- The internet
- The TV
- Other electronic devices (e.g., the radio, mobile phone, etc.)
- Public situations (e.g., crowds, parties, train stations, shopping centers, etc.)
- Animals (e.g., neurotic pets)
When all is said and done, however, the hardest Energy Vampires to handle are those within your own family or friendship circle. How can we regain our vitality in such energy-sucking relationships?
10 Ways to Cope With Energy Vampires
Here are some empowering way to handle Energy Vampires:
1. Stop making prolonged eye-contact
One of the biggest energy absorbers out there is eye contact. The more eye-contact you make, the more you engage with the other person and what they have to say. Only occasional eye-contact is necessary with Energy Vampires, otherwise, you’re giving them direct access to one of your most precious and limited resources (energy).
2. Set a time limit
Your time is precious as well, and it’s not necessary for you to sit around for 1 or 2 hours having your energy zapped and brain numbed. According to your energy level, set a limit of 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes where you can give your focus to the person, and no more.
3. Learn not to react
This is crucial. The Energy Vampire feeds off your reactions, fueling them to continue interacting with you. It’s important for you to learn how to be neutral in your interactions with EV’s, meaning that you should carefully monitor how you feel and prevent yourself from expressing overly positive or negative emotions. Too much emotion will let them sink their fangs into you even more (it’s irresistible). Learning not to react is also known as the grey rock method in which you make yourself so boring and uninteresting that the other person loses interest in you.
4. Learn not to argue or contradict
Yes, it’s tempting, but in the long run, you can’t change other people unless they change themselves first. The more you resist them, the more they will resist (and drain) you.
5. Go with other people
Approaching the Energy Vampire with 1, 2 or 3 other people will provide a powerful buffer and reduce the amount of energy that will be drained from you. For this trick to work, you need to ensure that the additional people aren’t psychic leeches either.
6. Listen more than talk
A lot of the time Energy Vampires simply want and need a listening ear. The more you talk, the more energy you tend to lose (especially if you’re introverted). Using short words/questions such as “why?” “when?” and “how?” will encourage the EV to do most of the talking, which in turn will help preserve your energy.
7. Try sticking to light-hearted topics
Your conversations don’t need to be depressive and oppressive. Take control when necessary and change the topic of conversation to something more light and simple.
Many people claim that visualizing protective light/energy shields around them helps to deflect psychic fatigue, and maintain a neutral and calm state of mind. Try it some time and see how it impacts your mental and emotional wellbeing.
9. Avoid when possible
Although not always possible, avoiding the energy vampire is a simple and straightforward technique to assist in your self-preservation. I don’t recommend avoidance as a consistent solution, as the less you come in contact with the Vampire/s the less opportunity you’ll have to develop and put into practice useful and necessary life skills (like assertiveness and creating personal boundaries).
10. Cut off contact
This is the last resort. Sometimes for your own health and happiness, you need to make difficult decisions regarding who you choose to surround yourself with. In the end, if you continue to suffer, the best option may be to simply cut ties and move on.
Showing Compassion to Energy Vampires
Let’s face it: there’s a lot of harsh information out there condemning Energy Vampires. Yes, it’s true that they’re tiring, annoying, and sometimes clearly narcissistic – but not all of them have bad intentions.
Sometimes, Energy Vampires are simply well-meaning and normal people who are overbearing and starved for love, affection, attention, and validation.
In fact, sometimes we may be Energy Vampires to other people without even knowing it!
So let’s be kind toward ourselves and others, but draw clear boundaries. There’s nothing more energy-draining than secretly hating or resenting a person. In the interest of our own vitality and wellbeing, let’s try to see beyond the immediate behavior and understand that most Energy Vampires are in some sort of pain. Why else would they desperately be seeking out others to unconsciously “feed off”?
What to Do if You’re the Energy Vampire
If people consistently complain that you’re too overwhelming, intense, demanding, or overbearing – you might be moving into the Energy Vampire role.
Don’t worry, you don’t need to be hard on yourself. Sometimes stress, mental health issues, core wounds, and inner traumas cause us to behave in ways that repel other people unknowingly.
Here’s what to do if you’re the Energy Vampire:
- Spend some time thinking about how you interact with others. Do you give more than take? Do you allow others to talk about themselves? Is there equality in the conversation? If not, and if you find that you’re hogging most of the attention, find ways to show interest in others. Remember, people take more interest in you if you take more interest in them. Be curious and ask questions. Be open to learning something new about others.
- Practice self-care. Assess how you’re feeling during the day and tune into your emotional needs. Are you feeling stressed or lonely? Make a soothing cup of tea or cuddle a pet or loved one. See our self-care article for more in-depth guidance.
- Make self-love a philosophy and habit. While self-care is the practical side of things, self-love is the philosophical and emotional side of things. What is your relationship with yourself like? Do you treat yourself with self-respect and compassion? Or are you brutal and critical? The more love you can show toward yourself, the less you’ll need to desperately try to gain that from others. In fact, the more self-love you develop, the more others will enjoy spending time around you as they’ll sense that you don’t want to take something from them, but instead simply want to be with them. See our guide on how to love yourself for more help.
- Reach out to a counselor or therapist. Energy Vampires often have a desperate need to be seen, heard, validated, and supported. The best place to do this in a healthy and constructive way (that focuses exclusively on you without being detrimental) is in a therapeutic setting. There is so much psychological guidance available these days that you have a plethora of options to choose from. If you can’t make it to a counselor physically you can always try having an online Skype session.
- Do some inner work. Other than self-love, it’s also important that you work to heal your inner child and embrace your shadow self (the dark side of your nature). Doing this kind of deep inner excavation will help you to get to the root of the wounds and beliefs that cause you to act as an Energy Vampire. Read more about inner work to get started.
Be gentle with yourself and understand that growing out of the Energy Vampire habit is a journey. With dedication and persistence, you will find ways to nourish yourself instead of trying to absorb that from others.
At a sub-atomic level, all that exists in life is composed of vibrating atoms or pure energy. Even incorporeal things such as our thoughts, emotions, instincts, and sexual drives can be said to be composed of energy. Thus, we live in an ocean of motion, and like in the ocean – or any environment on earth for that matter – there are both predators and prey.
If you find yourself slipping into the role of prey, just know that there are strategies you can use to set clear boundaries and protect your energy.
On the other hand, if you find yourself in the role of predator (or Energy Vampire), be gentle with yourself and understand that such behavior is a result of unresolved inner pain and the need to desperately be seen. You can develop self-love to counteract this.
What are your experiences with energy vampires? And if you’re an energy vampire, what do you think motivates your behavior? I’d love to hear below.