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How to Deal With Energy Sucking People

I have learned a great deal about cognitive therapy techniques as a way to make changes in my own life.

Sometimes people drain you of your energy.

Sometimes people drain you of your energy.

Have you ever noticed how spending time with some people can really suck the life out of you? I mean REALLY suck the life out of you? I'm talking about someone who can be taxing on your emotional or even physical well-being? Someone with whom you feel so frustrated to be around, that no matter what you do, you just can't seem to appease them, negotiate with them, or help them out of their negative cycle?

Maybe it all comes down to a personality conflict between you. But, there are also some people who tend to carry extreme traits (i.e. adults who tend to be users, emotional or physical abusers, compulsive liars, addicts, takers, those unmotivated to do for themselves, etc) that can be emotionally draining to be around. People like this may seem like energy vampires because they seem to drain life from others around them.

If you have an energy vampire in your life, here are some methods for your dealings with them.

How do some people become an energy vampire?

Some people may have themselves stuck in a cycle that keeps them in negative circumstances. In order to attempt to balance their own lives, they become reliant on the energy and resources of others to fill their needs. But no matter how much they may get, even if it’s to the point of draining you emotionally, physically or even financially, it may never seem like enough for them.

These type of energy sucking people tend to behave in these manners when they lack the understanding of how to work through problem-solving processes themselves. Feeling as if they have no control over their own lives can be frustrating to them as they struggle with feeling helpless, angry, victimized and confused about their circumstances. Therefore, they may displace these feelings by taking them out on others and have overly-high expectations of those around them.

There may possibilities for why someone may lack the ability to solve problems in their personal life. It may have been from having others around them that didn't display trust in their abilities to handle things themselves and therefore over-directed them, overly helped them, or made decisions for them.

Though this may seem helpful at the moment, rather than learning how to take care of things on their own, they come to feel incapable of doing such and become reliant on others to take care of their problems for them. Of course, if things don’t turn out the way they like, then it also makes them feel that they don’t have to take responsibility for the results and are able to place blame on the one that took charge of the matter. You can begin to see how this creates a life of chaos and how it begins to tear down and frustrate those who are around them.

If you happen to spend time with someone who is an energy vampire, you may have realized how your time with them may leave you feeling exhausted, frustrated, discontent and unproductive as you constantly deal with their constant demands, negativity and problems.

How can you handle energy draining people?

First off, rather than getting pulled in to their chaos, try to recognize which behaviors drain you and what they might be trying to gain from such. They often could use some guidance or support in handling their own issues. When you gain some perspective of what they really need, you can choose to direct them in achieving the results for themselves rather than them relying on others.

They are often not even aware of how their behaviors impact others, how to recognize their own emotional needs, or even that they can solve a problem themselves by changing their own habits or routines. This may require some delicate discussions as you point out their behavior and provide some firm and detailed directions as you educate and push them into taking responsibility for themselves. Of course, if you’re dealing with abusive people, take caution in how you approach this, as the goal here is to ease the effects of a life sucker, not increase them.


Put down some personal boundaries for yourself.

If you find that the discussions are leading into negative topics that begin to feel energy draining, you can:
-choose to let them know that you do not feel like participating in that discussion
-you can redirect the conversation to something more positive
-you can remove yourself from the discussion altogether
-you can offer up solutions that direct them to create a better outcome for themselves.

If you are able to do so, set limitations on times you will spend with him. Even energy sucking people, are great to spend time with… if kept within time limits. Become aware of the limits when pleasant socializing with someone becomes emotionally and energy draining then choose to remove yourself at these times.

Learn to say no or at least set limits when it comes to constantly giving to those who repeatedly seem to ask more of you. Help them to become more self-reliant by directing them to learn how to fix their own problems and solve their own issues. Those who become reliant on others to fix their problems, don't have the skills to fix them themselves; unless they are placed in a position where they absolutely have to take on such responsibility.

By constantly fulfilling the demands of others, we keep them from learning and growing. Not only that, we take on more responsibilities and obligations than we really need to, which also serves to drain life from us. Say no more often, and watch how they suddenly figure out how to take care of things on their own.

Do not fall into the damaging belief that accepting a person means having to accept their negative behaviors. If someone’s behaviors are directly affecting you or your life in a negative way, you have every right to refuse to accept it. Don’t excuse negative behaviors that are wearing or damaging to you, with “oh, that’s just the way they are.”

Resorting to people pleasing will only condone their behavior which will serve to wear you down even more over time and make you more susceptible to other energy sucking people and activities. It's up to you to discuss with them how their destructive behavior affects you, what your personal boundaries are and what the consequences of crossing those boundaries will be. (Be sure the consequence is something you can follow through with. Making strong, yet false threats will greatly backfire as a life sucker will learn to not take you or your threats seriously.)

If all else fails and the relationship does not seem able to become mutually fulfilling, you may choose to remove yourself from them altogether. Be sure that you are truly ready and strong enough to leave this relationship behind you and that you have a safe plan. Because energy sucking people, especially abusive ones will attempt to guilt, manipulate or use other tactics to pull you back in. Get help or support in making this move if you feel you need it.

Take a look at your own habits with energy suckers. Do you constantly feel the need to jump in and help others? Are you trying to fill some of your own needs or avoiding your own problems by attempting to fill the needs of others? Traits like these are may be linked to codependent behaviors. Learning how to recognize and to change these habits can be the greatest way to reduce the effects of energy draining people in your life.

Additional Resources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2010 Mary Roark

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haikutwinkle on June 24, 2015:

well-written article about attention-seeking people

Modestas on January 09, 2015:

I’m impressed, I have to say. Really not often do I enconuter a blog that’s both educative and entertaining, and let me let you know, you have got hit the nail on the head. Your thought is excellent; the problem is one thing that not enough people are speaking intelligently about. I am very completely satisfied that I stumbled across this in my seek for one thing referring to this.

fatma on December 16, 2013:

i have noticed my sis-in-law handfeeding any babies that come visiting, after a day or two that baby always comes down with flu and fever and she becomes all bubbly and radiant, how do you deal with such an energy vampire who sucks off innocent baby energy for very selfish motives of collecting and channelling stolen energy for personal health and will-power over the environment, get me some advise if you know what i am witnessing and suffering emotional stress as a result, my email is

D on July 28, 2013:

I used to work with a bunch of people that sucked my energy and showed no appreciation. NowI work part time on my own (making the same $$$, btw), and have more time to focus on family...the people that are deserving of my energy.

courtney on March 02, 2013:

Hi. I am in college right now living with four other girls in a house. I am considered the 'laid back one' in my household who avoids conflict. I hate arguments and see no point to them. However, one of my roommates seems to fit nearly everything you stated in yout description. Whenever I am around her she is constantly talking badly about others including her friends (which are mine as well)

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on March 02, 2013:

ytsenoh, thank you for your very insightful comment. I do agree that we do have the ability to help some see how their own habits and thinking create certain outcomes. But, I have indeed had experiences with those who just don't want to change themselves, but go on with the preference that others change to meet their perceptions and expectations.

It's very nice to meet you here on HubPages!

Cathy from Louisiana, Idaho, Kauai, Nebraska, South Dakota, Missouri on March 01, 2013:

Mary, interesting term you use here, "energy vampires," which I haven't heard before. It does, however, suit the situation quite well. Your line, "Do not fall into the damaging belief that accepting a person means having to accept their negative behaviors" is so true. I also think that there are people who fall into the energy vampire group, if you will, that no matter how much you try to persuade them there is a silver lining in an effort to help them see how they sound, well, it sometimes does not work. Thank you for writing this hub!

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on January 20, 2013:

Hi Janice, thanks for reading and commenting. You're right, even though it is good to have someone make a stand for you, it's always better to confront issues yourself. It tends to just create other issues if you don't deal with it and do it yourself.

Janice on January 19, 2013:

Thank you MaryMerriment! This is very helpful. I happened to have a stand-off w/an energy vampire this week. She is a seemingly harmless attention-seeking type. To me these are the worst, because unless you are part of their party, then you are the one seen as the "bad guy". Anyway, the bad thing about what happened this week is that someone else stepped-in on my behalf. It was a wonderful surprise that he did, but it really angered me. Let me explain. It was a special day for him, and she ruined the plans I had for a nice surprise for him. Instead, she's the one who got the attention. It was his special day, not hers! It was nice having someone stand-in for me, but of course it's not right. He basically gave her the attention she demanded at his own expense. Well, I've been trying to press her & her hangers-on to take responsibility for themselves, but it's not been easy doing this on my own.

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on November 21, 2012:

Crystal, when my daughter was younger, I was still stuck in finding my worth by helping others and be being a perfectionist. I often didn't let my daughter do things herself and it led to her feeling insecure, incapable and flat out not wanting to try things herself. Now that she's an adult, she still expects me to cater to her. Even though I changed my own habits by the time she was 8 or 9. The effects of this habit had already had it's repercussions it became difficult to undo. So, you are so very right about it being very important to let children do more problem solving and learn from their own mistakes and successes.

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on November 21, 2012:

Thank you billybuc. Sometimes I still have issues with boundaries. I'm just too trusting and helpful to people. I help people when I see they need it. But, before I know it, they are taking everything for granted and running me in the ground. Unfortunately, it often gets to this point before I say "hey, this is not happening anymore."

Crystal Tatum from Georgia on November 20, 2012:

Great hub, very insightful. I think it's true what you say about constantly trying to help someone or solve all their problems. This can be especially damaging for children, because rather than actually assisting them, it stunts their growth and problem-solving capabilities that they will need later in life. Voted up and interesting!

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on November 16, 2012:

Great hub and message! I wrote a hub awhile back about negativity....I like your suggestion about setting boundaries. I simply won't allow negative people to rain on my parade. :)

abentley from California on June 17, 2012:

I really hate some of these type of people. The best thing I have ever tried and succeeded is in ignoring such people.

I liked the way you have presented the article, specifically the last part of the article where you have mentioned the things clearly.

Lakshmi Kumar on May 27, 2012:

I've lived with energy vampires for decades and felt stuck all the time. There seemed no way out. But when it became so bad and I could take it no more, I cut off all these energy suckers who controlled every second of my life. I am amazed at myself and wonder why I could not do it before. Better late than never. But better still if done earlier.

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on April 06, 2012:

Hi eric, your roommate sounds like a person who tends to turn the tables or flips/shifts blame back upon others. Yes, it is a denial process. It's hard to take a real look at ourselves and instead feel that others are the ones with the problems. This is a whole other article in itself (I should work on that!), but there are ways to handle people like this. However, choosing to tough it out or leave is something only you can decide.

eric on April 02, 2012:

My roommate is incredibly lazy and negative. He has been spoiled his whole life and for some reason i feel if i call him out on his negativity, he will in turn call me negative. I have heard him call other people negative and it seems like he is setting up defense mechanisms for his attitude. I want to punch him in the face, but i feel that may be counter productive. Should i just ignore him and move out? The reason i care is that i actually think he's a good friend, but his attitude is becoming unbearable.

Ramzeed from Maryland on August 15, 2011:

Great hub post my friend.

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on June 23, 2011:

"Mood Hoover" I really like that Temirah! Either way, the point is that they suck the energy right out of you! ;o)

Temirah on June 22, 2011:

In the UK we call them 'Mood Hoovers' (a Hoover is a vacuum cleaner brand here). I like your advice on handling these types of people as I'm afraid I just avoid them like the plague and make a conscious effort not to be one! Being more constructive when I meet a mood Hoover would do both of us more good. Great hub!

Mohammad Mohsin from Lahore, Pakistan on June 05, 2011:

great hub

Mary Roark (author) from Boise area, Idaho on February 10, 2011:

Hi Mini, Saying no to others takes a lot of practice. It can be scary, because we fear conflict. But, there are ways to calmly and kindly let them know when something may become inconvenient or unreasonable you for any reason. It just takes practice!

Str8up Hookups on February 10, 2011:

Awesome hub,Thanks for sharing.

We've all encountered these situations at one time or another.

Friends,family, etc can come out of this bag.

It's dealing with it and moving on that makes you a better,stronger person.

Voted up!

Mini 11july from South Asia on February 09, 2011:

Thank you Mary Merriment for lovely article. Handling such 'energy sucking' people becomes tougher when they are family members. It is tough to say 'no' to them. How is it done?

richtwf on November 26, 2010:

Thanks for sharing this very useful hub. It has given me plenty of good food for thought. Appreciate your words of advice.

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on October 21, 2010:

This is so well presented Mary and you've hit the nail on the head when it comes to "why" people become so dependent (or co-dependent). I've had to deal with someone who never had to lift a finger and consequently never learned how to handle their own problems. It's tough having to say "no" but tough love can be life changing for everyone involved. Voted up and useful.

lisadpreston from Columbus, Ohio on October 10, 2010:

This is a really good hub. I am quite familiar with this subject and it is real. Some people really are energy vampires and eventually they ruin your health and sanity.

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