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How to deal with emotional vampires

An introduction to emotional vampires

Emotional vampires come in various shapes and sizes. Despite the several sub-types, one factor that they all have in common is that you feel emotionally drained after spending time with them. Besides feeling drained, they often take up your time and in some cases money as well. Emotional vampires tend to run in families. If you encounter one, you will want to avoid it and their family members as well.

Some emotional vampires have money. Those with money often use their money as a lure to entice you into their power. Once you are caught in their power they will take the life out of you. In the case of those with money, they will use your desire for money and greed as a way of keeping you in their clutches. They will use not only money, but also drugs, sex, secrets and anything else to have something on you in order to keep you in their control. “You owe me” is a frequently heard phrase coming from these types.

Some people use the term emotinal vampires. Other terms used are 'users' and 'takers'. We often have a sense about these types although there are different names for them depending on our experiences with them.

Emotional vampires are dangerous to your emotional and physical health

Emotional vampires are dangerous to your emotional and physical health

What are the types of emotional vampires?

The first type is the needy, helpless type. The needy persons often play the helpless role in an effort at getting you to take action. They often interact with a passive way of taking action. They ‘suggest’ or ‘ask’ for what they want from you. Sometimes it is direct, sometimes it is indirect. Whether direct or indirect, they know what they want. For example, if they want a glass of tea. They may make a comment that they are thirsty, or ask you for a glass of tea directly. When I think of this type I often see those large eyed cats that often look so pitiful and helpless.

Another type is the depressed vampire. These are the ones that move slowly. Sometimes they make sounds of struggle as part of their routine. They make every day look like it is a struggle for them. These are easily recognized. They often say very negative things and seem to energize themselves by cutting down and talking about others. They often have a long term frown on their face. When there is laughter it is often forced and almost a cackle rather than genuine belly-jostling laughter. Due to their extreme depressed mood, they often suck the life energy out of you and everything in the room. I have seen these types suck the life out of electric fans and other inanimate objects as well. You can feel these types when they enter a room.

The worst is the necrophilia type. This type is the depressed vampire on steroids. They take depression to a new low. This type does not enjoy life at all, They often talk about their losses, and surround themselves with somber music or even the lack of music. Their rooms are often morgue like, with photos and mementos of life that no longer exists. They items they have reminded them of their losses rather than the happy times they had. When they review their lives, they recall the mistakes, deaths and losses. They talk about death and how life itself is a struggle. If you listen to them, there are often themes of ‘revenge’ or talking about how people do not deserve things. It is this morbid aspect that separates them from the depressed type. Goths may look scary, but these types of persons actually do take the life and enjoyment of life out of you.

How to deal with them

1, Set boundaries. Know ahead of time how far you will go with people. Do not let them violate your boundaries. When they hook you into a crisis, they often violate your boundaries or force you to compromise so that the guilt from compromising your values can be used as leverage against you.

2. Pay attention to your gut feelings. If you gut tells you to stay away, listen to it. When you sense the draining of energy, do not ignore the sensation. The good Lord gave you those sensations in order to protect you from such types of people.

3. Learn how to turn away from guilt. When you can not be hooked, they do not have any power over you. Remember they only have the power that you give them. The more you give into them, the stronger the hold they have on you. Don’t feel guilty if they have hurt feelings.

4. Surround yourself with life and lively things. Listen to lively music dress lively and so forth. Make it a point to enjoy life. Since emotional vampires avoid life and liveliness like the plague, use it to re-energize yourself and keep them away. Rather than garlic, the thing that keeps away these types of vampires is liveliness.

5, Move a lot. Activities like dancing are invigorating. The despondency that often accompanies emotional vampires tends toward extreme passivity the antidote to that passivity is activity and lots of it.

What are their methods?

It is not unusual for emotional vampires to be in crisis and have ways of ‘hooking’ you into their crisis. Once hooked a kind of bonding takes place. Since you went through a crisis with them, they expect you to stay with them. You may hear themes of how only you could understand them, or how only you can help them. There will be other comments of how you are the exception to miserable world in which they live.

Besides crises, they often use crying episodes as another hook. The crying or threat of crying often creates guilt feelings in their victims. True guilt occurs when you violate a moral principle or law. In dealing with them you have broken no law or principle, they want you to feel like you owe them something. Some family structures used guilt as a motivator in raising their children. Children raised in such homes are often more vulnerable to these emotional vampire types.

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Sue St. Clair (author) from I would rather be in Paris on May 17, 2013:

Boston Mom,

It thrills me that you found my hub helpful. I smiled when I read the unhooking the doorbell, since I did that one myself. In my mind, boundaries need to be set. It puzzles me that your husband does not want you to be firm. Perhaps his resistance to boundaries will fade when you have him "do something" about setting boundaries. He is not having to deal with her. There is something to be said for keeping the peace, yet when keeping the peace mans others violate the boundaries of your home and show no respect, something needs to be done. Perhaps he does not realize how important it is to you for him to protect you. Maintaining your boundaries is part of protecting you. It protects your heart, your sanity and the sanctity of your home. I have problems with men who do not protect their wives or make them feel safe. When people violate my boundaries, it bothers me and raises safety issues.

With her just walking into your home, it is not just being neighborly, it is downright rude and present a safety threat to you and your child.

You may have to give her hints. If that does not work, cut off or cut short the conversations. You can also refuse to answer the phone when she calls. There is no law that says you have to answer the phone. It becomes a form of tyranny with how people rush to answer the phone when they do not have to. It took me a while to learn that one, but it has eliminated a LOT of stress and has helped me keep my sanity when there were many intrusions of boundaries I set.

Like the Kevin Costner move, "If you build it, they will come", When you set the boundaries, they will test them. You have to communicate that you mean what you say. If you do not value your boundaries, they will not either.

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I hope this helps you.

Boston Mom on April 25, 2013:

Thank you for writing this article! I've been reading all of the posts on here and it really hits a chord with me. I know like many posters on here the problem is we are too kind hearted--the perfect target for the emotional vamp.

I am 9 months pregnant and have an emotional vampire for a next door neighbor for a couple of years now. She is constantly calling and wants to be BFFs, but she only calls to quickly ask me how I am and then go on about her therapy sessions, her teenagers, and herself for an hour of emotionally draining time. If I don't answer both phones, she rings my doorbell saying "You could be in labor now and you aren't answering so I had to come over because you could be in real danger." IF I don't answer that, I get 4 long text messages about what's new in her life.

She gets jealous when I go walking or do things with friends other than her. If she sees me walking with my 3 year old outside, she asks if she can take a walk with us. She calls me when I am out running errands, asking, "Are you home!?? I need to show you this thing I just bought. Call me when you are at a time when you are home to see it." Then when I get home, she texts or calls again as I am pulling in my garage inviting herself over. When I tell her I am pregnant and need to rest or that we are napping or sick, she responds very coldly on a brief text. Recently a couple of times she has walked right into my house to bring me some magazine when I accidentally left the door unlocked.

When she was depressed months ago she would come over here crying and sobbing. Like many of you I got sucked in because I like helping others and I just felt soooo guilty that I always offered a shoulder to cry on and a listening ear. After several months my blood pressure got too high and I told her I just couldn't take it anymore with my pregnancy. She stopped for a few glorious months. Now it's definitely picked back up now that I am due with baby in a few days and I feel so trapped in here with my mini blinds drawn.

What am I going to do with a new baby here napping and someone with poor boundaries ringing my doorbell waking him up?

I have thought about selling our house, disconnecting the doorbell, because the excessive phone call avoidance and door bell ringing avoidance aren't working when a neighbor constantly monitors if you are home or not. What should I do? My husband thinks that being firm (snapping on her) and getting it out in the open will make more problems, and that I should just give her what she wants but try and limit time and keep it cordial (you never want to piss a neighbor off). My husband used to laugh at first and compare my situation to a funny Seinfeld episode. Now it's spiraling into a Lifetime movie. lol. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Sorry this post is so long.

Sue St. Clair (author) from I would rather be in Paris on February 28, 2013:

Stellar Phoenix Reviewer,

Wow! Thank you for your kind comments. I am thrilled that you found the content awesome. Feeling motivated to start your own blog is quite a compliment. You made my day.