"What, exactly, is an emotional vampire," you might ask. Well it's that person (sometimes more than one person, if you're really unlucky!) in your life who never has a positive thing to say about anything. You know, the friend who rains on your parade. The parent who endlessly likes to tell you all the parenting skills that you, yourself, are lacking (note the irony!). The boss that likes to treat you like you're inept when she's the one having a bad day.
Emotional vampires are people who drain from you your core energy, the emotional reserve that is vital to your daily functioning. Because they are damaged, themselves, in some way (low self esteem, miserable relationships, lake of personal achievement or just plain angry at the world), it makes them feel a little better to take the wind out of your sails for a little while.
Though these people are oftentimes difficult to deal with without becoming upset, and sometimes they are downright unavoidable (think boss or parent), there are some great ways you can prevent them from taking a bite out or your happiness so you can reserve your positive energy.
The next time you find yourself face-to-face in a demeaning conversation with an emotional vampire, try referring to some of the following six ways you can properly deal without becoming victim of those energy-suckers:
1. Limit your time with emotional vampires. If it's possible and practical, sever your communication/relationship altogether. This might be easier in terms of friendships and acquaintances but may be impractical in professional relationships and family matters. If you cannot totally omit the individual(s) from your life, limit the time you spend communicating and do it only when you absolutely must.
2. Realize that they are the problem, not you! No matter what emotional vampires may say or do to hurt you, know that they obviously have a problem with jealousy and/or their own insecurities. Many of them inhabit miserable personal experiences and it temporarily makes them feel a little better about themselves to put another person down.
3. Only listen with half an ear. Only engage in communication with emotional vampires when it is absolutely required (dealing with a boss or co-worker, especially) but do not exceed the limits of your responsibilities (don't communicate outside work, or when you don't have to). When you do have to converse, get by with paying minimal attention to what they have to say. If it's not pertinent (or if it's insulting) let it go through one ear and out the other, as the proverbial saying goes. Reply with 'yeah okay,' or 'oh, is that so' as nonchalantly as you can. Hopefully they will realize that you'd rather not partake in their demeaning comments and after a while they'll go badger a more appropriate victim.
4. Do not waste your time and energy fighting with them or explaining your point of view. The less information and feedback you give them, the less ammunition they have to use against you! Instead, try ignoring any rude comments altogether. Pretend they are just one voice speaking in a roomful of loud conversation. Let them know that what they have to say is of little importance to you! You don't even have to listen!
5. Focus on the good things in your life, your positives and your strengths. Emotional vampires live to bring you down to their level, to make you feel bad about yourself. Do not allow them that kind of power! Every time you find yourself in the unfortunate event of having to deal with one of these energy-suckers, once you get them out of your personal space take a few moments to recollect yourself. Remind yourself of your personal accomplishments and notable achievements, the good things you have going for you in your life, the things you have to look forward to. Compliment yourself! This will allow you to transition back into a positive mindset rather than ruminating on your negative interaction with the vampire.
6. Be vigilant to yourself. Know who you are and what your personal boundaries are. Have a healthy self-respect and self esteem. Emotional vampires usually take advantage of those who seem weak, quiet, insecure, or socially vulnerable. Conduct yourself in such a way that you demonstrate a sense of purpose and willpower.
Once you practice these six tips, hopefully you will begin to repel those negative people who want nothing more than to suck the life right out of you and take some for themselves!