In a perfect world, we would all be surrounded by people who support and love us without any strings attached. Our co-workers would be kind, considerate and thoughtful and offer constructive criticism. Our families would be able to assess your emotional state before piling on their worries onto your shoulders and our friends would try to solve some their problems all by themselves. Unfortunately, that is not reality. So how do you recognize and deal with the emotional moochers in your life?
According to PsychologyToday.com, there are five types of emotional “vampires”:
1. The Narcissist – It’s all about them…all the time. They have an inflated sense of self-important and entitlement and crave attention. These people lack empathy and have zero to no capacity for unconditional love. It’s their way or no way.
2. The Victim – The ENTIRE world is against them and that’s why they are unhappy. Even the best ideas that offer solutions to their misery are met with, “Yeah, but…” Every conversation with them leaves you feeling drained.
3. The Controller – Somehow these people think you are theirs to control and manipulate. They have an opinion about everything and will try to discount your feelings if they don’t believe you have a valid reason to feel that way…even if they caused it.
4. The Constant Talker – You might have initiated the conversation but they will dominate it and won’t let you get a word in edgewise. They are not interested in anything you have to say or how you may feel.
5. The Drama Queen/King – These people have a flair for small incidents into off-the-chart dramas or as my granny would say, “Making a mountain out of a molehill.”
So how do you protect yourself from this emotional mooching vampires? Take a minute to think about how you feel after interacting with people. Do you feel energized or optimistic? Or do you feel drained and defeated? If it’s the latter, then maybe you need to limit the amount of time, if any, that you spend with those type of people. Dealing with that type of negativity on a daily basis can weaken your emotional snapback and agility.
Here are four strategies on how to deal with emotional mooching vampires from the book Emotional Freedom by Judith Oroloff, MD:
Strategy #1: Am I Being Sapped by an Emotional Vampire? There are some common emotional side effects such as feeling put down or your mood takes a nosedive.
Strategy #2: Practice These General Dos and Don’ts With Emotional Vampires Whenever possible, eliminate drainers from your life. However, with those, you can’t or don’t want to remove like friends going through a rough patch or relatives — follow these tips:
- Do: Take a breath to center yourself. Stay calm and matter of fact instead of going for their bait. Communicate clearly and firmly, with a neutral tone when setting limits.
- Don’t: Panic. Talk yourself out your intuitions or call yourself “neurotic.” Blurt out what you’ll regret later or use an accusatory tone.
Strategy #3: Could I Be an Emotional Vampire? How Do I Know? (Own your stuff!) Everyone has a little bit of vampire in them, especially when stressed. Cut yourself a break. The solution is always to own up to where you’re emotionally stuck and change the related behavior.
Strategy #4: Identify and Combat Emotional Vampires To be free of vampires, you must know the nature of the beast. Each one has a special talent for emotionally disabling you. The good news is that vampires are predictable. Once you get their number, you won’t be caught off guard.
Take some time to assess who is around you and create strategies on how to deal with them if they are emotional moochers. Your peace of mind and emotional well-being will thank you.