Energy Vampires: Definition, Signs & 5 Ways to Deal With Them

energy vampire definition
Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Adrian Swancar

Energy vampires in your life can leave you feeling drained and exhausted. Keep reading to find out what signs to look out for and how to deal with them.

Do you ever feel tired after spending time with certain people, but can’t pinpoint why exactly? Such people can be energy vampires in your life. We’ll provide you with a definition of energy vampires, signs to identify them and tips on dealing with them in your own life, so you can learn how to beat exhaustion.

Energy Vampire Definition

In simple terms, energy vampires are defined as people who drain your energy metaphorically sucking it out, like the mythical bloodsucking creatures. This can be expressed by making you feel unsupported, tired, sad, angry, taken advantage of or many other forms. They can come as friends, lovers, family members or co-workers.

To understand the definition of energy vampires, it is important to define what they are not. They are not your enemy and will most likely be unaware of the exhaustion they are causing you. Try viewing them from a neutral point of view instead of creating an image of an evil person in your head. Understand that you too can be an energy vampire for other people in your life.

Signs to Identify Energy Vampires

Pay attention to how you feel after socializing with certain people.
Pay attention to how you feel after socializing with certain people. (Foto: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Brooke Cagle)

There are several ways to identify energy vampires. Let’s have a closer look.

  • It is always about them but never about you: If your relationship to a person feels one-sided, and they are trying to one-up you with their problems or achievements, you may have to do with an energy vampire.
  • Some energy vampires lack accountability: They can show up as colleagues, co-workers or fellow students and may take credit for your work without completing their part. Blaming others for their own mistakes is also a common tendency.
  • They create drama when there is none: Look out for people who constantly want to be the center of attention and expect you to find solutions for their problems, but don’t reciprocate the support you give them.
  • You feel overly criticized by them: They may try to balance out their own insecurities by projecting them on you. This can happen unconsciously and may not be their intention, but your feelings are valid nevertheless.
  • Energy Vampires can be intimidating: People may make you feel less worthy by intimidating you and overly bragging with their achievements.

We’ll show you five ways of dealing with energy vampires, so you can learn how to react to such scenarios and protect your own energy, including your mental, physical and emotional well-being. This can range from ending contact to this person on to talking openly about the issue and building trust in the relationship.

1. Find People Who You Can Truly Trust

Finding people who boost your energy is important.
Finding people who boost your energy is important. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / Anemone123)

Make sure to identify your personal energy givers. These are just as important, as they can help you balance out the negative experiences with energy vampires. Try to think of five people in your life who make you feel happy, balanced and stress-free after spending time with them. There are many ideas for giving quality time to each other.

Set an intention when meeting new people, to form meaningful, honest and reciprocated connections. Try to communicate your expectations from the start — whether that is in a friendship, job setting or when pursuing a romantic relationship.

2. Know Your Own Limits

Before confronting an energy vampire, you should reflect on your personal limits. This will help you to set boundaries in your relationship. Here’s a list of self-reflective questions to ask yourself:

  • To what extent can I handle the behavior of an energy vampire?
  • Is this person simply venting about their problems to me, or are they excessively dumping their emotional ballast and issues on me?
  • Am I meeting this energy vampire in stressful surroundings?
  • Could my feelings be caused by something external, or is it truly about this specific person?

Once you clearly define these patterns and recognize your own limits, it will be much easier for you to open up about your boundaries.

3. Confront Energy Vampires

Speaking up about your boundaries will help the other person understand your point of view.
Speaking up about your boundaries will help the other person understand your point of view. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / alda2)

While you shouldn’t call these people actual energy vampires or burst out with madness in front of them, it is important to address your feelings. How about using the sandwich technique? Tell them something you value about them, then communicate clearly how some of their actions make you feel, and give some suggestions of how you can work on this together.

While many energy vampires may block off and show no understanding at first, you should give them time and space to think about their behavior. If you feel like they are not working on the issue and keep on making you feel exhausted, see if you can spend less time with them or cut them out from your life entirely. That is easier said than done, but it can work in some instances.

4. Clearly Set Your Boundaries

Especially after defining energy vampires in your family, relationship, or work setting, it is probably not possible to cut them out of your life entirely, but there are ways to work on the situation together. However, it is important that you communicate your personal boundaries.

Write out your main points before approaching them, or practice the conversation. Be straightforward in your choice of words and try to explain your feelings without taking on a victim role. Besides, you always have the right to decline a family dinner, say no to after-work drinks, or spend some time in a separate room to gain some distance. Most importantly, try not to feel guilty for setting boundaries.

5. Have a Reality Check

It is important to take time to reflect on your own thoughts and actions.
It is important to take time to reflect on your own thoughts and actions. (Foto: CC0 / Pixabay / JerzyGorecki)

Try to understand and realize where toxic patterns prevail, and confront energy vampires with their behavior. Sometimes the experiences you make can be a mirror of your own thoughts or actions. Of course, this doesn’t excuse the behavior of energy vampires, but try to reflect once in a while and work on yourself too.

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