By David Joel Miller.
Emotional vampires take your energy.
There are those people who drain the energy of everyone around them. They can suck the happiness right out of a room. In the beginning, you may think they are your friend or they are in need of help, maybe they are family. Over time you discover that they are feeding off your emotions and leaving you exhausted. Sometimes you ask yourself is it you? Or is it them? Others tell you that you are being emotionally abused.
Here are ten ways to spot an emotional vampire before they drain you of all feelings.
1. Their problems are always worse than yours.
You listen to them tell about their trials and tribulations all the time but should you ever face a difficult situation do not expect anything from an emotional vampire. No matter what difficulty you are having they have a story to top that. Every conversation turns to their troubles current and past. They have no interest in hearing about your problems because only their issues matter to them.
2. They take and never give.
You help them out because they need it. But let one time arise that you need a little help they will have a hundred excuses why they can’t. You may start to feel resentful when they ask you for something and then you question yourself. You should help out your friend’s right? But one day it dawns on you that they are never there when you need them. Emotional vampires take with no thought of giving back.
3. Nothing you do is ever good enough.
They can find fault with any and every gift they have ever been given. You try to please them and they point out your shortcomings. The gift is never good enough and the deed is never enough. Whatever you did for them you should have done more, done it faster and someone else does it better than you.
4. They can find a problem in good news.
Happiness destroyers can never see the positive in anyone or anything. Tell them that something good just happened and they will quickly tell you why this boon is nothing. They get a job and tell you that they know that it won’t last, the place is just trying to take advantage of them. You graduate from school and they will say with that degree you will never find a job. When they get a compliment they throw it back saying no one really appreciates them.
5. They make you walk on eggshells.
When you go to say something, you think first about how they will react. There are things you can’t talk about, people you better not mention and topics that are off-limits. When talking to an emotional bloodsucker you worry about every word you might use being the one to set them off. Your time with them is spent worrying about what you need to do and say to not upset them.
6. It is all about them.
Everything that happens has happened or will ever happen is all about them. Every conversation turns to them and how it is always someone else’s fault they are miserable. Introduce a new topic of conversation it quickly turns back to their misery and their expectations that others will let them down. You need to constantly placate them and do for them and still, it is not enough.
7. You are a tool to get them what they want – manipulation
Feel like you are constantly being manipulated? You probably are. Emotionally abusive people believe that if you spotted their game you would not play. Do you feel that this person never comes right out and asks for what they want but tries to use guilt and manipulation to get their needs meet? Are they feeding off your emotions to make themselves feel better?
8. They look for ways to hurt others.
Emotionally abusive people are bent on revenge. They have a list of enemies and expect you to be on their side in getting revenge on that other person. Emotional vampires will make you chose, them or the other. If you do not prefer them over everyone else you become an enemy also. For emotional vampires, friends of their enemies are their enemies. Anything short of total loyalty to them is a reason for them to lash out at you.
9. Their life is full of drama and it sucks you in.
If you have family or friends who are always in the midst of drama you will find that this is not healthy for you. Each day in their life is another soap and they expect you to be their constant sidekick in all this drama. Eventually, you will come to feel that your life has followed theirs down the drama queen highway. Your own life is always in second place to their current crisis.
10. They always need to be right.
People who are emotionally needy find it impossible to ever be wrong. They will keep the argument going till you finally give in and agree that they are right. Even after you agree with them they will continue to insist on how they are right. Any contribution you make to the conversation will be dismissed and may be interpreted as yet another disagreement with their always correct position.
Have you had emotional vampires, emotionally needy and abusive people in your life? How have you protected yourself from them?
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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse and Co-occurring disorders see the about the author page. For information about my other writing work beyond this blog check out my Google+ page or the Facebook author’s page, up under David Joel Miller. Posts to the “books, trainings and classes” category will tell you about those activities. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books