There are occasions when I give my time to people and I walk away feeling drained. At one point I was always interacting with people who seemed to drain the very life blood out of me.
Some people are emotional vampires and spending time with them is emotionally taxing. No matter what you do, no matter how much you give, no matter what you say it seems like they just won’t stop taking. Over the years I have grown to recognize that I am far too valuable to remain idle while I allow my emotions to be drained by emotional vampires.
Even though emotional vampires come in different varieties I have been prone to attract three categories in my own personal life.
The first type of emotional vampire I have attracted falls in the category of the victim. They are someone who dumps all of their problems on you, feels like the world is against them and who acts like an innocent victim and that “life is happening to them”. They don’t take ownership for their role in the story of their life. They may act as if they would like your help in improving their life but they never do any of the things you suggest to improve themselves. They also have the ability to become overly dependent upon you if you allow them.
I believe that I attracted this type of emotional vampire because while I didn’t recognize it at the time I saw myself as a victim. I also have a tendency to be self-absorbed which results in me trying to use others as an emotional dump. I would rudely dump all of my problems off on them all while not even asking them about what was going on in their life.
Alternatively, I believe there were times where I subconsciously engaged with emotional vampires who behaved as victims because I wanted to distract myself from doing my own self work and avoid the problems in my life and so in my own deluded line of thinking I tried to fix someone else because I thought it would be easier than fixing myself.
Another category of emotional vampire I fell prey to are the type of people who stand in judgment of you and are constantly putting you down. You can come to a situation feeling good but they will try their best to knock you down at least a peg or two so that you will walk away feeling empty. They bring up your past, exaggerate your faults and minimize your accomplishments.
People who know me personally often describe me as non-judgmental. While I do find myself judging people, I try very hard not to do it. I actively try to never judge another human being but there are times when I do judge others.
However, I think I attracted the judgmental emotional vampires because I would often sit in judgment of myself. I would speak ill of myself and cut my own self down. So I started attracting people who treated me like I treated myself. I cut myself down and they joined in and did the same.
The final category of emotional vampire that I had appear in my life is the controlling type. They would tell me what was best for me. They would try to dissuade me from what I wanted to do and persuade me to do what I didn’t want to. They would try to mold me into who they wanted me to be. They would try to manipulate me and get me to do what they wanted me to do by being emotionally abusive.
I believe the controlling emotional vampires appear because I like to be control. I like things to be the way I want them to be and I have been especially guilty of trying to manipulate my romantic partners into behaving the way that I wanted them to. I had to recognzize that when we try to control other people we are not loving them we are abusing them. Love is not pain!
Additionally, I would often try in vain to control situations rather than having faith that the Father would do His part.
I also didn’t have any boundaries and was insecure. So I would attract people who would run all over me and since I lacked confidence in myself. So, I found myself feeling like I was drowning as I started losing who I was all while trying to become a false representative of who they wanted me to be. I sought validation from external sources because I hadn’t validated myself and in turn found myself being emotionally manipulated and controlled.
While there are other emotional vampires those are the three that have shown up as mirrors to the behavior that I display in my life.
In order to get rid of emotional vampires I acknowledge that something in me was attracted to their behavior. When they appear in my life and I find myself accepting and entertaining their behavior I see that as a red flag that something is broken on the inside of me.
I try to identify where I am either behaving like them in my own life or acting in such a way where that makes me a prime candidate to be their prey. I also immediately work to set up boundaries in order to keep them at bay.
For the victim vampire I work to no longer allow them to become co-dependent upon me. I let them take the lead in their life and I recognize that I am not responsible for their behavior. If they try to leave their problems at my door, I don’t open the door. When they bring a problem me I ask them “what do you plan to do about it?”. I let them determine what they will do and I let them do their own self work.
When it comes to the judgmental type of emotional vampire I don’t accept their judgment of me. I examine myself to determine if I am putting myself or others down and I take immediate action to stop it!
And as for me, the act of getting rid of the controller is one I find to be my most difficult self work. I have to stop trying to be in control of other people and situations. I have found a sign that I am doing this is when stress and anxiety physically manifests in my body.
Being stressed is my red flag that I am worried about a situation and it’s possible outcome or that I am simply doing too much. When I am stressed I immediately ask God to forgive me for not trusting Him enough to believe that He would stay true to His word and I start being thankful for what I do have and take the focus off of what I don’t.
I work to accept that I cannot control other people and that they are free to live their own life and that’s okay.
So the truth is there are times when I have been the emotional vampire in the lives of others and there have been times when others have drained me.
I have to take ownership for my part in entertaining the people in my life who don’t treat me well and I have to take ownership for mistreating others. Then I have to do the work of not allowing co-dependent, judgmental or controlling personality traits to reign in my own life and to not accept that behavior from others.
So examine yourself. If you find that you are not being kind to yourself and/or others, love yourself enough to do the work that it takes to stop attracting emotional vampires into your and perhaps being an emotional vampire in the lives of others.
There are different types than the ones that I listed but all of them leave you feeling drained and empty. Don’t drain others and don’t allows others to drain you. Love yourself enough to do the work it takes to treat yourself right and to treat others right.
© Renata Pittman and RenataNicole, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Renata Pittman and RenataNicole with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.