Is there a number on your phone that makes you cringe when it pops up? Is there someone who makes plans to meet up with you, and you spend the whole day thinking about how to get out of it, or find yourself dragging your feet to get there?

Is there someone in your office who makes your stomach tense up, or head for the snack machine? Do you imagine running away and making new friends?

You are not a bad person. It’s just that you have fallen into contact with an emotional vampire, and they are literally draining the life out of you.

Emotional Vampires are exhausting and unflinching and they come in many guises.

There are the whiney emotional sinkhole (E-S-V) ones. These are the ones for whom nothing ever goes right, no matter how obviously self-inflicted their wounds are.

They go on and on about how this person, or that situation, or this organization is out to get them or has let them down.

They sound like they are asking for advice or help, but really they are just filling the air with the sound of their own unhappy voices. You can spend hours and hours, maybe weeks and months, listening to how their boyfriend or boss is an absolute ass, how they are going to leave him/change jobs.

You may be one of many lined up around the corner to lend an empathic ear. Emotional sinkhole vampires tend to spread their misery evenly between victims. They have talked to you, their mates from work, their mum, their hairdresser, and even their taxi driver about a number of critically important grievances that, quite frankly, have often come about because they themselves are so frickin’ nutty that most of it is only in their head. The only person they should really be talking to is a therapist, but why pay for a therapist when everyone is there to listen to the droning for free?

Years after they started talking, they are still in that job and have married the boyfriend.

In order to get your sanity back, you will need to limit the access that this person has to your body. There is ZERO point in trying to reason your way out of the situation. You could be standing there with your head on fire and the E-S-V will still be busting out tales of woe that involve themselves being the victim with no one to talk to who really understands them. Harsh as it sounds, time to put that into practice.

No, you can’t meet for a drink, and yes, you are VERY busy over the weekend. Of course, everyone gets blue now and again and needs a sympathetic ear, but when you find your shoulders sagging at the very mention of someone’s name, time to start putting up safety barriers around your own psyche.

Another emotional vampire is the I-Know-Everything type (I-K-E-V) and this one is a real expert. Just ask them. Or don’t, they’ll tell you anyway. Not sure you are walking down the path you planned, don’t worry, the I-K-E-V knows and you’d better pull up a chair because they are going to tell you how to live your life better. You need more of this thing, and less of that, Trust them, they are an expert.

Luckily everything in the I-K-E-V’s life is 100% perfect (it has to be, the I-K-E-V is most likely a MAJOR Narcissist) so you are in the hands of a professional. God only knows how you made it this far without them. The exhausting thing about this type of Vampire is that their ability to talk FAR outstrips their ability to listen, so even if they had good ideas and some experience or wisdom to share, their absolute certainty on everything from your dietary habits to your sleeping patterns and the way you wash your hair simply sucks the air out of any meaningful dialogue.

I-Know-Everythings prefer a monologue situation whereby you take notes, and get back to them with the obviously amazing results.

If things continue to not be fantastic (and at this point it’s worth mentioning that maybe you thought nothing was wrong in the first place, an OBVIOUS mistake) then it is because you were unable to follow the instructions of your self-appointed Guru, but thank God that they are on hand to offer more advice.

Limited contact is also advised here, although it might be worth a quiet “ thank you for your advice but I think I’ve got this covered, and anyway, I’m quite happy with my current insurance/exercise program/child raising techniques/footwear/golf swing/ red wine selection but I appreciate your concern”. If they don’t back down, and they might not, agree to disagree and leave it at that. Don’t try and argue your way out, it is a losing battle. The reason this vampire needs to talk is because they need to control. It’s how they keep it together in their head. You cannot battle something you cannot see, and the voices in their head are WAY loader than yours.

Emotional vampires do not have fangs and they might even not appear in full regalia at first, but when it becomes obvious you’ve met and maybe even befriended one, just remember, YOUR emotional well-being is paramount to you. You were NOT put on this earth to become the feeding ground for someone whose on psychological makeup does not allow for enough energy to feed itself.

There are professionals trained to handle that kind of behavior, and unless you are one, make sure you have built in enough distance to keep yourself happy and safe.



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