in the comedy series What we do in the shadows, a group of vampires share a house, but one of them is special: he is an emotional or energy vampire named Colin Robinson. Instead of sucking the blood of his victims, the energy vampire, who has the appearance of a normal and somewhat nondescript person, bores or irritates those who cross him, leaving them without strength and draining life energy from him. .
The funny thing is that we have all encountered people like that. Emotional vampires exist, and they are people who (sometimes without realizing it) drain our emotional energy. They feed on our willingness to listen and serve them, grabbing our attention and diverting our resources to their problems, rather than ours. A conversation with an energy vampire is exhausting.
In psychology the emotional vampires are associated with narcissism, a behavior characterized by self-centeredness and a lack of empathy. In the worst case, it occurs narcissistic abuse, a type of emotional abuse in which the narcissist only cares about himself, and tries to manipulate others to feel worse, and in turn feel better in comparison. This can happen both in families and in couples or at work.
How to recognize emotional vampires? Here are some of their typical behaviors:
- They never accept responsibility: when there are problems they slip away or blame others.
- They always have some kind of drama: To absorb the attention of others they often make themselves the victims of some kind of drama or abuse or imaginary injustice.
- They want to be the protagonists: Energy vampires can’t stand others being placed above them, and they find it difficult to feel joy for others, so they will try to minimize or sabotage the achievements of others.
- your problems are not important: An energy vampire doesn’t want to talk about your problems, and will divert the conversation to his own.
- they make you feel guilty: They take advantage of the good will of other people to constantly do them favors, making them feel guilty for not helping.
- They criticize and intimidate: when the above does not work, they resort to criticism or threats to achieve their goals.
For example, if someone at work gets a promotion, the emotional vampire will say, “I’m glad, but I’m doing a good job too and no one recognizes me. Why don’t you help me finish my report? Nobody wants to help me and I don’t know why! This place is full of people without feelings. You already have an idea.
Defense against emotional vampires
It’s not always easy to identify an emotional vampire, and sometimes they get us to blame ourselves for the consequences of their narcissism. Although neither garlic nor crucifixes have any effect, here are some ways to protect yourself from them:
- ask for accounts: emotional vampires do not take responsibility, and this is especially serious at work. Having mechanisms to analyze the results and demand responsibility for them is essential to deactivate them.
- Set limits: Like real vampires, they can’t come into your life if you don’t invite them. Although it’s not always easy, avoid their company, avoid interactions, and firmly say no when they ask for something.
- Don’t try to cure them: Although narcissism can be treated, it is unlikely that you will be able to modify its behavior. Instead, when they tell you their sorrows, avoid offering advice.
- Protect yourself if you feel weak: Emotional vampires know how to detect when your defenses are low or you are having a bad day, and they will take advantage of it to manipulate you.
- ignore and block: do not pay attention to their constant calls and messages, and if necessary, remove them from your social networks and block their number.