We are all a bit more alike than we care to admit. We all want the adventure, excitement, and fun that accompanies the best relationships. How do you do that if your romance is draining you instead of filling you up energetically?
Have you felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and negatively impacted by thoughts of someone, in this case a partner, most of the day?
It could be possible you’ve picked an emotional vampire as a mate or friend. Some people we know such as friends, family, and colleagues will make us feel elevated and positive whenever we’re in their presence. But there’s others who will suck the serenity, optimism and zest right from you and you might be none the wiser.
Energy vampires do more than take your physical energy. The persistent ones can make you feel unlovable, unworthy, and full of self doubt — reinforcing the false notion that you don’t deserve anything better.
If you’re not careful there are subtle slights that can be attempts at cracking your core and getting to your precious energy.
Have they mentioned your moods passively? “You’re always so sensitive!” Do they attempt to make you feel bad about yourself? “Oh I see you’re putting on a few pounds.” Are they jealous of any positive growth you exhibit? “So, you’ve got a new hobby? Wonder how long that’ll last.”
These individuals always take more from relationships than they ever give. Your time spent with them is usually focused on one of the many “crisis” they regularly have going on. If you examine their lives closely, nothing makes them happy. So in turn, they want to take your happiness. Which never works, because it’s not a genuine joy produced within themselves, so it actually makes you unhappy in the process.
You’ll notice most conversations revolve around themselves and their feelings. And you listen, because you know how moody they get if you say the wrong thing, or make the wrong joke. And if you try to point any of this out?
You might as well get out.
They don’t want to closely examine and acknowledge their own character flaws, they want to remind you of yours. And don’t worry, they’ll be keeping a mental list. When you do manage to step up and say something, you are somehow guilt-tripped into taking the blame for their emotional or mental state.
Do you find yourself experiencing the following:
- Excessive sleepiness or desire to nap
- Increased or new anxiety, depression, or negative thoughts
- Gloomy and frequent moods, during or after interacting with them
- Feelings of being put down, sniped, or slimed
All of these are signs someone is draining your energy and stopping you from setting healthy boundaries. Energy vampires need to be invited in, and we do this often without realizing it. See if you’ve encountered any of the following energy vampires.
1. The Victim/Martyr
These energy suckers induate you with your “woe is me” vibe. When you scratch beneath the surface you’ll notice they do not actually take responsibility for their own actions. It’s them versus the world and that becomes their fuel for their unhappiness. Want to offer them a solution to their problems? “Yes, but…” is a common rebuttal you will hear thrown back.
Protect yourself: Boundaries are necessary here. Take the time to listen to them and simply say, “I care about you and I want to help but I can only discuss this for more than a few minutes unless you want to discuss solutions.” It isn’t harsh, it’s taking care of yourself. If you’re not good at speaking up, use your body language (breaking eye contact, crossing your arms, removing yourself if necessary, etc). This is how to set healthy limits.
2. The Controller
You know this one: the people who obsessively try to control you and tell you what you’re supposed to feel and how you’re supposed to be. They have an opinion about everything. They will attempt to take control by invalidating your emotions if they don’t like them and say things like “You know what you should do?” and promptly give you their list. You can’t help but feel dominated, degraded, and demoralized.
Protect yourself: Reaffirm your assertiveness in a healthy way and say, “I value your advice, but I think I should work on this on my own.” Stand up for yourself. Don’t play the victim and don’t sweat it if they get a little defensive. They aren’t used to having someone being as honest as you are. The more you exert your honest self, the more they will back off on their expectations to control and drain you of your power.
3. The Narcissist
Enter the person who has an over inflated ego. It’s usually coupled with a grandiose sense of entitlement and over-the-top self importance. The name of their game is “Me first.” This is the most dangerous of energy vampires because they truly can’t put themselves in yours, or anyone’s shoes. And they show a true under capacity for genuine love and emotions. Don’t do things their way and they will turn on the coldness to you by withholding emotional or physical affection or even punishing you in other ways.
Protect yourself: You’re dealing with a person who is emotionally stunted. You have to be honest and adjust expectations. Don’t expect selflessness and no-strings attached love with someone like this. As always, remember your self-worth is not dependent on them, it lies within you. If you want to get through to them you must show them how something will be to their benefit. However, it’s better not to have to uphold this level of nauseating ego stroking but if this interaction is necessary try and use the tips above.
Protego Horribilis (Protection)
The above Harry Potter spell says it all. The takeaway from this should be that you can fix this by addressing it head on.
If you continue to let others cross, ignore, or even be unaware of your boundaries, you’re doing yourself a disservice. No one can protect your energy but you. If you are in a cycle of being drained, you cannot provide the best version of yourself because you lack the energy to do so. If you’re emotionally tapped out this could resurface in other detrimental ways down the line.
You always have the power to sever any relationship or dynamic that is no longer serving your highest purpose. You will be helping yourself and the other person by enacting boundaries and in turn, they can learn what a healthy relationship or friendship looks like.
Take it one step at a time by setting a boundary tomorrow with someone who you know internally, drains you, and then the next day set another one, and so on. Time will show that when your clear and distinct emotional lines are drawn in the sand, you’ll be more clearly able to see whose footprints are crossing them.
Live the life you want, free from guilt and burden put on you by others.