Half a Cup of Blues

Friday, August 12, 2005

Emotional Vampires ...

They suck.

They can be a member of your family, a co-worker, a friend, a stranger, or even a kid.

There a joy suckers, sympathy suckers, attention suckers, drama suckers, and just about any other kind that you can think of.

They may come to you and pour out some story that grabs your attention and you can earnestly offer some ideas or support but after about the 4th or 5th time you know that nothing you say will be tried. They don't want the answer to the problem at all. They just want your responses, your time, and your emotional investment. As soon as they tap your well dry they simply move on to the next person. When they've run through them all then they are back again, hoping that you've refilled since the last time so that they can tap in for some more.

Have you ever tried to share one of your problems with an emotional vampire? Ha! Good luck with that! They won't have time for you and they certainly won't have the energy or empathy to be able to give you any support whatsoever. In fact, they may even be offended that you even dare to bring your problem to them as it chances lowering their carefully horded supply of emotions. They'll have to leave quickly and find someone that they can talk to about how insensitive and callous you just were!

You can try telling an emotional vampire how you feel but, I can assure you, that will backfire on you. They will be either be angry that you could even think such a thing after ALL the time they've spent with you or they may appear to be crushed that think so poorly of them. Either way you'll be the bad guy and they will never admit that what you're saying has any validity whatsoever. And you shouldn't ever mention to your other friends how you feel either because they may just adore that person and tell them what you've said.

Interestingly enough, emotional vampires can be really popular people. Some people are drawn to the drama like moths to a flame. Most people are truly good-hearted and they will just keep feeding these vampires without even realizing what they are doing. In fact, it probably makes them feel GOOD for being so helpful to someone else (even if it is over and over and over again). So, seriously, keep your thoughts to yourself if you know what's good for you.

About the best way I've found to deal with these insidious creatures is to use humor in your responses to them. It doesn't quite fill them up the way your other emotional responses would and they leave still hungry. Another thing is to turn your tap off. Give short, noncommittal responses that really offer no emotion but just ackowledge that yes you hear them. Again, this will have them leaving still hungry and not quite sure why since you used to be a veritable feast up 'til now!

Anyone else ever met anyone like this? What'd you do? Enquiring minds wanna know!

Today's Plan: Eat more garlic!

EDIT: I just wanted to add that this in NO way refers to people who live everyday lives and share their joys and griefs with their friends. Friends give and take emotionally. There is always an ongoing reciprocity. Emotional vampires do NOT give back. They just drain you dry and move on to the next one. I would hate for any of my friends to suddenly feel tense or unsure about sharing with me in case they were mistaken for this. Make no mistake, I do know the difference! I would gladly want to help carry any burden for those I love. I am even apt to try to help total strangers 'cuz that's just how I'm made. All clear now?


  • Are you kiddin'? I think that my wife's entire side of the family besides her mother is like that. I have run into people who just suck the energy out of you by being around them!

    Protective bubble of light, keep me safe!


    By Blogger Jas..., at 8/12/2005 8:08 AM  

  • So you know my sister-in-law?? I like to make a game out of it when she calls. She has a kind of "script" of things she always says. I like to give really unexpected responses and try to knock her off track!

    By Blogger jennnn, at 8/12/2005 8:36 AM  

  • I learned long ago to keep my distance from those bloodsuckers.Here in the 'blue collar world'they're everywhere.
    I do have a "friend" that comes around who attempts to steal my joy,but we just nod our heads and move on.!*sigh*


    By Blogger Jay, at 8/12/2005 12:22 PM  

  • Garlic...ahh yes!**DUH**!

    By Blogger Jay, at 8/12/2005 12:39 PM  

  • yea the black hole people i call them. they just drain the energy out of you, like in that movie the dark crystal. The steal your essence...its interesting how many there are. who raised these people, aliens? sheesh!

    i am going to use that line jas.

    and we all know you are a sweet giving woman. no worries!


    By Blogger Melanie, at 8/13/2005 5:04 AM  

  • I call people like this "high maintenance," which, being translated, boils down to selfishness. I think selfishness is the number one problem in troubled relationships.

    By Blogger Kris, at 8/13/2005 1:02 PM  

  • Well, these vampires feed on what we give. Stop giving it, and eventually they stop feeding. Nothing like a blank staring nod to get them moved on to other, more useful topics. If they like you, like your company, they stick around and learn to be friends. Otherwise, you've done yourself a big favor. Good luck.

    By Blogger bhd, at 8/13/2005 3:43 PM  

  • There are a lot of people like that around - there's always been one or two at work, no materr where I've worked. When I started studying Buddhism, I became accustomed to thinking of them as living "Hungry Ghosts", which are described as beings which are, essentialy, giant bellies attached to long thin throats and tiny mouths- ravenously hungry all the time, but, by their limitations, never able to be satisfied.

    I think the emo-vamps tend to be territorial, like they have an unspoken (even intuitive) agreement that they don't work each others' turf. My X's mom is one, for sure.

    A Dyer quote that I really like is "The biggest problem most people with big problems have is that they don't want their problems solved." The emotional vampire is addicted to not just sympathy, but equally (if not secretly more so) to the self-loathing that creates a need for it.

    The only thing I've found to do in dealing with them is to be too busy to see them- if I can't manage that, to be honest and give them NO sympathy, but to send empathy to the source of their denial and self-hatred, but to not ever be sucked into their problem-non-solving game. I tend to wax all Zen on people like that - I go quiet in my mind, emotionally detach from the situation, and touch the points of their need and mirror their concerns so they can see themselves in me - they tend to get tired and lost and go away, or they just go away and get lost, it's all the same. Eventually they find some other target- a bit of the sadness of knowing a soul can be so determined to remain so sick and so hungry, however, remains with me. I think this residue is to help me remember to watch for any change in that person, and to be mindful of how I respond to them in some new light.

    Be Well, M.

    By Blogger b, at 8/14/2005 1:07 AM  

  • Hi, stopping by
    Wow, I have a friend (?) like that, and I just deal with it by saying I'm busy.
    Sad, because I wanted to enjoy a friendship with this woman and do women things like shop, lunch, etc.
    She chose to spend all our lunches on the same draining topic.......of how horrible her husband was.
    No matter how much encouragement I gave her.....it never ended.
    I kept thinking about how many women would love to have a nice man like her husband, and she started to sound like an ungrateful whining wife.

    By Blogger Peri, at 8/16/2005 5:07 AM  

  • Hi

    was researching on the topic of emotional vampires and chanced upon your blog. I have one at home. My own sister in the same room!

    How terrifying. I guess its right not to give in to them. I had developed a phobia of even seeing her cos don't know how she will suck me dry cos it seems like everyday is a crisis for her.

    Its crazily stressful to live with such a person!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 8/25/2005 8:38 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home