How to deal with Energy Vampires
When I was in high school I had a friend called Emily, she was a part of my circle, we took a couple of classes together. We got along well in the beginning, the fact we shared similar tastes, we both loved art, second-hand shopping for our clothes and both had a crush on Dave Grohl (yes this was the late 90's people!).
Over the course of a couple of years and spending a lot of time together I soon started to notice when I hung out with her specifically (one on one), I felt tired afterwards. There was one afternoon when one of our mates invited just Emily and I to her place for the afternoon to hang. It was an idyllic setting on the verandah, we had drinks and snacks and all afternoon to talk what us teenage girls loved to do.
We were about two hours in and I was floored. Absolutely shattered, I had walked in happy with a skip in my step. I looked down to notice I was curled up on the lounge in a seated fetal position with a pillow to prop me up. Emily had dominated the conversation, she talked over the top of me and our other friend and just kept going and going. When we did switch subjects and she was there all over that topic too. I admired her enthusiasm for life, her zest and her confidence of who she was. It felt like we were on the same page, with similar shared experiences but hers seemed to be bigger, better and shinier than mine.
The smile on her face that day, as we fed her questions, was priceless, it stretched from one ear to the other where her pearls sat glimmering in the light to heighten the fact that she was revelling in this attention. I thought it was because she was confident and was sure of who she was.
We maintained friendship throughout school because I felt that her larger-than-life energy was just who she was and that there was no problems hanging out with her.
It wasn't until one day I came home from school and had spent both of my lunch breaks one on one with Emily that I was just done. The drama, the ongoing sagas and the complaints with victim mentality I was done. Luckily university was just around the corner.
This was my first taste of someone who depletes my energy. Now Emily is a good person, she always meant well, it's just that sometimes people just don't get along energetically. And she was that person. I've still got nice things to say about her today, if we met I would talk with her no problems but I would most definitely not spend an extended period of time together ie lunch or catch-ups.
What is an Energy Vampire?
Energy vampires can be identified through their distinct characteristics and behaviours, which can leave you feeling drained, depleted, and emotionally negative. They often exhibit traits such as incessant complaining, a negative outlook on life, excessive neediness, and a constant desire for attention. Recognising these patterns can help you understand and navigate your interactions with these people more effectively.
How do energy vampires affect us?
- Emotional exhaustion: They tend to drain our emotional energy by constantly venting their problems, complaints, and negative emotions onto us. Their constant need for attention and validation can leave us feeling emotionally exhausted and overwhelmed. It's me, me, me!
- Decreased positivity: They thrive on negativity and often bring a pessimistic and gloomy atmosphere wherever they go. Being around them for extended periods can dampen our own positivity and outlook on life, leading to increased negativity and a sense of hopelessness.
- Reduced productivity: Energy vampires can be highly demanding and needy, constantly seeking our time, attention, and support. This can distract us from our own goals and responsibilities, hampering our productivity and ability to focus on important tasks.
- Increased stress: Their constant complaints, drama, and emotional manipulation can create a tense and anxious environment, causing our stress levels to rise. The chronic stress resulting from such interactions can have detrimental effects on our mental and physical health.
- Drained motivation: Their pessimistic mindset and negative energy can gradually erode our own motivation and enthusiasm, making it challenging to pursue our goals and aspirations.
The most important thing for all of us to realise is that our energy is being sucked away by certain people. Throughout the list above their actions have a subconscious/conscious way of zapping all our energy dry. We walk away drained, exhausted and depleted.
I also want to touch on the fact that sometimes when people are in need they may develop their fangs, however as a friend or a family member we want to support them. There is a huge difference in someone who constantly affects you in this way and those that are having an off day, or going through a rough time. Relationships are about bending and flexing with one another and healthy ones maintain that maluable movement.
If there has been a specific person in you life that has constantly time and time again taken all your energy from you then these are the relationship that need evaluation.
How to stop the Energy Vampires?
Stopping energy vampires from draining your energy entirely may not always be possible, as you may encounter them in various aspects of life. However, you can take steps to minimise their impact and protect your energy. Here's how:
Set clear boundaries: Establish and communicate your boundaries clearly. Let them know what you are willing and unwilling to tolerate in terms of their behaviour and demands. Stick to these boundaries consistently and assertively.
Limit your interactions: Reduce the amount of time you spend with energy vampires. Whenever possible, avoid situations or engagements where you know their presence will be particularly draining. Choose to invest your time and energy in more positive and fulfilling relationships and activities instead.
Practice self-care: Engage in regular self-care activities to replenish and protect your energy. Prioritize activities that promote relaxation, mindfulness, and self-nurturing. This may include exercise, meditation, spending time in nature, pursuing hobbies, or engaging in creative outlets. Taking care of yourself will help build resilience against energy vampires.
Surround yourself with positive influences: Seek out and cultivate relationships with positive, supportive, and uplifting individuals. Surrounding yourself with people who nourish your energy and inspire you can counterbalance the effects of energy vampires. Build a strong support network of like-minded individuals who share your values and uplift your spirits.
Strengthen your assertiveness skills: Develop and practice assertive communication techniques. Be confident in expressing your needs, concerns, and boundaries without feeling guilty or allowing manipulation. Learn to say no when necessary and assert your right to prioritize your well-being.