How to Fight Back Against Emotional Vampires
– by Joanne Richard
Vampires just don’t come out at Halloween.
Emotional vampires are lurking everywhere – at home, at work, parties, the gym…
From belittling bosses to nit-picking spouses to hyper-needy friends, they suck all your energy and “leave you feeling depleted, depressed and sabotaged,” says Dr. Judith Orloff.
Intentionally or not, these emotional leeches often make us feel depressed, defensive, angry and wiped out, says Orloff, author of Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself from Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Harmony Books).
Negative behaviour is their MO, stresses Debra MacLeod, relationship author and expert. “Emotional vampires – also called toxic people – are more devoted to the dark side. Totally self-absorbed, they rarely acknowledge or apologize for their inappropriate behaviour. If they do, the apology is insincere or meaningless.”
Protect yourself, stresses Orloff, or risk unhealthy fallout, including overeating, isolation, mood swings or fatigue.
“These difficult people are often attracted to people with big hearts who don’t know how to set boundaries,” says Orloff, of Drjudithorloff.com. ‘No’ is the stake in the heart. They’ll move on and find other possible prey.
These master manipulators look for weaknesses in their victims to prey upon and exploit.
According to MacLeod, guilt, jealousy, anger, condescension, fear or manipulation is often used to get what the emotional vampire wants.