Beware the Vampires: Avoid and Overcome Negative Influences

by Kim on April 1, 2010

Full moon

Vampires are everywhere today, aren’t they?

We have vampire movies, vampire books, vampire diaries…and don’t even get me started on the Twilight series that is all the rage for the pre-teen and teenage set. The media is saturated with all things vampire.

Of course, vampires aren’t regulated just to movies and books. There are vampires living among us right now, and you may even count them among your friends and family.

No, I haven’t spent too much time watching HBO – maybe you’ve guessed; I’m talking about energy vampires or emotional vampires.

While I don’t know who originally coined the term, it is spot on when talking about certain people. They just suck the life right out of you. Your positive energy, your good mood, your motivation and inspiration – all gone after you’ve spent a little time with an emotional vampire. Learning how to avoid and overcome their negative energy field needs to be a part of your personal development toolbox.

How to Spot an Emotional Vampire

It is easy to pinpoint the emotional vampires in your life. You only have to pay attention to your mood and inner dialogue to know who is bringing you down and who is lifting you up.

Emotional vampires leave you feeling…

• Deflated
• Tired
• Negative
• Angry
• Scared
• Sad

Think of it this way…everyone gives off energy. It can be positive energy, or it can be negative energy. And those around us absorb the energy we give off. It impacts how they perceive the world and can ultimately change their inner dialogue. This is why it is so important to overcome the feeling of obligation we may have to feed the emotional vampire.

For example, let’s say you have a friend who always responds negatively. You ask her how her day is, and she answers with a litany of wrongs she has had to endure. Naturally, you feel bad and want to support your friend. You try all manner of ideas to cheer her up and help her out. But it is always the same. Life is just never good to her…in her eyes at least.

I know you want to be a good friend, but at some point, you have to recognize that your friend doesn’t want to be happy. By continually focusing on her negative energy, you run the risk of letting that negativity overcome your life as well. And once you have let negative energy take you over, you can kiss goodbye your business success and prosperity.

Overcome Negative Energy

Ultimately, there is no cure for emotional vampires. No wood stake or silver bullet is going to turn them into positive people. The harsh truth is that many unhappy people revel in their unhappiness. They wear it like a badge of honor and unless they are willing to make a change themselves, there is nothing you can do to help.

Emotional vampires drain your positive energy because they…

• Enjoy attention.
• Are so unhappy that they can’t stand to see others good fortune.
• Are jealous.
• Feel like life must always have ‘drama.’
• Want to control others.
• Are emotionally needy.

The best way to overcome emotional vampires is to avoid them in the first place. Obviously, there are some people that you simply cannot avoid such as family members and co-workers. However, you can limit your interactions with these people. If you know someone who always complains when you ask about his or her day, stop asking about it. Doing so only feeds their behavior.

Now, I am not talking about the friend who is going through a rough patch in life. By all means, give your friend going through a divorce or your co-worker who just lost his mom a shoulder to cry on. Please don’t disappear on these folks when they need you most.

Who I am talking about is the person that has been going through that ‘rough patch’ for years. The one who, day in and day out never has anything positive to say. The one who, is always critical, controlling, or manipulative. If someone never brings positive energy into your life, then they are an emotional vampire.

It’s time to dislodge the fangs and take a step back. When they stop getting the response from you they crave, they will disappear. No garlic needed!

Image via Flowery *L*u*z*a* on Flickr

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{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

Ben April 1, 2010 at 8:36 am

Emotional vampires are some thing I’m having to deal with a fair bit at the moment. Some are even in my immediate circle of family and co-workers. Sadly as you rightly point out Kim you can’t always remove these people from you lives but you can take control and reduce your interactions with them. This is what I’m having to do right now.

But as a way of dealing with the vaccum principle (the principle that once you remove something from your life you must fill the void otherwise it will return) I am surrounding myself by great and inspiring people like you Kim.

Thank you for being in my life. Along with a handful of other people you’re driving me on to bigger and better things.

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Kim April 1, 2010 at 7:28 pm

I appreciate your input and kind words Ben. The feelings are mutual and likewise, I’m spurred to improve.

Half the battle is in being conscious of the emotional vampires, the other half is in preserving your energy, enthusiasm and spirit. I love the vacuum principle — it’s a wonderful tool for positive manifestations.

As always, I appreciate your support!

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sidraqasim April 1, 2010 at 9:30 am

good point Kim..u r very right we should avoid these people and its the best solution. Kim i have some other people around me who sometimes generate negativity in me, like those who are followers of conventional ways which are creating hurdles in society on the name of tradition and when i tried to ask about it they use to criticise me that i cant bring change in society and i read enough thats why i want to teach them and sometimes they dont want to take the positivity so much so that angrily shouted and say u r right we r wrong. many times i feel bad about their behaviour because many of them are my friends or family members. what do you suggest for them Kim?
have a great day

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Kim April 1, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Thank you for visiting and commenting. It sounds like you are present minded and conscious of personal growth and development.

Change begins within and you can BE a positive example to those around you. Unfortunately, we cannot force a message or life lesson onto another person. He or she needs to be open and willing to learn what he or she does not know. New perspectives that shake the status quo make some uncomfortable. Life brings us lessons over and over, until we learn what we are suppose to — your family and friends have their unique life lessons and you have yours.

Ask yourself: If your friends reject you for being honest with what is in your heart, are they truly friends? Do they care about and respect your feelings?

As Ben mentioned above, no one is short on emotional vampires. The key is to surround yourself with inspiring and supportive people who lift you and your spirits.

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sidraqasim April 2, 2010 at 5:35 am

Thanks Kim. I find your reply a healthy voice in me.i would love to keeping with you.

Have a great time.

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Kim April 2, 2010 at 7:07 am

I enjoy having you here Sidra. I hope to be helpful and see you again soon 🙂

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Greg Blencoe April 1, 2010 at 7:14 pm

Hi Kim,

Thanks for the post.

Energy vampires are indeed the worst. Like you said, the only way I have found to deal with the problem effectively is to simply get them out of my life. And for those we have to be around, I also find that just avoiding them as much as possible is the best way to go.

In the past, I used to feel responsible for making others happy. Therefore, I wasted a lot of time listening to the “woe is me” story of various energy vampires. Now I know it is not my responsibility to make people like this happy.

Michael Losier has a funny technique for when people are constantly complaining about a situation. He asks them, “So what do you want?” This question gets the person away from complaining and instead focusing on what positive outcome they want. Of course, energy vampires usually don’t want to solve the problem, so they don’t typically answer the question.

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Kim April 1, 2010 at 8:00 pm

Hi Greg,

I appreciate you stopping by.

I think the good ‘ol ‘make others happy’ stems from our upbringing. We make parents / caregivers happy when we oblige and choose to adhere to our family’s values. As we progress to adulthood, we hopefully learn to take responsibility for our own issues and respectfully allow others to take responsibility for their issues. A great lesson to learn and overcome indeed.

Michael Losier is spot on with his technique. Emotional vampires are so busy complaining, they’re so distant from a solution. They are in definite need of the life lesson of taking responsibility.

Thank you for your contribution.

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ayo April 1, 2010 at 10:40 pm

hi kim,
i liked this and your approach to maintaining a balance when dealing with ev’s (emotional vampires)
trust me they are everywhere and it’s quite sad. there have been times i felt so drained, completely frustrated dealing with people and this led me to take drastic actions not give up on them, because i could see that it was a feel good factor for them at my own expense and that in itself was a problem. There’s a lot of manipulation with ev’s but i guess thats where wisdom comes into play.
anyway kim thanks for adding value to me & my blog.
have a lovely easter break.
ps. do i take you up on your word for the magazine for the month of may or would i be going down the route of an ev in doing so because this was a classic

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Kim April 2, 2010 at 7:47 am

Hello Ayo!

I enjoy your awareness and wisdom. Life is a wonderful and well timed play isn’t it? When an “EV” (I liked your abbrev) enters your life, you are given the opportunity to learn how to draw healthy boundaries. Hopefully the EV gets his life lessons along his path.

Regarding the magazine: I would absolutely love to partake. Truth be told, I am going through a re-design and the projected completion date is Apr 22nd. I’ll email you additional details.

I appreciate the value you add to my life and I’m honored to have you here.

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Baker April 2, 2010 at 2:15 pm

Interesting topic here Kim. I agree just staying away, generally does the job. I would also like to add that, the more you stay in your positive vibration, you actually attract less of those negative energies towards you, because they feel uncomfortable around your light and energy. So really the more you claim your high vibrational frequency the less likely you are to attract those energies in the first place. I enjoyed this topic. 🙂

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Kim April 2, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Hi Baker,

I agree. Happily, I’ve attracted others like yourself, who understand the importance of what we are sharing and working to impart. You actually have a post this week that is related to one’s attitude(s). (I’ll be there shortly). 🙂

Everyone can afford to raise their vibration to manifest goals and improve — from the state of the world to the state of one’s personal life. Raising our awareness comes first.

I enjoy having you here.

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Ben Weston April 2, 2010 at 7:28 pm

Hey Kim,

I unfortunately have a few of these emotional vampires in my life, many of which are in my family. I love them dearly but being around them almost instantaneously suck away my energy. But like you said, we can limit our interactions with them.

The best thing I have done is, like the ‘other’ Ben mentioned above, to surround myself with positive and uplifting people in my life, such as yourself! I think that has been one of the great aspects of blogging, connecting with a community that lifts each other up.

Take care!
Ben

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Kim April 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Hi Ben,

I’m honored when you take the time to visit, especially knowing your schedule 😉

What is wonderful about our community is that we’re conscious and working to create positive change. You’re going to have one heck of a performance group whilst being an amazing role model.

Cheers!

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Walter April 2, 2010 at 11:19 pm

How I wish I had the option to avoid emotional vampires Kim. But it is hard when they are your loved ones. I came to accept that there are people who think and behave in such ways so as to drain other people emotionally. There are instances when I have to embrace this kind of people in order to overcome their spell. By accepting what is, the mind stops to resist. 🙂

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Kim April 3, 2010 at 4:42 pm

Happy to see you here Walter!

Your comment reminds me of the phrase, ‘Be like water.’ Do not resist, accept and go with the flow.

I have explored your collection of wisdom and you are a shining, positive Light for your loved ones. As I mentioned to Ayo, having emotional vampires in our life, gives us the opportunity to exercise healthy boundaries. You’ve shown us that it also gives us the opportunity to have empathy, love, and compassion.

Thank you for contributing 🙂

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Jarrod@ Optimistic Journey April 3, 2010 at 2:03 pm

Also known as party poopers, or emos (I believe is the new term that the younger kids are using) these vampires are so conditioned to living a depressed life.

They don’t know any other way of living. Not that I’m taking up for them, but I just don’t think they know any other way of living.

We have to know their characteristics, be able to readily identify them and stand clear of them.

If they are someone close and dear to us we have to not allow them to affect our current state of being. We must remain in control of our reality and not let these emotional vampires bring us down.

Great post Kim, thanks for sharing!!

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Kim April 3, 2010 at 5:12 pm

Welcome Jarrod!

‘Party Poopers’ might have been a great alternate title 😉

My hope is that a life experience would awaken the emotional vampire from his reverie. In the meantime, we can lead by example, have compassion, and preserve our energy.

Thank you for contributing. “See you soon!”

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Jeremy Johnson April 3, 2010 at 2:07 pm

Hi Kim, my name is Jeremy Johnson. This is my first visit here and I like what I see. You make a good analogy here. I wonder how many folks have people in their family or immediate co-workers that are emotional vampires. I’m willing to bet that most of the awesome people I am finding here on the web have similar challenges in regards to their family/co-workers.

I am curious, have you had many people in your life that are close to you who are emotional vampires? I know for me, there are many close to me through family and a few at work that are emotional vampires. I’d like to create the anti-emotional vampire, or I’ll call it the life giver. They would be someone who is like this:

• Pumped Up
• Energetic
• Optimistic and supportive
• Loving
• Courageous and brave
• Happy

Thanks for your hard work and I can tell you are someone who is on a good path in life, doing great and wonderful things!

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Kim April 3, 2010 at 6:13 pm

Hi Jeremy,

Welcome!

Emotional vampires have actually given me lots of valuable lessons and have contributed to who I am today. Perhaps they are a great reason that we have our sites.

As a ‘wizard’, you are well on your way to creating many anti-emotional vampires 😉

Thank you for your kind words. I look forward to exploring beyond your About page (Yes, I did reach the bottom!) and have noted Ben Lumley at the top of your list of inspirational people. I even incorrectly voted on your site poll — oops!

I appreciate your contribution.

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Jeremy Johnson April 3, 2010 at 8:02 pm

Hi Kim, no worries about the site poll 🙂 This is super exciting and by the way, if you look at the inspirational people page again, you’ll see that it has recently been updated 🙂

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Mandy Allen April 4, 2010 at 12:18 pm

Hi Kim, this is my first visit, I came via Walter’s blog as he visited mine (I think it’s always nice to know how strangers find you!).

I am very interested in this post. I am an eternally happy person and can relate to the feeling of being drained by people who carry negative energy around them. I found a long time ago that I didn’t necessarily need to avoid these people, just to protect myself more. After all, they can benefit from our positive energy and happy disposition so why deny them this opportunity?

When I come into contact with a person carrying negative energy I immediately put a cloak of protection around me to stop me sucking it in, I put a smile on my face (not unkindly at all) and make the most positive responses possible to them.

If what we read is right about spreading a little happiness then I can only say I try my hardest to make that philosophy work.

Great blog, I’ll be back!

Enjoy the journey.

Mandy

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Kim April 5, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Hello Mandy,

Happy to have you stop by via Walter. I read you recently had a visit to the US. I’m happy you experienced some fame 😉

I enjoyed your description of donning a ‘cloak of protection.’ I’m in no way adverse to being a positive light for others. I encourage acknowledging and validating where a person stands then taking action for growth and transformation.

I’ll be by for more than a look-see.
Cheers!

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Travis April 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

You know it’s strange… growing up, I used to get extremely frustrated with my parents because I considered them to be the biggest energy vampires in my life. They were constantly angry, stressed, or frustrated about something… it seemed like they could NEVER relax!

Fast forward to today, and while not a lot has changed with them, I feel like in a sense it’s made me a stronger person. I guess at some point in my life I got fed up with them consistently draining my energy, and I sort of developed an immunity to their antics. These days, I’m MUCH better at deflecting the negative energy emitted by those kinds of people, and in turn I’ve become that much happier.

So while it sucks having to deal with those kinds of people, I think once you can learn to deflect their negativity and not let it affect your actions, you’ll become that much more confident in where you’re going in life.

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Kim April 5, 2010 at 2:56 pm

Hi Travis,

Thank you for your thoughtful input! It’s wonderful how you were able to recognize your parent’s energy, take the lesson, and transform yourself to create healthy boundaries. I love stories that illustrate how a perceived negative can be turned into a positive in our life.

I’m going through a re-design and look forward to your article on niche blogs.

Hope to ‘see’ you here again 🙂

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Lana {Daring Clarity} April 4, 2010 at 2:06 pm

Hi Kim! I found your site from your comment on Jeremy’s interview with himself post and wow, I have been thinking about vampires just this morning, so I could really resonate with this post. I agree with you, the best strategy is to avoid them all together.

I’d also say to not be afraid to let certain people from your life go. I notice myself that I tend to hold on to old relationships, I think it’s a comfort zone that’s is holding us. But as soon as I let go of the old relationships that I don’t benefit from anymore and that just drain my energy, new relationships inevitably come into my life to replace what has been “lost”.

Thanks for a great post, Kim!

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Kim April 5, 2010 at 3:11 pm

Hi Lana!

I love synchronicity and I’m glad this post resonated with you.

I agree with your observation about comfort zones. It is our nature to return to familiarity. At times we have to experience ‘growing pains.’ As you eloquently stated and as Ben mentioned above, the ‘vacuum principle’ brings to us respectful and nurturing relationships to enjoy.

I’m happy to meet you and welcome your positive light.

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Ricardo Bueno April 4, 2010 at 9:22 pm

You know that saying: “You are the company you keep.” Well, in many ways I feel that it’s true. If you keep negative people around, the only thing that you’ll take in is negative energy and it’s what you’ll start to project. Personally, I don’t like that. I have many goals in life and as a result, try not to surround myself with negativity. It’s not constructive and well, it just doesn’t feel good.

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Kim April 5, 2010 at 3:54 pm

Hi Ricardo,

Great to have you here! There’s a reason our parents didn’t want us to hang out with the wrong crowd 😉 It’s inspiring to know others who are constructive, stay positive, and do what feels good. Wishing you every success!

I appreciate your contribution.

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Hulbert April 6, 2010 at 12:50 am

Great job here Kim. I can’t stand “vampires” or people who send off negative energy from them and absorb your positive energy away. When I was in Taiwan, I had an aunt who constantly took small drama and turned it into something big everytime. It would attract other family members into the room and often caused arguing or loud, unnecessary conversations. All I wanted was peace, and I agree with you that sometimes the best way to deal with “vampires” is to avoid them in the first place. Thank you for this!

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Kim April 6, 2010 at 1:05 am

Hi Hulbert,

Thank you for sharing — unfortunately, you don’t have a unique story. The upside is that life experiences like this increases our growth and awareness. The hope is to attract more people to a peaceful room 🙂

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Catrien Ross April 9, 2010 at 9:22 pm

Kim, thank you so much for this post. I am behind on commenting because I just experienced the “rough patch” you mentioned, and I appreciated your words today so much.

We inevitably encounter negative energy – one good way to move through life is to ensure that your own personal energy field is strong, healthy, and intact. Have you noticed how you feel especially drained when you yourself are weakened, perhaps through tiredness or overwork? The first defense is acceptance of personal responsibility to be as well and vibrant as you possibly can be. This makes it very difficult for others to pull you into a negative energy field.

Thank you, Kim – please drop by and cheer up my latest blog post with your smile – it has been rough indeed! Catrien Ross

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Kim April 10, 2010 at 7:35 pm

Hi Catrien,

You make a wonderful point about taking personal responsibility for your energy — it’s something for everyone to keep in mind.

Your creativity brings joy. I’m happy to stop by and see you through to better times.

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Jaz July 18, 2011 at 8:45 pm

I stumbled upon this term ’emotional vampire’ after googling about, sad to say, my adult daughter. She drains everyone with her problems and had me in her clutches until I told her NO MORE! The sad thing is, since I’ve told her this, she keeps my granddaughter from me. It is truly difficult and guilt eats at me. However, I KNOW that I have made the right decision. She would hold me hostage by threatening not to let me be with my grandbady.
So sad, but I will see a therapist to help me cope. I have to take care of me first! Her dad helt me hostage the same way for years until I couldn’t take it anymore. Now I see how him being with her so many years rubbed off on her. Alway blaming me for everything. Smart girl…such a waste of life.

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Abdi Ali Jama January 3, 2012 at 5:01 am

I agree with you. There are vampire that give you negative energy

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