Have you ever been in the presence of someone who left you feeling tired and exhausted because of their behavior? The chances are high that you encountered an energy vampire. An energy vampire is a person who feeds off your emotions and life force. They get their energy fix by preying on and consuming the vitality of their victims, leaving them feeling drained. Find out everything you need to know about energy vampires, including the six types and how to handle each one to protect you and your loved ones. (Estimated reading time: 9 minutes)
“Not everyone deserves access to you. Protect your spirit.”— Unknown
Vampires have fascinated us for hundreds of years. These blood-thirsty creatures have been around since the 17th century when tales about them circulated through Eastern European folklore.
Since then, vampire legends have been embellished and popularized in culture. From when they first appeared in literature in John Polidori’s 1819 short story The Vampyre, to the first vampire movie, Nosferatu, from 1922 (based on Bram Stoker’s novel, Dracula), and more modern stories like The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, their ghoulish ways have kept audiences on the edge of their seats.
As fictional villains, they are a captivating blend of contradictions. They are terrifying yet intriguing. They are symbols of death and decay yet are strangely sensual and seductive. However, encountering their human equivalent is anything but fun.
The everyday vampire does not resemble the creatures we see in stories — they lurk among us, invisible to the untrained eye. Even though they appear normal, they embody the shadow qualities of vampires, including feeding on the vital essence of the people who fall for their ploy.
If you recognize vampiric tendencies in a person, you must remain vigilant as they can wreck your life (if you let them). Depending on where they fall in the continuum of vampirism, it’s possible to adjust your interactions with them accordingly to protect yourself.
Who are Energy Vampires?
An energy vampire is a person who feeds off your emotions and life force. They get their energy fix by preying on and consuming the vitality of their victims, leaving them feeling exhausted and drained. They lack empathy, a moral compass, and are emotionally immature.
You may have experienced this in the presence of a family member, friend, coworker, child, romantic partner, or even the barista at your local coffee shop. Their negative imprint is unmistakable, and the more sensitive you are, the more likely you are to attract them.
Vampires are cold and emotionless creatures who crave blood because they gave up their souls for eternal life. Similarly, energy vampires feel powerless because of the pain they feel inside. They long for the warmth, kindness, and love that others have.
Energy vampires can’t function without the psychic fuel they take from others, so they become addicted to preying on unknowing victims to heal their inner suffering.
The blood that fictional vampires need to quench their animalistic thirst is symbolic of our life force. This force has been referred to as qi (or ch’i), prana, or vitality. It’s the energetic fuel we need for the activities of life, like moving, speaking, thinking, breathing, and digesting.
Like blood, our life force is healing, cleansing, and essential to survival. We need to do everything possible to conserve it and prevent it from being sucked up by energy vampires.
Signs of an Energy Vampire
While no medical or scientific evidence supports the theory of psychic energy and the energy vampires who allegedly drain it, those who have been in the company of one display several emotional and physical symptoms.
We don’t have to wait until our life force is depleted to know that we’re in the presence of an energy vampire. You can see their true colors by looking for these classic traits and behaviors:
- Exploiting by always taking and never giving
- Whining, complaining, and playing the victim to take advantage of your sympathy
- Neediness and clingy behavior
- Narcissistic tendencies
- Combative and irritable (always wanting to pick fights and make you feel wrong)
- Bossiness and control
- Overly charming and seductive (if it’s too good to be true, it probably is!)
- Resentment and inability to manage anger
- A constant need for reassurance and attention because of their insecurities
- Passive aggressiveness
- Gossiping and talking behind your back
- Possessiveness and jealousy
- Manipulation through blackmail, guilt-tripping, and ultimatums
You can also recognize an energy vampire based on how you feel around them. You’ll likely experience emotional and physical symptoms like stress, anxiety, resentment, anger, frustration, overwhelm, exhaustion, fatigue, pain, and headaches.
Long-term exposure to energy vampires has been known to cause serious illness and disease. While relationships regularly shift energetically, if your connection constantly leaves you miserable, worn out, and tired, it’s time to assess and make needed changes.
What types of people do Energy Vampires prey on, and why
Energy vampires are drawn to caring and empathetic people who are willing to listen to them and do things to help them feel better. Their victims are often givers who are susceptible to people-pleasing and are overly accommodating. They stretch themselves to meet the demands of the energy vampire and hurt themselves in the process. In this way, they develop a codependent dynamic.
Energy vampires also like to feed off empaths and highly-sensitive people. These individuals are naturally more attuned to the feelings and moods of others. Their energy field is easy to penetrate, especially if they haven’t created energetic boundaries to protect themselves.
I’ve been a target of energy vampires for much of my life until I learned how to spot them and prioritize my self-care. I was blindsided by their anger, gaslighting as they shamed my appearance, capabilities, and character. Being around them feels like walking on eggshells, and it used to make me doubt my worth and believe there was something inherently wrong with me.
Instead of becoming disillusioned and losing faith in the goodness of people, I tried to educate myself and learn why energy vampires are the way they are. Here are things I keep in mind:
- We all display some energy-vampire traits at some point. When we identify and acknowledge these shadow attributes in ourselves, we understand what a fully-fledged energy vampire goes through.
- Energy vampires are often unaware of their impact on others. They are in pain and don’t realize that they need help. When there are no malicious objectives, their behavior is unintentional.
- Their behavior often has roots in mental health conditions and trauma. They can display narcissistic, histrionic, or co-dependent behavioral patterns that stem from childhood and other painful life experiences.
Acknowledging this doesn’t let the energy vampire off the hook but puts us in a position of power. We can replace anger, frustration, and resentment with deeper understanding and compassion.
We can learn to appreciate the complexity and challenges of being a vulnerable human being who craves love, support, and acceptance beneath a dark and demonized surface.
Six types of Energy Vampires and how to deal with them
We can identify energy vampires by the typical characteristics that they express. These six categories may overlap as they tend to be present in similar personality types.
1. The Narcissistic Vampire
The narcissistic vampire exhibits all the classic traits of narcissistic personality types. They have no capacity for empathy and believe that the whole world revolves around them. Their inflated sense of importance will expect you to put their needs first and feed their egos. This type is the most dangerous because they can be charming and stealthily manipulate you to do things their way.
How to handle them:
They can be very toxic, so it’s best to cut yourself off from them, but build healthy boundaries and limit contact if you can’t avoid them. If they are in a position of power, be sure to frame your request in ways that would benefit them and make them look good. Remember, their biggest weakness is pride.
2. The Melodramatic Vampire
Melodramatic vampires like to put on a show for anyone willing to pay attention to them. They thrive on a life of constant drama and proactively seek crises to fill the void that they feel inside. Seeking drama puts them in the spotlight and helps them avoid the real issues they need to deal with.
How to handle them:
Avoid getting caught up in their pot-stirring ways. If they try to get you involved, don’t engage, as doing so gives them the drama fix they are looking for. If you’ve identified a melodramatic vampire, create distance, and avoid asking them how they’re doing as they’ll most likely spew out overblown stories.
3. The Critical and Controlling Vampire
This vampire will try to control you by shaping your behavior with their criticism. They will pick on you and offer their unsolicited advice because they feel entitled to have a say. Their nitpicking ways are mean-spirited and are just a covert way to trigger your insecurities while boosting their own egos.
How to handle them:
You must constantly remind yourself of your worth, especially if the vampire is in a position of power. Don’t take what they say personally and know that they only say those things because they are hurting inside. If possible, be assertive and stand your ground or walk away. Manage your reactiveness by practicing meditation or mindfulness.
4. The Irate Vampire
The Irate vampire carries a lot of rage and expresses it by attacking and accusing others, and through hurtful words. Being around them is like walking near a volcano — you never know when they’ll erupt next. Sometimes their anger shows up in passive-aggressive ways. They’ll stonewall and leave you hanging with no answers.
How to handle them:
This vampire is perhaps one of the more challenging to handle as you’ll have to keep your cool amid the arguments, yelling, and unpleasant conversations. Stay calm and resist the urge to respond in that moment. Walk away from the scene if you need to gather your thoughts. Set boundaries and let them know that you’re not okay with their behavior. In the case of the passive aggressor, address the behavior with them and be specific about their concerns.
5. The Victim Vampire
The victim vampire’s chronic pessimism and “woe is me” attitude will wear you down. These people refuse to take responsibility for their problems because they believe that it’s everyone else’s fault and that the world is against them. If you’re not careful, they will guilt-trip you into giving them sympathy and rescuing them from their troubles. Deep down, they believe that they are unworthy of love and will seek validation in any way, including manipulation and blackmail.
How to handle them:
As with other vampires, you’ll need to set clear boundaries. Don’t participate in their pity parties or let them pull you into their maelstrom of concerns. If you feel bad about it, remember that it’s not your job to be their therapist. Express your support and firmly let them know that they need to take ownership of their issues and suggest ways that they can get help.
6. The Dominating Vampire
This dominating vampire is overwhelming. They don’t give you time or space to breathe and think for yourself. They tend to be loud, non-stop talkers who will force their myopic, rigid opinions about the world on anyone willing to listen. If you’re a good listener and less talkative, you’re more susceptible to being a target of one-sided conversations. This person is terrified of appearing weak and tries to overcompensate for this by throwing their weight around.
How to handle them:
The key to handling this type is to break their pattern by interrupting them firmly yet calmly. They won’t respond to non-verbal cues, so you’ll have to say something to get them to stop. If they try to intimidate you, draw the line. Let them know that you’re not okay with it. Sometimes adding humor will soften this approach and make it less confrontational and aggressive.
All this talk about energy vampires can make us think that the world is scary. But that’s far from the truth. There are plenty of kind, well-intentioned people who have lots of love and goodwill to offer. Becoming better at filtering out those who will drain us allows us to meet people we can share beautiful and lasting connections with.
All my best on your journey,
Question for you: Are there energy vampires that exist in your life? Do you exhibit any of these traits? If yes, what can you do to change those patterns?
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