Is there someone in your life who makes you feel emotionally exhausted just by being around them? Do you know anyone who leaves you feeling upset, anxious, or stressed out whenever you’re with them? These kinds of people are what we call “energy vampires” and they’re named as such because feed on our emotional energy and suck us dry.
But make no mistake, not everyone you dislike, disagree with, or find it hard to get along with is an energy vampire. In fact, a recent article by NBC News actually states that energy vampires are often friends, family members, and coworkers who feed on our willingness to listen, care for, and attend to them, which leaves us feeling mentally and emotionally drained (DiGiulio, 2018).
If this sounds unsettlingly familiar to you, then you might want to learn more about these 6 types of people who suck your energy:
1. The Issue Maker
A common kind of energy vampire, “The Issue Maker” is that person who loves to gossip, create conflict, and push other people’s buttons just because. They thrive in crises and love to stir up trouble just so they can be the center of attention. They often make mountains out of molehills just to gain the sympathy of others because they have an exaggerated sense of self-importance. A 2018 study by Northrup even suggests that many energy vampires have similarities with those diagnosed with antisocial, borderline, and/or narcissistic personality disorder.
2. The Freeloader
Another type of energy vampire a lot of us encounter is “The Freeloader” and as you can probably guess from their name, they often lurk in our schools and workplaces. Whether it’s a slacker groupmate who isn’t pulling their weight or a manager who just leaves you to do all the heavylifting yourselves and then swoop in to take the credit, “The Freeloader” is known to prey on those too polite or too powerless to push back against them, according to NYU psychology professor and author of “Jerks at Work: Toxic Coworkers and What to Do About Them” Tessa West.
3. The Self-Victimizing
An article by the Berkley Well-Being Institute describes the self-victimizing type of energy vampire as the kind of person who doesn’t know how to take responsibility for their actions or admit their mistakes. Rather, they blame everyone else for whatever goes wrong in their life and often expects others to caretake them for it. Their “woe is me” attitude makes them seem like hypocrites to everyone but themselves, and their constant need for you to take their side and affirm this mindset can be emotionally draining (Rekhi & Yilmaz, 2022).
4. The Dominating
According to an article by Healthline, there’s a kind of energy vampire that always tries to one-up you. Never wanting to be outdone or outshone, these people don’t want to share the spotlight. Narcissistic and envious, they can’t be happy for you when you share good news with them and instead try to put you down with back-handed compliments and thinly-veiled insults. People who love to feel superior over others like “The Dominating” type energy vampire can be exhausting to be around because of how they constantly compete with you over the tiniest things, won’t ever let you win, and feel the need to put you down just to make themselves feel good (Holland & Legg, 2018).
5. The Chronic Critic
Next we have “The Chronic Critic”, a type of energy vampire who gets their kicks out of constantly criticizing those around them and preying on all your insecurities. And while it seems obvious enough that people like this are a red flag for your mental health, sometimes it can be difficult to recognize this behavior in others, especially if they’re close friends who appear friendly and well-intentioned. Don’t be fooled though; this kind of energy vampire will suck all your confidence dry if you’re not careful. According to an article from Psychology Today, energy vampires “are overly critical (and) find fault with just about everyone and everything in their lives.”
6. The Fake Friend in Need
Last but not the least is “The Fake Friend in Need.” Eager to explot your good nature and use it against you, this type of energy vampire will first try to get close to you before they start asking for favors and leeching off of any kindness, sympathy, or understanding you show them. Usually, they will try to monompolize your time by always asking for your help and guilting you into doing things you may not even want nor have the time and energy to do. Demanding but emotionally manipulative enough not to seem like it, they have no problem taking advantage of your kindness because they never take no for an answer (Rekhi, & Yilmaz, 2022).
Now, did going through this list bring anyone in particular to mind? Do you think there might be certain people in your life who suck your energy and leave you feeling drained? Whoever this person might be, always remember that it’s not selfish to want to protect your own peace of mind and keep yourself from getting sucked dry by energy vampires.
Practicing good self-care and establishing clear, healthy boundaries can keep you from getting overwhelmed by their negative energy. And by recognizing their problematic behaviors and trying to put an end to it (either by distancing yourself or calling them out on it), you are not only protecting yourself but also others they might be victimizing, too.
So, what kind of energy vampire do you need to be wary of most? And how do you plan to deal with them?
- DiGiulio, S. (2018). How to spot (and deal with) an energy vampire. NBC News: Better by Today. Retrieved 15 November 2022 from https://www.nbcnews.com/better/health/how-spot-deal-energy-vampire-ncna896251
- Northrup, C. (2018). Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships that Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power. Hay House, Inc.
- Marples, M. (2022). Workplace ‘energy vampires’ can drain your life force. Stop them with these tips. CNN Health. Retrieved 15 November 2022 from https://edition.cnn.com/2022/03/24/health/energy-vampire-in-person-work-wellness/index.html
- Holland, K., & Legg, T. J. (2018). How to Recognize and Respond to Energy Vampires at Home, Work, and More. Healthline. Retrieved 15 November 2022 from https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/energy-vampires.
- Rekhi, S., & Yilmaz, E. (2022). Energy Vampire: Definition, Signs, & Traits. Berkley Well-Being Institute. Retrieved 15 November 2022 from https://www.berkeleywellbeing.com/energy-vampire.html.
- Carter, S. B. (2012). How to Deal With People Who Drain You. Psychology Today. Retrieved 15 November 2022 from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/high-octane-women/201203/how-deal-people-who-drain-you.