Ideally, all your relationships would be positive, affirming and leave you feeling good about yourself. Unfortunately, that isn’t always the case. Some toxic people prey on low confidence and self-esteem. In the worst-case scenario, these emotional vampires make you feel unlovable. Others gradually chip away with snide comments that make you feel bad about yourself.
5 Types of Emotional Vampires
An emotional vampire is someone who diminishes those around them with tactics like gaslighting and manipulation. You can tell you are dealing with an emotional vampire if every interaction with them leaves you feeling depressed, anxious or insecure.
Even if an emotional vampire is unaware of their behavior and doesn’t intend to hurt you, that doesn’t make them any less harmful. Often, their motivation is a desire to direct attention away from their insecurities and avoid responsibility for their actions.
Emotional vampires fall into five categories.
- Narcissists: Narcissists thrive on making themselves the center of attention. Even if you are experiencing a crisis and need their attention and empathy, a narcissist is too emotionally stunted to help you.
- Drama lovers: This type of emotional vampire loves to make mountains out of molehills. They careen from one disaster to the next, always finding something to complain about.
- Victims: Nothing is ever a victim’s fault, and they are more interested in sympathy than solutions. They will go to great lengths to justify their harmful behavior.
- Controllers: Controllers are manipulative and domineering. Talking to a controlling person can be exhausting and make you second-guess yourself.
- Talkers: If you’re in a conversation with someone who constantly interrupts or dismisses you, you may be dealing with an excessively talkative person. Talkers are uncomfortable with silence and will quickly fill any gaps in the conversation with their opinions.
How to Deal With an Emotional Vampire
One of the most telltale signs of an emotional vampire is your emotional state after interacting with them. If spending time with someone makes you drained, depressed, anxious or insecure, that person is probably an emotional vampire.
Though you can’t always predict or control when an emotional vampire will pop up in your life, you can limit their impact on you. Developing strategies to deal with toxic people can put you in the driver’s seat. You’ll feel empowered, less stressed and more resilient. For example, you can try limiting the amount of contact you have with them.
Other strategies for managing an emotional vampire include the following.
- Set defined boundaries and stick to them.
- Practice mindfulness to help you become self-aware and cognizant of the tactics they use to belittle or manipulate you.
- Work with a mental health professional to help you identify signs of emotional abuse. An objective third party may spot patterns you’ve never noticed.
Begin Your Recovery Journey Here
In addiction recovery, you may need to cut ties with toxic or unsupportive friends and family members. Once you find a new purpose outside drug and alcohol abuse, you can see how many people in your life are helpful, positive and uplifting and let go of anyone trying to hold you back.
In addition to providing a full continuum of care, Pillars Recovery offers a beautiful beachfront environment to encourage healing. A combination of evidence-based treatment and immersive experiences equips our clients with the resources they need for lasting recovery. Connect with us today to learn more about how we can help you.