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Dealing with Energy Vampires

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They live among us, in human form. To the untrained eye, it is almost impossible to tell the difference. Typically they look like you and I, but they’re not. They’re not like us at all.

They are Vampires. Their modus operandi is not to steal your blood, but rather your precious energy, your life force, and your mojo; to drain you emotionally and psychologically; and to frustrate you with their repetitious, self-indulgent, and attention-seeking diatribe.

They are often bitter, angry, and resentful. They want you to share their pain. They don’t want solutions; they want pity. They don’t want constructive feedback; they want attention. They don’t want to take responsibility; they want to blame and vent.
They seem to revel in their own misery – day in and day out.

They have the same conversations about the same issues with the same people and produce the same result. There is no change. They major on minors. They bring others down. They have a gift for finding the negative. They are emotionally exhausting to be around. They inhabit our work places, our families, our schools, and they permeate every corner of society.

I will point out that Energy Vampires are not to be confused with the vast majority of people who simply need help, support, direction, and care. I’m not speaking of those who are serious about working on themselves and their situation. They are also not to be confused with people who are genuinely looking for answers (not attention or sympathy) and are prepared to accept responsibility, be accountable, and be proactive.

No, the people I’m talking about here are relentless in their negativity and their ‘woe-is-me’-ness (a Craigism).

As most of you know, I am serious about helping people create their best life. I choose to spend much of my life working with a wide range of people to help them confront and deal with their issues and create their own version of amazing. I’m not about letting people monopolise or waste my time and energy. I won’t buy into their crap attitude or their negativity. I don’t care how messed up someone’s life or situation is, if they have a good attitude, I’ll help them – gladly. If they’re a Vampire, I’m outa there. See ya, wouldn’t wanna be ya.

It’s great to be a giver, a feeler (sometimes), and someone who cares, but now and then we need to take a stand with certain people because, if we don’t, we begin to suffer, and then nobody wins.

Here are my tried and proven tips for dealing with Energy Vampires. Not every tip is appropriate for every person and situation but you might find some of them useful.

1. Identify the Vampires in your life. Acknowledge the impact they have on you and make a resolution to change the way you communicate, interact with, and exist with those people.

2. Don’t buy into their life’s-not-fair-and-nobody-understands-me monologues. If you feed it, you’ll create a monster.

3. Be straight with them and tell them you will not have the same conversations about the same issues anymore (yes, this takes courage).

4. Some Vampires need to be avoided.

5. Don’t give them too much time. When a Vampire walks into my office, I stand as if I’m about to go somewhere. I’ll give them a few minutes, and if I feel we’re heading down the same old path, I’ll start walking and shut the conversation down.

6. Ask them questions like, “So you’ve identified the issues. Tell me how you can change things for the better.”

7. If you have a Vampire who is in your life to stay, like family, create some rules of engagement. “I will not talk about these issues again until I see you doing XYZ.”

8. Choose your friends and acquaintances wisely. Make sure you spend lots of time with people who will drag you up, not down. You need to keep your tank full. Spending lots of time with Vampires is draining and not enjoyable.

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About Craig Harper

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  • JC Mosquito

    Dead on! I use this term myself to describe those life sucking minions in the workplace. It’s a variation on something an old boss once said to me before he retired: “There’s only two kinds of clients – the ones that give you energy and the ones that leech onto you & suck the life out of you ’til you’re dry.”

    How right he was.

  • Each and every person has to change things for themselves to be better . I am lucky enough to have learned the only person I can change is myself I can talk to others try to motivate them to change but actually change them that has to come from them not me .

  • silverbullet2020

    This article is so “right on target”. I recommend it to anyone I love, who is going through this type of situation…myself, included.

  • Lola

    This is such a great article, thanks for writing it!

    I have one question, though. You wrote, “Ask them questions like, ‘So you’ve identified the issues. Tell me how you can change things for the better.'”. Is it even possible to deal with someone who attempts to avoid dealing with their issues by not even acknowledging the problem? For example, someone is sooo depressed, and has been for months and months, but refuses to pinpoint the source, thus, they can’t improve, and are free to wallow in the depression.