I was reading an article in Success Magazine recently that gave an example of how to deal with an energy vampire at work. Since I secretly (I guess the cat’s out the bag now though) wanted to be a vampire (like one of the Cullens in the Twilight Series), I knew I had to read the article and see what they were talking about.
I knew immediately that the type of vampire they described was not only one I am not and would never want to become but one which I’ve encountered in my life – and I think we all have!
What is an Energy Vampire?
Energy Vampires (EV) live among us, look just like us, and can even be some of our closest friends and immediate family members. But that’s where the similarities end.
They’re vampiric M.O. is not to steal our blood; noooooo, they want our precious energy. Our mojo. Our life force.
They want to drain us mentally, physically, and emotionally. They seek pity, attention (especially when not deserved), and are often very cynical and bitter. They don’t take responsibility for their actions, are never accountable, love misery, and want us to wallow in that same misery with them. Their talent seems to be that they can find the negative in everything and after being around them, our life force seems drained and void of any positivity and optimism we once had. We are left emotionally exhausted!
Does any of this sound familiar? Does anyone come to mind when reading this description???
How to Deal with Energy Vampires
- The first step in dealing with anything is identification. I, for one, know exactly who I have in mind and so as not to bust him out here on the blog (I’ve addressed it with him personally already), I’ll just call him J. It seems to never fail that when I talk to or be around J, some form of negativity shows up. Sometimes, when I go away from J, I feel drained. I don’t feel like myself and it’s not a pleasant feeling.
- Now that you’ve identified them, don’t continue to buy into their “woe-is-me”-ful ways. Sometimes, we try to help them, try to be positive for them, and feel pity for them (not knowing this is exactly what they want), and in doing so, we create even bigger monsters. They still find a way to turn situations into something negative.
- Avoidance – in my case, I can’t avoid the person. You might be in the same boat. Maybe they’re an immediate family member, a co-worker, etc. If avoidance is not an option, you have to be brave and give it to them straight about how you feel being around them. In the end, it will work out better for you once you’ve created some rules of engagement. I’ve had to do this with J because complete avoidance is not an option. I only talk to him or be around when I absolutely have to!
- Turn it back to them. Once they’ve whined and complained, ask a question like “So now that you know what your issues are, how are you going to make it better?” or “What ways can you identify making your situation better?” This can help them at least try to seek solutions. For me, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. When it doesn’t, I’m outty 5000!
- Boundaries – In lieu of completely avoiding someone, decide how much time you’ll actually spend around him at one time and stick to your guns. Once that time is up, leave or do whatever you have to do to get away from them. This gets easier for me every time. My time is usually cut to about 20 minutes tops. More than that, I know I won’t be able to take what’s coming!
- Note: I’ve even had to ask people J and I are both connected with to not talk about him in my presence because even THAT can be draining for me. Just to see other people sucked into his ”woe-is-me” tales makes me sick.
- (NEWLY ADDED) Compassion – In the long run, another way to deal with energy vampires (and other people who are “sick”) is to consider what the Buddhists do and think about it like this: that person is suffering from a sickness embodying all the poor life decisions they’ve made that continues to make them sick. It’s getting harder and harder for me to be angry and frustrated with J when I’m feeling compassion instead of anger and frustration. These types of people just don’t know they’re sick…
Do you have any energy vampires in your life? How do you deal with them?