Empaths vs. energy vampires. Don’t worry! We’re not talking about Twilight today!
We’re actually talking about a type of person which, as empaths, in particular, can greatly affect our lives, health, and well-being; the energy vampire.
While you may not have heard the term before, almost all of us have had a run-in with an energy vampire or two in our lives.
It’s estimated that 20% of the population exhibits the traits of an energy vampire – that’s one in five people!
If we say on average each energy vampire can impact five people, you’ve suddenly got 60 million people whose day-to-day lives are impacted by an energy vampire.
I say enough’s enough!
Let’s fight back against the energy vampires in our lives by learning about ourselves as empaths, and how to spot and repel energy vampires.
So, put your stakes and cloves of garlic down, because this foe needs a completely different approach!
What is an Empath, and Why are We at an Increased Risk?
An empath is an individual with increased sensitivity to the world and those around them.
They feel others feelings as though they were their own and tend to understand people not just on a personal level, but on an emotional level.
Because they are so attuned to their surroundings empaths can show increased sensitivity to stimuli such as light and sound.
Empaths tend to have a strong honor-code and in day-to-day life usually, fight against injustices.
This is because seeing others suffer directly impacts empaths and makes them suffer too.
As an empath myself, I wouldn’t change a thing about how I see the world, as I truly feel that by being emotionally connected to those around me I can do the most good.
However, there definitely is a clear downside to being an empath; you’re seen as easy prey for bullies, narcissists, and energy vampires.
Empaths are magnets for energy vampires because of their strong emotional output, warmth, and overall positive energy, which an energy vampire will choose to play with and distort.
This can leave an empath feeling inadequate, guilty, or lesser than their peers.
While energy vampires thrive off this manipulation, the spirit of the empath can be crushed and healing can take many months or even years.
What is an Energy Vampire?
Anyone can be an energy vampire, from your partner/spouse to your friends, family, and colleagues.
Sometimes people only show one aspect of an energy vampire, and others might not even realize their behaviors.
Some, however, are energy vampires through and through and thrive and even excel in their careers or personal life through their actions.
As with all aspects of life, there are givers and takers.
The same can be said for energy.
Some people; such as empaths are happy to give, and while we all can be takers from time-to-time, energy vampires tend to thrive and sustain themselves by taking the emotional energy from others.
Energy vampires are those who constantly emit negative energy.
Also called a ‘Debbie Downer’, ‘Eeyore’, ‘Negative Nancy’, ‘Party Pooper’, ‘Cumudgen’, ‘Grouch’, and more, energy vampires drain the positive energy from others.
For example, we all know that friend who’s hung up on an issue, commonly this can be to do with a breakup.
You’ve talked them through their problems and offered them support time and time again, and yet each time you meet them they bring it up, or all interactions seem to end with this topic.
Each time you coach them through their troubles you’ll likely notice they feel better, while you feel emotionally and mentally drained.
This is classic energy vampire behavior.
Energy Vampires can Affect your Health!
The effects of energy vampires aren’t limited to your mood or self-esteem, they can actually affect you mentally and physically too.
Being repeatedly shamed, insulted or made to feel lesser is tantamount to emotional abuse.
This can cripple your self-esteem and leave to truly believing something is wrong with you, which can lead to mental health conditions such as depression and anxiety.
The stress of constantly being around an energy vampire is also not something to be ignored.
High levels of stress can lead to cortisol (the stress hormone) flowing throughout your body, contributing to inflammation on a cellular level.
This inflammation can increase your risk of substance abuse and poor diet as a way of self-medicating.
Because empaths have such a positive view on the world and of others, oftentimes it isn’t until they become ill that they realize they’re being affected by an energy vampire.
How to Spot an Energy Vampire – 7 Key Signs
Because our health and well-being are at stake, as empaths we need to make sure we know how to spot an energy vampire.
Luckily, energy vampires have some very clear traits and repetitive behaviors that can help you to single them out from a crowd.
This will allow you to either distance yourself from them, or use techniques to safeguard yourself from their influence.
Energy vampires are master manipulators.
They love to have control over another, and an easy way to achieve this is through manipulation.
Know someone who’s always ‘me me me’, well, they might be an energy vampire.
This narcissistic behavior is typical of an energy vampire, as they’re looking solely to take emotional nourishment and not give any, so why would they take the time to listen to your thoughts and feelings?
3. They Love the Blame Game
Where you might love to play a game of cards, chess, or even spin the bottle, the energy vampires’ game of choice is the blame game.
Energy vampires are usually the first to point the finger, and they’re never the person who is to blame.
In the rare case that they may apologize, it will likely be a half measure such as ‘I’m sorry I made you feel that way, but…’
4. Mr or Miss Melodrama
Energy vampires love to be melodramatic, honestly, some of them could have made great Shakespearean actors!
If things are going wrong for an energy vampire, they aren’t just going wrong, they’re going the ‘absolute-worst-terrible-horrible-no-one-has-it-worse-than-me’ kind of wrong.
Energy vampires will seek to magnify the smallest of problems, as this is a great way to seek attention and absorb the positive energy of others that they crave.
You may notice that nothing ever seems to go right in the life of an energy vampire.
This often isn’t so, the individual has just figured out that this is the perfect way to get to you indulge them.
It’s completely natural to have insecurities or hang-ups, however, the way you and I as empaths go about our insecurities is dramatically different to that of an energy vampire.
When an energy vampire feels insecure they’ll tend to puff out their chest and assert dominance over someone they deem as weaker; most commonly an empath.
An insecure energy vampire may also become judgmental and put others down as a way of making themselves feel better.
Because they’re commonly self-centered, an energy vampire won’t feel happy for you.
Instead, when things are going great for you, the energy vampire will seethe with jealousy.
They’ll likely try to underplay your achievements or try to dampen your positive mood.
7. Buzz Kill
Energy vampires often appear to be persistent downers.
Because they are the emitters of negative energy, energy vampires are usually able to bring the mood in a room down a few notches.
Signs you’re are Being Affected by an Energy Vampire
While an energy vampire can be identified by their inherent personality traits, paying mind to how to feel around a specific person can also help you to spot the energy vampire(s) in your life.
As empaths, this can often be a much easier way to single out energy vampires than searching for traits because we’re so attuned to our emotions and the emotions of those around us.
If you’re consistently feeling any of the following then you could have an energy vampire in your midst.
Feeling Frequently Stressed
While some spaces such as the workplace can be places of stress already, you may notice a heightened stress-response around an individual.
This may tip into anxiety, for example, you may worry about offending them or boring them.
Frequently Feeling Guilty
Do you have a friend who seems to take you on a guilt trip world tour?
As an empath its natural to absorb some of the hurts of those around you and be sensitive to how your emotions can impact others.
However, any energy vampire will take advantage of this and seek to exploit your emotional awareness as much as possible.
You’re Constantly Being Put Down
If an energy vampire isn’t the dominant party they’re not happy.
Therefore they will be constantly seeking to bring you down or make you feel subservient to them.
Remember true friends build each other up, they don’t knock each other down.
It’s All Your Fault
One of the biggest downsides of being an empath is that we can often take the weight of the world and put it on our own shoulders.
Energy vampires know this, and will seek to dampen our spirits by playing the blame game, and guess who’s always to blame?
It’s not the energy vampire that’s for sure!
Feeling Exhausted in their Company
If you’re an introverted empath like me, then hanging out with any friend can be a little exhausting, however, you’ll notice there are two different types of tired which can help you to single out a lurking energy vampire.
For example, after hanging out with a good friend I often feel tired, but it’s a happy satiated tired that says ‘I’ve had a great time, now to recharge’.
In the case of energy vampires, the tiredness is akin to exhaustion and may be accompanied by a bad mood or a dread for the next time you have to meet.
In general, over time, spending time with an energy vampire will feel more like an obligation than a choice.
How to Protect yourself as an Empath Around Energy Vampires
Now we know how to detect an energy vampire, let’s learn how we can fight back.
The following tips are the wooden stake or garlic of the energy vampire, and through practicing these you can help to show the energy vampire in your life the door.
Tip 1: Acceptance
Only by accepting that energy vampires exist can you start to take positive action against them.
This can be hard for empaths because we always like to think the best of people and search for the goodness in people.
Tip 2: Listen to Your Instincts
Your gut instincts are a survival feature which is rarely wrong.
If you get an overwhelmingly negative impression of someone when you meet them, try to avoid them in the future, they’re likely not worth your time or emphatic energy.
Take time to reflect after each interaction, do you notice any of the traits of an energy vampire in any of your friends, family, colleagues, etcetera.
Tip 3: Find your Secure Base
A secure base is someone who makes us feel safe.
Someone who is our sounding board, and our support system.
For me, this is my mother.
When you are concerned about the actions of a person around you, tell your secure base about them.
As your secure base hasn’t been affected by the energy vampire, they’ll be able to objectively respond to your concerns.
Tip 4: Me First!
This can be hard for empaths, but needs must when you’re faced with an energy vampire that you cannot actively avoid such as a workmate or a family member.
When it comes to your interactions with the energy vampire, always put yourself first.
This is in direct contrast to what the energy vampire is hoping to achieve.
You should also take time for yourself.
Self-care is very important and can give you the edge when dealing with an unavoidable energy vampire.
Do what makes you happy whether this is meditating, going for a walk, or a hobby.
Tip 5: Give Yourself Credit
Empaths are often so focused on everyone else that they forget to recognize or mark their own achievements.
This is another reason why empaths can make easy prey for energy vampires.
Remember to celebrate your achievements, you’ve earned it!
Tip 6: Don’t be a ‘Yes Man’
While saying yes more often can open up new opportunities, saying yes all the time can leave you at risk of becoming exhausted, which is when energy vampires love to strike.
Don’t be afraid to say no sometimes, after all, if you don’t put yourself first sometimes, how can you expect anyone else to?
Tip 7: Don’t Be Afraid to Seek Help
Sometimes the impacts of an energy vampire can be highly damaging.
As we mentioned, it can take a great toll on your mental well-being and can cross the blurred lines into abuse.
Don’t be afraid to seek professional help after having suffered the impacts of a malicious energy vampire.
Tip 8: Be Assertive
Again, this can be something which we empaths struggle with, which can leave us vulnerable to energy vampires.
Don’t be afraid to be assertive and voice your wants and desires.
This is a great way to warn energy vampires that you’re not to be manipulated and can leave them on the back foot.
Tip 9: Don’t Keep Giving
Any good relationship be this romantic, platonic, or otherwise relies upon giving and taking.
However, with an energy vampire, this will be all taking and no giving.
In this situation, it is important to stop giving, as this cuts off their energy supply.
After all, if they’re not going to give you anything why should you give your energy to them?
Tip 10: Have a One-to-One
As I mentioned earlier, some people may only show a few energy vampire traits, and may not be aware that they are acting this way.
For example, some people often play the victim or play the blame game without even realizing they’re doing it.
This can be common in younger people who’ve not yet fully grown into their skin.
Therefore, if a friend or loved one is acting this way, try talking to them.
Explain how their behavior is making you or others feel and suggest how they might change some of their actions to better others.
You might just find they’re as concerned as you are about their ways and are willing to change for the better.
Tip 11: Say Sayonara Forever!
Sometimes the old adage is true, a leopard can’t change its spots.
If the energy vampire in your life doesn’t want to take your counsel or even refuses to see the error in their actions, then where possible, remove them from your lives.
This may be hard in cases of family members or colleagues where you can’t extricate them from your life completely, but you can still try to distance yourself from them.
Avoid one-on-one time with them where possible, and instead, stick to social gatherings where their negative energy can be diffused.
In times where you need to interact with them, be sure to practice self-care afterward.
One thing’s for sure, just like the vampires from myth or legend, once they’re out of your life, don’t invite them back in as that’s likely to be exactly what they’re waiting for!