Now, I want to give this article a disclaimer. While being married to an energy vampire can be draining and hard to navigate at times, it should never tip into physical, mental, or emotional abuse.
If your spouse is treating you this way then speak to a friend or family member for support and guidance, and aim to seek support from an official agency, legal system, or therapist.
So, disclaimer aside, it is important to remember that all things in life sit on a scale.
The energy vampire in your life may only exhibit a few minor traits which can be worked upon through discussion and an attitude change.
However, on the other end of the spectrum, you may be married to a full-blown energy vampire, and, if they are unwilling to change, you may need to evaluate alternative options.
This article seeks to discover what an energy vampire is, the impacts of being married to an energy vampire, how you can tell that you are married to an energy vampire, and finally, how you may be able to move forward with your spouse still in your life.
This is the second article in a series on energy vampires, so for a more in-depth look at the basics, please refer to my previous article.
What is an Energy Vampire?
Energy vampires don’t just exist within romantic relationships.
Energy vampires can be found in the workplace, in your friendship circle, and even in your family.
While, as I mentioned, the severity of the energy vampires’ actions is a sliding scale, in general, an energy vampire thrives and even benefits from bringing others down and draining them of their energy.
Where life is give and take, energy vampires, are all take and no give.
Because of this they can often exhibit narcissistic behavior and may aim to seek dominance over others.
Things rarely seem to go right for the energy vampire, and they’ll be repetitively vocal in sharing their woes because they thrive off of the positive energy that you give to them.
Because of this, an energy vampire may be called a ‘party pooper’, ‘Debbie downer’, or ‘Negative Nancy’.
In recent years the term ‘toxic’ has also been used to describe energy vampires.
Can you Have a Happy Marriage with an Energy Vampire?
We all know that couple that makes no sense, but for some reason just work.
They may visually look like two opposites, may have completely different interests or often row but then seem closer than ever.
While not always the case, this can be typical of energy vampire relationships.
An energy vampire is like a leech, over time they’ll suck out more and more of you until suddenly there’s nothing left, and you’re exhausted, physically, emotionally, and mentally spent, and have crippled self-esteem.
Many relationships will break down before this point, however in marriages, where there is much more of a commitment and separation is much more difficult, this eventuality can be more more likely, and recovery can take years.
Of course, this all depends upon the type of energy vampire you’re married to.
Sometimes your spouse is exhibiting energy vampire traits without realizing it, and through discussion and maybe even some marriage counseling, can overcome their negative traits.
Pay mind to the adage ‘there’s no use flogging a dead horse’ though, as some energy vampires are not willing to change.
They may also temporarily change their behaviors as a way to keep you around.
When this happens it’s important to call it quits as long term exposure to an energy vampire can severely impact upon your health.
How Being Married to an Energy Vampire can Make you Ill.
The biggest impact of being around an energy vampire is the massive and constant demand upon your emotional reserves.
However, being married to an energy vampire can also take a toll upon your physical health.
It has been discovered that 75% of women exposed to this kind of relationship can develop autoimmune disorders.
Other physical conditions that those exposed to energy vampires include IBS, adrenal fatigue, Lyme disease, weightless trouble, diabetes, thyroid problems, and un-diagnosable disorders known as mystery illnesses.
To surmise it has been proposed that long-term energy vampire exposure may:
- Cause inflammation on a cellular level
- Dis-regulates your immune system
- Promotes poor habits such as dietary choice
- Changes your brain in a way similar to PTSD sufferers
- Causes neuroendocrine hormone cascade (caused by stress hormones and can lead to Lupus)
How Can you Tell if Your Spouse is an Energy Vampire?
If your spouse possesses any of the traits on this list you may wish to take steps to protect yourself.
While we can all possess these traits now and then (nobodies perfect), what makes an energy vampire different is that a trait or traits will be repeated throughout your marriage.
Trait #1: They Have Little Interest in the Things you Love
An energy vampire will tend to show little interest in the things that matter to you because that would require giving energy when all they want to do is take.
Energy vampires may pretend to be interested in your passions at the start of your relationship, but as time progresses will show marked disinterest and may even tease you or undermine you for your interests.
Trait #2: Ceases Communicating
Energy vampires won’t be consistent in their interactions with you.
Sometimes they’ll shower you with love and attention and make you feel like a million bucks, but other times they’ll shun and neglect you.
This can make it hard to know where you stand with them, or worry that you’ve upset them without realizing – which is exactly what the energy vampire wants.
Trait #3: They’ll Give you Ultimatums
Ultimatums should only ever be used at highly niche and specific times.
An energy vampire will give ultimatums out like candy on Halloween.
They will often use these ultimatums to hold you back when you’re doing well or succeeding in life because energy vampires are only happy when they’re better than you.
Sometimes the energy vampire will give ultimatums in which they threaten to leave you.
Trait #4: You’re Always the One to Blame
Energy vampires love to play the blame game, and they’re never the ones to blame.
They often won’t talk to you about their problems and will instead skip straight to blaming you even if you have nothing to do with the problem.
Sometimes they will continue to berate you or ignore you until you apologize.
Trait #5: Sex is a Weapon
Some energy vampires use sex as a weapon.
They may demand sex or want sex only on their terms.
At the same time, if they’re annoyed at you they’ll likely withhold affection or sex.
Trait #6: Loves to ‘Keep Score’
Energy vampires will remember your faults or arguments from months ago and will bring them up whenever they want.
They also love to keep score of the good deeds they’ve done for you, and will expect repayment for them.
Trait #7: Put you Down
One of the ways how energy vampires make themselves feel better is by putting you down.
They may insult you, berate you, withhold affection, ignore you, embarrass you around friends or family, or in public.
Different Types of Energy Vampires
Not all energy vampires are the same, which is why they often go unnoticed for so long.
In fact, there are five different types of energy vampires, and each of these categories could be broken down into sub-categories too.
Let’s take a look at the overarching categories and some general rules of thumb that you can use to defend yourself.
The Nagger is basically the broken record of energy vampires and won’t stop pestering you until you’ve done what they want.
Not only will their incessant request annoy you, but they may divert to tactics such as nitpicking or teasing to get you to bend to their will.
To defeat the nagger in your life, be assertive.
Clearly tell your spouse that you understand their request, but that they’re being overbearing.
This type of energy vampire is usually unintentional and is willing to change.
This can take time, however, as they’ll need to format the way that they think, so be patient and supportive.
The Victim will have an eternal ‘woe-is-me’ attitude.
They seem to have the worst luck in the world, so much so that you could say the entire world is their enemy.
The Victim is only happy when they’re unhappy, as they thrive on the attention given to them by their support system.
When you try to offer solutions to their problems, The Victim will likely come up with a variety of contradictions.
To protect yourself from getting sucked into The Victims’ woes you can still listen and offer sympathy and advice, however, you need to know when to draw a line in the sand.
Don’t be afraid to step away when they’re in their negativity cycle, as that’s exactly what it is, a never-ending circle of ‘why me’.
Some people are naturally more picky than others.
While this can be either a negative or positive trait, an energy vampire will use their critique to make you feel lesser or guilty for the smallest of things.
They may end up making you feel defeated and as though you can do nothing right.
To defend yourself against your spouses’ criticisms, try highlighting when they critique you.
Inform them that you appreciate their input, but that their words are hurtful and not helpful.
By doing this you put an end to their current bout of critique and draw attention to their habit, which gives your partner a chance to make changes.
The Narcissist is quite self-explanatory. Everything has to be about your spouse, they need to be the center of attention and their needs must always be met.
The Narcissist will likely show little regard to your own wants or feelings as this would require them to give positive energy instead of taking it.
Of course, we all go through bouts of being selfish; we’re not saints after all, but it cannot constantly be this way.
To stop this behavior you can try talking to them about how it makes you feel, as many are unaware of their own self-obsession.
To help prevent them from slipping back into their habits, try to avoid over-praising or over-celebrating their achievements.
Of course, celebrate with them and tell them you’re proud of them, but don’t continue to praise them for a long period.
The Natural Sponge
Sometimes people can be naturally more draining or needier than others.
This doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be loved or don’t deserve your love but it does mean that over time you can start to become overwhelmed.
Protecting yourself from your loveable Natural Sponge is easy, take little breaks from them to recharge.
Weekend getaways with your mates, or staying overnight with family can be just what you need to recharge.
Navigating a Marriage with an Energy Vampire
Of course, just because someone has a few of the traits of an energy vampire doesn’t mean you stop loving them or no longer want to share your life with them.
Instead, you need to come up with workable solutions and strategies to help navigate the ups and downs of marriage.
Here are some ways to do this which you might find helpful.
1. Look Within
Sometimes we can focus so much on the actions of others that we forget to scrutinize our own behaviors.
Believing you are worthless or lesser than your partner will only cause their actions to impact on you further.
Instead, remind yourself that you deserve happiness, and you are worth it just as much as your partner.
Having this strengthened mindset will help you to tackle your spouses’ traits, and work towards a positive solution.
2. Righteous Anger Matters
No one is every constantly laid back and zen and even if you actively avoid conflict, there are times when it’s okay to be angry.
Repressing your anger can have negative impacts on your health, so let it out!
Just make sure you do so in a constructive way, and try not to fly off the handle at every opportunity.
As with many things, it’s all about balance.
Releasing your anger will allow you to view things pragmatically.
3. Be Selfish!
Sometimes you just have to fight fire with fire.
If your spouse is determined to be selfish then put your own emotional needs first.
Practice self-care, and make sure that tasks benefit you.
Not only will this raise your self-esteem, but will also put your energy vampire spouse on the back foot, and they may start to re-evaluate their behavior.
4. Know your Love isn’t Unlimited
Many energy vampires act like a bottomless pit.
They will take and take and take your love until you’re burnt out.
True energy vampires rarely give their own love back.
Know that it is simply unhealthy to keep giving your love this way, and do what you need to come to a better solution.
5. Set Some Time Limits
This isn’t a long-term solution but can be useful while your spouse works through some of the underlying issues which are causing their actions.
Limit your daily one-on-one activities to around half an hour each day, maybe watch TV together or eat your dinner together.
This gives you time to spend together as a couple but protects you from becoming drained.
6. No Compromising!
While the energy vampire in your life will hate this, it is important not to compromise on set boundaries.
Change is hard, and your spouse may struggle on their journey, but by cutting them slack you’re only re-opening the door that leads to them returning to old behaviors.
7. Remove the Focus from Your Marriage
Sometimes we can focus so intensely on something that everything else falls to one side.
Taking the pressure off and instead move your focus to other positive activities can allow you and your spouse to cool off and can be used to strengthen your relationship.
Try focussing on group activities or a shared hobby which can allow you to get back to spending time together without the pressure of marital struggles.
In the case of minor energy vampires, such as those who can become an energy drain when stressed, or nag due to an anxious disposition, the best option can be to simply accept them the way they are.
After all, you’re not perfect either!
It’s Now Time To Embrace Freedom
If no change happens, despite you giving your spouse ample opportunity, or things seem to only get worse, then it may be time to go your separate ways.
You cannot be expected to spend your life being drained of your energy, and choosing to separate isn’t admitting defeat, instead, it’s making a healthy decision for both of your futures.
You’ll likely notice a weight lifted from your shoulders and can look forward to a bright and happy future.