Monday, 2 April 2012

Emotional Vampires

Just one bite

Vampires are fictional characters made infamous by Twilight and successful TV serials like True Blood. These creatures are characterised by being highly attractive, charming, sexually arousing and irresistible. Once they use these traits to catch their prey, the person's blood is drained to the point of death.  Down on earth and in the realms of reality, if we look close enough at our lives, we see many emotional vampires. Like the legend,  the main characteristic is that they drain your emotional energy without even trying. They are people who essentially negatively affect your mood. They may make you feel exhausted or physically sick. There are some common types of vampire that are discussed in psychiatric theory - narcissistic, victim, controller, constant talker and drama queen.

Emotional vampires are rather dangerous. They don't attack from the front. Instead their way is to work their way into your psyche slowly. Actions remain covert and manipulative. Conversations are mostly always focused on themselves. They pay little or no attention to the other person. They care little for the requirements or needs of their friend.

So in summary, these are the indications you are dealing with an emotional vampire :-

1. Turn the topic of conversation to themselves, no matter what you are talking about.
2. Redirect attention to something else when it is focused on someone other than them.
3. Make you feel a bit down, or unhappy, after you leave them.
4. Make you feel mentally exhausted.
5. Have an inability to feel empathy for your problems or circumstances.

Judith Orloff has this to say in her excellent summary here.

"Vampires do more than drain your physical energy. The super-malignant ones can make you believe you’re an unworthy, unlovable wretch who doesn’t deserve better. The subtler species inflict damage by making smaller digs which can make you feel bad about yourself—for instance, “Dear, I see you’ve put on a few pounds”  or “You’re overly sensitive!” Suddenly they’ve thrown you emotionally off-center you by prodding areas of shaky self-worth"

The creation of emotional vampires is quite simple. Their past is often filled with trauma. There has been an element of physical, mental or sexual abuse that has remained unresolved. Their childhood has been deprived in many ways. It is because of the emotional traumas, these individuals become people without insight, often dangerous to themselves and others, largely self centred and conceited. One could postulate that the reason for this is their adaptation over time to survive their negative surroundings. This is often done by developing a exterior that is largely superficial thereby concealing themselves from being affected or hurt by the environment. In time, this largely becomes a permanent adaptation and they effectively lose themselves to their well developed mask.

Because they do compensate well for their prior problems, they are inordinately attractive, supremely sexually experienced, superficially charming and highly intelligent. They are often surrounded by the opposite or even the same sex. Their own energy being derived from the positive energy of the people around them essentially to feed their insecurities. They will prefer those who admire them without question.  Of course, the more intelligent of emotional vampires are very difficult to spot until you have finally been caught in their net. Extracting yourself is of course a different kettle of fish. On the other hand, if you care enough about the person, you can attempt to help them but it is a long road. Sadly, most emotional vampires are resistant to assistance and lack insight. The personality deficits within them offer a poor prognosis but not all emotional vampires are a lost cause. The trick is to assist them before being bitten fully.

Related Links

1. Emotional Vampires.
2. How to Deal with Emotional Vampires.
3. Judith Orloff - Emotional Vampires.


Shoubhik Banerjee said...

interesting.. looks like one needs to keep silver bullets with them all the time.. :D