Let’s start off by saying that not all emotional vampires are bad people. Sometimes, they don’t even realize what they are doing. After reading this, you could realize that you have been an emotional vampire to someone. That is not to say that they cannot be vindictive, mean, and cruel, but it is always important to note that they are also just human, and humans are flawed and make mistakes, and that is okay.
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What Are Emotional Vampires?
If you have an emotional vampire in your life, it is easy to recognize when you know what to look for. If you interact with someone who routinely makes you feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, intimidated, and depressed, you have a vampire. They are called this because they suck up the happiness inside you, like orange juice out of a carton, and then discard you when you are empty.
It’s important to understand that you will never be enough for an energy vampire.
They are trying to fill an endless chasm inside themselves, and no matter how much they try and take from you, it is never enough, because the thing they need to feel better comes from within.
What Are the Signs of an Emotional Vampire?
There are several ways to recognize things you yourself do when you’re around an emotional vampire. For example, these are the 8 things emotional vampires do:
- They never take accountability for their actions, you are always the problem.
- They always have to be the best.
- They criticize everything.
- There is always drama.
- They use guilt trips.
- They act like a martyr.
- They play down your problems and talk about themselves and their issues.
- They spout mean comments that make you uncomfortable.
In addition to the above signs, if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, it’s likely you’re around an emotional vampire:
1. You Feel Anxious, Exhausted, or Depressed
If you feel any of these things after spending time with someone, it could be a huge red flag that the person is an emotional vampire. Any friends you spend time with regularly should act to increase your happiness and positive outlook on life. If the opposite is happening, don’t let it continue.
2. You Feel Put Down and Disrespected
If a person regularly makes you feel “less than” or like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t, they’re likely an emotional vampire. Something inside them feels wrong, so they try to make you feel the same way.
3. People Tell You This Person Is Bad for You
Sometimes you can’t recognize when someone is sucking the happiness from your life, but others can. If more than one person points out that a particular person is having a negative effect on your life, it’s time for you to do some analysis as well.
4. You Complain About This Person
If you find yourself constantly saying negative things about someone after spending time with them, that’s a big indicator that the person may be an emotional vampire. If the person is good for you, you’ll find it difficult to identify anything wrong with them.
How to Deal With the 9 Types of Emotional Vampires
The first thing you have to know is that you can’t control their behavior. You need to understand that and know you aren’t responsible for their actions, only your own.
The second thing you need to do is, if possible, walk away, cut out, or distance yourself from your emotional vampire. You can’t change them, you can only protect yourself.
Despite your best efforts, some vampires are unavoidable, so here is a list of the types of vampires and how to protect yourself from each of them when they cross your path.
This is the most dangerous of the vampires. These sorts of people don’t have empathy, and they simply don’t care about your feelings.
When dealing with a narcissist, you have to understand that they are what they are, and that is an emotionally limited person. They do not feel as much as you do. You can’t expect them to be something they are not; it will exhaust you.
Lower the boundary of what you expect from them and know your worth. Emotionally distance yourself from them, and focus on making sure your self-esteem and value come from yourself and not from pleasing them. Once you focus on pleasing yourself, the narcissist’s power over you will weaken.
We all know the victim, someone who is constantly talking about all the bad things that has happened to them. The person that when you offer advice, they have no interest in solving their problems. Eventually, they may grow to blame you for their problems, even though they are of their own doing.
They key thing to note with this vampire is that you can’t actually help them fix their problems. Let go of the idea that you can actually help them, because you can’t, and it isn’t your responsibility or your job.
With the victim, protecting yourself is always about creating a healthy boundary. They will try and keep you in conversations, but you have to kindly but abruptly cut them off after a few minutes to avoid being sucked in to their constant negativity.
This is the vampire that wants you to do your things its way. It wants to control how you do things, what you say, what you do, and eventually, who you are. They will comment with things that they think you should be doing and saying it’s in “your best interest.”
You may have met this one before; they will try and make subtle suggestions and encourage ways they want you to be and will leave you feeling fake. They will also invalidate all of your feelings when they aren’t suited to them.
When dealing with a controller, this is where assertiveness can come in. You can be assertive and kind at the same time. Just thank the person for their advice, but say you are doing things this way because it feels more authentic. Don’t be afraid to stand up to a controller and say “thank you but no.” They have no right to tell you how to live your life.
At some point in your life, you will have come across the chatterbox. This is a person who just constantly talks about themselves, their lives, their problems, and drama around them, and if you try and talk about yourself, the conversation swiftly comes back to them.
The chatterbox, in essence, isn’t interested in you or your feelings; you are just an audience to record and dictate their life so they feel heard, validated, and important. Unfortunately, that can leave you feeling like your relationship is one-sided, drained, unimportant, and ignored.
The best way to protect yourself from the chatterbox is direct communication. They do not respond to soft cues like attempts to change the conversation. You have to talk to them directly but politely to change the topic of conversation to something more positive.
The Drama Llama
There is no way you haven’t met the drama llama. This person will make everything into the biggest deal ever. Everything will be a problem or a thing, even something completely unnecessary, like the fact someone didn’t see them in the street and wave back.
With the drama llama, it really does depend on the context in which the llama is in your life and how the drama is affecting you. The most effective way is to not get involved or invested in their conversations. If you get caught in one, excuse yourself quickly and find a more positive person to chat with. Try to distance yourself from gossiping as well; it will help you not be drawn into the drama.
The judge is a vampire that constantly judges other people, and no one is free from their scrutiny. They will judge everyone, and they leave you wondering what they say about you behind your back. The judger is one of the most toxic people to have around because, when they judge, they have nothing positive to say. They will leave you feeling insecure, pathetic, and even small.
With the judge, this is all on you. Just because someone is critical towards you doesn’t mean you have to care. The judge is critical for the sake of being critical; there is nothing constructive about it. So you can choose not to value what they have to say.
The judge tries to chip away at your self-worth because they are struggling with a lack of that themselves, but we know that true self-worth comes from within. Refuse to take what the judge says personally, and don’t get defensive with their comments. Keep a cool head, because if they know you feel hurt by what they said, they win.
This person is the one who always has a critique about you or anything around them. Nothing is ever good enough, so they will always nitpick and make unnecessary, rude comments. You will start to notice that they have nothing nice to say about anyone, and their only dialogue is rude and critical. Nothing is ever good enough or even passable; it is always bad.
When dealing with the critic, you have to not take what they say personally and remember that they are just taking out their negative feelings and problems on you. Don’t get defensive. With the critic, remember you give power to what you give attention to. Don’t give their critiques attention, and always pivot the conversation to a positive alternative.
The “I Am Better Than You”
This is the person who is always trying to one up you. No matter what, they have done it bigger and better than you. This one is the most annoying to have around because their whole intention is to make you feel small. This vampire will leave you feeling insecure, small, exhausted, and anxious.
You have to understand that, with this vampire, it comes from a deep-rooted insecurity that they are not good enough. Encouraging and reassuring them doesn’t work with this vampire because they have an almost false big ego, so you will just be feeding that fake ego. They need to find validation from within.
But for you, you need to make sure that you are reassuring yourself that you are good enough. They will do their best to make you feel worthless and insecure. If you do want them to feel better, give them genuine, real compliments about their self-worth, reminding them that they are important and they matter. Just make sure you are reminding yourself of that first.
I always see this one as the second most dangerous vampire because you never see them coming. The innocent vampire is someone who is just a little helpless, and you just help out now and then, but it spirals out of control. Soon, they are dependent and expectant upon you to help them, and it drains you to a crisp.
The innocent is a vampire that feeds on your compassion and empathy, and they can often not see the line because you haven’t enforced it. You let them cross the line over and over again, and they had no idea they were asking too much, especially since you probably encouraged it by saying that it was no trouble.
It doesn’t make you a bad person to say no to helping people, especially people who have taken advantage of your hospitality. Defending against this type of vampire is drawing a line, a boundary, and enforcing it. This can be hard, but the reality is that they need to become self-sufficient, and you can encourage that all while drawing a thick line.
If you have read this, and one of these vampires reminded you of someone in your life, I cannot emphasize enough how much you should walk away from them. I know it can be hard, and you can often feel obligated to this person, but walking away is the best thing for both of you. You do not need this negativity in your life. Put yourself and your mental health first, and do what you need to do to maintain your happiness and positivity.
More on Creating Healthy Relationships
We often hear people talk about the importance of living in the present and the different ways it will benefit us. It all sounds wonderful, especially the lower levels of stress and anxiety, but how exactly can we live in the moment when our mind is constantly worrying about the past or plans for the future?
In this article, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of living in the moment you may not be aware of. Then, we’ll look at some of the obstacles and why we worry. Finally, and most importantly, I’ll show you how to live in the moment and stop worrying using some simple practices that you can easily incorporate into your busy schedule.
The result: a happier and more fulfilling life.
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The Importance of Living in the Moment
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.” -Buddha
While it can be difficult to live in the moment, it has innumerable benefits.
Here are just a few that will enhance your life tremendously:
By reducing stress and anxiety, you avoid many of the associated health consequences, such as high blood pressure, heart disease, and obesity. Studies have shown that being present can also improve psychological well-being.
Improve Your Relationships
Have you ever been with someone who is physically present, but mentally s/he’s a million miles away?
Being with unavailable people is a struggle, and building relationships with them extremely difficult.
How about being with someone who is fully present? We enjoy being with her/him because we can make a much deeper connection.
By living in the moment, you can be that person other people enjoy being with, and you make relationships much easier.
You have greater control over your mind, body, and emotions. Imagine how much better your life would be if it weren’t at the mercy of a racing mind and unpredictable emotions. You would certainly be more at peace, and much happier.
Why Do We Worry?
Before we answer this question, it’s important to distinguish between worry and concern.
When we are concerned about something, we are more likely dealing with a real problem with realistic solutions. Then, once we do whatever we can to address the problem, we’re willing to live with the outcome.
Worrying, on the other hand, involves unrealistic thinking. We may worry about a problem that doesn’t really exist, or dwell on all the bad things that can happen as a result. Then, we feel unable to deal with the outcome. Either way, we have difficulty dealing with uncertainty, which is a normal part of life.
Certainly, some of our problems may not have desirable outcomes, such as a serious health issue. Some problems may be beyond our control, such as civil unrest or economic downturn. In such cases, it can be hard to avoid worrying, but not impossible.
3 Steps to Start to Live in the Moment
Step 1: Overcome Worrying
In order to overcome worrying, we need to do two things:
Calm Your Mind
When you calm your mind, you are able to see more clearly.
The reason some problems seem so daunting is that our mind is racing so fast that we cannot see things as they truly are. Then, we make up a bunch of possible scenarios in our mind, most of which are unlikely to come true.
In addition to seeing more clearly, a calm mind will help us think more realistically. Unrealistic thinking is fueled by confusion and uncontrolled emotions. Calming your mind will reduce confusion and calm your emotions, allowing you to live in the present.
Focus on Solutions Instead of Problems
Some people tend to be more solution-oriented, and others more problem-oriented. Some of the factors that may determine this are gender, upbringing, and education.
People with more education tend to be problem-solvers. That is what their years of education train them to do. In addition, their jobs probably reinforce this way of thinking.
If you’re not problem-solving oriented, don’t worry. You can train yourself to worry less. We’ll discuss that soon.
Step 2: Identify Obstacles to Living in the Moment
In today’s busy world, it can be a challenge to live in the moment. The reasons revolve around how our mind works, as well as outside influences.
Many busy people have a racing mind that never seems to slow down. Their mind gets so agitated from too much sensory stimulation.
You see, anything that stimulates any of our five senses will trigger a thought, and that thought leads to another, and then another, and so on.
If you have a busy life, all your activities will overstimulate your mind and make it seemingly impossible to slow it down.
Unpleasant Situations and a Troublesome Past
None of us want to be in unpleasant situations, or remember those of the past. They can bring up painful emotions, which we don’t want to feel.
So how do most people cope with painful emotions?
By doing whatever we can to avoid them, we can take our mind to another place and time where things are more pleasant.
In other words, we avoid living in the present moment.
Some people resort to things that stimulate sensory pleasure, such as food, alcohol, or sex. Others will consume substances that dull their mind and keep them from thinking about unpleasant or stressful situations.
A Wandering Mind
From the moment we are born (likely sooner) until the time we die, our body and mind are active performing some function. Therefore, it’s natural for our mind to have some level of activity, whether conscious or unconscious.
Generally, a wandering mind is unproductive. One thought starts an endless chain of thoughts, and this process can go on until we need our mind to perform a specific function or get distracted with something else.
Now, there are times when a wandering mind can be productive, such as when creating works of art, or trying to find creative solutions to problems. In such cases, we need our mind to explore different possibilities.
Most of us are not fully aware of how our environment and social norms influence our thinking and behavior. People and institutions are constantly competing for our attention. The media draws our attention to the past, and advertising usually to the future.
Many people around us who dwell on the past or future try to draw us to their way of thinking. Even the whole concept of the American dream is geared toward the future. It tells us that if we acquire things like a good career, family, and house, then we’ll be happy.
Step 3: Practice Mindfulness
So how can we live in the moment in a world that is constantly trying to draw our attention to the past and future?
Before we get into concrete actions you can take, it’s important to understand what mindfulness is. You’ve probably heard the term before, but may not fully understand what it means.
The concept of mindfulness is actually quite simple. To be mindful is to live in the moment.
When you are mindful, your attention is focused on what is happening in the present moment, and you are fully in touch with reality.
You are aware of what is happening in your body, mind, emotions, and the world around you. This is different than thinking about these things. To develop greater understanding, you don’t have to think about them so much, but rather just observe them.
This may be counterintuitive to many people, especially intellectuals, because they’re so used to using logic to develop greater understanding. With mindfulness, we calm our mind and emotions so we can see clearer. Then, much of our understanding will come from simple observation. When we develop mindfulness, we literally expand our awareness.
To develop mindfulness, we need to train ourselves to observe things more objectively, that is, without our emotions or preconceived ideas influencing our views.
If you’re ready to live a better life, read on for some simple mindfulness practices that you can incorporate into your daily routine to help you live in the moment.
You don’t have to do all of them, but rather choose the ones that appeal to you and suit your lifestyle.
Mindfulness meditation is the mainstay of developing mindfulness and living in the moment. To practice mindfulness meditation, all you really have to do is sit quietly and follow your breathing. When your mind wanders off, just bring it back to your breath.
Notice how your lungs expand with each in-breath and contract with each out-breath. Let your breathing become relaxed and natural.
You don’t have to do it perfectly. The idea is to start spending time away from the constant sensory stimulation of all your activities, and just allow it to settle down naturally. Start with about 5 to 10 minutes per day and work your way up to about 20 minutes or longer.
This practice is highly effective, and can have both short-term and long-term benefits.
If you want to learn more about mindfulness meditation, take a look at this article:
While this may sound the same as mindfulness meditation, all you’re really doing is taking short breaks occasionally (10 to 15 seconds) to observe your breathing. Stop whatever you’re doing, and take a few mindful breaths, then resume your activity. That’s it.
You can do mindful breathing at any time of the day during your busy schedule. What it does is interrupt the acceleration of your mind. It is like taking your foot off the accelerator while driving. It’s a nice refreshing break you can take without anyone noticing.
Here’re some breathing exercises you can try to learn: 5 Breathing Exercises for Anxiety (Simple and Calm Anxiety Quickly)
Walking is an activity that you perform several times throughout the day. We often think we’re being productive by texting or calling someone while walking. But are we really?
Instead of getting on your cell phone or letting your mind wander off, why not use your walking to train yourself to live in the moment and focus on the task at hand?
Mindful walking is similar to mindful breathing, but instead of focusing on your breath, focus on your walking. Pay attention to each footstep. Also, notice the different motions of your arms, legs, and torso. When your mind wanders off, just bring your attention back to your walking.
You can even make a meditation out of walking. That is, go walking for a few minutes outside. Start by slowing down your pace. If you slow down your body, your mind will follow.
In addition to paying attention to your walking, notice the trees, sunshine, and critters. A mindful walk is enjoyable and can really help your mind settle down.
You can discover more benefits of walking in nature here.
Eating is an activity that most of us perform mindlessly. The reason is that it doesn’t require your attention to perform. Therefore, many of us try to multitask while we eat. We may talk on the phone, text, watch TV, or even hold a meeting.
The problem with not eating mindfully is that we don’t eat what our body and mind need to perform at an optimal level. We may eat unhealthy foods, or too much. This can lead to various health problems, especially as we get older.
Mindful eating has many health benefits, such as reduced food cravings, better digestion, and even weight loss.
So how do you eat mindfully? Start by slowing down, and avoid the temptation to distract yourself with another activity. Here are 3 different aspects of eating where you can practice mindfulness:
- Eating itself: Focus your attention on choosing a portion of food to insert into your mouth. Notice the smell, flavor, and texture as you chew it; then finally swallow it. As with following your breath during meditation, pay close attention to every aspect of eating.
- Choice of foods: Although you’ve already chosen your food before you have begun eating, you can still take the opportunity to contemplate your choices. Think about the nutrients your body needs to sustain itself.
- Contemplating the sources: Most of us don’t think about all the work it takes to provide us with the food we eat. While you’re eating, consider all the work by the farmer, shipping company, and the grocery store. These are real people who worked hard to provide you with the food necessary for your survival.
You can find more tips about mindful eating here: 7 Simple Steps to Mindful Eating
Choose an activity that you perform regularly, such as washing dishes. Focus all your attention on this activity, and resist the temptation to let your mind wander,. When it does, just bring your attention back to washing dishes.
Notice some of the specific movements or sensations of washing dishes, such as how the soapy water feels on your hands, the circular motion of scrubbing the dish, or the rinsing. You’d be surprised at how such a mundane activity can truly expand your awareness.
You can choose any activity you like, such as ironing, folding clothes, mowing the lawn, or showering. Over time, you will begin doing all these activities with greater mindfulness.
Practicing mindfulness is like regularly putting small amounts of change in a jar. They will all add up over time, and this will add up to greater peace and happiness, as well as get you closer to achieving your goals.
Remember, you don’t have to do the mindfulness practices perfectly to get the benefits. All you have to do is keep bringing your mind back to the present moment when it wanders off.
Practicing mindfulness may be a bit challenging in the beginning, but I can assure you it will get easier.
The benefits of living in the moment are well within your reach, no matter how much your mind is racing. If you stick with these mindfulness practices, you too will learn how to live in the moment and stop worrying. When you do, a whole new world will open up for you. This is what Zen master Thich Nhat Hanh calls the ultimate reality.