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Banishing the Energy Drain: How to Protect Yourself from Energy Vampires Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that my electric bill has been creeping up. It’s mainly because my electric company is raising rates. There’s nothing that I can do...

By Howie Jones

This story originally appeared on Calendar

Over the last few months, I’ve noticed that my electric bill has been creeping up. It’s mainly because my electric company is raising rates. There’s nothing that I can do about that. However, I can protect my budget from energy vampires.

For those unfamiliar, “energy vampires” are appliances that use power even when idle or turned off. Typical examples would be an idle laptop or printer in your home office.

Similar to this, people in our lives drain our emotional reserves.

The term “energy vampires” refers to these individuals. These toxic individuals sap your positive energy, either consciously or unconsciously. As a result, you may feel emotionally drained, exhausted, or even depressed after spending time with them.

It can be challenging to deal with them. Thankfully, this comprehensive guide will help you identify, protect against, and even combat energy vampires in your life.

Spotting the Signs of Energy Vampires

Despite their variety, energy vampires share some traits in common. This is important since identifying energy vampires in your life is a crucial first step toward managing your interactions with them.

  • Excessive negativity. They constantly complain, criticize, and focus on the worst-case scenarios, bringing down the mood of others.
  • Drama queens/kings. They seek attention through drama and chaos by manipulating emotions and blaming victims.
  • Emotional manipulators. In order to satisfy their needs, they guilt-trip, use emotional blackmail, or play on your sympathy, leaving you feeling drained and obligated.
  • Attention seekers. In addition to constantly seeking validation and attention, they monopolize conversations and make everything about themselves.
  • They are insensitive and inconsiderate. Their disregard for your boundaries and emotional well-being leaves you feeling unheard and disrespected.

“An energy vampire is someone who repeatedly takes — and lacks insight and awareness of how this contributes to interpersonal problems,” says Jasmine Cobb, LCSW, a trauma therapist from Tyler, Texas.

She adds that energy vampires tend to be codependent personalities. The result is that they are likely to turn to others in order to fulfill their needs and find it very challenging to be self-sufficient.

How Energy Vampires Drain You

It is possible to experience a range of emotional and physical experiences when around an energy vampire. When someone drains your emotional energy frequently, your body and mind respond with these symptoms.

There is a post-interaction slump.

You feel physically and emotionally drained. There is little energy left for other interactions or activities, as if your positive energy reserves have been depleted.

From calm to edgy.

It’s common to feel anxiety or stress after spending time with an energy vampire, especially when you know you’ll have to interact with them again soon. As a result, you may feel nervous, irritable, or constantly on edge.

A feeling of social withdrawal.

Even social situations with supportive and positive people can be emotionally draining when you deal with an energy vampire. It is your mind’s way of protecting itself from further emotional exhaustion.

There is a negative overload.

It is common for energy vampires to have a negative attitude toward life, and it is contagious. Being around them can make you feel more pessimistic or cynical, even about things you previously thought were positive.

Defending Yourself Against Energy Vampires

Even though you can’t control their behavior, you can protect yourself and minimize their impact on your well-being. To help you cope with these draining interactions, here are some strategies you can use:

No matter how big or small, set boundaries.

For self-preservation, setting clear boundaries is crucial. To begin, identify situations when you feel particularly drained by this person.

For example, do you dread long phone calls with people who make you stressed? Are you emotionally drained after coffee dates with someone who talks over you? Those invitations should be politely declined.

Be aware that boundaries may evolve over time. As you become more comfortable, gradually extend them to other areas, such as avoiding extended close contact at work or social gatherings.

Adjust your expectations, not your values.

No matter how hard you try, you can’t change the energy vampire. However, you can adjust your expectations. Therefore, stop trying to “fix” them or waiting for them to reciprocate your positive energy. Also, it’s okay not to get involved in their problems emotionally.

This does not imply callousness or a lack of empathy. Instead, it is about protecting your emotional well-being. And, you can always offer support in ways that aren’t draining, such as listening actively without offering unasked advice.

Be bold and say no.

In order to test your resolve, energy vampires often push boundaries. Again, you should never be afraid to politely decline someone’s request if they call, text, or show up unexpectedly. There is no need for more than a simple “I’m busy” or “I’m sick” to excuse your absence.

In other words, the purpose of excuses is not to justify your actions. After all, the importance of your well-being is not something you should have to explain to anyone. If you maintain a polite and firm attitude throughout, you will be able to discourage them from expecting immediate access to your time and energy.

Understand the difference between “venting” and “dumping.”

Every now and then, we all need to express our frustration. However, in energy vampires, frustration, irritation, annoyance, bad days, and negative feelings are continuously poured on others.

“It’s really important to know the difference between venting (is accountable to their role in the problem and looking for a solution or resolution) and dumping (think unintelligible rant),” Judith Orloff, MD, a psychiatrist at the University of California-Los Angeles Psychiatric Clinical Faculty, tells NBC News. “So you can sit limits and not just sit there and take it.”

Don’t participate in sparring matches.

Is there anyone you know who specializes in drama every day? Regardless of the circumstance, these emotional vampires create a scene. As they draw you and others into their toxic dramas, they experience great pleasure.

Here’s the thing: A conflict with an energy vampire like this can be particularly draining. Avoid arguing and keep interactions neutral whenever possible. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Give only as much energy as you can.

Andrew Cuthbert, PsyD, LP, clinical director at Timber Creek Counseling, believes you can learn to expel less emotional energy even when energy vampires are present.

“One simple technique is to imagine your emotional input as a dimmer switch,” he says. “As you go into an interaction, you can adjust how much energy you want to offer up to the person.” He explains that you can control how you respond to a given person, not how much energy they require.

Observe nonverbal cues.

Energy vampires can easily read your body language. If you furrow your brows, lean forward, or listen attentively, they may interpret this as an invitation to draw more energy from you.

Therefore, be aware of your nonverbal communication. Avoid excessive physical closeness during interactions, maintain neutral facial expressions, and provide short, direct responses. By doing so, you conserve your emotional energy and send a clear message that you do not wish to be emotionally drained.

Try neutralization techniques.

These advanced techniques can be used to combat persistent energy vampires:

  • The “gray rock” method. This involves avoiding their negativity, remaining emotionally unavailable, and responding with minimal information.
  • The “broken record” method. Avoid getting drawn into their arguments by repeating a simple, firm statement like “I won’t engage in this conversation.”
  • Humor. Sometimes, humor can lighten the mood and deflect negativity. You should, however, use this approach cautiously and avoid appearing dismissive.

Recharge your batteries.

Whether you like to read, walk, or play with your dog, find activities that rejuvenate your energy. And, more importantly, give priority to these activities that make you feel the best.

As an additional precaution, ground yourself and center your energy before and after interacting with an energy vampire. If you want to maintain your inner peace, for example, practice mindfulness techniques such as meditation and deep breathing.

Seek support and perspective.

Energy vampires aren’t something you have to deal with on your own. If needed, call in some reinforcements, such as:

  • Don’t be afraid to talk it out. It can be incredibly helpful to discuss your experience with a friend or therapist you trust. You may find a new perspective, valuable insights, or perhaps just someone to listen to your worries to ease the burden.
  • Keep an eye on the bright side. Be thankful for positive relationships that energize you. Nurturing these connections can counterbalance energy vampires’ draining effects.
  • There is power in knowledge. Prepare yourself for difficult relationships by educating yourself. Look for books, articles, and workshops to gain valuable insights and strategies.
  • Professional guidance. Consider seeking support from a mental health professional if dealing with the energy vampire feels overwhelming. You can share your challenges and receive effective guidance from therapists and counselors.

Think about a complete cut-off.

Sometimes, depending on your relationship with the energy vampire, you may need to eliminate them completely. It might seem drastic, but prioritizing your mental health is essential. Protecting yourself from others who consistently drain your energy and well-being is your right.


There is nothing more draining than dealing with an energy vampire. In order to regain your energy and protect your emotional well-being, you must recognize their characteristics, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care.

It’s important to remember that you are in charge of your own experience and that your inner peace is more important than anyone else’s negativity. Make sure you stay informed and empowered. And don’t let energy vampires steal your shine!


What are energy vampires?

An energy vampire is a person who drains your emotional and mental energy through their interactions with you. Usually, you feel exhausted, frustrated, or emotionally drained after interacting with them.

What are the signs of an energy vampire?

Energy vampires often display the following signs:

  • They are always negative. Their complaints focus on the negative aspects of situations, and they rarely offer positive perspectives.
  • They are overly critical. When they excessively criticize themselves, others, and situations, you feel judged or discouraged.
  • Attention is what they seek. They commonly monopolize conversations and make everything about them by continually demanding attention and validation.
  • There is no denying that they are drama queens/kings. Creating unnecessary drama, exaggerating problems, and thriving in chaos often leave you feeling stressed or responsible for your problems.
  • It is a one-sided relationship. Relationships are always about taking more than giving, always seeking support or emotional validation without reciprocating.
  • They are emotionally manipulative. You feel drained and obligated when they guilt-trip, play the victim, or manipulate you emotionally.

Who are energy vampires attracted to?

It is possible to be vulnerable to energy vampires if you are an empath – someone exceptionally sensitive to others’ emotions.

You may be susceptible due to your natural desire to help people in pain. There is a fine line between someone accepting your help and using it to heal themselves and someone who just absorbs it and doesn’t take advantage of it.

You may also experience energy drain due to your personal mental health. Anxiety, grief, and depression can leave you emotionally vulnerable and prevent you from protecting your emotional energy with firm boundaries.

Are energy vampires narcissists?

In some cases, energy vampires can exhibit narcissistic traits, but they are not all narcissists.

Symptoms of narcissism include an excessive need for admiration, a pattern of self-centered, arrogant behavior, and a lack of empathy. Not all energy vampires are narcissistic, although they can be overly negative, demanding, or dramatic to drain you of your energy.

There is a difference between someone who is struggling and needs support and someone who consistently displays problematic behaviors.

Can people change if they are considered energy vampires?

While everyone experiences negative emotions at times, those who consistently exhibit energy vampire behaviors may benefit from introspection and personal growth exercises. They may also need to learn more effective communication and relationship skills to avoid draining the energy of those around them.

Image Credit: Julia Larson; Pexels

The post Banishing the Energy Drain: How to Protect Yourself from Energy Vampires appeared first on Calendar.

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