Are you in a relationship with an energy vampire? Fully 20 percent of all people (male and female) have vampire characteristics or are full-blown Cluster Bs. That’s one in five people! And, each one of them affects five people. So, with nearly 60 million people directly or indirectly affected by energy vampires, it is likely that you are in a relationship with one or know someone who is – especially if you are an empath or highly sensitive person.
The energy vampire in your life could be a parent, a colleague or even someone you consider to be a friend. But, unless you have been threatened by an energy vampire, you may not even realize you are dealing with one because they can be very charming when they are love-bombing you. That is until they come after you.
Soon, you are blindsided with insults, being shamed — for your social status, body size, age, income level, how you talk or where you come from — and even abused. Energy vampires also can become moody and distant, so you walk on eggshells, expending even more of your energy while praising and admiring them just to keep the peace. This can negatively affect your self-esteem to the point where you believe something is inherently wrong with you.
And, of course, living with the constant stress and low self-esteem created by the energy vampire can lead to chronic inflammation at a cellular level, due to consistently high levels of cortisol running through your body. This, in turn, encourages you to indulge in other behaviors – such as poor dietary choices or even alcohol or drugs – that further increase cellular inflammation and can lead to disease. In fact, many empaths don’t realize that an energy vampire is sucking the life out of them until they become physically ill.
The good news is that the mental health profession and society in general are finally getting up to speed on how these energy suckers work. There are identifiable personality traits and common manipulation tactics that, when recognized, will “out” an energy vampire. When you see these qualities, you can learn to protect yourself.
10 Strategies For Protecting Yourself Against Energy Vampires
If you are in a relationship with an energy vampire, you need to know how to protect yourself. And make no mistake, self-protection should be your primary goal when dealing with energy vampires, especially if the energy vampire is a family member, colleague or close friend and you are not able to limit contact right away.
Here are some strategies to help you protect yourself from energy vampires:
- Realize they exist. Most people who are in relationships with energy vampires are empaths. We empaths believe that everyone is good and often will stay in a toxic relationship too long while making excuses for an energy vampire. We don’t want to admit they are really in it for themselves and lack empathy so they don’t care about you. Ouch! Realizing that there are some people who are not good will help you protect yourself.
- Keep a gut instincts journal. Empaths are highly intuitive. But, after many years with an energy vampire, you can lose the ability to believe what you feel. One way you can start to re-trust your gut is to keep a Gut Instincts Journal. Pay attention to what your gut says about a person. For example, does the person engage in risky behavior or threaten self-injury? Does he or she lie, cheat, or have recurring problems with the law? Then keep track of how situations play out. Even if your vampire is compelling and charming, don’t talk yourself out of your gut instincts about a person. Be sure to pay attention to how they treat ALL of the people they encounter, such as a waitress at your local restaurant, or an entry-level employee.
- Find a reality-check friend. Be sure to have a clearheaded and trustworthy contact with “vampire radar” whom you can reach out to when you are feeling uncertain. Often this is a good friend who knows you well and who hasn’t been taken in by your vampire. Call this person whenever you’re feeling unsure about a situation.
- Put yourself first. Energy vampires will fight for control. They can also be angry and manipulative, or often passive aggressive. And, they are great at “splitting behaviors” – or pitting one person against the next. When you encounter these qualities, take a step back (or out of the room or building) and remember that you were meant to live a joyful life in which your needs and feelings count too. Then, pledge allegiance to yourself. You can say “I pledge allegiance to myself and to my soul for which I stand. I honor my goodness, my gifts, and my talent. I commit to remaining loyal to myself from this moment forward for all of my days.”
- Pat yourself on the back regularly. Most empaths give others far too much credit and deflect praise for their own contributions which we tend to downplay. Instead, pat yourself on the back regularly for who you are and for what you do well.
- Say “no.” One of the best ways to protect yourself is to minimize your interactions with a vampire. You can do this by becoming “empowered in the negative.” In other words, learn how to turn people down. Saying “no” takes practice. And, it’s all about compassion, which as an empath, you have plenty of. If you find it too difficult to say “no” at first, start by saying, “I’ll get back to you.” The main thing you need to master is stopping the knee-jerk “yes.”
- Get support. When you finally “get it” about energy vampires, you will need support – and not just from your reality-check friend. A psychotherapist who specializes in narcissistic abuse recovery can be invaluable in these situations. There are also narcissistic abuse recovery groups. If you haven’t completely split from your vampire relationship, find a couples therapist who knows how to deal with character-disordered individuals.
- Prioritize quality time with yourself. Take 15-20 minutes per day just for yourself and do something that supports your well-being. You can choose to meditate, take a long luxurious bath, or spend time walking in nature. Visualize all of the negative energy you have mopped up from others draining from your body. Then, use some time to process your own emotions and get back in touch with your center – the real driver of your actions.
- Set boundaries. Whether it’s with social media, the news or your everyday relationships, setting boundaries is essential to your overall health and wellbeing (especially as an empath). Limit your screen time, read books that make you happy, and listen to the news in small increments only. And remember, even though you have an impulse to help everyone, you can’t do it all. If a friend wants to complain, vent, or process a recent breakup or loss, let them know you have a little time for them, but set a limit that makes sense for both of you – and then get back to your own life, adding in some extra self-care to help you let go of their energy.
- Take inventory of your relationships. The people you spend time with should fill you up, not drain you. If you know someone who sucks your energy just by virtue of their presence, beware. You could be dealing with an energy vampire. Energy vampires often have little conscience or consideration for others – which means you’ll never get the reciprocation that comprises the foundation of other healthy relationships. Steer clear.
As an empath, you are here to anchor the light. And, the light of an empath is always grounded in love, compassion and service, not self-sacrifice and martyrdom. When you love yourself first, you stand as the light. This shows energy vampires that you are not available to be their prey. And, you make it safer for others to do the same.
For more ways to heal from relationships with energy vampires, get my book Dodging Energy Vampires:An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring your Health and Power.
Have you ever been in a relationship with an energy vampire? How have you protected yourself? Please leave your comments below.