Are you an Empath or an Emotional Vampire?
Being an empath can be a blessing and a curse. The blessing is you always know what people are feeling at all times and can help you connect to the people around you. The curse part is if you do not know how to shield yourself, protect yourself, you will be open to becoming emotionally drained especially from Emotional Vampires. Emotional vampires are people who “suck” the optimism right out of you and any happiness that you can have. Empaths are known to attract emotional vampires and people that are in deep emotional crisis. Why? One because emotional vampires seek to drain others as the quote goes, “Misery seeks company” and for the others because people in emotional crisis seek light in others. This can be very tiring and overwhelming if the empath does not know how to break free and protect themselves from emotional drainage. How can you tell if the people in your life are emotional vampires? Emotional Vampires can make you feel unworthy, unloved, or/and drained. Symptoms of being around an emotional vampire is always feeling tired, your mood hits rock bottom when you’re with that person, you are prone to negative thoughts and feelings, wanting to eat comfort foods, anxiety, and depression.
Five types of emotional vampires:
The first one would be “The Narcissist”
The one where everything is all about them. They crave attention, admiration and have a high self of self-entitlement. Their lack of empathy makes them dangerous and have little room for love. “When you don’t do things their way they become cold, punishing, and withholding.” (Orloff, 2015). To protect yourself from these types never depend on them for your happiness and self-worth. Never confide your deepest feelings. It is best to severe any ties with a Narcissist. The best way to avoid and severe ties with an Narcissist is loving yourself.
Second: “The Victim”
This type is the “woe is me” and the “world is against me”. They are never happy and even with offering solutions to their problem they always find a reason to be negative. The best way to handle these “types” is to set boundaries on how long you’re willing to listen. Be honest and say you only want to speak about the problems they’re having, if they have solutions to it. Listening to their negativity can really be draining.
Third: “The Controller”
This type will try to control you and tell you how you’re supposed to feel and act. They do not validate your feelings especially if it doesn’t fit their perspective or with how things should be done. How can you tell if you’re with this type? You wind up feeling dominated, put down, and anxious. Worrying what they might say if you would to express your feelings. To protect yourself from these types make it clear that you appreciate their thoughts, but you prefer to do certain things on your own and your own way.
Fourth: “The Non-stop Talker”
This type will talk nonstop and does not stop to ask how you are feeling. Will not talk to you if everything is going well in their life, but will talk your ear off when things are not going well. I call this the Pro bono Therapist. To protect yourself from these types you might have to interrupt and say you would like to get a word in and would appreciate if they listened too (especially if this is a family member).
Fifth: “The Drama Queen”
This type are the ones that exaggerate every situation. The, “make a pebble into a boulder” type of people. They also openly say they hate drama, but seem to be always circulating around it or be the center of it. The best way to handle drama queens is to not take everything they say to heart. Try to remain calm and avoid getting overwhelmed with their theatrics.
Now I’m not saying that all emotional vampires are bad, because not all are, some just have more problems than others and do not go about helping themselves, but expect help from others. They depend their happiness on others instead of happiness from within. If you have any of these types in your life make sure you love yourself and have self-worth to set boundaries. There is nothing wrong with helping people and wanting to be that light, but not at the cost of your emotional, spiritual, or mental well-being.
Empaths are known to attract these types and can get caught up in these relationships that cause more harm than good. These types of people and situations can be very overwhelming and draining to an empath.
How can you tell if you’re an Empath?
Empaths are highly sensitive, they feel everything, and sometimes it can be extreme and overwhelming. Empaths have a lot of heart and are good listeners. Empaths are natural givers, and naturally are emotionally supportive. Because of this, empaths are prone to absorbing too much and it can be quite dangerous, especially becoming victims to emotional vampires as we discussed above. Life can be difficult for an empath if they do not learn how to distinguish their emotions from others or how to shield themselves from absorbing someone else’s emotions. Empaths feel everything and can be overwhelming in a relationship if they do not know how to communicate their special needs to their partner.
If you want to know if you’re an empath ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been labeled as “too emotional” or overly sensitive?
- If a friend is distraught, do I start feeling it too?
- Are my feelings easily hurt?
- Am I emotionally drained by crowds, require time alone to revive?
- Do my nerves get frayed by noise, smells, or excessive talk?
- Do I prefer taking my own car places so that I can leave when I please?
- Do I overeat to cope with emotional stress?
- Am I afraid of becoming engulfed by intimate relationships?
If you answer “yes” to 1-3 of these questions, you’re at least part empath. Responding “yes” to more than 3 indicates that you’ve found your emotional type.
Recognizing that you’re an empath is the first step in taking charge of your emotions instead of constantly drowning in them. Staying on top of empathy will improve your self-care and relationships. (Orloff, 2015)
Orloff, J. (2015). Are You An Emotional Empath?. Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform your Life.
Orloff, J. (Jan. 2011). Who’s the emotional vampire in your life? Learn how to protect yourself from draining people in your life.