July 12, 2017
Do you know someone who, after spending even a little time with them, you feel completely and utterly drained but don’t know why? I bet you do – ESPECIALLY if you work in a hostile workplace! That, my friends, is the definition of an emotional vampire and probably the primary cause of your work stress.
Here are three common tactics emotional vampires use to draw on your energy and also some tips on how to stay safe:
An emotional vampire can use her eyes to draw you into a deep, dark vortex that vacuum-sucks the life-force out of your body, without your agreement.
This tactic is deployed by her imploring look that says: “feel sorry for me,” which of course you do, but you also feel awkward at the same time, as if you’re supposed to do something but aren’t sure what.
When you disengage from the unbearable eye-contact, you start feeling guilty and she gazes at you reproachfully, then leans even closer into you.
Your rational mind can’t explain why you feel so reluctant to give her anything, after all, she’s nice but has such a hard time, right?
If you give into her demands, you’ll feel resentful and annoyed at yourself for being a pushover. If you don’t give in, you’ll berate yourself for your lack of compassion and generosity: “what’s wrong with me?” In either case, you feel drained.
Someone who’s grounded and balanced tends to talk in a deeper, slower tone of voice that comes from their belly and projects energy (think Oprah).
An emotional vampire has a disconnected voice, usually with a soft or high pitch, emanating from the chest or throat (like a child). It can evoke a strong emotional reaction in you, such as intense irritation.
The voice indicates incongruence, meaning that the person intends to convey one thing (e.g., “I’m so nice) while really feeling something else entirely (such as angry at you). Your irritable reaction is likely tipping you off to the fact of being manipulated.
A state of balance is where you draw your energy from the Universal Energy Field, which is infinite. Conversely, an emotional vampire’s defining identity is one of lack – of energy, resources, love or connection. From this fearful and desperate state, she believes that her best source of energy is you and will attach a cord into your energy field to replenish her supplies.
The most important thing you can do is to cultivate awareness by listening to your body, which is trying to tell you something. If something feels off; it is.
The best way to do this is through a regular practise of mindfulness. To help you with that, I’ve created a free guide called: “The Silence of Mindfulness: A Simple Guide to Inner Peace and Emotional Well-Being,” which will help you to raise your awareness of the more subtle signals given off by emotional vampires.
Close your eyes and focus on what’s being created right now. What do you see? Imagination is the key to perceiving energy beyond the perception of your five senses.
See how many cords are attached to your energy field and cut them off, one-by-one. Then, place a seal of love and light on those places so the emotional vampire can no longer attach cords to your energy field. You can also use rituals to release yourself from attachments using essential oils, smudge sticks, bells, chanting or crystals.
If you’re susceptible to being drained by an emotional vampire, chances is are, it’s because you’re an empathic person and you tend to care too much about others, at the expense of setting appropriate boundaries with someone who just wants to use you.
Wisdom in action is to develop discernment. The best gift you can give someone is an opportunity for growth – which happens when you say “no” to the emotional vampire. In turn, when someone grows in emotional maturity, they’re less likely to engage in destructive behaviour.
Dr Sophie Henshaw is a Work Stress Strategist, Author and Doctor of Psychology who also works as a clinical psychologist in private practice in Western Australia. She’s helps mid-career professionals working in toxic workplaces with bully bosses walk away from work stress without losing their career, reputation, income or sanity in her online program, "Walk Away From Work Stress." Dr Sophie is the author of “Stressed, Depressed And Dreading Mondays” and has contributed a chapter in Anton Hout's book: “What Every Target Of Workplace Bullying Needs To Know.” She also writes for her blog at: www.freespiritedme.com and has made media appearances on Channel 10, 6PR, Huffpost Live, WA Today, Ninemsn Health and is a contributor to Huffington post, Women’s Agenda and PsychCentral online magazines. In 2017 she presented at the “No More Harm” conference and in 2016 was a keynote speaker at the "No2Bullying conference," as well as the inaugural HPARA conference.