How To Spot An Emotional Vampire

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Apparently they're everywhere. And they're not sparkly or romantic, either.

I had a very exhausting friend in college. One day we were best friends. The next day I'd be informed I'd snubbed him and we were in a fight. Sometimes I was insufficiently supportive; other times he wanted me to be a buffer when his mom was in town. Briefly, he decided he was in love with me. Later, he was furious I wouldn't make a platonic marriage. I was selfish when I wouldn't fund his film. Oh, and now he'd need to crash with me for a month because he and his roommate were feuding. When he started throwing pebbles at my window at 3 am, on a regular basis, lines needed to be drawn. An emotional vampire, as Dr. Judith Orloff writes on HuffPo, is someone in you're life who's draining, exhausting and emotionally selfish. They come in a few types — "Narcissist," "Victim"; "Controller"; "Talker" and "Drama Queen" — but all of them sap your resources and leave you feeling worse than they found you. Here, according to the good Doctor, is how you know you've encountered the emotionally undead:

* Your eyelids are heavy — you're ready for a nap

* Your mood takes a nosedive

* You want to binge on carbs or comfort foods

* You feel anxious, depressed or negative

* You feel put down

Orloff suggests limiting your exposure to these people and filling your life with nurturing people. Good advice. But the problem is that so often these people are in your family — indeed, the familiarity of the relationship facilitates a lot of behaviors that people otherwise wouldn't indulge in. But she's absolutely right that you need to recognize who these people are, and know it's not you. Then you can emotionally fortify yourself and have a stiff drink on hold — tips many of us have already intuited for holiday situations.


The other problem is that, when such a person is a friend, they're often the most difficult relationships to end — which becomes another layer of stress. For many of us, a couple of lingering dinners a year are the price we pay for our cowardice. But compared to the dramas of 3 am pebble wake-up calls, they're a small price to pay.

Who's The Emotional Vampire In Your Life? [Huffington Post]




I'd call my best friend one of these but I'm not sure it's fair. On one hand, even when times are good, she always finds something to complain about; but on the other, she's been dealing with a lot of crap lately, and furthermore, her family is a bunch of backwards, close-minded emotional leeches. She seems to be stuck in the emotional mode of a 14-year-old (actually 22 going on 23 in two weeks).

I get very frustrated with her constantly being a downer and never really sympathizing with me when I'm down (or really seeming to care about anything that's going on in my life) while I'm always trying to listen and comfort her. Moreoever, when I try to give her reasonable advice (which often ends up being stuff she doesn't want to hear), she'll just ignore me or change the subject.

I keep hoping that once her physical woes goes away and once she eventually gets over her ex (it's been over six months now), she'll kind of start to grow up and be able to appreciate nice things again. All I know is that I can't just dump her like this article seems to suggest. The only thing I can do is keep trying to be supportive and encourage her to do fun things with me.