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Are these Emotional Vampires Draining You?

This is a guest post by my creative and talented big sister, Kelley. (Actually, she’s smaller than me, but that’s only because she got the brains and I got the height.) I hope you enjoy her insight – I found the article enormously helpful and very timely! ~Kristin

The manipulative non-stop texter. The guilt-inspiring family member. The angry punitive boss. The desperately needy friend. The clingy grasping lover.

They all hunger for the emotional nourishment only you can give them, and they must be fed.

They want your time. They want your energy. They want your creativity. They want your advice.

They want your blood.

“Just one more time, I promise.”

“This is the last time. Really!

Do you find yourself making promises like this to yourself as you once more fall under the spell of their evil charms?

And then, like any good, sweet, chronically nice horror movie victim, do you find yourself lulled into submission, sleepwalking your way toward your worst enemies?

Stop. That’s right. Turn and run in the other direction. Don’t wait. Do it now.

These aren’t your friends and they don’t have your best interests at heart. They’re filling their own selfish needs at your expense. They’re your emotional vampires and you must slay them. (Or at least banish them from your dining room!)

Arm yourself with garlic, holy water, a crucifix, and your trusty pen and journal. It’s time to go after the real bloodsuckers in your life.

Vampires in the midst

It’s possible that you haven’t even noticed how many vampires you’ve been feeding.

You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you don’t feel like your abundantly optimist self. It’s just that you haven’t had your usual energy. Your inner light seems to be controlled by a dimmer switch.

You have a sense of lingering malaise. Someone is draining your emotional batteries, and they no longer hold a charge.

Sometimes it’s a slow, insidious leak –just a little taste – and you’re not quite even sure you’ve been tapped. Other times, it’s a full-frontal dramatic horrific emotional assault, leaving you reeling with gaping wounds and arterial bleeding.

As you try to stanch the flow and profess your shock at the situation, you can’t help but admit to yourself that you should have seen it coming. One thing is certain: everyone has been stalked by emotional vampires at one time or another.

journaling the hard questions

These aren’t pretty birds flitting around a feeder in your backyard while you nod, smile, and watch. So why are you giving your power away?

Why are you feeding others at your own expense?

What are you getting out of the deal? Do you love to feel desperately needed? Do you require some daily drama? Is it soul-crushing suffering you’re after? Do you love to wallow in your own guilt and self-recrimination?

We need to be truthful here. According to all known lore, vampires can’t victimize you unless you invite them into your home and your life.

So get out that pen, and start by making a list: who are the people you’re spending the most time with? How do you feel before, during, and after the time you spend with them?

Who among them are disposable? Who among them can you not completely avoid and cut out of your life (family, perhaps? Perhaps you really NEED that job?)

Once you’ve identified your vampires, you can start taking proactive measures to get rid of them. Perhaps you just need a little metaphorical garlic, like caller ID, to keep them at bay. Perhaps you need to cut them off from the food source once and for all.

Some vampires are more persistent than others. But if you are consistent in your resistance, they will slowly starve and then fade away into the night, seeking dinner invitations elsewhere.

Then as you reclaim your energy, yourself, and your personal power, you’ll find it’s easier to feed yourself, and meet your own needs. You know how to turn on the lights in your own world, and so perhaps you can even light up the world so that others can see the way.

11 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing your wisdom, big sis!

  2. Love this post. However, I’ve always read these sorts of things from the victim’s point of view. What if you’re the vampire? How do you recognize vampiric tendencies in yourself?

  3. Oooh Melydia — great idea! I’m putting that on the editorial calendar. Keep and eye out and thanks for the suggestion.

  4. This is so true, especially this time of year. The post-holiday ebb creates a great void for people.

    Finding yourself as the Vampire is a great thought process to think through though – however I think as Journalers we tend to look toward paper and our thoughts to support us often, or at least I do. I tend to write it out before I want to talk it out.

    *love the big sister/older sister distiction. My sister and I are the same way: she’s older but I’m taller.*

  5. …Thank you for this article!! It has some great inside. I just ridded myself of one vampire, but I was not sure if I did the right thing…after making the list, I am SURE!!!! Thank you for that…;-)))

  6. my coworker is a vampire. She is the most negative person I have ever met and she drains me! This coworker complains all day in her cube, even if I do not answer her when she speaks. How I learned to deal was to analyze her in my journal and think about how she could have reached such a horrible place in her life that being negative is a 24/7 thing. Once I made it her problem and not mine, I was able to block her out and go about my business. Vampires are every where, you just have to find your inner Buffy.

  7. Kelley,
    It’s great to meet you and read your incredible insights! I appreciate the focus you provide on folks in your life that sap you, and you might not even know it. It’s something every person should know about and journal about. It’s vital to their health in all dimensions.

    I have chosen your post, Are these emotional vampires draining you?, as the #JournalChat Pick of the Day for 1/10/11 for all things journaling on Twitter. 🙂 I will post a link on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and my blog, Refresh with Dawn Herring.

    You’re welcome to follow my @JournalChat account for all things journaling. 🙂

    Thanks again for such a revealing, insightful post!
    Be refreshed,
    Dawn Herring
    JournalWriter Freelance
    @JournalChat on Twitter

    PS. Thanks, Kristin, for having your sister post here; awesome stuff. 🙂

  8. this article is amazing! thank you-i myself got rid of a coven of vamps in my life in november and couldn’t be happier-now that my inner buffy is aware, i know the proper precautions to take in the future 🙂

    much love,
    sarabeth

  9. So, I stumbled upon this site because I am in search of something to get my writing gears back on track! I found this article, and it definitely has helped me put the blame on something that has been sucking my time away from writing, thus causing me to also lose motivation. Funny thing is though, I wrote an article about this last year when I was asked to give advice about it. (My website is an advice column.) Here is how I answered it: http://sarahsideways.com/2010/11/time-sucking-vampire/
    I’m really enjoying this website. It’s proving to be extremely helpful already! Thank you! 🙂
    Sarah

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