Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wellness Wednesday: "Energy Vampires"

By: Tasha Dillard

We have experienced them at some time or another.  Family, friends, co-workers, strangers in the checkout line…people who possess the ability of consuming all of your energy without your participation whatsoever.  How do they accomplish this magical feat you may ask?  Most times it takes no real physical effort and goes unnoticed by the person who is victimizing you. Your once up beat and positive mood is now sullen and depressed and you feel lifeless. 

What you have just experienced is an energy vampire.  The phrase “energy vampire” is a metaphor to describe people who feed off the energy of others, leaving them feeling tired, down, and often times depressed.  I have found that energy vampires typically are well-meaning and normal looking people (really???) who will suck the positive energy (life) right out of you by dumping all their problems, gossip, and general complaints about the world on you and then ask you, “How was your day?” You think, “Great until I talked to you.” But say, “Great!” 

Here is how you can tell if you have been bitten:

  • If they make a HUGE deal out of nothing (I like to call this the Drama Queen or King) and come running to you to complain talk about the issue for hours, then chances are you are being bitten by an energy vampire.
  • If they are responding to everything you say, do, wear, etc., with negativity and more negativity, then chances are you are being bitten by an energy vampire.
  • If every word they utter is a complaint about their job, children, the food at McDonalds, the sky, (I think you get it) then chances are you are being bitten by an energy vampire.
  • If you tell them NO, and they do it anyway (because they care nothing of YOUR feelings) chances are you are being bitten by an energy vampire.
  • And my favorite…. If they blame anyone and everyone else for THEIR problems chances are you being bitten by an energy vampire.

How can you protect yourself from these vampires?

  • Stay grounded.  Keep your emotions in check.  While you still may express sympathy, do not allow your emotions to get the best of you and remain calm.
  • Limit your time around them. Learn effective ways of ending conversations and decrease the amount of time you are around them.  Yeah, this may actually be easier said than done but absolutely necessary to protect your positive energy from being depleted!
  • Resist the urge to rescue them from their problems.  Now, I am not speaking of the friend who comes to you in need of desperate help.  But of those who truly don’t want a solution for their problem and find more pleasure in complaining about it than actually resolving the matter!
  • Define your personal space and protect it with dear life!!  Most times energy vampires are not considerate of boundaries and will walk all over them if you allow them.  Stand your ground and tell them you do not want to talk or share certain aspects of your life.

I know some of these things sound a little mean and cruel but once you have been repeatedly bitten by an energy vampire, you will understand how these suggestions will come in handy!  For more information about energy vampires and what to do to protect yourself from them, check out Emotional Vampires, by Albert Bernstein.

Stay tuned for Pt. 2- “Am I an Energy Vampire?” Coming soon….

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