7 emotional vampires that jeopardize our well-being

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Robert Maurer
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7 emotional vampires that jeopardize our well-being

Last update: Augusts 14, 2017

Emotional vampires do not suck our blood, they suck our vitality, valor and energy. They are lurking in almost all contexts to gradually create dysfunctional environments in which one feels exhausted, isolated and surrounded by an exhausting interaction that can seriously undermine one's physical and psychological health.

Although the term "emotional vampire" has very little scientific and no diagnostic manual has established a protocol to identify it, it has been popular psychology to have favored the definition of a very specific profile, known and close to all. Much has been written about it, in fact we have an infinite number of books available; however, it is necessary to emphasize the various nuances.   



The magic of human interactions always generates different changes in the brain, accompanied in turn by a reward, by a positive chemical charge given by neurotransmitters. Well, when we are in the presence of an emotional vampire, there is no exchange. The relationship is always one-way, communication is not fluid, there is no "you give me, I give you", there is no positive reciprocity that the human brain recognizes as healthy and meaningful.  

Instead, there is a load of negative emotions which, accumulating day after day, causes brain overstimulation and a corrosive sensation of stress that can have two consequences: it cancels us by setting ourselves aside in the corner of vulnerability or produces the most adequate response in us, or rather the escape.

Emotional vampires and their effects on our health

We said at the beginning that the term "emotional vampire" was coined by popular psychology, but this dynamic and this profile are increasingly present in clinical practice and in daily work of countless psychologists. It must also be remembered that the very energy we have talked about, which also includes our value, our motivation and our self-esteem, allows us to carry out any activity.



Every negative and constant interaction, therefore, represents a progressive and irremediable wear, currently much more intense than in the past due to a very specific element: new technologies. The cell phone that we do not turn off even at night is a habitual tool for the energy vampire, whose presence is constant thanks to WhatsApp, Facebook or Twitter.

The contagion of the emotional vampire and its consequences

There are many "races" of emotional vampires. The co-worker who always talks to us about his misfortunes, who whispers defamatory rumors, malicious gossip or even a toxic parent, relatives who control us through victimization, who subject us to their suffocating networks, their universes uninhabited by empathy and from respect.

We could give a thousand examples, but they would not be enough, because each of us has one in mind, an emotional vampire who, aware or not, takes away our calm, drains our energy and subjugates us to his race towards despair. . These tricks take effect thanks to a wonderful element that we all have: mirror neurons.

These neurons act as mediators in this emotional contagion. They force us to pay attention to the emotional vampire and to be sensitive and receptive to everything he transmits to us: fear, hatred, unhappiness, bitterness, worry ... the greater the negative charge corresponds to greater wear, greater overexcitation of the brain, greater stress and weakness .  

The symptoms that we will notice little by little are the following:

  • Tiredness.
  • Heavy eyelids.
  • Tension headaches.
  • Decline in mood.
  • Feeling of wanting to escape.
  • Problems with concentration.
  • Low work performance.

Types of emotional vampires

Judith Orloff is a well-known American psychiatrist and writer who has dedicated numerous books and studies on the subject of empathy, emotional contagion and the concept of emotional vampire. In her works of hers, she makes it clear right away that not all emotional vampires are aware that they are, they do not know that with their interactions and their behavior they generate a negative impact on those around them.  



Others, however, not only know it, but seek it with a very specific purpose: to foster supremacy and strengthen their self-esteem. Submitting for feeling more important, in fact, is a habitual strategy in the emotional vampire. Let's now see the 7 profiles.

1. The narcissist

His motto is "Me first." Everything revolves around him. He yearns for admiration, recognition and always wants to feel appreciated. He lacks empathy and will always force us to face any activity or situation following his expectations, principles and opinion. He is unable to recognize or consider others to offer them genuine affection, true friendship, or unconditional love.

How to protect yourself?

  • The solution is to be able to communicate with these people, set limits, be honest and let them notice their tedious egos and their lack of ability to consider others.  
  • We must not leave our self-esteem in their hands, therefore we must know how to see them objectively, aware of their emotional and relational poverty.

2. The critic

Nothing we do, say, think or declare will be adequate for the critical personality. Nothing will be enough for his refined taste, for his wise concept of life and for his limitless knowledge. However, be careful, because the his / her main skill is to speak with devious affection and ironic paternalism to make us always feel inferior to him / her.

How to protect yourself?

  • Open your protective umbrella and deactivate the power his criticisms may have over you.
  • Deprive the emotional vampire of power, making him notice that his opinions are scarce of importance, and knowing exactly what is right and what is wrong, you will debilitate the critical person.

3. The indefatigable talkative, the one who never listens

The inexhaustible talker is not interested in what others have to tell him, to the thoughts or feelings of others. He just wants someone who listens to him, who acts as a "container" in which to pour everything, in which to let off steam like someone who throws the garbage to be recycled.



In the presence of a tireless talkative, physical and emotional exhaustion is evident and very intense.

How to protect yourself?

These individuals do not respond to non-verbal language, therefore the only option is to interrupt them in a decisive but polite way, specifying that we are not in their company to listen to all their problems, that we are not their personal diary, their trash can. We are people with whom to establish dialogues, with our needs and equally worthy of listening.

4. The victim

The constant victim, the one who always happens the worst and who has been relegated by everyone - in his opinion - to the corner of the marginalized, can be recognized instantly because his speeches are always negative and she represents herself as a voodoo doll receiving continuous and persistent wounds  

How to protect yourself?

These people hide low self-esteem, you have to have it clear from the beginning, so the ideal is rationalize all their tragedies as much as possible. We will avoid being harsh towards them, rather we will try to be that lucid eye through which to show them that with patience it is possible to solve everything and that they must take the reins of their life with responsibility.  

5. The controller

This person tries to control, almost obsessively, every aspect of our life. It will manipulate our emotions to annihilate us, to deprive us of the air, of the positivity, of our self-esteem and, even, of our identity. It will invalidate us to the point of convincing us that we only need him / her.

How to protect yourself?

The secret to success in defeating a controller is assertiveness and self-confidence. Don't be persuaded, thank him for his advice, but tell him clearly that you have personal ideas that have always been very useful to you.

6. The aggressive

Emotional vampires who use anger and verbal or physical violence are the most dangerous. Sometimes a misunderstanding is enough to, almost without knowing how, give vent to fury, contempt or an unmotivated anger that frightens us and leaves us speechless. They are like a minefield, but it is almost impossible to control everything to prevent them from bursting at some point.

How to protect yourself?

The most useful strategies in the presence of these personalities are two. When we have a person with violent behaviors next to us, the only option is to advise them to seek help to learn how to manage these reactions. In the event that he does not succeed or does not want to, the healthiest - and necessary - thing is to get away from this individual.

7. The sarcastic

There are those who see sarcasm as a sophisticated tool of language with which to express the irony of life. As long as we see it in this light, no problem. When sarcasm is used to ridicule others, to humiliate with "elegance" and step onto the podium of genius with the crown of cruelty and the scepter of arrogance, then there is no doubt: we are in the presence of an emotional vampire.

How to protect yourself?

  • Sarcasm is a weapon we don't see coming. But be careful, if we feel humiliated and hurt in self-esteem, we need to set limits and, the sooner we do it, the better.
  • We have to make it clear that we didn't like the sentence he said. In the face of laughter and the “it's just a joke”, we must reiterate with assertiveness that “this joke is not funny because it hurts”.
  • If the sarcastic person does not see the effects of his / her actions or make any changes, it is best to move away from him / her.

What if the emotional vampire is me?

At this point, the question is almost inevitable and even mandatory ... what if we ourselves were adopting behaviors of emotional wear and vampirization towards others? Although it may seem strange, most humans make use of one or more of these conducts at least once, due to low self-esteem or during a complicated time.  

However, it never hurts to reflect on some clues that can alert us to this condition:

  • Negative and catastrophic thoughts.
  • We need to have everything under control, especially the people around us.
  • The need to let off steam with others without taking into account their concerns, opinions or comments.
  • Be very critical of others.
  • Constant feeling that everything is going wrong, that the world seems to go against it.
  • Knowing you are in trouble, but not letting yourself be helped. Getting angry when someone tries.

If these realities are known to us, we must do an analysis of conscience and understand that, first of all, we need to strengthen our self-esteem, improve our emotional management and our communication skills. However, we shouldn't be afraid to ask a professional for help either, because sometimes a depressive state can be hidden behind this crust of negativity.  

There are many types and strains of emotional vampires. Many of them, however, they can be humanized again with adequate help, with a sensitive and correct orientation.

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