No I don’t mean Twilight or Vampire Diaries or any other recent book/tv show/movie phenomenon! I mean emotional vampires. This is a term I just recently learned, and am shocked I haven’t heard sooner because it makes perfect sense. A friend mentioned it in passing and I stopped dead in my tracks. It was such an aha moment. I had experienced so many emotional vampires in my life, but had no idea how to refer to them or knew that such a phrase even existed. An emotional vampire – someone who somehow always drains your positive energy whenever you are around them.
There are several different types of emotional vampires. There are ones I like to call the Eeyores. No matter what day/time/weather/event etc., whenever you talk to them they complain. They are never really happy and instead seem to miss the silver lining in everything. Even if you try to note something great that is happening to them or lend a listening ear, nothing helps. They are simply forever stuck in their unhappiness. Whenever I am around these types of people I can legitimately feel my positive energy being taken away from me. The dark cloud over their head suddenly spreads throughout the entire room like a plague. Over the years, I have learned to quickly avoid these people whenever I see them coming my way. In college a few of my friends were close with another girl who I had interacted with a few times. She seemed quiet when I first spoke to her, but quickly I realized that it wasn’t shyness but instead a constant negative energy. She hated her major, complained about all her classes, was a never ending mountain of stress and in general never seemed that happy. To be completely honest, I never understood how some of my friends could be around someone so negative. I soon realized that whenever I spent time with her I was left feeling much less myself. So as a result I put some necessary distance.
The second type of emotional vampires are the anxiety filled ones. I am not talking about someone who is really stressed out about an upcoming assignment or huge project at work. I am referring to people who are perpetually stressed out. The person who, after you speak with them for only a moment, makes you start to feel your own blood pressure rise and stressful indicators blast. Their anxiety is constantly flowing out of them uncontrollably and never seems to be put in check. Again, if you try and help them with what is stressing them out, that only seems to increase the stressful energy around you two. In the past I have worked with these types of people and somehow they always left me feeling overwhelmed and anxiety filled, more often than not without any actual cause. It is something about the energy they give off that seems to impact my own attitude and stress levels.
To be completely honest I have had my fair share of problems with my own anxiety, however it is something I know that I need to keep in check. I distinctly remember a moment during my junior year of college when I realized that I was becoming just like these anxiety filled emotional vampires. I was incredibly stressed out because it was a combination of Homecoming Weekend and Initiation for our sorority, which I was in charge of running. We also had someone from Executive Offices visiting that week to observe us, and I wanted everything to be absolutely perfect. I remember rushing to a meeting about Initiation and a girl in my pledge class who is always calm, cool, and collected, emphasis on the cool, flat out asked me “Why the heck are you so stressed out? You have got to relaxxx. You are starting give me anxiety just sitting here.” And I realized wow:
1. No one had ever flat out told me that
2. I was starting to make other people around me feel this way.
I knew that I needed to check myself and stop these habits from overwhelming me. It wasn’t healthy for me or the people around me. Throughout college and now being in “the real world”, I have come to realized that in life, things tend to have a funny way of working out. And somehow that simple reason is what has allowed me to keep my worries in check. This is still something I work on daily, but as I have gotten older I have started to understand that these worries are not helping anything and instead contributing to a downfall that I have inflicted on myself.
Now I am not saying that there is anything bad about these emotional vampires. However, I know that to keep myself positive and (relatively) stress free on a daily basis I limit my time interacting with these people. At the end of the day, you cannot change the people around you, but you can change the people you choose to be around.
Have you ever interacted or worked with emotional vampires? What do you do to keep their energy from impacting your own?