Are energy vampires draining you dry? Learn how to recognize the signs and kick them to the curb.
Are you just really, really tired? I am. With summer whizzing by and Labor Day approaching, I long for the vacation we never had this summer. I need to replenish my energy somehow, so I started thinking about ways to reset. That got me thinking about all the ways I try to preserve my spoons and manage energy with chronic illness. It made me realize one of the biggest drains on my soul are the people in my life who suck the life out of me and deplete my energy! I call them energy vampires and I’m sharing who they are, why they drain you and ideas for stopping them before they bite back.
Is your energy constantly being drained by energy vampires? These are the people around us that can negatively impact how we feel and view the world. There are plenty of reasons why some people may drain your energy more than others. You could be dealing with a narcissist, or someone who complains most of the time. No matter their style, which I will get to soon, you must learn how to re-prioritize your precious resources, especially when you have EDS. Most of us know at least one type of energy vampire in our lives, and here’s what to watch out for in yourself to know better.
Tell-Tale Signs You Are Dealing with An Energy Vampire
There are several tell-tale signs that can help you decide if you’re dealing with an energy vampire. The main signs to watch out for include:
You feel mentally exhausted after spending time with them.
You feel depressed or anxious around them.
You feel like they are putting you down.
You turn to comfort eating or drinking alcohol after being around them.
Everyone who encounters an energy vampire will feel at least one of the things above, if not all of them. You basically don’t feel great when you spend time with them.
Basics to Protecting Your Spoons
If you are dealing with an energy sucker, how can you stop them from draining your energy? The good news is there are strategies you can use to deal with them.
1. First, if you can, you can and (maybe should) distance yourself from the person. Avoiding being around an energy vampire is the best way to stop them negatively impacting you. However, this isn’t always possible, and it is not necessarily easy to do. In the extreme, it can mean going no-contact, even with loved ones when they are not good for your wellbeing.
2. If you can’t distance yourself, make sure you are practicing self-care. Taking care of yourself will allow you to feel more confident to set healthy boundaries. You will naturally be more assertive and protective over your time as you see success. So, if you don’t already, set aside time every day to focus on you. Pamper yourself, take care of your own needs first, and watch how your energy and tolerance changes for negative people.
3. If you are really struggling to handle an energy vampire in your life, you can also turn to therapy. Seeking help from a professional will enable you to understand why you can’t deal with the problem, as well as discuss solutions that can help.
Emotional vampires are everywhere today, and their bite can linger. It isn’t always possible to get away from them immediately, but there are things you can do in the meantime to protect yourself and your energy.
How to Steer Clear of Energy Vampires and How to See Them Coming
The TV show "What We Do in the Shadows" which features an energy vampire character named Colin Robinson. In the show, Colin Robinson is a vampire who feeds not on blood, but on people's energy and emotions, particularly their boredom and annoyance. He is portrayed as a very dry and monotone character who drains people's energy by talking at length about mundane topics and pushing people's buttons. The character is often used for comedic effect and as a satire on office politics and other social situations where people drain each other's energy.
Yes, "What We Do in the Shadows" is a real TV show. It's a comedy horror series that follows the lives of four vampires who have been living together in Staten Island for hundreds of years. The show is based on the 2014 mockumentary film of the same name by Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement, and is produced by FX. The show has received critical acclaim and has been praised for its clever writing and humorous take on vampire lore.
You probably already know an energy vampire already. You have been in the room when these people suck the energy out of a room, leaving everyone feeling drained and exhausted.
Here are some examples of the types of energy vampires you might encounter and ideas on how to diffuse them potentially with a bit of humor:
The Complainer: This person always has something to complain about and never has anything positive to say. When you're around them, it feels like a dark cloud is hanging over your head. To avoid them, you can try responding to their complaints with silly solutions like "have you tried using a magic wand to fix that problem?"
The Drama Queen/King: This person always has a crisis or a problem that they want everyone to focus on. They thrive on drama and attention, and their energy can be exhausting. To avoid them, you can respond to their drama with humor, like "Oh no, another crisis? Can we make some popcorn and watch it unfold like a soap opera?"
The Negative Nelly: This person is always pessimistic and sees the worst in everything. They bring everyone down with their negativity and lack of hope. To avoid them, try responding to their negativity with positive affirmations like, "I hear you, but let's focus on the good things in life too, like that amazing donut you had this morning."
The Control Freak: This person needs to be in charge of everything and can be very demanding. They drain your energy by micromanaging everything and not letting others contribute in their own ways. To avoid them, you can respond with humorous suggestions like, "Hey, I heard about this amazing thing called delegation. Let's try it and share the load!"
The Victim: This person always plays the victim and never takes responsibility for their actions. They drain your energy by constantly seeking sympathy and attention. To avoid them, try responding with humor like, "Oh no, it sounds like you're auditioning for a role in a soap opera. Let's see if we can rewrite the script to make it more positive."
The Gossip: This person thrives on spreading rumors and negativity about others. They create drama and tension wherever they go. To avoid them, try responding with humorous retorts like, "Oh, I love playing the telephone game! Let's see how many versions of that story we can come up with."
The Egoist: This person is always talking about themselves and their accomplishments, and they never listen to others. They can be very draining and self-centered. To avoid them, try responding with a humorous comment like, "Wow, you're the greatest person in the world! It must be exhausting to carry that much greatness around."
The Judge: This person is quick to judge and criticize others, and they rarely have anything positive to say. They can be very critical and harsh, leaving others feeling hurt and drained. To avoid them, try responding with humor like, "Hey, let's not judge a book by its cover. Maybe that person has a hidden talent for juggling flamingos."
Tips for Avoiding Energy Vampires (In Jest)
Here are some humorous ways to avoid negativity, toxic positivity, and energy vampires:
Identify energy vampires as early as possible, those people who suck the life out of you faster than a bloodthirsty mosquito.
Set boundaries and say no when necessary, because you need to save your energy for important things, like binge-watching Netflix.
Prioritize self-care, whether it's taking a long bath, getting a massage, or eating an entire pint of ice cream in one sitting.
Seek support from a therapist or counselor, because sometimes you just need someone to vent to who won't judge you for wearing pajamas all day.
Avoid the "negative Nancys" and "Debbie downers" in your life. It's okay to be empathetic and supportive, but if someone is constantly draining your energy and bringing you down, it's time to set some boundaries.
Try a positivity potion - a mixture of humor, optimism, and gratitude. Drink it daily for an instant boost of positivity.
Surround yourself with positive affirmations, but make them silly. For example, "I am a superhero and my cape is invisible."
If someone tries to give you unsolicited advice or offers their "miracle cure," respond with a ridiculous suggestion of your own, like suggesting they eat only purple food for a week.
Don't be afraid to unleash your inner child. Dance if you’re able like nobody's watching, sing in the shower, or indulge in some playful silliness. Being playful can help you let go of negativity and recharge your batteries.
Practice the art of "positive venting." Sometimes we need to let off steam, but instead of complaining and wallowing in negativity, try to find the humor in the situation. Laughing about it can help you release the negativity and move forward.
If all else fails, employ the "block and roll" technique. Block negative people and roll away from them, both physically and mentally. Life is too short to waste on energy vampires.
Remember, humor can be a powerful tool in dealing with energy vampires. By using it to diffuse negative energy, you can protect your own energy and maintain a positive attitude even when faced with difficult people. These are some ways to stay light-hearted in the face of a health crisis. By incorporating these strategies into your daily life, you can stay resilient, empowered, and full of joy.
Got Energy Suckers in Your Life? What To Do, Seriously
Here are a few tips for kicking energy vampires out of your life, seriously:
Recognize the signs: When someone leaves you feeling more drained than a marathon, it's a sign you're dealing with an energy vampire. Recognize the warning signs and avoid them like the plague. Having EDS is often about energy and spoon management.
Set boundaries: Energy vampires have a way of making you feel like you owe them your time and energy. Set firm boundaries and stick to them like you're guarding a fortress.
Limit your exposure: If you can't avoid energy vampires completely, limit your exposure like you're the sun and they're a vampire. Schedule shorter meetings or avoid one-on-one interactions entirely.
Surround yourself with positive people: The best way to combat energy vampires is to surround yourself with positive, supportive people who make you feel like a superhero. Seek out those who uplift you and make you feel good about yourself.
Take care of yourself: Take care of yourself like you're a precious unicorn, because let's face it, you are. Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you recharge, like bubble baths or dancing to your favorite tunes.
Practice assertiveness: Energy vampires feed off of your weakness and indecision. Practice assertiveness like you're the boss of your own life and take control of the situation.
Seek professional help: If all else fails, seek professional help like you're taking your car to the mechanic. A therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support as you navigate this challenging situation.
Remember, your energy is precious and should be reserved for those who uplift and support you. Kick those energy vampires to the curb and surround yourself with positivity and humor.
How to Set Boundaries with Energy Vampires Throwing a stick of garlic at toxic people and shouting, "Back, energy vampire!" might seem like an appealing idea, but it's unlikely to yield the desired results (and may result in a costly garlic waste). Instead, let's learn to set boundaries — it’s an adventure, but when you get it right, it's like finding a full battery pack on a low-energy day. Trust me, you'll feel like the superhero of the chronically ill.
Boundaries are like the invisible force fields we all wished we had as kids (no, just me?). They help us keep our energy levels balanced, reducing those "running on empty" episodes. Boundaries lay down the law, making it clear what kind of behavior you'll tolerate before you shift into Hulk-mode. In an ideal world, people respect these force fields like they'd respect the ‘Do Not Touch’ sign on a piece of art, but let's face it, some people seem to think they're playing dodgeball with our boundaries.
So how do you set up your boundaries, you ask? It's as easy as 1, 2, 3...
Identify your boundaries. Think of it as programming your personal GPS, setting your no-go zones.
Communicate these no-go zones clearly, calmly, and consistently, like an air traffic controller. Remember, getting defensive or blaming is about as productive as yelling at a traffic light.
If your boundaries get bulldozed, it's time to consider your options and take action. Maybe it’s time to equip yourself with a Super Soaker full of ice-cold reality.
When They Don’t Respect Your Boundaries Now, let’s consider the possibility that someone doesn't respect your boundaries - it's like that chatty stranger on an airplane who just can't catch a hint. It's a work-in-progress to handle boundary-stomping folks, and there’s no magic "mute" button (I’ve looked, trust me). Here's a handy guide to dealing with these people:
Try negotiating the boundary. Think of it like a game of Monopoly; some things you're willing to trade, others are untouchable like that prized Boardwalk property.
If a person is habitually trampling over your boundaries, you might want to reevaluate. It's like sticking your hand into a piranha tank hoping they'll turn vegetarian this time. Spoiler alert: they probably won't.
Document everything. It's like your own personal surveillance camera, helping you spot your weak spots and fix them before they become energy leaks.
Accept that some people will treat your boundaries like a trampoline, no matter what. It's hard to swallow, like that mystery casserole at the family potluck, but remember, their behavior is not your responsibility. You can either let them do the macarena on your boundaries or choose to step away.
Try practicing loving detachment. It's like being a polite guest at a party; you're there, but you're not getting involved in the drama. This could mean physically leaving an uncomfortable situation or responding differently to their provocations - maybe with a well-timed pun or a contagious laugh. Or my personal fav to respond with “that’s interesting.”
Sometimes the only way to preserve your energy is to limit contact or go full-on ghost mode. It's not about being vindictive; it's about taking care of yourself. Remember, you're an adult with choices. You're not obligated to be around those who drain your energy faster than a Netflix marathon at 3 am. We always have choices, just like in a Choose Your Own Adventure book. Sure, not all the options might be as exciting as discovering a hidden treasure or flying on a dragon, but it's important to remember they're still there. We aren't stuck or powerless, and you don't need to take any crap from these energy-swilling monsters. Ending relationships can be as painful as stepping on a Lego, but sometimes it's necessary. If you're unable to cut ties with that energy-guzzling relative or coworker right away, it's like being caught in a game of toxic-tag. But with some planning, perhaps finding a new job or seeking refuge at a friend's couch, you can eventually free yourself.
If you're not quite ready to swipe left on a toxic relationship, it's okay. We all take our own time to work up the courage to say, "Enough!" until then, here's a checklist to help manage the situation:
Identify your choices - you're a superhero in the making, not a damsel in distress.
Choose the best option - not all superhero costumes look great, but hey, they get the job done.
Respect yourself - because you're pretty darn fantastic.
Trust your instincts - your gut's often smarter than it gets credit for.
There's no one-size-fits-all answer here. Others might be miffed by your choices, but remember, you're setting boundaries not to host a pity party but to protect yourself from energy vampires and maintain your vibrant, unique self. It's a priceless gift you deserve to give yourself, like a lifetime supply of energy-boosting chocolate... or, you know, self-respect and peace of mind. That's pretty sweet too.