We all have “Energy Vampire” tendencies. The more we face it and understand it the better we can recognize it in others (so we can take whatever measures/precautions are needed) or ourselves (so that we don’t drive people away unnecessarily). I must warn you though, it is much more important to notice these characteristics in yourself. One reason why “self-help” doesn’t always work is because we keep using the information to discover what is wrong with “everyone else.” Look within, and realize that the things that really piss us off about others are the things we hate and turn away from within ourselves.
Dr. Judith Orloff discusses four types of “Energy Vampires” in this video: How To Spot Energy Vampires (can’t EMBED, but I recommend you check it out. Such a great video and pretty short)
1. The Sob Sister
Dr. Orloff says this is the one who “complains on and on and on about solutions.” You end up listening to every detail of how “a tragedy occurred” when everything is actually okay. After hours have passed, the sob sister feels better and you feel drained.
I am very compassionate with people and do not mind listening to problems and going over solutions. One thing I do when a friend tells me about “something terrible that happened that made me uncomfortable which shouldn’t have happened or wouldn’t have happened if… blah blah” is remind them to think about how fortunate they are that everything did work out (ie. “well, isn’t it great that you didn’t get hit by that car” or “seems like you actually did get the money you needed in time.”) Get the person focused on a solution or possible solutions. If they try to go back into the story, and those who often play the sob sister will by default, it is then time to get off the phone or go powder your nose. Let that person have some time with themselves and make sure your vibration is high next time you see them. If you allow the Sob Sister to focus on the negative, that will bring more negativity to them and maybe to you, too, if you let it in by consoling them.
2. The Drama Queen/King
This is someone who is caught up in the content of life and is often strongly attached to an identity for themselves and others. “What happens” is not who we are – it is what we do with what happens, and we all have the power to dictate if we are conscious. For the drama Q/K, what happens creates who they are and they are deathly afraid of not having an opinion or knowing the latest news. Without drama and something to react to, their sense of identity weakens and they are left with a void within themselves. That “void” is actually the spaciousness that we are and can be filled with anything we choose to think about. Dr. Orloff states that it is easy to deal with this type… “stay centered and calm and they go on to someone else.”
3. Constant Talker
Dr. Orloff hits the nail on the head with her description: “…someone you meet at a party and they corner you and they begin talking and talking and talking and you can’t get a word in edgewise.”
If “you take one step backward…they take one step forward.”
This type of Energy Vampire lets you test your own ability to stand up for yourself. All you can do with this type is be direct, but you can do so very nicely. For example, just try gently saying “Would you mind standing back a bit?” You may be screaming inside, but try not to let a minor annoyance turn you into an Energy Vampire in retaliation. Many times Constant Talkers are such control freaks that they’ll be put off by your directness immediately. If they don’t get it, stand your ground. Energy Vampires are not looking for a reciprocal relationship or conversation – they want control and domination in response to their feelings of powerlessness. If they see that they can’t dominate you, they’ll go away and find someone else. This type can get angry, so beware and don’t be afraid – show them you aren’t the least bit phased.
4. The Blamer/Criticizer
We all need to be able to take a certain amount of feedback in the form of criticism in order to grow, but there are people who constantly critique and nit-pic just so they can feel superior. They may even say things that would be useful if it wasn’t for their tone or the fact that they never say anything encouraging. Notice how someone reacts when you share something with them. Do they immediately point out something good, or do they tell you what they don’t like or what you should change? With this type, they are always complaining about you or others and how everyone else is the cause of everything. For example, this is the person who will tell everyone “what a bee-atch!” his girlfriend is and not at all mention that he accuses her everyday of cheating of him, or has cheated on her himself.
This type, as Dr. Judith Orloff says, “can squash creativity to such an extent that it can make you afraid to fly.” The B/C’s are usually terrible at taking criticism themselves, and they’ll criticize anyone who criticizes them, spread rumors or gossip about that person, or make up justifications and explanations for every criticism they hear about themselves.
If you accidenallly share something with a B/C, BREATHE. In general though, you don’t want to share new ideas or projects with just anyone. Be careful, and actually, don’t tell anyone your most important ideas until you feel very secure, and then, only share with those you trust the most (even better if they are producers/artists themselves). The world is full of critics who can’t do so they try to teach, and end up stealing… energy. It’s like taking up written reports saying they need a grade, but they just using the ideas for oneself.
Definitely check out Judith Orloff’s work, her website is www.drjudithorloff.com.
Another teacher who is wonderful for helping us deal with the Energy Vampire within ourselves and others is Eckhart Tolle. We usually become Energy Vampires because we feel like we should fill the present moment with drama rather than stillness or silence which will help us truly see one another. Learn to live here and now without the idea of who you were or who you will be, and this will create bliss in your life.
Here’s what Tolle says about “Not Reacting to Content.” You can also listen to his phenomenal book The Power of Now on YouTube – take a day or a few to leisurely listen to each chapter. There’s no way this book won’t profoundly change the way you live for the better.
And always remember, the only thing you ever don’t want is for people to have no opinion about you or your work at all. Leave something for posterity! Don’t be afraid to make a splash 🙂