Are you a kind, loving, and caring person who only wants the best for people?
If so, how often do you run into people who take advantage of your kind nature?
They expect you to listen to their problems but aren’t there when you need someone to talk to.
They expect you to help but never offer help when you need it.
They expect you to admire and appreciate them, but they treat you like a piece of the furniture.
They expect you to be at their service, and if you set limits they disappear.
They want nothing to do with someone they can’t use.
What are Energy Vampires?
When you’re a kind person, you don’t want to judge anyone.
You see the good in ALL people.
Yes, maybe this person is selfish, maybe they talk about themselves all the time, but that doesn’t make them unworthy of love and kindness…
Your ability to accept people for who they are and meet them where they’re at is a beautiful thing. But it also makes you vulnerable. People can use your empathy against you.
The phrase “energy vampire” refers to someone who gets their energy by feeding off other people.
Energy vampires love it when you’re thinking about them all the time. They like to throw you off balance, because it makes them feel powerful. They like to bring people down, by judging or gossiping or catching people in mistakes. It makes them feel good.
And they LOVE to play mind games.
One of those mind games is called love-bombing.
It’s when they turn on all their charm and sweep you off your feet and make you feel special and seen and appreciated like never before….
Only to suddenly do a 180 and turn cold or make rude comments to your face.
You can’t figure out what you’ve done wrong. Why were they so nice, only to turn so nasty?
You didn’t do anything wrong. You were set up.
The energy vampire wasn’t making you feel special and seen and appreciated so you could feel good. They had an ulterior motive. They wanted you to feel confused and hurt and off balance. Your confusion makes them feel powerful.
Not all energy vampires are narcissists, but all narcissists are energy vampires.
Self-absorbed people who have no empathy are draining. If you don’t have firm boundaries, they can be dangerous, too. They hijack your time and energy. It’s like they take up residence in your brain, so you can’t get a moment’s peace from them.
If that energy vampire is a family member or co-worker or romantic partner, you can’t escape. They’re in your mind AND your space.
So how do you protect yourself? Here are 3 tips.
#1. Be honest.
One of our biggest difficulties as kind people is speaking our truth even if it hurts.
How many times have you bit your tongue, or said you were okay when you weren’t, or put up with something because you didn’t feel you could be honest?
It’s crazy that we do that, because we know how important honesty is in relationships. If you can’t tell your partner how you’re feeling because it will make them upset, what kind of relationship is that?
Honesty moves good relationships forward. If the energy vampire in your life isn’t aware of what they’re doing, your loving feedback can help them see the impact of their actions on others.
And if they ARE aware of what they’re doing, they’re smart enough to realize the game is up as soon as you call them on it. They’ll disappear from your life… and go find someone else.
#2. Set limits.
People can only drain you if you let them.
Stop letting yourself be vampire food. If you feel an interaction is going off, if it’s making you feel stressed, if you can tell there’s an imbalance, set limits.
End the conversation. Don’t offer to help. Don’t feel like you have to pick up the phone every time. You don’t have to be the person everyone can rely on. You’ve got a life of your own. You have the right to say no.
The more you say no, the more you stick to your limits, the less attractive you’re going to be to energy vampires.
#3. Confront codependency.
It’s easy to judge people for being selfish and only thinking of themselves and always taking.
But it’s not so easy to see that we get something out of it, too.
We don’t mind, at first, being the one who gives the most in the relationship. It gives us a self-esteem boost.
We feel virtuous when we spend hours on the phone consoling a friend, or drive hours out of our way to take a friend to the airport, or turn ourselves inside out trying to fix a relationship with someone who’s rejected us.
We see ourselves as good people, and good people always look for ways to serve others.
No wonder we attract people who take advantage of us!
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is that I choose who I allow into my life.
If I let someone into my life who drains me, then I have to take ownership of that. I have to either set limits on that relationship or end it. I’m no good to anyone if I’m spending all my time helping people who don’t really need it.
Don’t waste time and energy obsessing over what other people do. Their behavior is their responsibility. Your behavior is yours.
Find the people who are like you, who help each other out, who care about each other. Those are your people. Stick with them, and you’ll be too busy to bother with anyone who drains your energy.