Energy vampires

I once blogged about ‘emotional vampires’, but have recently come across the term, ‘energy vampire’, which is a different variation. They are sometimes also known as ‘psychic vampires’. Energy vamps as the term suggests siphon your energy.

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

The fiasco at work I blogged about exhausted me so much I took half the day off and stayed in bed past noon. Then I received an email from one of my bosses who made the mess with the report which I had to fix, saying that she is glad we ‘care so much’ and is now ‘reinvigorated’, without admitting a single fault.

As I read it, the hairs on the back of my neck stood up and signalled: ENERGY VAMPIRE! I should have picked it up earlier. She drains everyone around her, and then gets the energy to carry on screwing up so she can drain us some more!

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Not playing the ‘Who’s the bigger victim?’ game

One of the types of people that feed off my energy and whom I am slowly weaning off are the ones who play what I like to call the ‘Who’s the bigger victim?’ game. These are the people that appear to connect with you quickly from the start by sharing their problems. Because of the highly personalised and emotional nature of the stories, the intimacy of the relation is escalated very quickly.

The relation then becomes defined by you having to rescue them or at the very least, being available to listen to their endless tales of woe, which you realise much later, they aren’t interested in solving, merely recounting over and over. Try sharing something of your own problems with them, and you find that they can get competitive, and try to convince you that you’ve got it good, and your problems don’t come anywhere close to theirs, or even better, you find you have to turn around and comfort them for having inadvertently ignited their insecurities with your own!

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Emotional vampires

A search for a cookbook (I was looking for Nigel Slater’s Real Fast Puddings!) turned up something else completely. I picked up a book I bought years ago when I was in the midst of being drained. That book is Albert Bernstein’s Emotional Vampires, which offers advice on how to deal with people who drain you dry.

I don’t usually like self-help books but this one is an exception because it doesn’t assume something is wrong with the reader! Instead it offers practical advice on how to deal with the emotional vampires we may have to face at home, at work, and elsewhere in our daily lives. It’s not a ‘why’ book (as in, ‘Why do these people do what they do?’); indeed, Bernstein argues that sympathising with their plights, crises, childhood traumas, do not teach us how to deal with their behaviour. It is a ‘how do I deal with what’s here’ book, breaking down the most common types into five categories, each with further sub-categories. Bernstein has a website that posts the checklists and basic characterisation. They’re quite funny and worth a look — you’re bound to find someone you recognise in there.

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Knowing when to give up, Part III

Parts I and II.

Serendipity is wonderful thing. Our Zen group had a visit from a teacher today and somehow the things he started talking about made me think about what I was going to post here though I never quite got to raise it in the discussion.

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