How to Spot Emotional Vampires

You dread meeting them for lunch, but go anyway. Hours later you’re exhausted, have a headache and make weak excuses to run for your life.

They’re emotional vampires and they’ve just tried to energetically suck the life force right out of you. No wonder you’re dazed and confused; no wonder you don’t feel good around them. You’ve just been zapped by an emotional vampire.

These are the kinds of people who hunt for victims to energize them and keep their spirits up because they can’t or won’t tap into their own spiritual energy source for revitalization.

No, they don’t actually drain the blood from your neck, although you may have a stiff neck by the time you flee, but they do drain the joy from your life and your wish to spend more time with them.

What do they look like? They’re easy to spot.

  • Chronic bad moods.
  • Boring retelling of the same stories.
  • Depressed and like it.
  • Happily play the role of victim.
  • Lead all one-sided conversations.
  • Dominate the conversation by talking over you.
  • Talks only about their problems, never asking about yours.
  • Make negative comments about everyone and everything.
  • Change the subject back to themselves if you should be lucky enough to interject more than a nod.
  • Never know when to go home.
  • How do you know if you’ve been zapped by an emotional or psychic vampire?

  • Your energy feels more drained after you spend time together.
  • When anxious or upset they offer you no empathy, but instead find ways to provoke your angst even further.
  • You experience a psychic feeling of phantom tentacles reaching out from their body to yours.
  • You experience increased insomnia after spending time with them.
  • You wonder where your anxiety build up comes from, but can’t quite pinpoint the cause.
  • Don’t feel too bad, though, because emotional vampires are people who walk into any room and suck the life energy from anyone unlucky enough to walk into the emotional vampire’s personal space. And, if you don’t walk into their space, they’ll scan the room for a likely victim and walk into yours.

    Some emotional vampires know what they are doing; others do it on an unconscious level. Those who are unaware tend to have very difficult relationships, home lives and work interactions until they recognize what they are doing.

    You can do one of several things to protect yourself from their bleeding energy:

    1. Tell them the truth, that you cannot get a word in edgewise and that the relationship feels one-sided to you. Let them know what you want from them. They’ll either wake up or move on.
    2. Avoid them and do not spend any more time with them. If you must interact for work reasons, or at family gatherings, set good time boundaries and don’t stay with them any longer than you have to. And don’t let them corner you, keep circulating.

    An emotional vampire who unknowingly exhibit these traits but later recognizes the truth of their disturbing ways can change their draining behavior quite dramatically. All they have to do is begin a spiritual practice, such as prayer, meditation or walking in nature. When they regularly practice this spiritual recharging, you’ll find them an entirely different person. Those who make this effort will find that all their relationships improve, their mental, emotional and physical health takes a turn for the better and they will be surprised at how easily they make and keep new friends.

    39 thoughts on “How to Spot Emotional Vampires

    1. Indus Stan

      I am sorry to say but the emotional vampire in my life is no other but my mother. Father dead, wife dead, and presto, at 39, my mother once again lives with me.

      God in heaven, show me a way out and away. Find me a way out of the maze of my conscience and exhaustion, to freedom and life.

    2. Marie Levesque

      I just found out the term or WORD to express my ex. I was married to NARSSISSIST for 34 yrs, eveything was , negative,Th last 12 years, being divorsed, he has found every reason,to still hang around. This of course has preventng me from meeting someone. This summer something happened to me. It’s hard to put into words. I started living, the will to live, to explore, and cherish every moment, I became alive again. I started dating again ,and met a wonderful man. He’s compasionate, caring, loving, and understanding He knows all about NARSSISSIM I have had a good talk , with my ex, and I told him that I wanted to move foward in life, and that our marriage was over 12 yrs ago, andthat had et a nice man. Talking to that type of person, is like talking to a brick wall, never the less, I have friends that are behind me, and are willing to help out if the situation arrises., for the fact, tat that type of personality can turn violant. I am determine that whateverer or how many years I have left on this beautiful planet of ours, that so many people do not fully appreciate, the beauty that serounds us, stop and smell the ROSES I will live those days, in peace, and hopefully wihth that special one. Yours Truly Marie

    3. nobody

      My so-called parents and sister is like that. I have been feeling very drain lately. Now I know why. I want out but can not due to unemployment. Once again thank you for posting your article.

    4. Traci

      Wow. I had my reading with you today and then read this Q&A piece. I am in the same situation as K, but my lover is a younger man! I am still trying to define who and what he is to me and he is doing the same. But I have had the same thoughts as K has and have found myself wondering “how am I going to make this work?” I feel sad that I have lost the passion for my husband of 16 years and I do truly love him, but more like a brother. The thought of leaving is hard for me because, as you said, society says that’s messed up. Not to mention what it would do to our kids, family and friends – we are supposed to be the perfect couple. And yet, I will not give up my lover. That, I know would lead to resentment and eventually hate for my husband. You asked me to ask myself what I really want and i will do that over the next few weeks. Thank you for your great insight and I will speak to you again soon.

    5. Healer

      Not everyone is a healer. We can all be emotional vamps, but if your not a healer you wont be in the mood to deal with it most often. I think its not always good to shut down when you can really help someone by shareing a ear when they need and and sending them love. Most of the healers I know can work with this issue and DO work with it. Most people that get this way NEED help and if you are wise enough to see it and can help , listening sometimes makes the world of difference for these types of people. I beleive we can heal the world one person at a time.

    6. Kathi Calahan

      I’m not really familiar with the practices of Tibetan Doctors but if he or she told you that you had boo-koo fire in your chart it would seem to me that you won’t spend a whole lot of time with emotional vampires anymore because they, I believe, need a victim with lots of earth and/or water to sit still long enough to be zapped. With your Sun in Pisces and a Taurus Moon, you can see how easily it may have been in the past (before awareness)for you to unknowingly get sucked into the emotional drain. Stay awake and keep up the good work, and God bless the psychic work you do helping others.

    7. Joey 9406

      Awesome reply. Thanks for taking the time to write. I was told by a Tibetan Doctor, who uses both the stars and Western medicine that, I had “too much fire” in my chart. hahahahahaha. (even though I am a Chinese Pig)That must be the Italian part. lol. Being psychic and very passionate and a Pisces is rather interesting, and then add the Gem rising and Taurus Moon. Whoa Nelly.
      Blessings and happy holiday. xo Joey 9406

    8. Kathi Calahan

      Well said, Joey. I’ve always found that when in doubt, rely on my Sun sign qualities. I’ll bet if you do that you can blend both your Buddhist & Italian qualitites and find comfort and joy in your solutions. God bless.

    9. Joey

      Yes, it was one of the hardest things in my adult life. Thank you for your kind words. It is and it isn’t about values. I am a very free spirit and a “live and let live” type of person. So I don’t (or I try very hard not to) judge others on their journeys. I can stand back and look on in a compassionate manner. But, you are right about the need to surround myself with people who are more kind. I had to do that b/c these gals were causing more drama than Ibsen! And being hyper sensitive in a psychic way,well, this was plain bad for me. I am still sad, it is hard letting go, but as a Buddhist, I try and practice non-attachment, but as a loyal Italian, there is a conflict. It is so easy to make excuses for others, and that can go on for years, right? At any rate whether we call these things the same values or just kindness boils down to the same thing and there is no reason to let others bring you down. Love, Joey

    10. Joey

      I would have to say, you must make important and loving time for yourself, whether, this means going to a gym or taking yourself out on a date to a movie and dinner. It IS draining to live like this day in and day out. Set boundaries. As hard as it might be, don’t let this man suck you into his misery. Find things and people that make you happy. Or be open to the idea of ending this kind of co-dependent relationship, or one-sided realtionship and open yourself up to the love you deserve. I realize this may be easier said than done, but it could be a process of something to word towards, which would make you feel stronger. God Bless, and good luck, Joey 9406

    11. Kathi Calahan

      What you say about growing beyond long time relationships is so true. It sounds like you have discovered one of your top values (spiritual growth) and decided to surround yourself with others who are on the same path. It’s so hard to be good friends with someone whose values don’t match your own. It must have been hard, but I see you are waking up and moving on. Congratulations! God bless you.
      Kathi Calahan

    12. Kathi Calahan

      Sweetie Pie Rabbit: If you are involved in a relationship with someone who knowingly drains you and he or she would end the relationship if you brought up the subject, I would ask you to seriously look for professional help because your inability to have a voice in your loving relationship is abusive. Abuse is a serious matter requiring serious help. There is a solution, either through both of you working on it with help, or you working it alone and safely away. Please check out this help website God Bless you. You are in my prayers,
      Kathi Calahan

    13. Rabbit

      What would you do if your partner knowingly drains you continuously?
      How can you block their psychic draw, as when you are married they have direct access.
      If you confront them, the relationship would end.

    14. Joey

      All of the above is so true. I personally let go of some vamps this year and I feel so much cleaner, clear headed and thankful for my friends who understand the concept of give and take. This group of girls were stuck in some real high schoolish behavior, and I realized I out grew them. The gossip was astounding and foul. Life is too short for such negative influences. Even though we shared fun times in the past, I realize I am on a spiritual journey, one they have decided to neglect or not make time for. It is sad to lose someone you’ve known for 25 yrs, but to have inner peace and no drama is truly an awesome thing. Joey 9406

    15. Kathi Calahan

      Sometimes we learn without damaging our bank book, other times it costs us. Hopefully you will be able to see your $12,000 lesson for what it was and move on smarter and wiser.

    16. Kathi Calahan

      You are so right, Living & Learning! Sometimes all we need to do is say it out loud and it’s like the big “Aha!” bulb goes off and we get it. Well said.

    17. Nick

      Hi Kathi, and everyone else,
      I really enjoyed reading this article, and other comments posted here. I was in a relationship like this for six years, and can relate to this quite well. For the most part I have disconnected myself from this relationship, but not completely. I took a loan out for 12k using my motorcycle as collateral, to help her out with bills, and now find myself making many of the payments. There is just a little of a year left on the loan, and then I will be able to severe the tie completely. It took a long time for me to recharge my batteries again, but feel so much better now. I am so grateful and thankful for this experience:) It has prepared me for something more beautiful, and fulfilling to come.
      Thanks again for the solid advice,

    18. Kathi Calahan

      Yes, it sure can be confusing to know whether it’s our stuff on overload or someone else moving in for the transfusion. Of course we don’t want to become a hermit so it’s important that we refill our cup ourselves. Here’s something else I’ve done that has helped. Every night, while laying in bed I think of a gratitude list for the day. That always seems to fill me up and I awaken the next day ready to rock N roll. Also, as a personality who loves to help people fix things, I need to remember that when someone comes complaining it’s important to discern whether they just want a shoulder to lean on or if they actually want my suggestions. Not everyone does want help. If it were one of my brothers, as RaysLounge mentioned, I would treat them the same way as anyone else and ask if they just need a shoulder or if they’re planning to do something about the problem and would like my help. It becomes a psychic leak when we try to help someone who isn’t looking for help. So establishing healthy boundaries is vital. And Merry Irish Christmas to you too, Sarah.
      With love,
      Kathi Calahan

    19. Live & Learn

      I think the frustration comes when my cup is almost empty and am myself in need of a listening ear. When I am on top of my game/emotional wellbeing I can be present for someone else and actually help with suggestions of insight. But when both persons are “in need” whether they are aware of it or not there needs to be an understanding of balance. Communication is the key to any fulfilling relationship but it is a real bear when it is unable to flow with ease and a sence of fairness.
      When I have the awareness of what I need before I engage in conversation with a friend when I am in an emotional fog I try my best to let my friend know what I am needing, beit only a listening ear first so I can acheive my release. When I am able to hear my own crap come out of my mouth somehow I am able to hear the answer to my own dilemma, and be more receptive to another trusted person’s insight. Otherwise all we have is a battle of hardened stubborn willed personal phylosophies of living. Ultimately, we all have to live with and be responsible for our decisions so another person’s insight is only a helpful gesture, but a priceless one when coming from a place of selfless love.
      I try to remember that the pendulum is always swinging, not for just myself but for others as well. And there may be times when I need to put myself first…not something I am accustomed to.
      This is what happens when I dont: I engage in conversation and before I know it my eyes glaze over and my mind is on automatic shut-down. Careful not to insult the person I am trying to listen to… I smile, give gestures as though I am comprehending but in reality I am just being polite. I call it the “silent movie syndrome.” Dishonest just the same.
      Living & Learning.

    20. Sarah

      This is really interesting, like all the articles I receive from CP.
      At times I feel completely out of control – and I know without a doubt that I tend to suck up all the negative energy of those around me. It’s like I am a big human hoover! I like the idea of the breeze going through me and taking the junk with me. Sometimes I remember to remind myself that these feelings are not mine ,and don’t belong with me. It is difficult when someone close to me is going through a lot – I find it difficult to create boundaries or protect myself. I had a great book on psychic protection once but of course it ‘walked’ away…
      I try to meditate or do Yoga every day and this helps to keep me grounded and neutral.
      Thank you all for helping me realise I am not alone, and reminding me that there are steps I can take to protect myself – apart from distancing myself from the whole world, and avoiding going out which I have done especially when the energy gets backed up inside me and then explodes in a dramatic fashion.
      When I read the article first I felt almost like I am the psychic vampire. But I think now that I have just been under fire for so long that I can’t always see where the ‘me’ ends and the ‘you’ or ‘them’ begins.
      I will keep meditating and using yoga to focus myself.
      Thank you all and ‘Nollaig Shona Dhuit’ (means Happy Christmas in Gaeilge)

    21. rayslounge

      I think we all can be emotional vampires on some level some more than others! I agree about recharging and if I feel like I am in someones company for the wrong reasons (emotional support)I withdraw. However what do you do when it is your sibling that is an emotional vampire because they don’t know how to tap into their own source of power? I don’t think you can be that objective as to shut down or walk away.

    22. Live & Learn

      “For those who are aware of what they are doing? I walk away,and shut them down.”
      How do I discern if someone knows what they are doing? With certain individuals I find myself lost for words because I am unshure but at the same time feel some animosity at my confusion.

    23. Kathi Calahan

      I am including your friend and her children in my prayers, that they re-find the spiritual center needed to get their lives back on track.
      God bless you and them,
      Kathi Calahan

    24. P

      Hi Kell,
      When it comes to friends or even new people I exercise discernment. Meaning, how long have I known this individual? Are they merely going through a period in their lives(perhaps even one for several years) that makes them needier than ever before in their life. Instead of placing it all on the other person I ask myself am I currently in a place in my life that I can provide my presence and just listen to my friend. It’s okay to acknowledge if we ourselves have nothing to provide without placing the full judgement on the other person. Sometimes, it’s just the timing in our lives. Instead of distancing talk with her openly about how you are feeling providing you are aware enough yourself of your own needs and hers. It could be as easy as to say I would really like to be more present for you however, my own needs(energy levels)are limited at this time.) If you could offer an hour once a week may be her saving grace to keep the connection with you and the honor and integrity of your friendship. Personally, I’ve done both. Friends I knew would like to be present were to overwhelmed with their own lives I’ve lessen contact or would make contact when I wasn’t so overwhelmed out of respect for my love for them and the relationship. Other relationships that were all about them and I did the supporting and listening and were not capable of making themselves available to my needs when they were present but judgmental because the relationship could not any longer exist the way it was because my needs had changed I make contact with when I am stronger and can handle them the way they are knowing full well our contact will be all about their life, their lovers etc. Overall, take care of you because you cannot be present for anyone else and it’s all okay. We just don’t get to judge.

    25. Kathi Calahan

      Hi Darcy:
      You are right, as a psychic you open yourself to the Universe on a daily basis and with that emotional, mental and intuitive openness, all kinds of things can get in. Something I do that has helped during emotionally draining times is to imagine a cool, cosmic breeze blowing through my body and seeing it take any emotional junk with it as it blows on by. Of course, I’m an Aquarian, so the breeze works well with my mental makeup. I’ve also found that with my Moon in Scorpio I find healing throughout the day when I remember to find something to be grateful for and thank God for those blessings. The junks seems to just melt away. Hope this helps.

    26. Kell

      Thank you very much for this article. I have a friend that definitely qualifies as an emotional vampire. She causes all kinds of problems & always has drama but blames everyone else for it. She can’t see her own role in her drama. I have been distancing myself since the middle of the summer after I “woke up” to what she was doing because it is too much for me to handle. She exhausts me. I continue to feel her and her children attempting to connect to my energy. I just visualize the ties between us and sever them each time. I will try some of the suggestions here because I seem to attract the emotional vampires into my life & I have been trying to nicely dismiss them but it’s not working well. Thank you again.

    27. Kathi Calahan

      Hello Cubes:
      In trying to be kind to others we sometimes let them get away with emotional vampirism and unfortunately you bore the brunt of the event with your relative. You know, one day we will look back at these type of events and be able to thank the person for helping us in the evolution of our soul. Your relative actually taught you how to treat yourself well and is an angel in disguise. Blessings to you Cubes.
      Love, Kathi

    28. Cubes

      Hi Kathi,
      A couple of years ago I had to get away from a relative who sucked all my positive energy. I had never felt so emotionally drained in my life. It was a very exhausting feeling that I just didn’t know existed. It was during the holidays that seemed to have her just very depressed and clingy and I was going through my own sad troubles with a break up. She used all my time and always wanted to be at my home even when I told her I had my daughter with me and she knew it was my
      time her. I didn’t know how to set boundaries as I never had experience anything like this. Well as I said during the holidays two years ago it just became too much and I just started to distance myself from her.
      Unfortunately, I haven’t talked to her since and I still hear from a mutual family member that she’s trying to get better but still has a long way to go. I don’t want to have that feeling anymore I have my own issues I need to get through.
      I really enjoyed the article and now I know that this is common and how not to become their victim.
      Thank you
      Cubes 😀

    29. Kathi Calahan

      Jacqueline, I would love to know the name of that interesting show you watched. Maybe I can find it on my Netflix account.

    30. Kathi Calahan

      Psychic Reed: You are so blessed to remember the compassionate side and it’s such a good, gentle reminder to all of us. I just experienced the energy drain yesterday with a female friend and when I told her our cat of 18 years was in her last week of life, due to kidney failure, she replied, “Well, I may be old fashioned, but I’d put her down.” The sweet cat is like our child and we’re trying everything we can possibly think of before taking that final step. I have to keep in mind that this friend is going through very difficult times in her marriage right now and that she may be causing tornadoes in the lives of those around her because of this. I hope she can find her spiritual center again soon. Thanks again for the compassion reminder.

    31. Psychic - Reed - x 5105

      Great article! I have known a few of these energy zappers myself. Many of them have no idea of the effect they are having on others.
      I agree completely with what has been said about setting boundaries.
      I also try to remember that many of these people would not be doing this if they were spiritually healthy. Be compassionate, but firm.

    32. Miss Krystal ext. 9192

      I am really enjoying reading the wonderful responses to this article. Great article.
      What I have done, with these “types” of persons that enter my life, is after they go on and on, in a conversation, about them, of course, I will finally say, “Can we talk about me, now?” lol And that usually makes them run or have an excuse to have to finally go. So yes, any boundary, even if it is a joke or humor, is good. Most of the time, they will just eventually fade out of your life, if you stand up for yourself. They are intruders.
      Miss Krystal

    33. Psychic Jacqueline x9472

      Jacqueline x9472 said….
      Hi Kathi,
      I love this article, I actually watched a show on the discovery channel several years ago they literally showed how the energy was absorbed from one person to another, they were able to use special lights so that this process was seen with the physical eye, it was so interesting!
      I have attracted many I call energy vampires, I have learned through out the years that when people come in my life, I watch to get to know them but, if I feel that it is a take, one sided relationship, then I sit back and really evaluate the relationship.
      Through-out the years It has been a struggle to set down guide lines on what relationships that I desire, or what will be allowed in my life, it hasn’t always been easy but, it is about being true to oneself.
      Great, informative article, Thanks!
      Blessing, Hugs and Hearts!

    34. Gina Rose ext.9500Gina Rose ext.9500

      Hi Kathi,
      Excellent article !!!!! especially for the holiday season. You make some very valid points……
      It’s about learning how to tell the truth from the very beginning and set the boundaries, and ,………learning how to say ” no “…..and not contributing to the situation by being their ” enabler “.
      If you set the boundaries up in the beginning,you will not feel drained and tired,you do not have to ” try ” dodge them, and their is no need to do any cleansing afterwards……AND you have helped them to stay grounded and focused.
      I work with patients sent directly to me from Psychiatrists M.D.’s, Psychologists, and marital, drug, alcohol, and sex addiction therapists…in order to help many of these people you have to set boundaries FROM THE GET-GO, to help them stay grounded and focused…..and on track.
      GREAT article !!!!! I could write pages & pages on this topic, but this article was a great start!
      Blessed Be )O(…Gina Rose ext.9500

    35. Fran

      Hi Kathi,
      I really enjoyed your article, because I seem to attract emotional vampires like a magnet. I currently have FOUR of them in my life, and at times I’m so overwhelmed. I don’t want to hurt their feelings, but they are truly draining. I’ve started shielding myself when I know that I’m going to be around them or when they call on the phone (which I sometimes ignore). Afterwards, I always ask Spirit to cleanse me of any negativity I might have absorbed and to replace it with love and light. This seems to work very well.


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