The energy vampire is an internal passenger. We all have a version of one inside us.
This little character had a pretty big role when we were children. In fact, it did quite a bit of driving when we were young, helpless, and unable to see over the dashboard. It helped us get what we needed in order to survive. And I dare say, we were probably pretty draining to be around most of the time back then.
But as we got older things hopefully shifted and our little vampire disappeared into the background. We learn to generate and regulate our own energy without draining the life out of everyone around us.
That said, we probably all know people for whom the energy vampire still runs the show.
It’s Not Something You Are
In a healthy relationship, energy flows in both directions. It is through this give and take that creative spirit is planted and grown. This is also where we have our basic emotional and social needs met.
In contrast, when the energy vampire is a strong force in someone, it feels like they suck all the spirit, energy, and joy from the room. For them, it becomes a demand, not a dance.
Creativity and Sensitivity Are Vulnerable To Energy Vampires
Creativity, gentleness, and sensitivity can be huge sources of energy. But sometimes, it only takes a few words from someone’s inner vampire to bleed our confidence and derail our progress. We need to be aware of their impact so we might make changes to help us stay energised, focussed, and inspired.
What Does The Energy Vampire Do To Us?
An energy vampire can cause us to become physically tense and guarded. After encountering it we might feel deflated, dejected, and most of all, bad about ourselves. This is not a normal part of social interaction.
Yes, for introverts and sensitive types, social interaction depletes our physical and emotional energy, but we refuel with rest. These interactions require more recovery than that.
Rehearsing and Reliving
Do you find yourself obsessing over conversations with a particular person?
Maybe you plan what you’re going to say by carefully preparing your argument ahead of time. Or you keep reliving the conversation where you wish you’d said something different.
The thing is, it doesn’t matter how prepared you are, nothing you can say or do will be good enough. The energy vampire will twist and turn it in ways you can’t predict.
When we find ourselves in this kind of relationship it might be time to rewrite the story we tell ourselves about it. Maybe we cling to a belief that isn’t true about the other person. We might be caught in a cycle of hope and disappointment. “Surely this time will be different,” tells us there’s a need for some fresh expectations.
A Shift In How We Feel
Energy vampires drain our creative spirit by making us feel bad about ourselves. They do this by generating negative emotions and thoughts. But rather than resorting to explicit insults, they usually find subtler ways to cut deep over time.
You Might Feel Guilt and Shame
The energy vampire drains our spirit by preying on our guilt. It knows how to exploit the things we already believe about ourselves.
Our guilt might lead us to give up on creative endeavours because they seem futile and selfish. If we feel ashamed of it and guilty for giving it time then we have a serious energy leak that needs addressing sharpish. Our creative spirit is the fire in our belly. It’s what makes us who we are.
You Might Feel Small
The energy vampire’s strength comes from making others feel weak. It feels big by making others feel small, and it feels beautiful by making others feel ugly. It feels clever by making others feel stupid, and it feels powerful by making others feel powerless.
We know we’ve encountered an energy vampire when we feel invisible. It always seems to have a slightly better, more tragic, or grander story than ours – notice that it never likes to tell the first story. So we might dread sharing news about our lives, our interests, and our achievements.
You Might Feel Wrong
The energy vampire can provide a problem for every solution. No matter what you suggest it has an uncanny ability to pick it apart. But there’s an eery silence if you ever invite it to contribute something creative to the discussion.
The vampire hates being wrong. It will avoid committing to anything by which it might be judged. It trades in excuses and blame. And it will do everything in its power to be right.
It will try to make you think it knows more than you. Even about your own areas of expertise. And there is no end to its ability to explain where someone went wrong and what you should have done instead.
You Might Feel Boxed In
The energy vampire sees the world in black and white. It divides people and things into opposing camps, using labels to create binary categories. It deals in ‘us or them’, ‘good or bad’, ‘inside or outside’ thinking. And it emphasises the importance of things like strength, intelligence, power, reputation etc.
The more we subscribe to its way of thinking, the more it weaponises the boxes we identify with. It uses them to create factions and divisions between us. This helps it feel powerful by weakening connections in the world around it. A key way to respond to this is to hold onto our deeper values.
It might want us to believe that we’re either with them or against them. We’re a friend or an enemy. No in between.
But these simplistic categories are a game that is impossible to escape. It’s a game that is not worth playing.
The Best Defence
Indifference is an effective diffuser of the vampire’s power. To shrug our shoulders and acknowledge that we would rather give our time to something else. It’s important to do this without making it part of the game itself. Indifference is not a strategy as much as permission. You have permission not to care.
You Might Feel Needed
The energy vampire may try to make us feel like we are the only ones who can help them, and that their life would fall apart without us. This can be very suffocating, as it can feel impossible to escape from.
When we neglect our own creative spirit in this way, we become drained. Our attention and focus flow towards the vampire, leaving no energy for what truly matters.
So What Can We Do?
When it comes to energy vampires, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. However, if you find that your creative spirit is being drained, then it may be time to cut off the flow. This might mean setting boundaries with someone or establishing new expectations.
Do you find yourself surrounded by energy vampires on a regular basis? It might be worth considering what might attract them to you. That way you can figure out what needs to shift so that you can refocus on what matters most.
If you’re struggling for energy right now but you’re not sure why then feel free to get in touch. I’d love to help you get unstuck and work through this with you. Or maybe you’ve read this and wonder if your own energy vampire has become stronger than you’d like it to be. Don’t worry, this happens. Perhaps you’d like to take back the driving duties. Send me a message to explore more.
I find it helpful to encounter them in ‘curious’ mode. What makes this person like they are? Where do they get help? Who supports them? How can I make their life easier? They never pose questions but often have answers. It helps to direct the questions you want them to answer.
I like that, thanks Steve. Get the lay of the land. I imagine you have to deal with this a LOT.