Saturday, October 30, 2010

On Halloween: 5 Emotional Vampires -- and How to Combat Them

I want to thank my friend Therese Bouchard for this Halloween gem. I've met a few emotional vampires  in my life too. I would rather have the ones from Twilight, no? Happy Halloween, to all.

In the spirit of halloween, I thought you'd all appreciate some vampire talk. In her new book, "Emotional Freedom," UCLA psychiatrist Judith Orloff identifies five kinds of vampires that are lurking around and can zap our energy if we're not careful. Here is an excerpt adapted from her book.
Emotional vampires are lurking everywhere and wear many different disguises--from needy relatives to workplace bullies. Whether they do so intentionally or not, these people can make us feel overwhelmed, depressed, defensive, angry, and wiped out.
Without the self-defense strategies to fend them off, victims of emotional vampires sometimes develop unhealthy behaviors and symptoms, such as overeating, isolating, mood swings, or feeling fatigued.
Here are five types of emotional vampires you're likely to encounter, and some "silver bullet" tips for fending them off.
Vampire 1: The Narcissist. 
This vampire is grandiose, self-important, attention hogging, and hungry for admiration. She is often charming and intelligent--until her guru status is threatened.
Self-defense tips: Enjoy her good qualities, but keep your expectations realistic. Because her motto is "me-first," getting angry or stating your needs won't phase her. To get her cooperation, show how your request satisfies her self-interest.
Vampire 2: The Victim. 
This vampire thinks the world is against him, and demands that others rescue him.
Self-defense tips: Don't be his therapist, and don't tell him to buck up. Limit your interactions, and don't get involved in his self-pity.
Vampire 3: The Controller. 
This vampire has an opinion about everything, thinks he knows what's best for you, has a rigid sense of right and wrong, and needs to dominate.
Self-defense tips: Speak up and be confident. Don't get caught up in bickering over the small stuff. Assert your needs, and then agree to disagree.
Vampire 4: The Criticizer. 
This vampire feels qualified to judge you, belittle you, and bolster her own ego by making you feel small and ashamed.
Self-defense tips: Don't take what she says personally. Address a misplaced criticism directly. Don't get defensive. Express appreciation for what's useful. Bounce back with a massive dose of loving-kindness.
Vampire 5: The Splitter. 
This vampire may treat you like his BFF one day, and then mercilessly attack you the next day when he feels wronged. He is often a threatening rageaholic who revels in keeping others on an emotional rollercoaster.
Self-defense tips: Establish boundaries and be solution-oriented. Avoid skirmishes, refuse to take sides, and avoid eye contact when he's raging at you. Visualize a protective shield around you when you're being emotionally attacked.


Chronic Impending Disaster said...

Thanks for sharing that, Susan. It's a good reminder to be mindful of relationships.

And Happy Halloween!

Ana said...

Thank you Susan.
I just fear behaving like a vampire without knowing.
I hope I don't but I'm sure I have already did any of these.
I don't know. I'm too sad lately...

Anonymous said...

I loved this post! It's so true and can speak to just about everyone... we all have people like this in our life and it's a good reminder that we need to keep our defenses up when we're around these types of "vampires" - thanks for posting! :)

Happy Halloween!!! :)


Thelma said...

Thank you for sharing these. I have met most of them. The tips on how to combat them came in handy once I read them on your blog. So, thanks. :)

Syd said...

I think that I know and have been some of these.

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