YOUR HEALTH® Dr. Adam and guest co-host Dr. Jamila Battle welcome OB/GYN and author Dr. Christiane Northrup for a conversation about her new book Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Evading Relationships that Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power.
Evading Relationships That Drain You And How To Find Healthy Relationships
Think about that one person who completely sucks the life out of you. It may sound weird, but just think about it. You’re having a great day, but after spending just five minutes with them, your mood drops and you feel exhausted. If that’s ever happened to you, don’t worry. You’re not crazy and you’re definitely not alone — especially if you’re a highly sensitive person. As Dr. Christiane Northrup tells it, there is a name for those energy-sucking people in your life: energy vampires.
What exactly is an energy vampire?
Energy vampires are a type of person who drain you of energy. After spending time with them, the interaction always leaves you feeling depleted and tired.
“They are typically very charismatic, charming — the life of the party that everyone wants to be around,” says Dr. Northrup, author of Dodging Energy Vampires. “Who wouldn’t like a person like this? Except for the fact that every time you are with them you come away feeling a little crazy.”
Unlike actual vampires, energy vampires aren’t always easy to spot. According to Dr. Northrup, energy vampires come in all shapes and sizes. They can also fall on a scale from sociopath to borderline personality disorder, or can exhibit related symptoms.
How you can recognize an energy vampire?
1. They can’t take criticism.
Dr. Northrup reveals that looking good is one of the “most cherished values” of an energy vampire. So if you ever suggest that something about them may need a little improvement, they tend to respond with stonewalling or rage.
2. They lack accountability.
Energy vamps refuse to take responsibility for their behavior. “They don’t seem to have a moral compass or a conscience,” Dr. Northrup states. “It’s always someone else doing it to them.” In other words, you’ll know someone is an energy vampire if they’re always playing the victim.
3. They’re manipulative.
Energy vampires are not above using manipulative tactics to have it their way, according to Dr. Northrup. “All use manipulation to get their needs met for their narcissistic supply, which comes in the form of attention, money, sex, and status.”
4. They’re all about the drama.
It’s no surprise that energy vampires tend to attract drama. The thing is, they will call you often to talk about it, they’ll ask for your opinion or advice — but once you give it, they won’t take it.
“If there were no drama, the energy vampires would have to look at the spiritual side of life, but they are afraid of it,” Dr. Northrup explains. “They will often pick a fight if things are going too smoothly, just to get a hit of energy — good or bad.”
Nothing ever changes with them, and it will have a way of affecting you.
5. No matter what you do, they always leave you feeling frustrated.
Energy vampires are some of the most frustrating people you’ll ever come across. They have a tendency to skirt around simple questions, they’ll do their best to portray themselves in the best light possible, and it seems like no amount of support or love can help them. Although you may love and respect these people in your life, they’ll drain your energy by pushing their issues on you.
No one should have to deal with the burden of carrying other people’s problems, which brings us to this good news: there are ways you can deal with energy vampires.
Ward off these “soul suckers” with a good offense.
“As the cliché goes, ‘the best defense is a good offense,’” Dr. Northrup says. “Putting yourself and your needs first is the equivalent of going on the offensive.” If you’ve tried your best to get the energy vampire in your life to be more mindful of others and it hasn’t worked, you may need to back away. Start with baby steps. Maybe you need to delete them from social media so they won’t trigger something in you when they’re not even around.
You can even just start by saying “no” to things you really don’t want to do, Dr. Northrup says. Over time, you’ll get good at it and become adept at setting healthy boundaries.
“When you are in control of your own life and your relationships, energy vampires and other predators will feel your light and will run the other way,” she continues. “When you develop healthy boundaries and call out the vampires, you win — vampires don’t like to stand out in the sunlight or be called out on their tactics.”
Although there’s nothing wrong with making yourself available to others, you need to take care of yourself first. At the end of the day, having healthy boundaries makes a huge difference. So don’t be afraid to enforce them.