I wish I didn’t have to write this article but the fact of the matter is that energy vampires exist and sometimes it can be really difficult to detect them until it is too late. If you’re like me, chances are you’ve run into your fair share of toxic individuals who drain the life out of you to the point where you question if life is even worth living. These individuals can be manipulative, negative, and often portray themselves as victims.
In this article, I’ll discuss signs that you’re interacting with an energy vampire. I often compare energy vampires to covert narcissists because their behavior is so insidious and passive and once you realize their true nature, the psychological damage has already been done. The mask has fallen and you can’t unsee who they really are beneath the facade.
What is an Energy Vampire?
An energy vampire is anyone who feeds off of and drains your life force energy, both physical and emotional. In feeding off of your energy, they empower themselves while leaving you feeling empty and in need of a battery recharge. These individuals typically have low-self esteem, are chronically depressed, and are envious of the happiness within those whom they target. Because of this, they behave in ways that are manipulative and passive aggressive in an attempt not only to make themselves feel better, but to make you feel as bad, if not worse than they truly feel.
To the public, these individuals may appear to be charming, charismatic, and polite. However, in private their behavior is drastically different and when you inform other people about their behavior, they may find it hard to believe anything that you say.
Anyone can be an energy vampire. It can be your mother, father, sister, brother, co-worker, teacher, “friend,” boss, mentor, life coach, therapist, and even your significant other. You can encounter them anywhere. Whether at work, home, out in public, or online, they exist and they are extremely toxic.
I’ve encountered energy vampires in spaces I never thought I would. In yoga studios, at restaurants, on vacation, at the hair salon and nail salon, and even at the doctor’s office. They are literally everywhere and it is imperative to recognize when you’ve engaged with one. Keep reading to find out how to tell if you’ve been interacting with an energy vampire.
Who do Energy Vampires target?
Energy vampires are often attracted to those who identify as empaths or anyone who is sensitive, caring, or naive to the evil that exists in this world. If you are an empath, you are susceptible to engaging with energy vampires as they typically target these kinds of people.
Empaths are the perfect target for energy vampires because of their compassion, their lack of assertion and boundary setting, their rose-colored glasses, and their desire to care for others. As an empath, you expect other people to be similar to you. Personally, for a long time, I genuinely believed that people were inherently kind and loving until I had a rude awakening. It took me years to realize that for the majority of my life, I had been surrounded by energy vampires and didn’t even know it!
How to tell if you’ve encountered an Energy Vampire
Have you ever been around someone and felt a negative shift in your energy? Have you ever left a social gathering with a feeling of heaviness in your body, or feeling like you need to take a hot shower and hide away for days in order to get back to feeling like yourself? Chances are you encountered an energy vampire and didn’t even know it.
According to Judith Orloff, MD and author of The Empath’s Survival Guide, if you begin to feel sick, feel unseen or unheard, shamed, controlled, judged, begin to doubt yourself and your sanity, or suddenly begin to feel anxious, angry or negative when you didn’t initially feel that way, you’ve likely just interacted with an energy vampire.
After interacting with an energy vampire, you may feel confused. They might have given you a back-handed compliment, started a debate about something unimportant, or denied that a situation that you remember quite vividly actually happened.
You begin to question your reality and your sanity. Energy vampires are masters at manipulation. It’s almost as if they all learn from the same playbook. If an interaction with someone leaves a bad taste in your mouth, don’t ignore it. If your gut is telling you that something is off, believe it.
If you are telling someone about something positive that happened in your life and they intentionally ignore it, shift the conversation to something negative, or flip the conversation back to them, they are toxic.
Think about a time when you felt heard, validated, or seen. Think of a time that you’ve shared good news with someone and received positive and genuine feedback.
Now think about a time when you’ve shared good news with someone and then maybe felt uneasy or down after sharing your good news. That was likely an encounter with an energy vampire.
Genuine people aren’t jealous of the good things happening in your life. They will be just as happy for you as you are for yourself. Energy vampires are not capable of this. Instead, they will find a way to deflect from your happiness and leave you feeling almost guilty for being in a good mood.
Your happiness is offensive to them because they aren’t happy and are incapable of finding happiness within themselves. Instead, their version of happiness comes from witnessing the misery of others. They live in a victim mentality and believe that they are the ones suffering abuse when in fact they are the abusers.
They likely experienced abuse in childhood which left them incapable of feeling empathy and love for others. They could have suffered from emotional neglect and therefore, they have difficulty experiencing positive emotions.
Due to the emotional neglect they may have encountered in childhood, they develop a need to be loved, almost to the point of worship. They yearn for control because their environment was so unstable that in their adulthood, they feel that by controlling others, they regain their sense of power that was stolen from them in their youth.
Not So Secret Tactics of Energy Vampires
If you haven’t been around a plethora of energy vampires or haven’t realized that you’ve encountered one, then these tactics might be surprising to you. If you have been around multiple energy vampires, then you are likely very familiar with these behaviors.
Gaslighting occurs when an individual attempts to make you question your sanity and reality through denial, shifting blame, distracting you, invalidating you, lying to you, and altering how events actually happened.
Being gaslighted can leave you feeling vulnerable and insecure, cause you to second-guess yourself, and have you questioning that person’s intentions. Additionally, you may begin to have trouble making decisions, feel as though something is wrong with you, and start apologizing for things you have no reason to apologize for.
2. Insincere Apologies
When you call an energy vampire out on their behavior, they will either make an excuse for it, deny it, or apologize in an effort to distract you from their insidious nature. These apologies are often insincere and are only made in an effort to keep you within the reigns of their control.
3. Empty promises of changed behavior to reel to you back in
Similar to insincere apologies, energy vampires are known to make empty promises when called out on their behavior. They’ll often say they will do better and may in fact make small changes. However, it won’t be long until their mask slips again and they are back to their true nature.
4. Start fights around holidays
For many people, holidays are usually a special time filled with love and joy. For energy vampires, holidays (whether national holidays, birthdays, or anniversaires) are a painful reminder of their internal unhappiness. Because of this, they take pride in shifting holiday cheer into negative energy.
The energy vampires that I’ve dealt with had a habit of attempting to or actually starting petty fights either a few days before a holiday or on the day of the holiday. They can’t stand to see people experience happiness and will do whatever they can to take that happiness away.
As mentioned above, energy vampires are master manipulators. Triangulation occurs when an energy vampire recruits another person into the mix in order to maintain control. Typically, you and the other person aren’t communicating directly. Instead, it becomes a he said she said where the energy vampire is painting you out to be the bad guy.
Energy vampires may use your friends and family to triangulate you as well as their friends and family. This can lead you to detach from the world if you begin to question who you can actually trust.
6. Smear Campaigns
Once you call an energy vampire out on their behavior and decide that you will no longer tolerate it, be prepared to have your name dragged through the mud. They will tell everyone they know that you are the problem and will usually make up wild lies about you to make it seem like you are crazy.
This has happened to me several times. It can be shocking to learn about the things they’ve said about you because you know in your heart that it is not true. You begin to question if it is even worth it to try and clear your name. It can be very hurtful to have rumors spread about you but as long as you and the Divine know the truth, that is what is most important.
7. Attempt to buy you back
When energy vampires realize that they have lost control over you, they may begin to panic. They will attempt to buy you back in several ways. This may be by getting you a gift that they promised they’d get months ago, giving you more attention through increased communication or quality time, or by a term called future-faking.
Future faking is when they make plans for the future that they do not intend to keep. This may look like the mention of a girls trip in the upcoming months, or the promise of a promotion in the near future. All the while they do not intend for any of this to happen. They are just saying this in hopes that you will not cut them off and will remain in their life.
Common Phrases Energy Vampires Use
It took me some time to connect these dots, but once I began to reflect on the energy vampires closest to me, I noticed a common theme. Each of those energy vampires had said each of these phrases to me at least once. If you’ve been told any of these phrases, be mindful because the person who said it is likely toxic and an energy vampire.
- “You’re too sensitive.”
- “It must be nice to…”
- “I was just joking.”
- “You need to relax.”
- “I never said that.”
- “That never happened.”
- “I’m sorry you feel that way.”
- “I’ll do better.”
- “It was unintentional.”
- “I won’t lie again.”
- “I didn’t mean it like that.
- “You can’t take a joke.”
Energy vampires have a unique gift of making you feel guilty for being sensitive or offended by their manipulative behavior. If you let them know something hurt you they will often find a way to blame you for being hurt by their insensitivity or for not being able to take a joke.
Meanwhile, they weren’t really joking. They use the phrase “I was just joking,” as an excuse for their rudeness and passive-aggressiveness. These people are often quite smug and sarcastic and enjoy making rude remarks and disguising them as jokes.
Effects of Long-Term Interactions with Energy Vampires
If you’ve been psychologically or emotionally abused by an energy vampire (or in my case, multiple energy vampires), then it is likely that your neurochemistry has been altered. Those who have been targeted by energy vampires often exhibit signs of complex trauma. This can look like:
- Feelings of guilt or shame
- Trouble regulating your emotions
- Increased irritability and anger
- Difficulty trusting others
- Intentionally isolating yourself
- Use of substances to cope with the stress of trauma
- Physical symptoms like headaches, chest pain, stomachaches, and dizziness
- Feelings of anxiety and depression
- Reliving or remembering traumatic interactions with the energy vampire
- Low self-esteem and feeling unworthy
- Disconnecting from your sense of self and the world in an effort to forget the trauma
- Being easily startled
- Feeling like you are walking on eggshells
- Living from a place of fear and believing that the world is an unsafe place
The negative impact of years of interacting with energy vampires can be devastating. The toll it takes on your mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being is extremely heavy. In my case, there were multiple times that my health was affected after frequent interactions with energy vampires. There was one year where I gained almost 50lbs while being romantically involved with an energy vampire. Once I removed that person from my life the weight fell off almost automatically.
It is also not uncommon to become dependent on substances in an effort to manage the constant anxiety you feel due to the constant gaslighting you may experience from the energy vampire. There was a time that I found myself drinking almost around the clock in an effort to numb my emotions. It was the only way I knew how to cope with the intense feelings of anxiety and depression I developed from being so entwined with energy vampires.
Additionally, new health issues may arise due to the constant stress that creates dis-ease in your body. If you are a generally healthy person and then what seems like out of nowhere your health begins to decline, take notice of those around you.
My health began to decline because I started to use food as an additional coping mechanism when I was surrounded by energy vampires. Although I knew better, I made poor food choices for multiple reasons. Whether it was for emotional comfort or because I physically didn’t have the energy to prepare my own food since my battery was completely drained, it was due to the impact the energy vampire had on my life.
You’ve likely heard of the phrase “you are what you eat.” But you are also what you consume. This can be the content you engage with on social media, the news, or even consuming negative energy from another person. Be mindful of what and who you are allowing into your auric field.
We have energy centers or chakras in our bodies that pick up and send out energy from our environment. If we are surrounded by negativity, our chakras will absorb it and will likely become blocked or unbalanced. Interactions with energy vampires can have a negative impact on all of your chakras, especially your root chakra which is responsible for your sense of safety and security.
Now that you realize what an energy vampire is, you can take your power back. You may feel like you are damaged and have no place in this world and that is totally understandable. But as a survivor of long-term abuse from multiple energy vampires, I want you to know that the world is not a dark place and that there are nice, kind, and genuine people out there similar to yourself.
Remember that there is no light without darkness, no good without evil. Continue to be the light that you were born to be. Your light may feel dimmed right now but there is always the option to replace your bulb. If you realize that you’ve been impacted by an energy vampire, you have the choice to remove them from your life to focus on your healing and recovery. You are not alone and you don’t have to do it alone. Stay connected so you can learn ways to access your highest self and deepen your spirituality. With a strong spiritual foundation, it will be difficulty for an energy vampire to drain you of your vital energy.