“An (emotional) vampire goes in for the kill by stirring up your emotions. Pushing your buttons throws you off center, which renders you easier to drain. Of all the emotional types, empaths are often the most devastated.” Judith Orloff
(Listen here: podcast) Miracles Can Happen
“This program includes two stories featuring improbable events. The first, Joyce Johnson’s “The Fall of Texas” chronicles a pivotal moment in the 1960s, when both the terrestrial world and the personal life of the heroine seemed about to collapse. “Sex in the City” star Cynthia Nixon reads. Next, in Percival Everett’s “The Fix,” read by host Isaiah Sheffer, the story’s central character can fix anything—anything: toasters, heartaches, lives. Who is he?” via NPR/PRI Selected Shorts
Who is your emotional vampire? Or are you one? Sometimes, when we are under enormous stress, we might unwittingly become quite demanding of those around us that we sap all oxygen out of the air… The Sirens of old Greek mythology were quite beautiful and engaging but drained every bit of life out of their unsuspecting victims… Recently on NPR/PRI/WNYC.org Selected Shorts readings, I heard a harrowing tale; The Fix by Percival Everett. It’s a simple story that made me think about this matter too. I’d call it a psychological drama about a man named Sherman who fixes things freely and happily for all who ask. He has a gift to fix everything; even bring people back to life… But as is the case with emotional vampires and sirens, he is soon slowly and insidiously hounded by needy people until, in an attempt to escape, he meets a fate I will reserve sharing so those of you who choose to read the short story can find out. More below.
“They’re out there . . . masquerading as ordinary people. They may lurk in your office, your family, your circle of friends; perhaps they even share your bed. Chances are, you know all too many of them. Bright, talented, and charismatic, they win your trust, your confidence, and your affection then drain you of your emotional energy.” Albert Bernstein, Ph.D
A mistake we often make is that we tend to think emotional vampires are all drama queens and paranoid antisocial types, but they exhibit other behaviors as well. They can be charismatic, charming, brilliant types who want their needs met first and always. We can be compassionate and caring but we must draw a line in the sand and be firm when the behavior becomes overbearing. A classic emotional vampire type is the boss in The Devil Wears Prada… There are many others out there, and we know them; or at least, a few of them. A few excellent books on the subject include: Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry by Albert Bernstein, The Object of My Affection Is in My Reflection: Coping with Narcissists by Rokelle Lerner and Emotional Blackmail: When the People in Your Life Use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt to Manipulate You by Susan Forward. I’ll add a few more titles below.