Emotional Vampires

Warding Off Energy Vampires

Are there emotional vampires lurking all around you? 

Unfortunately, this isn’t a problem you can solve with a garlic necklace or some holy water. An “emotional vampire” (or “energy vampire”) is a very unscientific term for a person who stirs up strong emotional reactions in others — like anger, pity, discomfort, or annoyance. Not only do they not take accountability for this, they seem to feed off of it. They drain your time, energy, and emotional wherewithal, and give you little in exchange. 

If a relationship is feeling bad, it could be that you’re dealing with a draining personality type. But sometimes, it’s more about the ingredients that you’re bringing to the table (or not bringing to the table). Many counseling and coaching clients need some help telling the difference, and I created this article to make it a little easier. You’ll learn why certain people trigger you (while other people get along with them just fine), and how you can prevent the emotional vampires in your life from bleeding you dry. 

I’ve also created an episode of the Love, Happiness and Success podcast on this topic. You can tune in on this page, Apple podcasts, Spotify, or wherever you listen. 

Grow Together

Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

Warding Off Emotional Vampires

We can feel drained by certain relationships for all kinds of reasons. Could it be that you’re dealing with an “emotional vampire?” Or is something else going on? Read on to find out.

What Is an Emotional Vampire?

An emotional vampire (sometimes called an “energy vampire”) is not a clinical term that psychologists use as a diagnosis. It’s a casual term that describes someone who elicits emotional reactions from the people around them and then feeds off of those reactions, whether they’re positive or negative. After interacting with a person like this, you might feel drained, used, confused, or mentally and emotionally exhausted.  

Relationships can leave us feeling this way for all kinds of reasons. It may be that the other person has personality traits that make dealing with them feel like trying to push a semi truck up a hill with your pinkie finger. It could also be the case that the “emotional vampire” in your life is illuminating some personal growth work that you need to do. 

In relationships, there’s always an interplay between what you bring to the table and what the other person brings to the table. Your own expectations, ways of communicating, and ways of relating could limit the types of relationships that will feel alright for you. If this is what’s happening, you can expand your tolerance for different kinds of people by building your emotional intelligence and learning some new relationship skills. 

To figure out whether this emotional vampire issue is a “you” thing or a “them” thing, it helps to get familiar with some of the common culprits. 

Types of Emotional Vampires

Here are a few personality types that many people find draining. You’re likely to encounter these emotional vampires at some point in your life, if you haven’t already. 

Grow Together
Schedule a Free Consultation Today.

  1. Selfish Jerks 

Dealing with selfish people is tough. They’re often unpleasant to be around, and either have no awareness of how they’re affecting others, or simply feel entitled to affect other people in a negative way. This type of emotional vampire believes on a deep level that other people are there for them — to help them, serve them, and, if need be, to sacrifice their own well-being so the selfish jerk can have what they want. 

Selfish jerks are often charming, funny, and confident at first blush. They can seem kind and empathetic, but they usually have an ulterior motive that involves getting something from you, even if it’s just a feeling of power and control. They’re prone to lying, infidelity, and behaving in reckless ways that create problems for others. 

You may be especially vulnerable to this type of emotional vampire if you have a history of relationships with narcissists, particularly in your family of origin. You could also struggle to deal with selfish jerks if you have codependent traits that compel you to try to “heal” others, or to show them the error of their ways. 

  1. Bottomless Pit Complainers

This type of emotional vampire is intensely focused on their own problems, and spends a lot of time and energy venting about them to anyone who will listen. They may have a lot of inner narratives that place themselves in the role of the victim of someone else’s misdeeds, and they generally lack the insight to recognize their own inner obstacles that have contributed to the problems they’re experiencing. 

Initially, it can be hard to distinguish a bottomless pit complainer from a person who’s simply going through a hard time. One giveaway is that this type of emotional vampire is usually not interested in solutions. Darkness seems to be an end in itself, rather than something they’re working through. They may be prone to self-indulgent behaviors that continuously create new problems — and an eternal wellspring of bad circumstances to complain about. 

If you’re someone who has a lot of empathy in relationships, bottomless pit complainers can begin to drain you quickly. You will likely spend a lot of time listening empathetically, hoping it will make them feel better, only to watch them grow increasingly miserable as time goes on. You will likely put a lot of energy into brainstorming ways they could improve their circumstances, only to watch them decline to take any action to help themselves. 

Someone who is in this much pain is incapable of concerning themselves with your well-being, which means the caring and concern is going to be a one-way street. Not only do bottomless pit complainers not want to hear about your problems, they may even resent you for sharing the positive things that are happening in your life. It feels awful when you realize you’ve been tossing your time and energy into a black hole, and that’s what it’s like to have a relationship with a bottomless pit complainer. 

  1. Belligerent Iconoclasts 

This type of emotional vampire is opinionated, argumentative, and convinced that their way of viewing things is the one and only way (in other words, they lack intellectual humility). They may buy into conspiracy theories and other paranoid worldviews, and enjoy the shocked and uncomfortable reactions they get when they force conversations about these topics onto others. 

You can often find the belligerent iconoclast on social media or in website comment sections, trying to lure people into “debates.” You may also encounter them out in the world, where these difficult conversations can be harder to escape, especially if they’re a family member or someone you work with. 

You’ll know you’re dealing with this type of emotional vampire when the conversation takes a turn into the bizarre territory of their imagination, and they begin expounding on their paranoid, grievance-driven viewpoints without any regard for whether you’re interested or comfortable with the topic. You’ll feel like you’re being talked at, rather than sharing ideas together and listening to each other with genuine interest. 

  1. “Nice” but Deceptive 

Some emotional vampires seem pleasant and agreeable on the outside, but in reality they’re harboring a lot of anger, resentment, and contempt, which they don’t take responsibility for. They may act out these feelings through passive-aggressive behaviors, like talking badly about you behind your back, making subtle digs at you in conversation, or, in general, seizing opportunities to make your life worse. They’ll do it with a smile, and if confronted, they’ll probably play dumb. They may even act hurt that you’re being so mean to them

A “nice” but deceptive emotional vampire can be tricky. Because of their pleasant exterior, you may get pretty close to them before you realize they’re full of anger and they would like you to be, too. There may be many things about their personality that you like and enjoy, but ultimately you’ll realize that it’s not possible to have a healthy relationship with them because of their tendency to conceal what they’re really thinking and feeling. 

  1. Super Needy Vampires

A super needy emotional vampire is very insecure, and very focused on themselves in their insecurity. They aren’t sure that they’re ok, and so they need to get that validation from you — and they’ll work hard to make sure you give it to them. 

They may put themselves down in order to draw out compliments from others. They may try to be important and helpful to you, but in ways that feel intrusive, such as by pushing unsolicited advice. Conversations with super needy people often turn back to them, even when the subject is something you’re struggling with. 

For example:

You: I can’t believe it’s really over. I’m completely heartbroken and I don’t know how I’ll go on.

Super Needy Friend: Look on the bright side, at least it’s not as bad as my last breakup. 

You: (on the verge of tears) It’s not?

SNF: And at least you’re thin! I don’t want to date again until I lose ten pounds. I look so fat in all my photos. Don’t you think I look fat?

You: (sobbing) No, no, you look great. 

Spending time with a super needy emotional vampire can feel draining because they have low self-esteem and they need you to prop them up. They lack the internal resources to feel good about themselves, so they outsource that job to the people around them. You may feel a little sorry for this type of emotional vampire and spend a lot of time taking care of them. No matter how much you give, it will never be enough to help them feel secure. 

  1. Melodramatic Types

Emotional vampires who fall into the melodramatic category feed off of drama. They may do things to provoke emotional reactions in others, and then blame the other person’s “anger issues” when they react in predictable ways. They may stir the pot and play people off of each other and then not take accountability. 

Melodramatic types often create conflict, and then exaggerate the harm to themselves for sympathy, or to cause the other person to feel guilt or shame. If someone speaks to them in an annoyed tone, they may say the person “screamed” at them. If their partner is ten minutes late to the restaurant, they may say they stood them up. 

It’s exhausting to deal with this kind of emotional vampire because you’re constantly on the defense, and you’re always a little uncertain about whether you can trust them. Were they really offended by what you said, or do they just want you to feel bad? Is so-and-so really a huge jerk, or do they just want your sympathy? It’s hard to say!

How to Deal with Emotional Vampires

When it comes to dealing with emotional vampires, there are a few things you can do: 

  1. End the relationshipEnding a toxic relationship is often the best course of action, particularly if there is any abuse happening. But for run-of-the-mill emotional vampires who are more irritating than dangerous, ending the relationship is not always necessary, or possible. You may be co-parenting with an emotional vampire and need to get along for the wellbeing of your children, or they may be a family member who you only have to tolerate for a few hours on holidays. In these cases, you can still take steps to limit how much their behavior can affect you. 
  1. Build your self-awareness — Becoming more self-aware is a powerful tool for dealing with emotional vampires. Many of us have a tendency to emotionally invalidate ourselves, or to question whether we should be feeling how we’re feeling. This makes it hard to take your feelings seriously and to respond appropriately. If you feel drained, manipulated, or used after dealing with someone, the first step to changing that is to recognize that feeling and validate it for yourself. Then you can think about why you feel that way and how you’d like to respond.
  1. Get some distance — This could be literal distance, emotional distance, or both. You might try to move desks if you sit by a melodramatic person at work, or limit the amount of time you spend with a selfish or needy friend. You can also limit what you choose to share with the other person (which is a good idea if they have a manipulative streak), and you can be careful about which conversations you choose to engage in with them.
  1. Set boundaries — Setting healthy boundaries is about making conscious choices about how you’ll respond in particular situations, and then following through on those choices. For example, if you have a friend who frequently calls you to complain and keeps you on the phone for hours, you could set a boundary that you will only participate in one 20-minute phone call with them per week. Then, it’s your job to end the call after 20 minutes — whether they like it or not. 
  1. Lower your expectations — Finally, stop expecting the emotional vampire to be different than they are. If you invest a lot of energy helping someone who doesn’t want to be helped, or trying to change someone’s mind who isn’t listening, or hoping that your selfish sibling will stop being selfish, you’re going to feel disappointed and depleted. Letting go of unrealistic expectations doesn’t change what they’re going to do, but it does create a very different emotional experience for you. 

What Do Your Emotional Vampires Say About You?

Think about the people in your life who feel like they drain your energy. Notice any patterns? You may have a “type” of emotional vampire that you often struggle with — and they could point the way to some valuable personal growth work for you.

For example, if you are a bit of a people pleaser and have a hard time saying “no,” setting boundaries, or asserting yourself, you’re going to struggle to get your needs met in relationships with anyone but the most empathetic and attuned people who give you what you want without you having to ask for it. You may feel drained by other people’s demands on your time and energy, not because they’re particularly selfish or needy, but because you need to work on advocating for yourself. Once you do, relationships will feel much easier. 

People who feel responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems often feel drained by relationships. One sign that this might be an issue for you is if you often give advice and feel frustrated when other people don’t take it. Check out our podcast episodes on “Dealing with Control Freaks” and “What Is Your Problem?” for some clarity on whether or not you’re taking on more responsibility in relationships than is healthy.

Who Fills Your Cup?

Many of us spend too much time worrying about our most difficult and least fulfilling relationships, and not enough time on the healthy, happy relationships that make our lives great. So, who fills your cup? Who cares about you, consistently shows you empathy, is happy when you succeed, and leaves you feeling emotionally uplifted, rather than sapped dry?

These are the healthy relationships where you should invest your time and energy. When you do that, you’ll leave less room for emotional vampires in your life. 

[03:25] What is an Emotional Vampire?

  • Relationships with emotional vampires feel unbalanced or one-sided. 
  • “Emotional vampire” is an unscientific term, not a diagnosis. 

[11:31] Emotional Vampire Types

  • Selfish and self-absorbed people who don’t care about others.
  • People who incessantly complain about everything.
  • Argumentative and belligerent people. 
  • Melodramatic people who provoke a lot of shame and guilt. 
  • Super needy or insecure people. 

[31:55] Emotional Vampires in Relationships

  • It’s vital to understand the role you play in a difficult relationship.
  • Learning new skills can help you have better relationships with everyone (including people who are not emotional vampires). 

[44:05] How to Deal with Emotional Vampires

  • You might need to learn how to advocate for yourself.
  • Set healthy boundaries. 
  • Self-awareness, self-validation, and distance are all excellent tools for handling emotional vampires.
  • There are some relationships that it’s better to end. 

[59:49] Emotional Vampire, or Needs Help?

  • Someone who seems like an emotional vampire might actually be someone unwell and in need of care. It’s critical — and tricky — to discern.

Listen & Subscribe to the Podcast

Emotional Vampires

The Love, Happiness & Success Podcast with Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby

Free, Expert Advice — For You.

Subscribe To The Love, Happiness, and Success Podcast

Music in this episode is by Bauhaus with their song “Bela Lugosi Is Dead.” You can support them and their work by visiting their Bandcamp page here: https://bauhaus.bandcamp.com/. Under the circumstance of use of music, each portion of used music within this current episode fits under Section 107 of the Copyright Act, i.e., Fair Use. Please refer to copyright.gov if further questions are prompted.

Lisa Marie Bobby: Hi, this is Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, and you’re listening to the Love, Happiness and Success podcast. Have you ever felt like a relationship or sucking the life right out of you? If so, you may have been dealing with an emotional vampire. Today we’re talking about what makes some relationships feel so draining, and how you can guard your time and energy from the thirsty emotional vampires who may be circling around you. 

I have to tell you, in recent years, I’ve become looking forward to the Halloween season for different reasons than I used to. I still enjoy seeing my kids dress up in their Halloween costumes and, of course, helping myself to some of their chocolate after they’re asleep. But I’ve come to really look forward to Halloween for a different reason, which is having the excuse to trot out old goth standards for you. 

On today’s episode, emotional vampires featuring, of course, Bauhaus with Bela Lugosi. Bauhaus was one of those bands that changed the course of music and influenced so many other bands, and artists and genres. Spun off into Love and Rockets. Of course, Peter Murphy had the most amazing career, and interestingly, another new band that I’m completely obsessed with called Automatic, who has a new album out, incidentally.

One of the artists in Automatic is actually the daughter of one of the members of the original Bauhaus; the drummer, I believe. The webs are interwoven and the music lives on in different ways. I think it’s so cool. Anyway, welcome to today’s episode. I know we’re not here to talk about rock history, but thank you for indulging me. We are here to talk about emotional vampires, what they are, how to see them coming, and how to protect yourself from the energy suckers in your life. 

Hey, thank you so much in advance to those of you listeners who reached out ahead of the taping of this show to share your emotional vampire stories with me. I’m going to be addressing some of these situations in the podcast today. And I really appreciate you getting in touch. And if you, also, would like to get in touch with me, you can contact me on Instagram at Dr. Lisa Marie Bobby, through my website at growingself.com.

If you go to our blog and podcast homepage, so growingself.com/blog-podcast, you’ll see a form to submit your question or comment, and you can also record a voice memo for me if you are brave enough to have me play your question on an upcoming episode. And you can certainly also get in touch with us through Facebook at Lisa Marie. No, at Lisa Bobby. There’s no Marie on that one. Lisa Bobby, and then just in the comment section of the blog growingself.com.

Diving into today’s topic. This is important to talk about Halloween or not. I’m taping this show in October. Halloween is in the air. And the sad reality is that emotional vampires come out in the daytime, and do not respond to garlic or silver bullets or crucifixes. And they are evergreen, we can find them at any time of year. And they’re around. 

It can be really just a struggle to have an emotional vampire in your life. And to not know how to deal with it, to not know how to protect yourself from it, to keep you from feeling like you’re getting entangled in these weird conversations or interpersonal reactions. So that’s why I wanted to make this episode today, was to help you with that. So hopefully by the end of this, you’ll have a lot more understanding of what’s going on and hopefully what to do with it.

It’s also true that relationships are, the reason why we can get involved with an emotional vampire is because we get involved with relationships, we get involved with other people. And relationships can be multifaceted. All relationships are a mixed bag, right? We have some things about people that we just love and enjoy and appreciate, and sometimes, even within the same person, sometimes within the same conversation.

We can also have experiences that we would, maybe, rather not have. The personality quirks, the ways that people communicate or relate can sometimes not always be comfortable. And I just wanted to say that out loud before we begin kind of diving into the meat of the show because we are all imperfect, we are all weird and annoying in our own way. 

One trend that I have noticed, that I’m not sure is helpful, is just how easy it is to swing around some of these terms to anybody that is not 100% gratifying or pleasing to us. I see people being called narcissists and emotional vampires, and if you’re disagreeing with me, then you are gaslighting me, like if you have a difference of opinion. 

I just want to say that as a caveat for what we’re going to be talking about today, because there are certainly some relational styles that you may find are not positive in your life, and that we do need to take action to limit our exposure to these people or to set boundaries in a different way. And that’s a very real and valid thing. And also, just a quick reminder, before we do that, we’re going to talk about the importance of also having compassion for our fellow humans. 

Again, everybody is a weirdo in their own special way. And so, to have grace for them, and also for ourselves. Even healthy people who are wonderful in relationships can also be going through life experiences, or circumstances that make them more in need of comfort and care and support for us, and maybe a little bit less able to be the kind of friend that we want them to be and not that they usually are, right? 

Just as we’re talking about these things I want you to be also thinking about the context and be thinking about our fellow humans with empathy, and understanding that there’s an ebb and flow. And sometimes people are going through stuff that maybe makes it a little bit more challenging to stay in the ring of relationship with them. And those are the times that they need us the most. 

And so to not just abandon people if they’re not being as gratifying as they usually are. And also to be able to cultivate relationships that will support us when maybe we are not being as fun or interesting, or thoughtful friends, as maybe we usually are. We need each other and so there’s that. Okay, so with that aside, it is also true that some relationships can maybe not start this way. 

But even over time evolve into these dynamics where you feel like you’re giving a lot more than you are receiving from another person, right? It feels out of balance. Not that you don’t enjoy being supportive, and kind and helpful to your friends; but if it’s always feeling like it’s one way, that can start to take a toll, after a while. It can begin to feel draining emotionally to talk to folks like this or spend a lot of time with them. 

They can also begin making requests of you that start to feel like too much requests of time, assistance, emotional support. And it can be difficult to gauge that balance. Again, things can ebb and flow, sometimes a friend goes through something, and that sort of feels like that. 

Then it kind of lifts back up again so that experience was sort of transient, like maybe they’re going through a bad breakup, or a divorce or difficult life circumstance or a health thing. I mean, understandable.

It can be hard then to define for ourselves when a relationship is really going into that emotional vampire kind of territory. I mean, that’s such an unscientific term. It’s not like an actual thing. We all have to decide for ourselves,  what that means for us. And how much are we willing to give versus how much is too much, and it’s time to step back, in a way that feels healthy and appropriate for our own well being. 

It’s tough to sort that out. And it’s also true that these kinds of unbalanced relationships can happen in every domain. I mean, can certainly happen with friends, co-workers, a family member, a significant other, somebody you’re dating. And it is also true that they can show up anywhere, but also that there’s a very interesting interplay between them and you. And by you, I mean us, right? So there’s one part, which is the way that they may be behaving and engaging. 

It’s also worth considering and using as the opportunity for growth this idea that part of the reason we may be experiencing someone as draining or difficult, or relationships as being out of balanced is because of our own reactions or expectations or ways of communicating or relational dynamics. And we’re going to explore that, too, because relationships are systems. Very easy to see what other people are doing or not doing, much harder to notice what we are doing or not doing. 

To have relationships that feel out of balance or problematic for you can be an amazingly powerful window into not just understanding others, but understanding yourself. So we are going to be talking about all of this stuff. And again, the outcome of how you are growing and feeling more energized and engaged in relationships that fill you up.

First of all, let’s talk about different kinds of emotional vampires, and certain kinds of personalities or relational dynamics that can easily and pretty predictably make us feel like our relationships are imbalanced. So first of all, before we talk about the types, I’d like for you to take a brief moment and just have a little inner experience where you think back, kind of sort through, flip through the relationships in your life that you have currently. 

Maybe even some relationships that you’ve had in the past — friends, family, partners, co-workers, and think about which relationships felt, over time, like they were draining you taking more than they were giving, making you feel depleted, as opposed to energized and just think about who comes to mind. And it is likely that as you thought through that you encountered in your mind’s eye some of the usual suspects, meaning kinds of personality types that tend to provoke these feelings in most people. 

One is just that toxic personality. When I say toxic, I mean, it’s also worth saying that even the word toxic can mean very different things to different people. What it means to me personally, are just very, very selfish, self-absorbed, a-holes who are generally unpleasant to be around, and don’t care. They are unpleasant to be around.

Even if they are aware that they are self-focused, that is the way it should be because they actually are a little bit more special and important than everybody else. And that’s how it feels to be around them. They genuinely do not feel that others are as important as they are or worthy of the same respect or consideration. 

On a subconscious or even conscious level,  have expectations that other people are here for them, to serve them, to do things to them, to give to them, to be nice to them, to make them feel good. That is one way of identifying traits. You can often actually see them coming because they are oftentimes very charming, confident, funny, sparkly, fun stories, doing fun and interesting things that is actually one of the hallmarks of something being on the other side of that. 

Over time you can always tell a tree by the fruit it bears, so people like this will invariably– the fruit these relationships bear will be infidelity, lying, behaving recklessly, and without regard for the well-being or safety of others, and that can be physical safety. It can also be emotional safety, financial safety, like they do scary things, and sometimes can even take pleasure in upsetting other people, that kind of divide people into good people or bad people, nobody is quite as good as them. 

Some people are like, Okay, everybody else they’re kind of out to get and really enjoy doing so. There is a sadistic quality to these people and their personalities. And also, important to know that they can often give a very good appearance of being somebody who cares. They can emulate empathy, they can emulate remorse, they can and do say all the right things. And there is always a manipulative strategy or a desire to regain power at the core of it. So beware.

Thankfully, people who are really this category of toxic are fairly rare, and usually have a bad reputation. They can be exciting to be around, they can be kind of magnetic, but that in itself can be a danger signal, believe it or not. I’ve recorded a number of podcasts on this and related topics, you might want to check out. 

One in particular that’s titled, “What To Do If You’re Married To A Narcissist?” That contains, I think, a comprehensive discussion of the many forms and facets of narcissism, which can be helpful for you in a number of different situations, whether or not you’re married, or partnered with a narcissist. So one of the great things about people like this is that you can usually see them coming or they out themselves pretty quickly. 

Once you’ve figured out that that’s what’s going on, you can just stop right there and be done. No further action is required. Just take whatever steps you need to distance yourself. You’re not going to change this person. You can be very vulnerable if you have a family history or relational patterns of kind of codependence or enabling people. I think women in particular can be very vulnerable to thinking this, my love will heal this person’s heart. Talk to your therapist about that, and also block their number. So just there, you heard it from me.

The other kind of emotional vampire, and these ones can be sleepers, these can be harder to identify until you’re kind of in the pool with them. Or what I think of as being black hole, right? Like bottomless pit complainers. They are constantly talking about their problems, complaints, complaints about others, they are never happy or satisfied, they are always disappointed, they are always aggrieved, they are usually the victim of somebody else’s terrible deeds, right? And there is a lot of energy into talking about all the awful things and what they’re going through. And this is wrong. And that is wrong. That in itself is not necessarily problematic. 

I mean, if somebody’s going through a serious growth phase, part of that is often stirring the pot and making contact with some things that are difficult, and that are dark. And maybe they are grieving or feeling mad, or all of the above, and maybe legitimately so. But the difference between somebody who is grappling with dark emotions in a productive way and wanting to talk about them, is that there’s some variation, right?

There are ups and downs like maybe you talk to them, and they’re kind of going into dark places, but not every single conversation is like that all the time. And people who are doing something productive with the dark emotions are also typically aware that they’re in a process and very interested in taking action. They are grappling with dark emotions for a productive reason. 

You will also hear them talking about the insights that they’re developing new awarenesses things that they hope to do differently in the future, lessons learned. So again, going into the darkness is a positive thing, but you have to kind of come out with something sooner or later, right? In contrast, people who are more in that emotional vampire category, genuinely believe that venting or just talking about it is like, that’s it, I’m talking about it; therefore, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. 

They can kind of, if not, enjoy it on some level. It’s very familiar, right? They’re laying around in dark rooms listening to gloomy music, they can’t do anything often because they’re recovering from something. 

They are oftentimes, hate to say this, but it’s true, often prone to self indulgent behavior that creates more problems for themselves and others, leading to future catastrophes and problems and things that upset them. But they really lack the insight that they have a hand in shaping their own reality. And that is so frustrating. 

As a friend, as a family member, it becomes very draining when, over time, you engage in this relationship with a sincere desire to be a good friend, to be helpful, to be supportive, to be loving. You care about them, you feel for them, you can see the pain that they’re in, which is real, right? But then kind of buy into their narrative. 

Which is continuing to talk about it, and air these grievances, and focus on the problems, and feel the pain and just sort of stay there is helpful. Certainly helpful, again, to go there and to have safe spaces and all of our lives where we can be real, and we can share our thoughts and feelings with other people who care about us and have a soft place to fall. 

If that is coupled with a lack of insight, or unwillingness to, at some point, do something about it, it really feels like a black hole. And that’s hard. It’s hard because it’s anxiety provoking. It’s hard because it’s draining. But it’s also hard, because when somebody is really sitting with so much sadness, or anger, or regret or hurt, it is very difficult for them to even be aware of how you feel much less be able to engage with you in a happy way. 

I think it’s also these kinds of relationships can become very obvious when one person– Sometimes people even sort of connect in this place, like they’re both going through similar things. And so they bond and there’s a lot of similarities and empathy, and they can talk about the dark stuff. And that’s great. 

When one person just starts to grow, and change, and shift or build positive things in their life, or even have happy milestones, like maybe gets into a really great relationship, or starts doing more positive activities, or getting healthier, or getting a new job that they like more, getting engaged, having children. Like really positive, good things, even just going on a fun vacation.

These relationships will also become more obvious as to what they are. Because with the person who is experiencing positive things might feel like they can’t even say that to their friend, who has perpetual problems, right? Or if they do that their friend kind of has a negative reaction to it. 

I mean, it’s even possible that if something happy happens with you, and you share that with an emotional vampire friend, they will actually become upset with you for, air-quote, making them feel bad, by sharing something positive about your own life. Particularly if you’re prone to people-pleasing. You mean, you may actually feel guilty in these moments. And I can assure you that that is not what you need to be doing. 

You do need to be understanding that perhaps this well is dry, and that this relationship is maintained by your continued efforts to support and engage on a kind of negative level. And that it isn’t going the other way. And then it’s probably not going to go the other way. And to make decisions about where you want to spend your time and energy accordingly. 

Another emotional vampire type that I certainly have encountered, I’m sure you have, too, is the extremely opinionated and often very negative, usually belligerent kind of iconoclast that can be a paranoid conspiracy theorist, or somebody who is very certain that their way of viewing whatever it is that we’re talking about is the correct way. 

They are often argumentative. They will engage in a belligerent way, and really take some pleasure in tangling with people who disagree, or even not. I mean, they’ll tangle with people around anything. You can say the sky is blue, and they’ll say, no, it’s more of a gray. Just like anything. And they also tend to enjoy speculating on ways the world will end and how hard it will be in the process. 

Often in either direction of the political spectrum, you can find these people talking about how awful things are, and how things are getting worse and angry. A lot of times people encounter these types online, certainly, but also free range. And you know, that you’re experiencing this when any conversation takes a turn into the kind of apocalyptic hellscape of this person’s imagination.

It’s anger, and it’s paranoia, and it’s grievances, and its problems. And it turns into a situation where you feel like you’re being talked at as opposed to sharing ideas, talking about possible possibilities. I mean, those can be interesting conversations, right? But there’s just a belligerent quality of not really being able to get a word in, edgewise. 

Thankfully, these folks too, are easy to see come in. They will tell you usually in the first 90 seconds, what they care about, right? And you can get that experience.

But what’s really hard with these types is that it’s easy to get away from them if they’re like, friends, or in your social circle, or even somebody that you’re dating. If they’re a family member, if they’re a co-worker, if they’re a boss, if they’re in a position of power over you, it can be much more difficult to deal with them because you can’t get away, and it can be difficult to neutralize this way of being. So that’s one to look out for. 

There are other kinds of emotional vampires. I mean, I think as I was preparing this, I was thinking about– these are probably the kinds of emotional vampires that are true for me, like, these are the kinds of personalities and situations that make me feel drained. And we all have our own. 

There are many types. I think another one for me. I intensely dislike people who seem very agreeable, pleasant, yep, whatever you say, no problem, sure, and are deceptive, or are not being truthful or authentic about how they really feel. That is a super hard one for me. And that feels– I don’t know if vampire is the right way. 

But I think it is. I’ve spent time and energy engaging with people and these relationships and to be feeling or hoping like you’re having one relationship and it feels impossible to create a truly connected or healthy relationship because of this predisposition to conceal or hide, or deceive or avoid talking about things in an authentic direct way. I struggle with those relationships. 

Another one that I know it can be hard for me and also many of my clients are in that just very needy category. Someone who is very insecure, sort of self-focused in their insecurity like, Am I okay? Do I look weird? Did I do the wrong thing? Like me, me, me. But really, like pulling for external validation or confirmation from other people all the time. Often can be very demanding of time, attention, affirmations. 

If they’re not sort of obsessing about negative things, and really wanting you to tell them it’s okay and they’re okay. They might be pulling, fishing for compliments. And also, oftentimes, I think what goes with that is seeking to be important or helpful, but in intrusive ways that are still self-focused. 

If you’re talking about something with somebody who is really into a certain vitamin supplement, or spiritual practice, or CrossFit, or one of the things that it turns in to them intrusively, and fairly insistently telling you about what you should do that is like what they should do. And again, probably well-intentioned. I mean, they’re trying to be helpful, but it’s just everything, it just always turns back to them. 

If you say this is feeling bad for me, or this isn’t helpful, or I wish, if we could talk about something else, then it still turns into the I’m the worst friend. Oh, my God, I don’t know how you can possibly put up with me, I know, I’m so annoying. And it’s like, tell me that I’m okay. Because now we have to take care of me again. So that can be incredibly draining for many people, including me. 

Okay. And then also melodramatic types may be perceived as very manipulative. Most of what they do is designed to get certain kinds of reactions for others, and not really take accountability of both in positive ways and negative ways. 

I’ve seen it happen all the time, people can provoke a lot of angry responses or defensive responses and others and then kind of turn it into, you’re being mean to me. May enjoy like playing people off of each other kind of a pot stirrer, if you will, and are often taking kind of a either victimized or murderous stance in most of these things. 

That’s kind of a hobby for them. So it’s not that these things never happen. I mean, even healthy relationships can have elements of drama and intrigue, but like, if it’s a pattern, if you can kind of expect that people will do the same kinds of things in different situations. That’s also an indication that it’s not just the dynamics that work in this relationship.

It is not the interplay of this person’s personality and your personality, because that can also create a kind of toxic feeling relational dynamic that is not attributable to it being one person’s fault, right? You can have a toxic relational dynamic that develops from the interplay of two people, not just because of one. So that’s important to know. 

Again, when you can observe these kinds of people, these kinds of personalities, behaving the same way with different people in different situations, and also seeing other people have similar reactions to the reaction that you have been having, that is a really valuable source of information that can help you make really positive and healthy changes and choices. 

Even thinking about patently abusive relationships. I mean, domestic violence, intimate partner violence, and any kind of abuse. One of the features of these relationships is the isolation. An abusive person who’s seeking power and control over another will always try to limit their access to other people, other situations, in some way or another. And I think it’s exactly because of this. 

When we are able to observe people out in the world, interacting with others who aren’t us, and getting similar negative reactions or sort of being able to see them, see them operate more globally, that is a huge source of empowerment for us because in an abusive relationship, it’s very easy to get tricked into believing, it’s my fault, or it’s just the circumstance or they had a bad day, and that’s why they’re being weird. 

But all that evaporates like fog in the morning, when there are other people around saying, no, that’s actually messed up. Or they shouldn’t be saying that to you. They shouldn’t be treating you like that. Or even, again, observing other people also struggling with the same behaviors that you are struggling with. That’s also a tool. 

If you are in doubt, if you think that you might be engaging with an emotional vampire that you need to set different boundaries with, take them out. Get them together with your friends, give them opportunities to interact with others, and then watch what happens, and those experiences can be confirmation for you. I will say that one of the drawbacks of therapy– So I’m a therapist.

I’m a licensed psychologist. I’m a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I am also a board certified coach. And one of the drawbacks, truly, that I have experienced in individual therapy sessions with my clients is that I am largely limited to understanding my client’s world through their eyes. And through their interpretations of what’s happening in their relationships. It is, whatever they tell me is filtered through their belief system. 

I’m really relying a lot of times on their self-reports. This person was mean to me. This person is abusive. This person is XYZ, could very well be true and and often is. And because I’m also a marriage and family therapist, I have the benefit of working with couples or families in the room, multiple people. It is a huge source of information for me, as a therapist, to see the way people relate to each other,right?

An ethical therapist, I would not have an individual client, who I work with individually, and also have that person as a client in couples counseling. That is a big ethical violation and ethical providers wouldn’t have that kind of dual relationship with you. But I have had an individual client invite a partner or a family member in for a session because anybody can invite anyone into their own work, right? 

It’s still individual therapy, they just have somebody come in, maybe for help without talking with an important issue. And it’s very interesting to see the way that they behave with others, and to see the way that those behaviors impact others, and oftentimes outside of their awareness.

I also just want to share that, because it can be very easy to get into a narrative about where we’re labeling and categorizing other people’s behaviors and ways of being as being problematic or hurtful for us. And not having a lot of insight into how we are co-creating that relational dynamic, or interpreting certain things very much through our own filter without realizing it.

That can be another real tool and advantage to get clarity about relationships and the nature of these relationships, but also for our own growth. I mean, by having other people around our partners, our friends, our family, workers, our co-workers, and not just trying to figure it out on our own. 

We can know things about people, if they have pretty consistent responses from others. If you have a terrible problem with someone, and they just trigger the heck out of you, and you are so uncomfortable in this relationship, and other people are having very different experiences with that person, consistently. 

And in this same kind of relationship. It’s not really fair to have your partner go out with your friends, and your friends feel one way around your partner, because they’re not having the same kind of relationship with a right so that’s not really a fair comparison. 

If you have a friend, and you have five other friends in common, and you’re the only one who is experiencing this friend in this way, again, that could be a very important doorway of growth. Our reactions are like holding a mirror up to you. What is it about this person? And what is it about my reactions to this person? It’s very valuable, truly. 

Because if you determine that you have an actual, real deal, emotional vampire in your life, you only really have a few choices, right? Your choices are to either end the relationship, set very different boundaries, meaning limiting your contact, limiting the kinds of information they get about you, minimizing your time with them.

You could try to talk about the relationship, but if it is a real deal, emotional vampire, it is not going to go well. Like try it anyway. And if it does go well, that’s a sign of a potentially healthy relationship and one that could evolve, but with somebody that you’ve determined is just never going to have the kind of relationship with you that you would like to have with them. There really aren’t a lot of options. 

It’s either end contact or change your boundaries. But there is a ton of opportunity when you can really get clear about what kinds of personalities trigger you, and use this as an opportunity to work on yourself. So for example, I think that the very first personality type that I was talking about, the one that I labeled as being just patently toxic. That is sort of the caricature almost of a malignant narcissist, a sociopath, somebody with antisocial personality tendencies,

I don’t want to have anything to do with those people. And it is also true that baby narcissists– You have to listen to my podcast episode about narcissists to understand what I mean about baby narcissists. But there are also people who have narcissistic qualities and that they’re kind of self-important and self-absorbed. And I actually don’t have a problem with it. I think they’re cute, kind of, they’re usually fun to hang out with, and I know how to handle them. 

I have realistic expectations for these relationships and so actually is not a trigger for me at all. It’s okay. But some people can have a very negative reaction. It’s also true, like my own triggers, I have people say to me all the time. When they hear what I do for a living, they’re like, oh, my gosh, I can’t believe how draining that must be. How do you do it? Is it just sitting around listening to other people’s problems? Ugh, it must be exhausting. 

The truth is that I do not experience my work as a counselor or a coach in that way at all. I do spend a lot of time with people hearing about the things that bother them, the things they’re upset about, the things, they’re angry about, the things that they feel hurt by. And I experience that work as being quite energizing, because I am in a role to be able to be helpful for them. And also, because I’m not having that conversation, unless me and that person have a therapeutic contract for change. 

They’re here in my office telling me about these things because they want it to be different. They want it to grow. That is why they’re telling me about it, as opposed to their sister, or their friend, or the person at the convenience store checkout counter. So it’s a very different experience for me. But I have certainly personally felt definitely drained in personal interactions where that contract for change isn’t present.

It’s just me kind of endlessly listening to somebody go on and on and on about all these awful things. And I think, the feelings of helplessness that it brings up in me, and really wanting to help that person, but knowing that the ways that I have to be helpful to that person, like as a therapist, or a counselor, I can’t do that with people who haven’t asked me specifically to be doing that with them. 

I think that that’s when it starts to feel hard for me, because it feels like my hands are tied. And so I think that it’s important for you to be reflecting on not just the kinds of people who feel draining, feel like emotional vampires for you, but why? Why is it that you feel drained in these interactions?

Sometimes, the most interesting thing that we can learn about is what certain situations require from us in order to be healthy. And if we have growth work to do in those situations, we can feel those relationships as being draining or requiring a lot of emotional effort or anxiety. There can be angst around them, but that it’s a very positive growth experience for us.

For example, if you tend to feel guilty about setting boundaries with others, if it is hard for you to say no, if it is hard for you to put your opinion out there or request for your needs to be met. You can be pretty sure that you’ll have a lot of relationships that feel draining for you. Because you need and want and deserve things that you are not communicating. 

The relationships that will feel the best for you are going to be ones with people who are highly empathetic and emotionally intelligent, and really like able to give you what you need without you having to ask for it, right? Anticipating your needs, caretaker kinds of personalities. Because not that everybody else in your life is an emotional vampire, it’s because you have trouble advocating for yourself. 

Relationships will feel draining. I would refer you to a podcast episode I recorded about, Are you a people pleaser? If so, how to stop, to learn more about that. It is also true that people who feel very responsible for finding solutions for other people’s problems will often experience a lot of relationships as being draining, be it with a coworker, a family member, a friend, a partner. 

Because of this tendency, that if other people talk about something that’s going on in their lives or something with or bothered with, you have this kind of subconscious feeling of needing to fix that. And if it’s giving them advice, or if it’s doing something for them, if it’s telling them what to do to make it better.

Then feeling frustrated when they don’t take your advice or follow through with the things that you think that they should do, you are going to have a lot of relationships that feel very frustrating and depleting. Not because you are in a relationship with emotional vampire, but because of this subconscious caretaker, almost, urge, it’s almost like a drive. So if you grew up in a family of origin with an alcoholic, if you have those codependent tendencies. 

If you tend to be kind of an action oriented person who’s very comfortable with taking action and doing things and things are easy for you. Being in relationships with people who don’t think that same way or don’t find it as easy to immediately take action to do things. Those relationships are going to feel hard for you. And it doesn’t mean those relationships have to end, it means it’s an opportunity to do some work on yourself. 

To help make you more available to having relationships with different kinds of people by releasing some of these, these needs that you have to control the situation. Truly, I would refer you back to– I’ve recorded a podcast episode, I can’t fully remember what it’s called. But I think something about control freaks in the title. Yeah. So these are all just examples of things to be considering.

If you frequently feel that there are vampires, or people circling around you, and you frequently feel drained, or frustrated, or if this is familiar for you, and it’s not just that one person makes you think I need to do something different with that relationship. But if this is a common pattern for you, I want to offer you helpful direction through this podcast. So I hope that those ideas give you some food for thought at the very least. 

How do we deal with emotional vampires? There are people around us all the time. They may be intimately connected through– they may be connected through our work, through our families, through our friends, through our social circles. How do we deal with it? Generally speaking, the best recipe, the cocktail, if you will, for handling an emotional vampire is first based on self-awareness, right? 

Not just awareness, but also validation of your own inner experiences. So that means the ability to notice I feel anxious around this person. I feel tired right now. I feel helpless. I feel frustrated. I feel annoyed. So like being able to stay in contact with your own feelings is very important. 

Then also doing some thinking about why and using the ideas that we’ve been talking about today, like is this something about this person? Or is this something, that I need to be working on? And again, the wringer is, do other people feel the same way around this person? Do I see them, kind of, in this path of destruction no matter where they go? Or do I frequently have these feelings of feeling drained or frustrated or annoyed or whatever. 

That’s some of your differentials, right there. And also, once you have figured some of that out, so you’re using self awareness, you’re reflecting to sort of figure out what’s going on, then if the choice is not to work on yourself, and use this as a personal growth, opportunity to change the way you show up in relationships.

If you determine, Okay, this is somebody that is probably not real healthy for me, then your choices become setting boundaries, gaining distance. Distance can be literal distance, that can be limiting your contact with people. It can also be emotional distance. You’re there, you’re showing up at the Thanksgiving dinner, but you’re kind of quiet-quitting on your family, so to speak, right? 

You are saying please and thank you and talking about the weather and saying, pass the salt. But you’re also being wise about the things that you choose to share, the conversations that you allow yourself to get hooked into, monitoring your own reactions, and deciding when it’s time to take a break to use the restroom, or go on a walk around the block or change the subject.

Really, just using a lot of wisdom in the way that you show up in those reactions is a way of gaining distance that is very healthy. Also, this will sound weird, but one fantastic survival skill and also, I think, emotional intelligence skill, is to lower your expectations of certain people and certain situations, it will not change the fact that they occur. 

But it is a very different emotional experience for you when you expect them to occur and are not surprised by them occurring and are not mad that it’s not different. Like, yep, there it is, again, and I am choosing to stay in the ring with this person. And so part of the deal is me understanding that this is who they are and how they behave. 

If you are making a conscious decision to continue a relationship with one of these people, you need to also be almost like making a deal with yourself that this is the experience of this person. I am choosing to maintain this relationship for X, Y, Z reasons that are based on my values and the things that are important to me. And what I need to let go off are my hopes or expectations that this is going to be different, because that’s not healthy for me. So that can actually be a very positive thing.

And certainly, boundaries. And I will refer you back to a podcast episode that I did all about boundaries with my dear colleague, Kathleen, for a nice discussion of what boundaries are and what boundaries aren’t. I think in our culture, we think of setting boundaries as having rules that other people need to follow. When you set boundaries with other people, you’re saying, I won’t allow you to talk to me like that, and then expecting them to stop talking to you like that. 

That is actually not what boundaries are or can be. What boundaries are is getting clear with yourself about what you are going to do. So what your boundaries are. What is the line that shall not be crossed? And what am I going to do if it is? So you can say to somebody, if you talk to me like that, again, I am going to leave, I’m not going to engage in this with you. And they may or may not talk to you like that again. 

But if they do now your job is to stand up, find your keys and say bye and go because that’s your boundary. So figuring out what those boundaries should be. And what you will be doing in response is very valuable work. And again, here I go rattling off all these things like they’re easy. 

Any of these things, I mean, self-awareness, validating yourself, figuring out how to gain distance in relationships, the kind of communication skills that will prevent you from getting sucked into weird conversations, changing your expectation, learning how to set boundaries. 

All of these are personal growth initiatives and relational skills that for most people take easily months to figure out, through focused personal growth work, through therapy, through depth-oriented coaching can also be a nice avenue for this. I just want to say that because hearing me talk about what you could be doing in a podcast is very different than doing the growth work of changing in the ways that allow us to handle these situations differently. 

I know a lot of people can beat themselves up when I talk about things, or anybody talks about things like they should be easy, and then they get annoyed with themselves for not being able to do it right. I just want to say out loud that that’s not how this works. You can’t just hear once, yes, you should set boundaries and do this and then expect that you would be able to easily and effortlessly do that was people who find it very triggering. It’s not that easy for any of us. 

Then the other piece of this. So we’ve talked about how to deal with emotional vampires. The other side of this, though, I think, is we don’t just avoid the darkness when it comes to these kinds of relationships. There’s also a lot of wisdom in moving towards the light. So as you’re thinking about what relationships feel distressing, or draining or problematic, and what you want to do with those.

It’s also incredibly valuable to be thinking about what are the relationships and the people who fill my cup? Who makes me feel good when I’m around them? Who is interested in me and cares about my well-being and shows me that they care about me in the ways that are meaningful to me? Those almost go into love language territory. 

Those are going to be different for different people, but to reflect on who the people are in your life, who show up for you in ways that you feel really cared for, and that’s going to look a little different for everyone. But knowing what it is for you can help you more easily identify the positive people in your life. For me, I think honesty, authenticity, being real, being brave, like talking about important things, not avoiding things, showing up authentically. 

Those are the kinds of relationships that feel really good for me, they feel real, right? But also relationships for me where I feel that people are reaching out to me and kind of caring about me and interested in my feelings and my well being. And also giving me opportunities to be interested in there’s. So it feels balanced. 

I have some friends and we get together and maybe one conversation, we’re talking about all the recent stressors in their life. And then in the next conversation, I’m downloading about all the things that are going on in my life. So it’s not that it’s all like happy and positive all the time. But it does feel balanced, and it does feel real. 

You probably have different kinds of relationships and different things that feel important for you, but to think about what they are and actually write them down. It helps create clarity for us. And then, with that information, be able to intentionally spend more time and more energy cultivating those relationships. 

I mean, maybe as I just invited you to think about who are the important people in your life, the people that make you feel good.Maybe some of them are people that you’re already intimately connected with emotionally; good friends, good family members. Maybe they’re people that feel very positive and promising to you that you haven’t cultivated a deeper relationship with. And that would be a wonderful sign that it’s time to spend more time with that person. 

Furthermore, it’s also true that by intentionally cultivating deeper relationships with positive, healthy people, it strengthens our ability to move away and to set limits with people that we’ve determined are less healthy. It can be a real vulnerable space when we have attachments to people who probably aren’t great for us. But if those are the only people that we have, it can be hard to set the limits and set the boundaries that we need to set in order to be healthy. 

The more positive people that you have in your life, the easier it will be to do that. So yeah, that’s a discussion and I hope that that was helpful to you. And I also promised you a listener question. So we had a number of really interesting scenarios that came through and we asked people to share their stories of emotional vampires and how to deal with them.

One that stood out to me, it was from a listener who wrote in about a situation with their roommate. The writer shared that they are a very emotionally sensitive and spiritual person. And so they are also very  environmentally sensitive. So they like to be in a calm-feeling environment, comfortable, they use the term positive energy. And they shared that they currently have a roommate, who is going through a lot internally right now.    

So emotionally reactive, very focused on problems, a lot of complaining, talking about themselves in a negative way. I think going back to that one personality type that I shared earlier that we call that the black hole, right? And so this writer shared actually quite a bit of information about their experiences with this person. Their mood, how it kind of changes the atmosphere, and their shared living space. 

How it’s very difficult to feel positive around them, it goes on and I won’t go into details for fear of any identifying information being shared. But what was interesting, as I read this person’s scenario, and question the image that started to come up for me, in my mind, at least, was not like, an emotional vampire personality type as much as it was somebody who may be in the grips of clinical depression, like major depressive disorder.

This is little bit of a bind, because there can be emotionally draining personality types. And there can also be people in our orbits who are not okay. And we feel how not okay they are energetically for interactions with them. It’s, especially, if you’re an emotionally aware and sensitive person, and empathetic being close to some people can almost like ring you like a bell. Like a tuning fork that’s close to a sound starts to vibrate.  

This is actually when you do clinical supervision  with other therapists and training, something that we talk a lot about. Your feelings are also important information. And the way that we can feel in the presence of other people can give us information about ourselves, certainly, also information about them can be related to personality type. And this is not something that you want to pursue. 

But what if you are also understanding that this person is actually not well, and probably in need of care, and support? This can be very tricky. It’s very difficult for people to have conversations about this sort of thing, particularly, if they aren’t aware that they may be in the midst of a depressive episode or are dealing with something like generalized anxiety disorder or the legacy of trauma. And I do think that it is a caring and compassionate thing to do and a brave thing to do to try and have that conversation. 

I have noticed that you often feel sad and upset that it’s very difficult for you to think about positive things, it seems like you’re mostly focused on problems and negative things. I also hear a lot of shame, self-blame, self-hatred when you talk. And what I have learned is that these can all be signs of major depressive disorder. I’m not sure if anybody has ever given you that feedback before. 

I am not a licensed mental health professional. And I think it would probably be really important for you to at least get this checked out. Because if that’s what it is, you could feel a lot better. There are so many different ways, so many people have struggled with us and have come out the other side, feeling like new people, and I care about you. And I’d love for you to have that outcome as well. 

If you’re interested, I went through the trouble of looking up– look, here’s the College Counseling Center. Here’s a place in our neighborhood. Here’s this resource that I found for you. Here’s an article where you can learn more about this. I could help you make the appointment. I could go to the first visit with you. I can drive you if you’re feeling nervous about going. Is it something that you would consider? 

Being helpful, being supportive, being compassionate. Also offering like actual support. I mean, if people are really depressed. They’re feeling a lot of shame and self-blame, they are feeling hopeless and helpless about anything, including whether or not talking with someone will be helpful. Maybe therapy helps others, but I am so hopeless that it will never help me. I mean, that’s like a depression thing. 

Also maybe struggling with such low energy that even if they wanted to, it is legitimately difficult for them to find a therapist online. I mean, that can be really challenging. So it’s a very kind thing to do to be an active partner for an unwell person to the degree that they are willing to let you. 

Also, taking the stance and offering this kind of support helps you set other boundaries with yourself, because having had that conversation with someone that you care about, then the next time they are like, Oh, I hate myself so much, let me tell you all the reasons why, it is very easy to say, I know that’s a feeling you frequently have. And that’s one of the reasons I’m really worried about this depression thing. 

Did you ever follow up with that stuff that I shared with you? And you’re changing the conversation. So now you’re not just sitting there having to listen to them go on for 45 minutes about how much they suck? It is turning into a what are we going to do about this? Maybe or maybe not will they take action.

But it is you setting a boundary and kind of teaching them when you talk about this stuff with me. Here is how I am going to respond to you, which is not sitting here for the next 45 minutes kind of nodding, understandably, while you go on and on about how awful everything is. That is you actually setting healthy boundaries. You can learn more about some of these other things. Again, there’s the healthy boundaries podcast episode, there’s also an episode that I recorded about Is It Depression?

I have another episode about what to do and when your partner has a problem, but what to do when somebody has a problem. So I hope that you check those out for additional guidance. And in hearing this, you think that somebody that you care about could really benefit from getting help. There are a couple of other resources that I have on our website. I put together an article called How to find a therapist? that goes into a lot of detail about what to look for and what to avoid, that can help you get a therapist.

Not all therapists are the same. And it’s very easy to get involved with one who won’t be very helpful. That article and then also, if you really want to be helpful to somebody, check out another one I wrote called Evidence-Based Practice, which talks about the forms of psychotherapy and also coaching, even, that research has shown to be very helpful, how they’re very different from the common kinds of therapy and coaching that are not helpful. So if you’re going to be a supportive partner to somebody in there getting help. For you to be armed with this knowledge will help you help them make informed decisions that will actually change things for them. 

Because the last thing they need is to meet with a therapist once, especially if it was so hard for you to help get them there, and then they met with a therapist and they’re like, that person is a weirdo and this is not helpful at all.

Because that’s a huge wasted opportunity. So anyway, check out those resources. Okay, so much again, in today’s episode. I do hope this was helpful for you and I hope you enjoy listening to more Bauhaus on the way out. I’ll be in touch with you next time in another episode. And again, if you want to leave me comments, questions, follow ups, you can do so at growingself.com.

In the post to this episode; you can also find links to all of the resources that I’ve shared with you links to the podcasts and study articles so that you can continue your journey. Thank you. Talk to you soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *