Emotional vampire: how to identify it?

There are people who steal your energy. Just as we can meet people with a nice vibe, who transmit good values ​​and a positive attitude, so too, there are individuals who tend to weaken our emotional state, causing us stress, overwhelm, inferiority, tiredness and a bad mood.

The latter are known as “emotional vampires”. To talk about them, we consulted with Clinical Psychology, Gabriella Abate, creator of the space (@psychats) and she shares with Diario Libre the origin of the term, the way to identify this type of individuals and how to set limits to take care of our emotions.

“Emotional Vampire”


The term “emotional vampire” according to Gabriella is a concept that has little to do with science, but that emerged in self-help books as a didactic metaphor to define individuals who, consciously or unconsciously, cause emotional wear and tear on the people around them.

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Gabriella Abate, clinical psychologist. (EXTERNAL SOURCE)

“Dealing with an “emotional vampire” will always be unidirectional, that is, there is no flow in communication. There is no positive reciprocity in the relationship. What we get in return is a charge of negative emotions that, when accumulated, causes high activation of unpleasant emotions that cause us discomfort”Gabriella AbateClinical psychology

At the same time, the psychologist explains that a person who is going through a delicate situation or period and requires help from their environment is not an emotional vampire.

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How to identify an emotional vampire?

Emotional vampires have certain aspects in common such as emotional manipulation and lack of empathy, but they may take different forms. Here are some key features that can help us identify them.

  • They leave us feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or even low in spirits.

  • Strong narcissistic tendencies

  • They do not take responsibility for mistakes and tend to blame others.

  • They become victimized and find it difficult to face the challenges of life.

  • They minimize your problems.

  • They criticize and intimidate.

“The best way to realize and identify when we are dealing with an “emotional vampire” is by looking at how we feel when we are with them and after. These are the moments where our emotions they will be clearer and we will know how to say in a general way if this person contributes to my well-being or if he does the complete opposite ”, explains the expert in mental health.

Seven types of emotional vampires

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The psychologist assures that the number can vary depending on how they are grouped, but shares seven types:

  • the narcissist: According to Gabriella, he craves admiration and recognition. He lacks empathy and expects everything to be carried out according to his expectations and opinions. They have a limited ability to recognize or take others into account as their focus is their own well-being.
  • The critic: nothing you do, say, think or value will be suitable for this person. They also have the ability to talk to you with subtle affection and ironic paternalism to make you feel inferior.
  • The talker, the one who does not listen: He is not interested in what you have to say to him, in your thoughts or feelings. He just wants you to be there to listen to him, to be able to vent.

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  • The victim: The worst always happens to him and who the world has abandoned. His speech is always negative.
  • The controller: He will try to control almost obsessively every aspect of your life and make you feel that everything you need in your life is summed up in one thing: them or them.
  • The aggressive: They use anger and verbal or physical violence. A misunderstanding is enough for anger, contempt or that rage to appear. They are like a mined territory where we do not know how to act or what to say for fear that they will explode.
  • THE sarcastic: sarcasm can be a sophisticated language tool to bring that ironic edge out of life. However, there are people who use it to ridicule people, to humiliate in an elegant way.

Take care of yourself of an emotional vampire

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It is not always easy to identify them, but the specialist assures that when doing so it is up to you to assess whether you want to continue with the relationship or not. Here are some tips to handle these situations:

• Assertive communication. Make clear the situations and reasons for which they are responsible and express how these behaviors can affect us and what solutions we can come up with to avoid future conflicts.

• Set limits. These limits can be seen in different ways. We can put physical distance, or limit the frequency with which we deal with them, but they can also be verbal or non-verbal limits to certain behaviors that we do not like. Make it clear that this is not conduct we will tolerate.

• Put distance. There are situations where the healthiest and most necessary thing is to distance yourself.

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Emotional vampire: how to identify it?