Feeling drained? Are you on a vampire’s menu?

“Emotional vampire” (EV) has become a popular term for toxic people who deprive us of our energy; our sense of humour; our emotional safety and our ability to engage in self-care.

The analogy of a vampire is a good one. Your typical EV may not look like Nosferatu, indeed they can appear as a charming Count or Countess, but these suckers really can drain the figurative lifeblood out of you. They could also be draining you financially, or if not now, they plan to.

A favourite target of energy-sucking EVs is the “empath”; a highly sensitive person who is good natured, kind and friendly, with a sympathetic, listening ear.

Cloaked in negativity

EVs come in many shapes and sizes and span the sociological spectrum; from needy, demanding relatives; gossipy friends or neighbours, to the incessant complainers in your workplace. If you are unfortunate, an EV may be your partner, and woe betide you if you don’t take their side, because vampire energy will attempt to dominate, manipulate and intimidate into getting its way, making a sensitive empath feel depressed, fatigued and belittled.

So how do you protect yourself?

EVs often use sob stories to tap the energy of an empath who typically enters a relationship with the EV thinking they can help, yet they often end up giving all of their energy (and usually much more) to this parasitic individual who believes their needs are more important than everyone else’s.

EV go home!

Here’s ten emotional vampire traits to watch out for.

  1. They always hijack the topic of conversation
  2. If the focus isn’t on them, they’ll try to switch it their way
  3. Endless talking, dominating the narrative
  4. They love gossip, thriving on turmoil and drama
  5. Persistent moaning about everything (complaining in restaurants a favourite)
  6. Take no responsibility for their behaviour; it’s always someone else’s fault
  7. Need incessant validation and you must agree with their opinions
  8. Disagreement causes them to physically scowl (they seek to control with a ‘specific look’) and react with intimidation
  9. They emit negativity and suck the joy from your life (or money from your bank account)
  10. They constantly demand from you, but find excuses when you ask anything from them

Vampires hate competition from other vampires, so they tend to be lone predators who isolate emotionally sensitive individuals to feed off. Too often, they are classic bullies and their presence is a common denominator in many domestic and workplace disputes. Recognising and dealing with them is just one component of effective Leadership and Management training.

I run a range of courses designed to deliver positivity into the lives of individuals and businesses, to create both wellbeing at home and in the workplace, focusing on managing difficult conversations, building resilience and resolving disputes through managing conflict.

My message is this: Do not let a vampire boss, colleague, neighbour or family member bully you and emotionally drain the joy from your life. If you are an empath, you are a real asset to those around you, but don’t be taken for a sucker. Here’s some tips to get vampires flying back to their coffins.

  • Be polite but firm when they start demanding things you don’t want to give
  • Control your emotions by remaining calm, refusing to react to their criticism: The moment you emotionally react to a hurtful put down, they wallow in it.
  • Ask them for ideas on “solutions” rather than “complaints”. You’ll see they haven’t got any when they wander off mumbling.
  • Have a cheerful demeanour toward them. It confuses and neutralises their angst
  • Spend time with uplifting people who fill you with positive energy and if a vampire is there don’t let yourself get sucked into their negative energy field
  • Decrease the time you spend with them if they don’t change their discouraging ways (difficult if it’s a colleague, boss or a partner)
  • Focus on being upbeat; a good defence against their leechlike behaviour

Personally, I love a challenge! Through Carol Barwick Learning and Development Ltd., I provide a wide range of bespoke training courses to help you manage the most important aspects of workplace communication including dealing with vampires and workplace bullies. If you recognise some of these behaviours in someone close to you (or perhaps even yourself) and want to deal with them, contact me or book one of my popular, great value masterclasses for your corporate team below:

Conflict Resolution Masterclasses

The following three masterclasses provide powerful tools and techniques to deal with the most commonly encountered problems in conflict resolution:

  1. Managing Difficult Conversations

A dynamic and practical masterclass full of techniques, tools and tips in how to remain calm, confident and in control.

Essential tools and techniques designed to help you manage difficult situations. Ideal for front facing staff who deal with vulnerable customers displaying a wide range of emotions from threats of suicide to depression to anger. Help staff listen, respond and handle reactive and unpredictable situations positively, reducing stress and anxiety, to maintain team resilience and wellbeing.


  1. Understanding & Managing Conflict, Threat and Physical Violence

This practical masterclass delivers essential techniques and tips in how to remain calm, safe and in control when working with challenging groups and individuals.

Training focuses on ‘Step Away Tactics’ and provides the basis for sound application of the participant’s natural strengths and the foundation for further skills development. It takes account of current UK law and applying the existing policy framework at the time of delivery.


  1. Understanding and Managing Challenging Behaviour

A high energy, practical masterclass packed full of techniques, tools and tips in how to remain calm, confident and controlled in all situations.

This masterclass is a fast-paced mixture of facilitator-led discussion and debate, group exercises and personal reflections on participants’ historic and future approaches to a range of real-life work situations.