By Eric Charles, MA., PhD-c
“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” ~Unknown
1. Don’t be guilted or show pity
Emotional vampires are great at using guilt or pity to control and manipulate others. If you show any sign of guilt or pity, you become an easy target. It is important to be decisive, direct and non-reactive when dealing with emotional vampires. Remember, emotional vampires can be quite charming. Establishing boundaries early will help. But, don’t be afraid to set a new precedent with an emotional vampire, even if you know they will react negatively. Set an intention that you will not be an emotional prisoner to anyone.
2. Replenish yourself after every interaction
After interacting with an emotional vampire it is common to feel completely drained. It is important to keep this in mind before skipping the evening walk or jog that always seems to make you feel better. Ask yourself, am I physically or just emotionally exhausted? Of course, sometimes it can be both. But, sometimes it is an emotional exhaustion that our body can still physically push through. Be honest with yourself and challenge the urge to want to crawl up into a ball and disappear. You don’t need to do that. Remember, a nice sweat can help dissolve much of a day’s tension.
3. Remember to smile
Beat them with a smile and a positive attitude. Make eye contact and don’t flinch. If necessary, count the number of the times they blink their eyes during conversation. This will help you hold a confident gaze as you show them you are not intimidated. You are not in this world to be bullied, manipulated, used or put down. If you are a sloucher, stop it. Emotional vampires are experts at spotting weakness. Say to yourself or out loud, “I will stand up for myself. I won’t be bullied, manipulated, used or put down by anyone.”
4. Slow it down with rational responses
There is nothing more frustrating to an emotional vampire than a person who does not react to their behavior. Stop being surprised by how awful an emotional vampire can be. Yes, they are insecure, often lonely and obnoxious people. Instead of being surprised that people like this exist, focus your energy on slowing down and responding rationally. Remember, emotional vampires want to catch you off guard any way they can even if that means being blatantly offensive. They are desperate to see you react. Don’t feed them.
5. Know what your goals are
When interacting with an emotional vampire it is important to know what your goals are. Do not let yourself become entangled in the emotional drama that accompanies all emotional vampires. Maybe you just need to get some checks signed. If that is the case then that is your only goal. Anything other than accomplishing the goal is unimportant. Don’t let yourself be drawn in to their drama. Smile, be courteous and finish the job.
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