There’s a reason why you feel so tired after hanging out with that particular friend
An ‘energy vampire’ can make any friendship or relationship with them tiring and exhausting. In order to deal with them, you need to know what signs indicate this type of toxic relationship.
Is there something about your friend that you just can’t put your finger on? You love her but you never feel energised after interacting with her as you do with your other friends. In fact, you ask yourself, “Why am I so tired?” after a few minutes with her. You could even feel guilty for feeling that way.
Toxic relationships don’t just apply to romantic relationships, as this type of person shows up in friendships, too.
Dealing with an energy vampire, refers to the person depleting you emotionally in ways that are subtle at times or overt. Their emotional instability affects you in ways that are draining and uncomfortable, leaving you weak and exhausted.
If this is the case, it’s time to recognise the signs of a toxic relationship so you can deal with them in a way that won’t leave you so lethargic.
Here are some signs your friend is an energy vampire who sucks the fun out of your life:
1. You feel drained by their one-sided conversation
You realise that the last time you hung out with your friend, she spent the entire time talking about herself.
She went on and on about everyone and everything that is wrong in her life. She talked and talked and never left enough air in the conversation to allow you to respond to her predicaments. If she did allow you time to speak, she didn’t listen to your response.
The conversation felt one-sided… because it was.
2. They rarely ask you how you are
An energy vampire may give you a cursory “How are you?”, but they probably won’t listen for your answer. If they do listen, it’s to hear how your response relates to them.
They’re so self-absorbed that they cannot hear what you have to say. You’re left feeling alone and worn out. You feel like you should have just stayed at home.
Toxic relationships don’t just apply to romantic relationships. In fact, this type of person shows up in friendships, too
3. You leave your conversations feeling uneasy
When you leave the presence of an energy vampire, you will feel off-centre. You may feel depressed by their negative remarks and incessant talking about themselves, and the terrible state of the world as they see it.
Then you feel bad about feeling this way. You like (and may even love) this person, but you feel conflicted by your response to them. You may feel sorry for them, angry with them and compassionate towards them at the same time.
It can be very confusing.
4. You feel anxious or nervous when with them
Have you ever walked into a room and felt instantly anxious? You didn’t feel that way before you met your friend for lunch, but you feel it now and maybe it’s overwhelming.
There are several explanations for this.
You could feel nervous when you see this person. You may feel like you’re walking on eggshells, afraid to say something that sets them off.
You might have something you really need to talk about but you’re certain they won’t honour your need to be heard. This can be anxiety-provoking.
Another reason is that you pick up on their anxiety, because you’re empathetic and sensitive to the emotions of others, particularly your loved ones. Often, energy vampires have a very shaky sense of self. They may be in turmoil all the time and you feel their inner angst too.
5. You avoid phone calls or spending time with them
Her name comes up on your phone and you dodge the call.
You feel bad for not answering but you know you don’t want to talk to her. You just can’t take it. You know the conversation is always the same – about her and her world of drama and trauma.
You feel left out of the conversation, because you are.
When it comes to spending time with the energy-draining person in your life, you find that you meter out your visits. You only have so much energy and attention for this kind of relationship.
The hard part for you is feeling bad about your fatigue and exhaustion.
Leaving a friendship can be very difficult but it can also be liberating
Now that you know this person in your life is an energy vampire, what can do you about it?
You may want to start with a discussion with this person, depending on how important they are to you.
Your friend might love to talk to you and can’t wait for that opportunity, so she lets rip. She simply may not know that it’s a problem. She may be very happy to adjust her behaviour to be more mindful of you and your relationship.
Chances are that an emotional vampire is emotionally unstable and highly narcissistic. If this is the case, and you feel she would not be responsive to talking about the dynamics of your relationship, you could consult a therapist about how to speak with her, as a discussion of this nature may be shattering for both of you without professional help. Feeling that out before you have a talk with your friend might be the best answer for you.
You may want to seek therapy for yourself to learn how to talk to her and to address your side of the relationship.
You may be quiet in her presence because you’re overwhelmed by her.
You may be a people pleaser who wants everyone else to be happy, so you don’t share how you’re feeling for fear that it will make things confrontational and uncomfortable for both of you.
It’s always important to look at the dynamics of your relationships and your personal contribution.
In some cases, you may want to end the friendship altogether. It may not be worth your while to continue in a friendship of this nature. There might not be a big enough pull to be around this person. You may even feel that this person is detrimental to your well-being.
Leaving a friendship can be difficult but it could be liberating. While I don’t advocate leaving every friendship that feels uncomfortable, some will never work and may be holding you back.
Energy vampires can make you feel like the life has been sucked out of you. This terrible feeling does not have to be your reality. There are solutions and finding the right one for you will be the best one.
Dr. Meg Haworth helps women abuse survivors get to the emotional root cause of their illnesses and release them through mind-body techniques and transpersonal psychology. Visit her website to get her free e-book, 10 Steps to Overcoming the Effects of Victimization, and take the ACE Quiz.
This article was first published on YourTango.
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