'Energy vampires' are the friends that leave you feeling emotionally drained

  • People
  • Thursday, 08 Jun 2023

'Energy vampires' can make you feel anxious and emotionally drained because of their constant negative attitude. Photo: AFP

Who wouldn't be on hand to support a friend in their hardest moments? However, some people seem only to ask for our help when they have problems and then disappear when everything gets back on track.

When you come into contact with them, you feel exhausted, even drained of all energy. Meet the "energy vampires".

Recently, more and more posts have been appearing on TikTok with the "energy vampire" hashtag, which has almost 10 million views on the social media site.

People explain how they have felt exhausted and abandoned by their friends, who only seem to show up when something's wrong.

The metaphorical term "energy vampire" refers to a person who drains the mental and emotional energy of others. They are people who take advantage of a friend's listening skills and empathy to satisfy their own needs, and do not offer support in return. This term, used in the field of psychology, is now increasingly being used in the mainstream.

In an interview with Psych Central, trauma therapist Jasmine Cobb explains that these people are usually co-dependent. Their negative attitudes, complaints and demands for attention can drain the positive energy of others, leaving them emotionally depleted and empty.

This phenomenon can be similar to "trauma dumping", which describes the irrepressible need to share emotions related to traumatic events.

According to medical experts, this type of friendship is toxic, as it can lead to anxiety, sadness, stress, low self-esteem and even social isolation. To recognise this type of person, here are some signs that may indicate that you are dealing with an "energy vampire".

It is a person who demands a lot of attention, makes you feel anxious and tired after you have been in their company, is very self-centered and shows very little interest in you, blames others for everything, has a victim mentality, exaggerates all their problems, has a constant negative attitude and is rarely there for you.

In posts shared on TikTok, Internet users give advice on how to protect themselves from this type of friendship. A young user dubbed "theglowupsecrets" advises, for example, setting boundaries with this type of friend, and making a conscious choice not to divert all your energy and attention to that person.

You can also distance yourself from them, by not inviting them to interact with you anymore. Having a more neutral reaction to their problems can also help avoid them, as they are constantly looking for a reaction when they want your support.

In an interview with NBC News, Christiane Northrup, author of the book Dodging Energy Vampires, advises using a technique she calls the "broken wing" strategy. When the "energy vampire" tries to reach out to you, try telling them that you're feeling tired or under the weather.

"They will go to another source immediately," Northrup says. "They do not want to be around somebody who doesn’t have energy to give back." – AFP Relaxnews

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