You May Also Like

sia cooper of diary of a fit mommy

I’m a famously fit mom—and was shamed for it

6 lies the internet tells you when you Google your symptoms

6 lies the internet tells you when you Google your symptoms

Dr. Frank Lipman is my dad

What it’s like to grow up with a famous holistic medicine pioneer for your dad

The plant giant hogweed burns skin severely

Watch out, plant ladies and hikers: This weed causes severe burns upon contact

The ultimate summer self-care day

Your guide to the ultimate summer self-care day

Check out Emma Roberts' book list for summer

Emma Roberts gave 3 summer-reading recs to Nicole Richie—and you can steal ’em

How to deal if someone in your life is an “energy vampire”


Thumbnail for How to deal if someone in your life is an “energy vampire”
Pin It
Photo: Stocksy/Guille Faingold

Have you ever had a friend or family member who left you emotionally exhausted? Maybe they only called you when they needed to vent, or they were supportive one day and ultra-critical the next. Or perhaps they wore you down physically—to the point that you needed to clock some serious self-care time after hanging out with them.

If so, you’ve likely had a run in with what some experts call an “energy vampire.” This hungry-for-attention personality type is constantly looking for someone’s vitality to drain. And if you’re highly sensitive and tend to take on the emotions of others—AKA an empath—you’re a prime target.

 “All humans radiate energy, but empaths radiate a particular type of compassionate and understanding energy that can act as a delicious life blood for energy vampires,” writes Christiane Northrup, MD, in her new book, Dodging Energy Vampires“[Empaths] don’t know where they end and another begins.” They also have a strong desire to help—many work in healing professions—which leaves them susceptible to the calculated manipulations of energy vampires. 

But how do you know if you’re an empath? According to Dr. Northrup, the most common signs are “unusual sensitivity to sound, to smells, to crowds, [and] to violence.” And when faced with a vampire, your body will likely let you know. (Dr. Northrup, herself an empath, recalls a time she was so negatively affected by an energy vampire’s presence that she had to run to the bathroom to vomit.)

While the most sure-fire way for empaths to protect themselves is to sever all ties, that isn’t always a feasible solution—perhaps your energy vampire is a coworker or a close family member. In those cases, Dr. Northrup recommends a three-step approach to seal up your own “energy leaks,” no garlic required. 

Keep reading to learn how to protect yourself from people who drain your energy.

Energy vampires and how to keep them away
Photo: Stocksy/Michela Ravasio

Become boring

The energy vampire’s fuel—what Dr. Northrup calls the “narcissistic supply”—is the emotional boost they get from other people’s attention. By presenting the least-interesting version of yourself, they have nothing to draw upon. “The energy vampire will ignore you and go to someone else,” explains Dr. Northrup. And don’t worry about others not liking you for being dull or evasive. Your real friends will understand, Northrup says.

Learn to say no

Empaths have to fight the impulse to always be available, for self-preservation’s sake. But it’s easier said than done. “Saying ‘no’ immediately is a PhD-level skill,” says Dr. Northrup. “So what you do instead is you say, ‘Let me get back to you.’” That simple phrase will give you the time you need to decide whether you can (or should) be around that person, she says, and eventually help you get to “no.”

Confirm the vampire’s intention  

Even after practicing your “let me get back to you” and your “sorry, but no,” you may still feel compelled to give in to an energy vampire’s wants or needs. But before you say “yes” to any favors, ask a trusted friend what they think. Chances are, they’ll see the situation for what it really is: the energy vampire’s opportunity to lay into you once again.

Above all else, says Dr. Northrup, remember that you’re not alone and your empathic qualities are a strength, not a weakness. “What happens with most empaths is that we think we’re crazy because we’ve never been validated,” she says. “Nothing is wrong with you.” You’re just someone who needs to take the phrase “good vibes only” extra seriously. 

Here are more expert tips on how to set boundaries with the low-vibe people in your life. And if reading this left you exhausted, here’s how to recharge your energy.

Loading More Posts...

You May Also Like

The ultimate summer self-care day

Your guide to the ultimate summer self-care day

Tiffany's Graduation Gift Guide

9 invaluable gifts for recent grads (that they’ll *actually* like)

new mom meditation

This 10-minute meditation for new moms can help *anyone* relax

sia cooper of diary of a fit mommy

I’m a famously fit mom—and was shamed for it

Chrissy Teigen Vaginal Steaming

Yep, Chrissy Teigen tried vaginal steaming on for size—here’s what you need to know about the practice

Why a mid-life crisis is actually a good thing

Banish your fear of aging: Happiness actually *increases* after your midlife “crisis”