Feeling drained? (Picture: Getty)
Looking out for one another is a key pillar in any emotional relationship – but not to an energy vampire.
These people tend to take and demand more than they give, so they can be difficult characters to forge a relationship with.
They don’t make for the healthiest or most balanced partners, so it’s important you recognise typical energy vampire behaviour in order to handle it best.
If, rather than leaving a relationship with an energy vampire, you’re keen work through things to establish a healthier relationship dynamic, there are simple steps to take that may trigger a shift.
How to spot an energy vampire
Spotting energy vampires in the wild is easy enough when you know what to look for.
Think of behaviours that involve taking time, attention, and effort from others, with little or nothing offered back in return.
An energy vampire will engineer situations to their own satisfaction and advantage, without much thought towards whoever else is involved (let alone their feelings).
There are some common signs to look out for – do any of them ring a bell?
- They’re always a part of the drama: In cases of conflict or drama, it isn’t unusual to find the energy vampire right at the centre of it. Their need for attention spans beyond the positive, which means that an energy vampire will have no problem receiving negative attention as well, as long as it means they are involved in any given situation.
- They need to be the centre of attention: An energy vampire will always feel the need to have all eyes on them, all the time. Their constant need for undivided attention may spread further than just their partner, and you may notice that they aim to capture the attention of everyone in the room.
- They always need to be right: Energy vampires possess many toxic traits, one being that they believe they are never wrong. If you find that your partner is stubborn, must win every argument, and exhibits an overall self-righteous attitude, you may be dealing with an energy vampire.
- They’re co-dependent: One of the most draining qualities of an energy vampire is their co-dependent nature. An overly co-dependent relationship can leave you feeling anxious to take care of your partner’s needs, guilty if you take any time for yourself, and generally unfulfilled in your own relationship. An energy vampire does exactly this, leaving you exhausted by their constant need for your attention.
Can you have a healthy relationship with an energy vampire?
Maria Sullivan, from Dating.com said: ‘An energy vampire is someone who drains you emotionally when you’re around them.
‘This can be anyone, including a best friend or romantic partner.
‘Energy vampires tend to take advantage of your time and can be demanding in their need for your undivided attention.
‘This is usually a one-way street where they don’t reciprocate a listening ear for their loved ones in return.’
Maria advises that the first thing is to set clear boundaries.
‘Communication is key and making your boundaries clear is a great first step towards a healthier relationship with your partner,’ she says.
‘Identify the ways that your partner’s behaviour is draining you and explain the limits of these actions, outlining what is okay and in what ways they take things too far.’
Once you’ve had this conversation, your partner needs to reassess their demands on you.
She continues: ‘After setting boundaries, your partner is expected to lower their expectations of what they should be getting out of the relationship.
‘While it’s normal to spend a time and effort focusing on your relationship, it should not be taking up the majority of your time or be the only thing that you focus on.
‘Once you identify that you are dealing with an energy vampire, be aware of the signs they show that hint towards the negative actions that they take in your relationship.
‘It can be hard to break old habits, so remember to be mindful of the things they do that show signs of being a draining partner and stop them as soon as possible.’
However, you can’t change a person – so you need to know where your personal line is and decide if breaking up is the best way forward for you.
What if you are the energy vampire?
Maybe the above feels familiar – not because you’ve experienced it, but because you can make others feel this way.
Maria says to ask yourself these questions:
- Are you offering support to your partner in the way that they’re offering it to you?
- Do you make time to ask about their day?
- Do you let them have time with their friends without you around?
She says: ‘If the answers are no, then it’s possible you are the energy vampire in the equation.
‘It’s always important to take a step back and assess your relationships to see how you might need to adjust your behavior to create healthier bonds.’
You don’t need to get down on yourself about it either, just take steps to nurture your partner better.
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