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Protecting your mental health from energy vampires at work and at home as year-end fatigue sets in

People that squander your emotional energy are known as energy vampires.

They take advantage of your desire to pay attention to and take care of them, leaving you worn out and overburdened.

Anyone and any place may be an energy vampire. They might be your partner or close friend. They can be your co-worker or a neighbour.

You may maintain your vitality and shield yourself from a great deal of emotional and physical discomfort by learning how to recognise and react to this poisonous behaviour.

“Energy vampires sap your energy. The conversation is always about them, and they want your undivided attention. They could have a pleasant, charismatic, and outgoing demeanour. They could also lie. They could be lying. And when anything goes wrong, it’s generally someone else’s responsibility,” explained psychotherapist Dr Judith Orloff.

She continues: “There are several varieties, and they range. There’s the egotistical drama queen friend who is constantly juggling crises. There is the cunning employee who won’t hesitate”.

Energy vampires all “feed on” (or manipulate) individuals who will give them room and an open ear, which is what makes them all similar.

Naturally, individuals who are sensitive, sympathetic, and always find the best in people are those who are most frequently targeted, according to Orloff – who also wrote “The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People,” a book on the subject.

Energy vampire is not presently a recognised clinical term or diagnosis.

However, energy vampire traits do correspond to “cluster B” personality disorders, which are fairly common and are characterised by people who tend to have dramatic, excessively emotional, or erratic thinking or behaviour, according to Dr Christiane Northrup, author of the recent book “Dodging Energy Vampires.” (Northrup focused on being an advocate for women’s health and wellness after 25 years of practising obstetrics and gynaecology.)

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is the diagnostic guidebook psychologists use to identify mental health disorders. Cluster B includes people with antisocial, borderline, and narcissistic personality disorders. Each of these disorders is a clinical diagnosis with quantifiable, specific traits.

She clarifies that there is no chemical imbalance in the brain or anything like that. However, she claims that people either lack or have a questionable moral conscience.

The extremes of these personality disorders’ continuum, such as psychopaths and sociopaths, are also included in Northrup’s definition of energy vampires. They are frequently talented but also cunning.

They have no qualms about consuming your positive, loving, and caring energy, she claims. They give you the impression that you are never offering enough.

Your mental health may suffer if you spend too much time around energy vampires. According to Northrup, the fact that energy vampires may be causes of ongoing stress is what makes them so hazardous.

Constantly having your energy sapped by that person is stressful, she adds, especially if the energy vampire is someone you can’t avoid, like a spouse, parent, or boss. “You have to be on guard around that individual at all times; you never know when the other shoe may drop.”

And it is widely recognised that this kind of ongoing stress negatively affects a number of bodily systems, including the immunological, cardiovascular, neuroendocrine, and central neurological systems.

According to research, those who experience chronic stress are more likely to experience chronic issues, including autoimmune illnesses, heart disease, obesity, and depression.

Keep in mind that protecting your energy and wellbeing while dealing with energy vampires is not selfishness; it is smart self-care, according to Orloff. By doing this, you may avoid feeling stressed out, unwell, and overwhelmed. This is how:

Establish healthy boundaries

Plan your actions appropriately by understanding which ones are effective and which ones are not. It might be manageable to meet that person for lunch or coffee, but asking them over to your place is simply too much. Set start and finish timings, advises Northrup.

Lower your expectations

If you’re dealing with a narcissist, you should be aware that they lack empathy for others, according to Orloff. Thus, don’t anticipate that from them. To prevent disappointment when they don’t provide you with the insight you’re seeking, don’t open your soul to them.

Understand the distinction between “emotional dumping” and “venting”

Everybody has to occasionally express their frustration. The frustrations, irritations, annoyances, unpleasant days, and unfavourable emotions of energy vampires are frequently vented on others.

It’s crucial to understand the difference between venting and dumping, which Orloff describes as being incomprehensible ranting, and being answerable for one’s part in the issue, so that you may sit inside the boundaries rather than just accepting it.

You are defending yourself, your health, and your general well-being by being aware of these behaviours and making an effort to stop them.

Nobody should be mistreated or utilised in this way. It’s not your obligation to carry the load of someone else’s refusal to accept responsibility for their own emotional development.

Read the latest issue of IOL Health digital magazine here.