We spend so much time on our own self development and struggling to work with our own demons we forget other people have them too. Their demons may be just like ours or something completely different. We can sometimes help each other to develop and isn’t it great when someone knows how hard it be? But every now and then we get a person who is holding us back, draining us and using us, but we often cannot see it. These are our own personal vampires, an emotional vampire.
So how do you know when you have an emotional vampire in your life? Firstly you are so tired after being with them, you may even think you are coming down with something; some can make you feel ill. When you are with them you need to smoke more, drink more or eat more, they encourage you so then they can use it against you. You know the comments like ‘haven’t you put on weight’ or ‘going grey?’ Then of course you feel anxious, nervous or just sad when you know you are going to see them, but something keeps you hanging on, maybe they weren’t always like this, maybe you feel you owe them, but the emotional vampire makes you feel at best flat.
There are differing kind of emotional vampire too, there is the one who is all about themselves, me first, you don’t matter and unconditional love for you is not going to happen. Then there is the controller, they need to be in control of everything, where you, when you, what you ‘should’ wear, but worse than this they want to control, what you think and feel and they know better that you do about what you need. Sentences that start with ‘I know what you need to do’ show a controller in your life. Some just love the sound of their own voice, you have no chance to get a word in edge ways and if you did they would not be listening. You feel smothered, bored and frustrated when you are with them. Then there is the amateur (well almost Oscar winning) dramatic in your life, you know them, for attention they will turn every mole hill in a mountain, every issue is a life changer and woe be tide you if you want to do something that affects them. Finally there will always be a victim emotional vampire, ‘woe is me’ and no matter how much you try to help them there will always be a ‘yes but…’, they will constantly need you to listen but will never help themselves.
So all together you can see why they are so draining, they subconsciously work to lower your self esteem to their level; they will undermine you and try to belittle you by whatever method they favour. It’s not personal this is how they have learnt to cope with life – to feel good someone has to feel bad.
If you recognize a vampire in your life you have choices, you can simply walk away from them but often this is easier said than done. Set your own personal boundaries around their behaviour especially if you have a controller or a victim, tell them you will do what you want and you know what’s best for you, limit your time listening and being there. If you have a ‘me first’ vampire it will be harder as you need to ensure you are not there just to stroke their ego, do not let them into your deepest feelings as they will us them at some point and protect your self-worth at all times. With the talker you have to interrupt them to be heard or negotiate time for you to speak, hard as that maybe. As for the dramatic emotional vampire simply stay calm and do not join in, they will try to hook you back with even more drama but when you don’t react they finally give it up.
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