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Last Updated on November 27, 2020

9 Types of Emotional Vampires to Protect Yourself From

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9 Types of Emotional Vampires to Protect Yourself From

Let’s start off by saying that not all emotional vampires are bad people. Sometimes, they don’t even realize what they are doing. After reading this, you could realize that you have been an emotional vampire to someone. That is not to say that they cannot be vindictive, mean, and cruel, but it is always important to note that they are also just human, and humans are flawed and make mistakes, and that is okay.

What Are Emotional Vampires?

If you have an emotional vampire in your life, it is easy to recognize when you know what to look for. If you interact with someone who routinely makes you feel anxious, stressed, overwhelmed, intimidated, and depressed, you have a vampire. They are called this because they suck up the happiness inside you, like orange juice out of a carton, and then discard you when you are empty.

It’s important to understand that you will never be enough for an energy vampire.

They are trying to fill an endless chasm inside themselves, and no matter how much they try and take from you, it is never enough, because the thing they need to feel better comes from within.

What Are the Signs of an Emotional Vampire?

There are several ways to recognize things you yourself do when you’re around an emotional vampire. For example, these are the 8 things emotional vampires do:

  1. They never take accountability for their actions, you are always the problem.
  2. They always have to be the best.
  3. They criticize everything.
  4. There is always drama.
  5. They use guilt trips.
  6. They act like a martyr.
  7. They play down your problems and talk about themselves and their issues.
  8. They spout mean comments that make you uncomfortable.

In addition to the above signs, if you’ve experienced any of the following symptoms, it’s likely you’re around an emotional vampire:

1. You Feel Anxious, Exhausted, or Depressed

If you feel any of these things after spending time with someone, it could be a huge red flag that the person is an emotional vampire. Any friends you spend time with regularly should act to increase your happiness and positive outlook on life. If the opposite is happening, don’t let it continue.

2. You Feel Put Down and Disrespected

If a person regularly makes you feel “less than” or like you’ve done something wrong when you haven’t, they’re likely an emotional vampire. Something inside them feels wrong, so they try to make you feel the same way.

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3. People Tell You This Person Is Bad for You

Sometimes you can’t recognize when someone is sucking the happiness from your life, but others can. If more than one person points out that a particular person is having a negative effect on your life, it’s time for you to do some analysis as well.

4. You Complain About This Person

If you find yourself constantly saying negative things about someone after spending time with them, that’s a big indicator that the person may be an emotional vampire. If the person is good for you, you’ll find it difficult to identify anything wrong with them.

How to Deal With the 9 Types of Emotional Vampires

The first thing you have to know is that you can’t control their behavior. You need to understand that and know you aren’t responsible for their actions, only your own.

The second thing you need to do is, if possible, walk away, cut out, or distance yourself from your emotional vampire. You can’t change them, you can only protect yourself.

Despite your best efforts, some vampires are unavoidable[1], so here is a list of the types of vampires and how to protect yourself from each of them when they cross your path.

The Narcissist

This is the most dangerous of the vampires. These sorts of people don’t have empathy, and they simply don’t care about your feelings.

When dealing with a narcissist, you have to understand that they are what they are, and that is an emotionally limited person. They do not feel as much as you do. You can’t expect them to be something they are not; it will exhaust you.

Lower the boundary of what you expect from them and know your worth. Emotionally distance yourself from them, and focus on making sure your self-esteem and value come from yourself and not from pleasing them. Once you focus on pleasing yourself, the narcissist’s power over you will weaken.

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The Victim

We all know the victim, someone who is constantly talking about all the bad things that has happened to them. The person that when you offer advice, they have no interest in solving their problems. Eventually, they may grow to blame you for their problems, even though they are of their own doing.

They key thing to note with this vampire is that you can’t actually help them fix their problems. Let go of the idea that you can actually help them, because you can’t, and it isn’t your responsibility or your job.

With the victim, protecting yourself is always about creating a healthy boundary. They will try and keep you in conversations, but you have to kindly but abruptly cut them off after a few minutes to avoid being sucked in to their constant negativity.

The Controller

This is the vampire that wants you to do your things its way. It wants to control how you do things, what you say, what you do, and eventually, who you are. They will comment with things that they think you should be doing and saying it’s in “your best interest.”

You may have met this one before; they will try and make subtle suggestions and encourage ways they want you to be and will leave you feeling fake. They will also invalidate all of your feelings when they aren’t suited to them.

When dealing with a controller, this is where assertiveness can come in. You can be assertive and kind at the same time. Just thank the person for their advice, but say you are doing things this way because it feels more authentic. Don’t be afraid to stand up to a controller and say “thank you but no.” They have no right to tell you how to live your life.

The Chatterbox

At some point in your life, you will have come across the chatterbox. This is a person who just constantly talks about themselves, their lives, their problems, and drama around them, and if you try and talk about yourself, the conversation swiftly comes back to them.

The chatterbox, in essence, isn’t interested in you or your feelings; you are just an audience to record and dictate their life so they feel heard, validated, and important. Unfortunately, that can leave you feeling like your relationship is one-sided, drained, unimportant, and ignored.

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The best way to protect yourself from the chatterbox is direct communication. They do not respond to soft cues like attempts to change the conversation. You have to talk to them directly but politely to change the topic of conversation to something more positive.

The Drama Llama

There is no way you haven’t met the drama llama. This person will make everything into the biggest deal ever. Everything will be a problem or a thing, even something completely unnecessary, like the fact someone didn’t see them in the street and wave back.

With the drama llama, it really does depend on the context in which the llama is in your life and how the drama is affecting you. The most effective way is to not get involved or invested in their conversations. If you get caught in one, excuse yourself quickly and find a more positive person to chat with. Try to distance yourself from gossiping as well; it will help you not be drawn into the drama.

The Judge

The judge is a vampire that constantly judges other people, and no one is free from their scrutiny. They will judge everyone, and they leave you wondering what they say about you behind your back. The judger is one of the most toxic people to have around because, when they judge, they have nothing positive to say. They will leave you feeling insecure, pathetic, and even small.

With the judge, this is all on you. Just because someone is critical towards you doesn’t mean you have to care. The judge is critical for the sake of being critical; there is nothing constructive about it. So you can choose not to value what they have to say.

The judge tries to chip away at your self-worth because they are struggling with a lack of that themselves, but we know that true self-worth comes from within. Refuse to take what the judge says personally, and don’t get defensive with their comments. Keep a cool head, because if they know you feel hurt by what they said, they win.

The Critic

This person is the one who always has a critique about you or anything around them. Nothing is ever good enough, so they will always nitpick and make unnecessary, rude comments. You will start to notice that they have nothing nice to say about anyone, and their only dialogue is rude and critical. Nothing is ever good enough or even passable; it is always bad.

When dealing with the critic, you have to not take what they say personally and remember that they are just taking out their negative feelings and problems on you. Don’t get defensive. With the critic, remember you give power to what you give attention to. Don’t give their critiques attention, and always pivot the conversation to a positive alternative.

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The “I Am Better Than You”

This is the person who is always trying to one up you. No matter what, they have done it bigger and better than you. This one is the most annoying to have around because their whole intention is to make you feel small. This vampire will leave you feeling insecure, small, exhausted, and anxious.

You have to understand that, with this vampire, it comes from a deep-rooted insecurity that they are not good enough. Encouraging and reassuring them doesn’t work with this vampire because they have an almost false big ego, so you will just be feeding that fake ego. They need to find validation from within.

But for you, you need to make sure that you are reassuring yourself that you are good enough. They will do their best to make you feel worthless and insecure. If you do want them to feel better, give them genuine, real compliments about their self-worth, reminding them that they are important and they matter. Just make sure you are reminding yourself of that first.

The Innocent

I always see this one as the second most dangerous vampire because you never see them coming. The innocent vampire is someone who is just a little helpless, and you just help out now and then, but it spirals out of control. Soon, they are dependent and expectant upon you to help them, and it drains you to a crisp.

The innocent is a vampire that feeds on your compassion and empathy, and they can often not see the line because you haven’t enforced it. You let them cross the line over and over again, and they had no idea they were asking too much, especially since you probably encouraged it by saying that it was no trouble.

It doesn’t make you a bad person to say no to helping people, especially people who have taken advantage of your hospitality. Defending against this type of vampire is drawing a line, a boundary, and enforcing it. This can be hard, but the reality is that they need to become self-sufficient, and you can encourage that all while drawing a thick line.

Final Thoughts

If you have read this, and one of these vampires reminded you of someone in your life, I cannot emphasize enough how much you should walk away from them. I know it can be hard, and you can often feel obligated to this person, but walking away is the best thing for both of you. You do not need this negativity in your life. Put yourself and your mental health first, and do what you need to do to maintain your happiness and positivity.

More on Creating Healthy Relationships

Featured photo credit: Beniamin Şinca via unsplash.com

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Jade Nyx

Qualified Life Coach

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

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How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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