So, you’re buoyed up with enthusiasm and you’re ready to take on the world with your big plans and your optimistic attitude.
Then you meet that person. The one you know is going to make it all feel so very very wrong. You spend a few minutes with them and you part with no enthusiasm left, just a sense that things aren’t as rosy as once you’d hoped, that the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence and that actually the world is one big bitter pill wrapped in woes and sorrow.
So what happened? Guess what? You just met the Emotional Vampire.
For anyone wanting to get on with their lives in an enthusiastic way, the Vamp can be a real headache. At work the Vamp can sap the morale of a team, and in your personal life they can simply stop you living happily.
Identifying the Vamp
Unlike traditional vampires, the Emotional Vamp does come out in daytime. However, their glassy eye and down demeanour is often a giveaway.
Not always, though. Some Vamps have an initially smiley attitude – it’s only when they start indirectly revealing their limiting beliefs and fears that you realise they just aren’t someone to spend too much time with.
Vamps can be identified by the way they shoot down ideas and suppress free thinking. Very often preoccupied with their own negativity, they are unable to respond to others’ ideas and interact in a positive, supportive way. You’ll often feel with a Vamp that you are trying to wade through treacle in conversations, and that you’re really not connecting. Think J K Rowling’s Dementors, and you’re in the right area.
What to do about a Vamp
Nowadays, driving a stake through a Vamp’s heart is frowned upon in polite society.
Other tactics can be broken into three distinct categories: avoidance, deflection and full frontal assault.
If you know that someone has a moaning “rainy Sunday afternoon mood” at all times, it’s easier to deal with them by not dealing with them at all.
Avoidance means they don’t get to rain their wet weekend on you. Simply being too busy to engage with a Vamp is as good a tactic as any Deflection
If the Vamp is part of a team you manage and you have to work with them, you can also try deflection. Bounce the Vamp off to run a project separate from the team. This at least frees the team to do other things in a more positive atmosphere.
Full Frontal Assault
If you are skilled in keeping a positive frame of mind and you want to try turning your Vamp around, then there are several ways to do it.
Very often a Vamp will have a passion, and you need to get them talking about it. You can use NLP to anchor positive emotions and get them to revisit those emotions on a regular basis.
Be warned though. For many Vamps, the world is all dust and ashes, so subtlety may not work. In this case, you could simply be clear that their behaviour is unacceptable. Give them examples of how their behaviour affects others. An appeal to reason will work for some.
Do remember that the Emotional Vampire is often someone with personal problems affecting their mood. Some Vamps are Vamps because they suffer from undiagnosed depression.
This requires real, professional help to set them right and find the happiness inside. That said, it is also your job to protect yourself. Some friendships and relationships can be toxic. It’s your judgement to decide which are worth keeping and which are not.
Finally – Good luck. And remember: a Vampire hates sunshine, so keep a bright sunny smile with you at all times of day and night!
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