We all have them. Sometimes they are psychic vampires. An example would be an abusive boss, who thrives on your fear of losing your job, or an abusive partner, who controls you through threats of losing your domestic stability.
An emotional vampire is someone you care about, and who cares about you, but continually does things that are harmful to your well-being without intent to harm you. These are the hoarders. The people suffering from addiction who don’t realize that their “little” habit harms you. The people who are perpetually broke when they should not be. The people who should know how to live as adults but can’t unless you help them.
How to deal with a psychic vampire: get away as quick as you can, then use the legal system against them if possible.
How to deal with emotional vampires: you can’t. I’m sorry. You can talk to them day after day, night after night, and the behavior that’s harmful to them and to you will never stop. That’s because you (probably) aren’t a medical professional. You have to find a way to live around these people. You have to mentally separate yourself from them. They will drive you mad in a different way than a psychic vampire. You care for or love the emotional vampire. You see the problem(s) they’re having. You suggest ways to change. You have earnest conversations with them about their problems. You make stronger suggestions. They pull away. You explain to them about the ways that their problems affect other people, including you. “I know,” “I don’t know where to start,” “It’s overwhelming.”
And it goes on and on and on.
An emotional vampire cannot envision another way of living. You can talk sternly, threaten to leave, leave, cut off contact, and it won’t make a difference.
The emotional and physical crap they’ve built up is beyond you. They need professional help. You’ll drive yourself to the cliff edge of insanity trying to get through to them. They hear it, they know it, but “it” is their routine. They honestly can’t see how it’s harmful to anyone.
You have to live your own life as much as possible. If you’re a caregiver for an emotional vampire, you should seek out family help so that you’re not carrying the load alone. If you are alone, contact your local senior center or Social Services. They may be able to give you information about respite care.
If you feel that you’re losing yourself to an emotional vampire, seek professional help, or at least reach out to friends.
And that thing you’ve been wanting to do . . . hang the picture. Go to the movie. Cut your hair. Grow out your hair. Get the tattoo. Buy the book. Write the book. You can do it. You have to enforce little pockets of time for yourself, and you’ll have to hear some bullshit about it afterward, but it’s all words. Do the thing you have to do for yourself, and above all, do not lose yourself.