A couple of years ago a coworker introduced me to the term “psychological vampire.” For the longest time, I thought this was a clever term my coworker had made up, but a quick Google search reveals that this is a phenomenon many people have experienced.
Basically, a psychological (aka emotional or energy) vampire feeds off the energy of other people. But rather than a synergistic or symbiotic situation, wherein both people come away from the experience energized and happy, the vampire leaves his/her victim feeling drained, exhausted, and often depressed. When I first heard the term and its accompanying definition, I could not believe how well it fit some people in my life at the time. Individuals who operate as psychological vampires are usually immature, self-absorbed, and shallow people who believe everyone’s attention and time should be spent on them. They often use and manipulate people to get what they want. When a friend or relative is no longer useful, the psychological vampire will discard that person and look for a fresh victim.
I’ve been thinking about this term lately and wondering if the psychological vampire even KNOWS that he/she is sucking the life from the people around him/her. Are psychological vampires aware of their behaviors? Also, is a person a psychological vampire ALL the time, or can a person experience phases where they become more clingy, needy, and manipulative because of difficult or stressful circumstances?
I guess I’ve been thinking about this because someone recently insinuated that I was needy and demanding. I made the most pathetic mistake of trying to find friends on Craigslist – yeah, I know – and was exchanging emails with a woman who sounded like she had a lot in common with me. We made tentative plans to meet but when I emailed to confirm those plans, she did not reply for over a week. Then, she cancelled. When I suggested that maybe she did not have time in her schedule at that point for friendships, she went off on me saying I had insulted her and then insinuated I was needy and demanding.
Though I apologized for, apparently, wording my concerns badly, I never heard from her again. Since then, I’ve wondered if I am perhaps something of a psychological vampire without realizing it. I tend to shy away from friendships anyway because of disappointing and hurtful experiences in the past so perhaps when I meet someone I would LIKE to become friends with, I overcompensate. What do you guys think, can someone be a psychological vampire without meaning to?
Just in case you find YOURSELF in the clutches of one of these soul-suckers, here is an interesting article I found on World of Psychology about how to defend against their vampiric ways.
On an up note, I did later meet ANOTHER woman through Craigslist. She is a fellow writer and, though we are not best friends or soul-mates, I do enjoy her company and feel we have a lot of things in common. Thus far she still seems to like hanging out with me.
So, using Craigslist to find friends can sometimes yield pleasant results… just saying.