Monday, July 25, 2011

Controlling, Critical and Splitter Vampires

The last three vampire types according to Dr. Judith Orloff are:

The Controlling Vampire-
This vampire starts sentences with “You know what you need to do about that is…..” 

They want to tell you how to feel and what to do and who you are supposed to be. 

Remember the movie Sleeping With the Enemy? 

Yeah, like him. 

Things need to be a certain way- his way, or they are wrong. 

There are policies and procedures that only he knows, but he thinks his yardstick is the only one to measure by. 

He’s not really controlling in his eyes, he’s just right.

How can he help it?

Controller Kryptonite-


Thank the controller vampire for their concern or input, and then tell them that you’d like to try it your way.  

Or, hmm, I didn’t think of it that way.  

Or- how interesting! 

Then walk away.  

Do not get into a pissing contest with a controller vampire- they have a will of steel and will argue their point until a murder/suicide feels like a good option. 

The Critical Vampire-

A close cousin of the controlling vampire is the criticizing vampire, who feels it is their mission to let you know just where you fall short and where you need improvement. 

They really feel they are being helpful by judging you and giving “constructive feedback” because if they don’t tell you, how will you ever improve? 

When you’re in the presence of a critical vampire, your self-esteem goes into the toilet, you question your worth, your choices and your sanity.

It’s all the more confusing because many times this vampire is someone close to you who is telling you for your “own good”. 

Critical Kryptonite-


Tell the criticizer that you hear what they are saying, but when they behave in a critical manner, it makes it hard for you to listen. 

Let them know that their criticism doesn’t feel helpful, the source and think about how hard it must be for the criticizer to live in their own head, where they are way more critical of themselves than they are of you.  

Don’t beat yourself up if that doesn’t really make you feel any better, but just consider it.

The Splitter Vampire-

This borderline personality disorder of a vampire sees things in black and white, good and bad, love and hate- with nothing in between. 

First you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread, then you are the hair in their soup. 

This vampire is skilled at pitting people against each other, spreading lies, acting out in hateful rages, and keeping people off balance for fear of inciting their wrath. 

They give mixed messages like “I hate you/Don’t leave me.” 

Dealing with a splitter vampire will keep you unsettled, nervous, feeling persecuted and guarded with your true feelings. 

You do not want to get on the wrong side of this vampire.

Splitter Kryptonite-


Expect nothing from this person because you can expect anything  from this person. 

Go into any interaction with this person with your big huge imaginary bubble of white light around you and try to remain in your most peaceful state of neutrality. 

Refuse to be taken by surprise and expect the unexpected.  

If all else fails, run!

Remember that you choose who you spend your time with, where you work and who you love.  

Do not accept an emotional vampire’s negativity by playing by their rules.

Exercise your right to self-determination and spend time with those who nurture you, support you, make you laugh, and make you feel seen and heard.
You deserve no less.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

The Narcissist and Victim Vampires

Dr. Judith Orloff identifies five emotional vampire types in her book “Emotional Freedom”.

They are:
1) The Narcissist
2) The Victim 
3) The Controller
4) The Criticizer 
5) The Splitter

The Narcissist Vampire-
You know that joke-“Enough about me, what do YOU think about me?” 

Yup, that’s a narcissist. 

Everything is about them.

They believe they are extremely special, love the spotlight, and feel very entitled to attention and admiration. 

They are dangerous because they lack empathy and have a very limited ability to love. 

The Narcissist Vampire can be very charming- but it’s a ruse to obtain your sympathy, attention, admiration, soul...

Narcissist Kryptonite- DISINTEREST.

Do NOT try to please this person- you will end up in an inescapable black hole of emotional need. 

You will never measure up, do enough, or be enough. 

Make sure that you keep your boundaries up, yourself centered, and do not fall for any new bait- which consists of more drama and emotional hooks.

The Victim Vampire-
Debby Downer or Needy Neighbor.

“Poor me, woe is me, everyone is mean to me, I am a martyr, and nothing is ever my fault.” 

It’s always someone else putting him in a bad situation. 

“I’m the black sheep, I never get promoted, I never get to do what I want, other people are trying to keep me down, they’re jealous of me...etc.” 

Here in America, victimhood is a choice- but you’d never know it coming from this vampire. 

You’ll know you’ve hit your limit with a victim if you never want to answer her calls, stall making plans,
feel drained by her requests for time, assistance or attention, her neediness pulls you into a funk.

Victim Kryptonite- DISENGAGEMENT.

You can say, “I’m sorry that happened and I can see you are very upset about this situation. I can listen for a few minutes- but you need to come up with a strategy to overcome this problem.” 

Feeling sorry for our selves rarely helps anything, so suggest a serving of gratitude with a helping of optimism and call it a day.

Next time we will look at controller and criticizer vampires.

Friday, July 8, 2011

How to Combat an Emotional Vampire

Within the last several years, it seems that all things “vampire” have become cool- the wildly successful Twilight series, True Blood, etc. 

With one exception, the emotional vampire. 

Dr. Judith Orloff  defines them as “people who suck the serenity and optimism right out of you.” 

Dr. Martha Beck calls them “emotional  muggers”. 

No matter what you call them, you know one when you see one-or rather, know one when you feel one, but unfortunately, we may not be able to pry ourselves out of their desperate grasp until the damage is already done. 

Depending on the skill of the vampire at hand, it could be hours or days until you start to feel like yourself again.  

Here are the signs you are in the clutches of an emotional vampire:

-You get the urge to bolt, but for some reason feel like you are standing in quicksand.

-You are afraid to seem impolite, and keep thinking of possible ways you can get out of the conversation.

-You feel that you are supposed to care about or feel sorry for the person speaking, but you don’t.

-You may be asking yourself, “Why is this person telling me this?”

-Your gut is screaming “DANGER”, but you remain strangely passive and unsure of yourself.

-You feel sleepy, very sleepy.

-You may feel attacked or “slimed”.

-You may get the urge to drink or eat some comfort food.

I always tell my clients to pay attention to how they feel when they leave a person, group or environment. 

If you leave an interaction feeling any of the above mentioned ways, ask yourself what about it caused you to feel icky. 

If you see a pattern where you usually feel “icky” after you see someone- it’s time for a relationship evaluation. 

The vampire brings you in with a tentacle, attaches with a vice-like grip, and holds on until you are sucked under.  

They do it by hooking you with drama, stirring up your emotions, or pushing your buttons.  

I was recently facilitating a group where a woman decided it was time to tell her story after the group was gathering their things to leave.

She launched into a drama filled rant where she carefully left breadcrumbs of worry for her safety, leading us to ask her if she needed a restraining order. 

It was only a few minutes into her story before I realized this woman was an energy vampire.  

She continued to talk ad nauseum and undeterred, even after participants were leaving the meeting! 

It was only after several facilitators stood up and pushed in our chairs that she stopped talking. 

I left feeling like I’d been held hostage, slimed, and depleted.
The next morning I still felt crappy, and then remembered what this vampire told us she did for a living. 

She’s a phlebotomist- she takes people’s blood for a living.  

Honest to God, true story. 

The irony of the situation was beyond belief. 

You are in danger of attracting an energy vampire if:

You are a people pleaser, a “nice” girl, hate being rude, need work on your self esteem, have depression, or routinely play the role of victim.

We tend to attract vampires who mirror unresolved issues in ourselves. 

Once we can find the pattern, we can work on healing it so that we can develop a super-shield against it, rather than a funnel for attracting it. 

My next blog will be about the 5 types of Emotional Vampires, and what you can do to prevent needing a transfusion when you encounter them.