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"Every moment that you spend upset, in despair,
in anguish, angry or hurt because of the behavior of anybody else in your life is a moment in which you have given up control
of your life."
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In my hand I hold the Sword of Truth.
I wish you Joy, Love & Peace,
~ Lady of the Light ~
Are You In Love With An Emotional Vampire?
Strategies to Cope With a Draining Partner
by Dr. Judith Orloff
People we love can sometimes drain us the most.
Our mates may not be trying to do this, but life's demands add up. For instance, at the end of a long day, he or she might
come home in a negative mood or is needy and overbearing. Sometimes the draining behavior may go beyond this, when they become
argumentative or hurtful. As a psychiatrist, I help my patients address these behaviors with their mates in a tactful, loving
way to find positive solutions. Learning this skill is a wonderful Valentine's Day resolution to make in February, the month
of love, and throughout the year.
In my book, "Emotional Freedom," I present different
types of emotional vampires and how to combat them. An emotional vampire is someone who drains your energy. How do you know
if you're in love with one? The tip-off is that you often get tired around your mate and feel like taking a nap. Also, after
an encounter, you feel sapped and they look more alive. In my previous blog, "Who's the Emotional Vampire in Your Life?" I
describe more general types. Here I will describe the common types in romantic relationships. Energy drain can be a touchy
subject to bring up with your partner. However, it is essential to sensitively discuss the draining behavior, so you're not
in a romantic relationship that is exhausting you.
Signs during or after an interaction that your
mate may be draining you:
Your eyelids are heavy -- you're ready for a
You feel unappreciated or put down
You glaze over when they're talking
You walk on eggshells around certain topics
run to the refrigerator to stuff yourself
Here are some common types of emotional vampires
in the romantic arena and how to deal with them clearly and effectively:
Vampire No. 1: The Nagger
These drainers become broken records and won't
let up with their requests until you act on them. Their comments include the following: "Did you call your mother yet?"; "Did
you get to the gym?"; "When are you starting on your diet?" They'll annoy you with scolding, nitpicking or repetitive demands.
They can be so persistent that you feel pressured and drained.
How To Protect Yourself: Set clear limits with
your mate in a kind, but firm tone. For instance, say, "Sweetheart, I love you, but you are pressuring me too much. Please
back off a little." Naggers often need to be gently re-trained. You may need to practice limit setting for a while to change
Vampire No. 2: The Victim/Complainer
These types grate on you with their "poor me"
attitude. The world is always against them, and this is the reason for their unhappiness. When you offer a solution to their
problems, they always say, "Yes, but..." You might end up dreading having the same conversations over and over again with
your mate. You want to help, but his or her tales of woe overwhelm you.
How to Protect Yourself: You can sympathize and
listen briefly. Then tell your partner, "I can see you are upset, but I don't think it's constructive to keep rehashing the
same issues. Let's concentrate on solutions." This approach allows you to be loving and to actively refocus the situation
in a positive way.
Vampire No. 3: The Criticizer
These types have a sneaky way of making you feel
guilty or lacking for not getting things just right. They can find fault with everything, and spot a flaw across a crowded
room, then suggest how to improve yourself "for your own good." These can be minor critiques or comments that seriously hurt
How to Protect Yourself: Try addressing the criticism
positively, in a calm, neutral tone. Say, "I can see that you're trying to help, but when you're critical it's harder for
me to hear you." Or, you might want to strike a compromise. For instance, if your mate criticizes you for leaving the dishes
in the sink, you can divide the task up between the two of you. Do this with a very loving tone and attitude -- I call it
setting off a "love bomb," where you diffuse negativity with sweetness while offering solutions to correct the situation.
Vampire No. 4: The Self-Obsessed Drainer
With these types, everything becomes about them,
and they hardly listen to your needs. They may downplay your feelings and interests, as they steer the conversation back to
them. (For extreme cases, see the description of "The Narcissist" in my previous blog).
How To Protect Yourself: Everyone goes through
self-obsessed periods, but it's important to bring this to your mate's attention so he or she can shift out of it quickly.
You can say, "Honey, I adore listening to you, but it would make me feel loved if you also spend time listening to me, too."
Most people are unaware that they are becoming self-obsessed; but when you gently mention it, change can occur. Vampire No.
5: The Unintentional Sapper
The people closest to you often can be the most
draining. There is so much to take care of everyday that your mate can add to your sense of being overwhelmed. For instance,
he or she comes home after having lost a big account at work and needs to vent frustration. You want to listen and be caring,
but you're tired, too.
How to Protect Yourself: Plan regular mini-breaks
from your partner (and children). Even a brief escape can replenish you. Take a short walk, meditate in your bedroom for a
few minutes, listen to music you love. Or, if your mate has a harrowing commute home from work which makes him or her be cranky
with you, let them take 10 minutes at home to decompress before you interact. You must negotiate your personal space with
In relationships, it's important for couples
to respect each other's energy needs. With your partner, it's healthy to protect your energy, too. Don't feel guilty or restrained
about using my techniques. Honoring your energy isn't selfish. It will increase your patience and capacity to love.
Judith Orloff MD is bestselling author of the
new book Emotional Freedom: Liberate Yourself From Negative Emotions and Transform Your Life (Three Rivers Press, 2011) upon
which these tips and article are based. Her insights in Emotional Freedom create a new convergence of healing paths for our
stressed out world. An assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at UCLA, Dr. Orloff's work has been featured on The Today
Show, CNN, and in Oprah Magazine and USA Today. Website: * www.drjudithorloff.com/ * Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org *