Now that you know about boundaries and how to start making and enforcing them, I would like to talk about something that I’ve experienced and maybe you have as well. There is a person known in self-help circles as an “emotional vampire.” Emotional vampire is a colloquial term for toxic people who drain us of our energy and leave us feeling emotionally exhausted. They have a parasitic quality in that they provoke emotional reactions in others and “feed off” their emotions as well as resources. (From thoughtcatalog.com)
Do you know one of these? My question to you is this. Is it the fault of the “vampire” or is your fault that your boundaries have not been erected and enforced with this person? Likely, it’s a combination of the two. The answer might depend on the type of vampire you’re dealing with. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/emotional-freedom/201101/the-5-types-emotional-vampires-in-your-life
I happen to be very good friends with a “Victim” vampire. She is a very sweet, caring person, but refuses to take responsibility for her life and seems to demand sympathy. I have found that occasionally distancing myself from her and replying to her in an unemotional manner quickly diffuses any further “bloodsucking.” In the past, I allowed myself to get pulled in by her. I always looked for solutions to her problems and even gave her money to help her pay a bill. I have referred her to jobs, messaged friends on her behalf and prioritized her needs above mine. This went on for about 10 years before I finally realized that I was taking on her problems and they didn’t belong to me.
As a caveat, there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with helping a friend. I am a generous person and I’m also an empath. If I gave money and time to every cause and every person who tugged at my heartstrings, I would be broke and exhausted. I had to keep myself from becoming exhausted and I did feel exhausted after taking on her problems.
I now have boundaries set up with her. I do not respond to her messages if I’m doing something else. I tell her I’m working or going to sleep or whatever. It took a few years and a few of her “emergencies” to finally realize that she would be okay regardless.