We've already discussed how to spot an emotional vampire elsewhere in the blog. This entry will be about ways to protect yourself.
EV's are similar to the vampires of myth in that they feed on people, victimize others, draining them in order to gain strength. And like the glamorous Hollywood and literary vampires that are deeply ingrained in our popular culture, often they seduce with beauty, impress with real or imagined abilities, gain our trust or sympathy before victimizing us. But that's where the similarities end. Unlike the glamorous vampires of legend, these people are really very ordinary. They don't seek our blood, but our lives, our life forces, our happiness. Unfortunately, no amount of happiness will satisfy them --You can render them powerless -- not with garlic or crosses.
Here are a few other tips...
1. Spot the vampire. The best defense is a good offense. Check my entry for how to determine if someone is an emotional vampire. Knowing the signs will be a huge help to avoiding these sorts of people in the first place!
2. "You're not invited into this house!" Like the vampires of legend, EV's are powerless without an invitation to dine on your good intentions. Don't be afraid to say NO when someone is taking up too much of your time, or asking for favors that make you feel uncomfortable. Most people know when they are asking for too much. An EV does not. Draw your boundaries and stick to your guns. Save your good nature for people who care for you and will have your back when things get problematic for you.
3. Minimize contact, control information. If you must deal with these people, remember that your life is your business. Handle all personal information on a "need to know" basis. You don't need to be paranoid; just choose to share with those you trust. You don't need to behave rudely about it, either, just avoid sharing (or oversharing) any sensitive information. Try to spend as little time and energy on an EV as possible. Save the best parts of yourself for the healthy relationships in your life!
4. The power of positivity. This WILL help you! During times when you must deal with an EV, prepare yourself with a "bubble" of positivity. Meditate and imagine an impenetrable bubble around yourself like an invisible force field. Imagine that the bubble is flexible and moves with you, but is filled up with a "padding" of positive vibrations. Imagine that the EV cannot get through your special bubble. Nothing that he or she does can touch you inside the bubble -- this visualization is a very powerful one, and can work in many situations where you need extra protection!
5. Lastly, realize that an EV is beyond help. You may be made to feel as though you are the only one who can make them "happy," but the truth is that nothing will ever be enough for them. And, long after you are a distant memory left to clean up the destruction they have left in their wake, the EV will have moved onto another victim who then becomes their "perfect" savior. The best you can do is to realize that s/he is someone else's problem now. Don't allow them back into your life!
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/denise-ann-wells/4056289129/sizes/m/ (Thank you Denise!)