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Emotional Vampires and Self Care

12 Comments

Get out of my bathroom!

Today’s prompt for Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is: Vampires.

There are many types of vampires. I’m going to write about the emotional vampires – people or jobs that try to suck the life out of us.

After I retired, my husband said, “That job was sucking the life out of you.” (That’s my one liner unless I find one that’s more positive.)

It wasn’t always like that. But it got worse in the last five years of my 30 year career when demands became unreasonable. It was common to work through lunch and take work home – physically as well as emotionally. Never mind the emotional risks of trying to help people fight the monster of addiction – that I could understand and deal with. It came with the territory. Addiction is a vampire. There was always the Serenity Prayer and I used it often.

During those last five years on the job, I often told myself, “I’m not going to let this job kill me.” That’s a little more positive for a one liner.

I am thankful to be free, is even better.

Being in a relationship with an emotional vampire who is a person can also suck the life out of you. It can be subtle at first, and sometimes it’s obvious. Maybe the person has unreasonable demands on your time. Maybe he or she talks constantly or yells a lot. Maybe he or she is narcistic and manipulative.

If you find yourself stuck in a life sucking relationship, here are some ways to take care of yourself and save your own life:

  1. Clarify your boundaries. First do this by yourself or with a trusted friend who is not a life sucker. Put your boundaries in writing. This is as much for yourself as anyone else.
  2. Be assertive. State what you want and need. Be specific: “I need an afternoon to work on my art by myself.” or “I’ve been listening to you for a ___ minutes. I need you to (or will you please) listen to me without interrupting for ___ minutes,” or “I don’t take calls or texts between 11pm and 9am.” If you don’t feel safe being assertive, focus on 3, 4, and 5 below:
  3. Self care: Surround yourself with safe, nurturing people and/or pets. Engage in activities that add positive energy and comfort to your life. Take care of yourself in every way you can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Believe that your health and time are valuable.
  4. Create Distance from the vampire. This could mean making a plan to leave. It could mean actually walking away from the relationship. But it could also mean limiting the amount of time you spend with the person or how much you think them. I had to make myself stop thinking about my job when I was home by using mindfulness and positive distraction.
  5. Be safe. Develop a support network and let a trusted person know your situation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, and don’t feel safe physically or emotionally, make a safety plan. Here is just one example.

Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill. For details, visit:

One-Liner Wednesday/JusJoJan the 27th, 2021 – Vampires | (lindaghill.com)

Author: JoAnna

An open minded, tree-hugging Jesus follower, former counselor, and life-long lover of animals, I'm returning to my creative roots and have published my first book: Trust the Timing, A Memoir of Finding Love Again as well as the short version: From Loneliness to Love.

12 thoughts on “Emotional Vampires and Self Care

  1. I know about those vampire jobs. The only way you can get away is to walk away. Unfortunately that’s easier said than done…

  2. Love your post. I’ve worked with a number of vampires in the past, but the one that beats all records for me was the one I had to learn to cope with for the past four years.

  3. I’ve known a couple of emotional vampires. It’s hard to deal with them when you feel sorry for some of the things a person has been through. But sometimes the only way to have an improvement in self care is to disconnect from them. Great post, JoAnna. Hugs.

    • You bring up a good point: A painful history can lead to vampire like behavior. Knowing that history does make it harder to set boundaries. We can spell out our needs and requests clearly and see if they are able to make changes, but it’s risky. Sometimes I think enforcing boundaries can be therapeutic. Glad you liked the post. Hugs to you, Teagan!

  4. Excellent post, JoAnna! What can I say? Vampires follow me throughout life. Shedding light on them, I’ve learned, does wonders. Awareness is key to everything!….Also, look so young to be a retiree!

    • Shedding light does wonders. I’ll remember that. I’m very grateful my husband encouraged me to leave the vampire job four years ago and that I’m still healthy enough to enjoy my retirement. Thank you!

  5. Your self protection tips are good ones

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