17 Signs You’re Dealing with an Energy Vampire and How to Protect Yourself

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Energy vampires are people in our lives who take more than they give. They drain our energy, leave us feeling exhausted, and make us doubt ourselves.

They come in many forms, from the needy friend who always needs your attention to the critical coworker who never has a nice thing to say. In this article, we’ll discuss how to identify energy vampires, the effects of being around them, and signs that you’re dealing with one.

Identifying Energy Vampires

The first step in dealing with energy vampires is to identify them. They can be difficult to spot, but there are signs to look out for.

Energy vampires tend to be needy, controlling, negative, manipulative, or sad. They may have an insatiable craving for attention, always trying to be the center of the conversation.

They may also be critical of others and unwilling to acknowledge their own faults.

Effect of Being Around Energy Vampires

Being around energy vampires can be exhausting. Their negativity can bring you down, and their constant need for attention can be draining.

You may find yourself questioning your own abilities and second-guessing yourself. Being around energy vampires can also make you unhappy and miserable.

Reasons Why Energy Vampires Are Draining

Energy vampires drain us because they are self-serving, unhelpful, and critical. They may use manipulation and control to get what they want, leaving us feeling used and drained.

They may also be critical of us or others, making us feel insecure and doubtful. In short, they take more than they give.

Signs of Dealing with an Energy Vampire

1. Backhanded compliments

Energy vampires may make pseudo-compliments, which are essentially insults disguised as compliments. For example, “You look good for your age” or “You did a great job, but I would have done it differently.”

2. Attention-seeking behavior

Energy vampires love being in the spotlight and may go to any lengths to get attention, including hogging conversations or monopolizing group discussions.

3. Playing the victim

Energy vampires may manipulate others by playing the victim and seeking pity.

They may also post their woes on social media, seeking attention and validation.

4. Criticism towards others

Energy vampires are often critical of others and point out flaws constantly. They may be ungrateful for the good in their lives and focus only on the negative.

5. Refusal to admit fault

Energy vampires may be stubborn, always wanting to be right and unwilling to admit their mistakes.

They may also be exhausting to deal with.

6. Two-faced behavior

Energy vampires may pretend to be your friend but talk about you behind your back. This behavior is fake and can lead to a lack of trust and secretiveness.

7. Manipulative tactics

Energy vampires use manipulative tactics to get their way, often lacking empathy and using people to achieve their goals.

8. Disparaging conversations

Energy vampires may have conversations that focus on their insecurities and the worst aspects of themselves or others.

9. Magnifying minor mistakes

Energy vampires may have a laser-like focus on minor mistakes, overreacting and guilt-tripping others.

10. Remembering past mistakes

Energy vampires may keep a mental list of others’ shortcomings and hold grudges.

They are unforgiving and unable to let go of the past.

11. Fueled by other people’s pain

Energy vampires thrive on other people’s misery and may become spectators of other people’s suffering. This behavior is negative and harmful.

12. Complaining about everything

Energy vampires can never seem to be grateful for what they have, and instead, constantly complain.

They focus only on the negative aspects of their lives.

13. Inability to take responsibility

Energy vampires are often unable to take responsibility for their actions, often blame-shifting onto others. This behavior is narcissistic and frustrating to deal with.

14. Drama queen behavior

Energy vampires love creating drama and may use emotional manipulation to get their way.

They may seek attention and thrive on negative situations.

15. One-upping behavior

Energy vampires may constantly try to outdo others, exhibiting selfish behavior and a lack of humility.

16. Playing the martyr

Energy vampires may take on burdens that are not theirs and then guilt-trip others for not being able to help. This behavior is counterproductive and emotionally manipulative.

17. Intimidation

Energy vampires may use bullying behavior or emotional manipulation to get what they want.

This behavior is hurtful and harmful.

18. Using guilt trips

Energy vampires may use shame and emotional manipulation to coerce others into doing what they want. This behavior is toxic and should not be tolerated.


Energy vampires can be draining, emotionally exhausting, and harmful to our well-being. By identifying them, we can take steps to protect ourselves and limit our exposure to them.

By being aware of the signs of dealing with an energy vampire, we can avoid their draining behavior and protect our energy. Remember, we are in control of our lives and can choose who we allow in them.

So, surround yourself with positive and supportive people who uplift you, and don’t be afraid to say goodbye to energy vampires. Dealing with energy vampires can be challenging, especially when you have a relationship with them that makes it difficult to get away.

It can be tempting to try and change them or help them, but often, this approach is futile. In this section, we will discuss why it’s challenging to change energy vampires and the importance of self-protection in dealing with them.

Recognizing Futility of Trying to Change Energy Vampires

Trying to change energy vampires can be frustrating and often leads to a sense of feeling trapped, hostile, and lost. Energy vampires may not even be aware of their draining behavior or how it affects others.

Even if you confront them, they may not be receptive to feedback and instead become defensive or deny their behavior. Additionally, when we try to change someone, we often put ourselves in a position of powerlessness.

Changing someone requires their willingness to change, and we can’t control their behavior. Focusing on changing others can also deflect from our own issues, which takes away from our ability to grow and heal.

In some cases, we may feel obligated to change energy vampires due to our relationship with them. For example, we may feel like we need to “fix” family members who drain us emotionally.

However, trying to change someone who isn’t willing to change can be exhausting and emotionally draining.


The key to dealing with energy vampires is self-protection. We cannot control their behavior, but we can control our own.

Self-protection involves setting boundaries, staying away, and avoiding them to protect our own energy.

Setting Boundaries

Setting boundaries is crucial when dealing with energy vampires. Communication is important, and expressing your boundaries helps them understand what you’re willing to tolerate.

It’s essential to be clear and specific about your boundaries and consequences. For example, if you have a friend that constantly drains your energy, you might explain to them that you’re feeling overwhelmed and need some space.

If the behavior continues, you might need to limit your communication or even end the friendship. Boundaries help you communicate your needs and protect your energy.

Staying Away

If energy vampires are family members or co-workers, you may not have the option to cut them out of your life entirely. However, limiting your exposure to them can help protect your energy.

You might try to avoid gossip sessions or work on separate projects. If they call or text frequently, you might choose to limit the time you spend talking to them.

Avoiding Them

Another option for dealing with energy vampires is to avoid them altogether. Sometimes, we need distance from certain people to protect our energy.

Avoiding them doesn’t mean being rude or mean, but simply creating space between you and them. For example, if you have a co-worker who always drains your energy, you might choose to eat lunch outside of the office or even switch departments.

If it’s a family member, you can limit the amount of time you spend with them or find ways to avoid being alone with them.


Dealing with energy vampires can be challenging, but it’s important to recognize that we cannot change them. Instead, we must protect our own energy by setting boundaries, staying away, and even avoiding them altogether.

Remember that you are in control of your own energy, and you don’t have to allow others to drain it. By taking steps to protect yourself, you can maintain a positive and healthy outlook on life.

In conclusion, dealing with energy vampires can be draining and emotionally exhausting. It’s important to recognize the signs of an energy vampire, understand the effects of being around them, and accept the futility of trying to change them.

Protecting your own energy is key, and setting boundaries, staying away, and avoiding them altogether can help. Remember that you have control over who you allow in your life, and by surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people, you can maintain a healthy and fulfilling life.

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