It turns out that we give the so-called vampires what they want from us, ourselves, without realizing it, because some of their behaviors trigger a reaction of giving in us, not entirely in accordance to our will. We give, not wanting it at all, which causes internal conflict in us - a violation of our sense of justice, resulting in a decrease in energy.
And this is what actually steals energy from us.
Not a "vampire."
We feel as if someone maltreated us, and this happens indeed, yet this is us who are the authors of these acts of violence against ourselves. We do that as we believe we are obliged to give, and we are not clear whether we are ok when we don't feel like giving, and we refuse to do that.
Why don't we have this clarity?
If we were lucky and grew up in an environment where our property was respected, and we were allowed to decide about it, where our opinion was taken into account, our essential needs were met, and the people who were authorities over us referred to us with respect - we should not have a problem with this clarity, and therefore with "vampires" at all. However, this situation is ideal and may rarely or never occur to such a degree in reality. Our carers and other adults usually had their luggage of conditioning from their own childhood, and even if they did not intend to hurt us, they gave us a lot of its weight in good faith. Among other things, we were told that if someone "asks us for something" - we should give it to them, "because we have to share," so if we refuse, we would be called selfish and get embarrassed, deprived of attention and love of our guardians, put to the proverbial corner, etc. If the situation has happened many times in the past, it may have generated a reaction of giving against our will, primarily preventing us from experiencing a sense of shame and humiliation (feeling like a person called "selfish"), or feeling guilty if we sometimes refuse. However, our innate sense of justice "knows" that it is not right, and every time we follow the old rule - and give against our will - we feel drained of energy.
The child's mind cannot quite cope with this situation, because they put the authority of the adult carers higher than their own. Even if they consider something unfair, when they had to give something away against their will at the "request" of an adult, they are ready to believe the discomfort they feel about it is more their fault than due to the adult's decision. And they have never questioned this untruth ever since. They believed it and lived by this belief until adulthood, convinced that it should be like that. However, our sense of justice "records" every act of its violation, signaling it with an energy drop-off and feeling worse. And although we may not be aware of this process, it does not change the fact of existence and functioning of this "dark" underground.
We grow up, but if we did not have the opportunity to verify of what we once believed, we would continue to react by giving against our will, to protect ourselves from feeling ashamed due to being selfish when someone asks us for something, and when we refuse someone's request - we would feel this way as well as - guilty of hurting someone. And the violated sense of justice and internal conflict resulting from an unquestioned belief will deprive us of energy once again.
How do we lose energy ourselves? How does it happen?
In situations that we attract into our lives, two toxic patterns meet - the "vampire" taking from others and the forced giving pattern - in us.
It has a strong connection with the mechanism of giving and taking from our past, as they remind the behavioral patterns of people with "energy vampires" characteristics from our childhood. They are reminiscent of the behavior of our beloved guardians or adults in general. We also have patterns of responding to specific behavior patterns "stored" in our minds, which we are usually unaware of.
What characterizes an energy vampire, or rather a person whom we attribute energy theft?
These are people who overwhelmingly get attention and support from others through highly self-focused behavior, bypassing the needs of the other party, which is usually overdramatized and exaggerated. They always play the roles of victims, including hidden agendas of their own needs, which they expect to be met by others. In a person susceptible to the pattern of non-direct victim motives contained in them, these behaviors trigger an involuntary giving reaction, or in case of refusal - guilt. By "giving reaction," I mean giving not entirely dictated by the desire to give but instead to avoid feeling guilty and "hurting" the vampire. The energy vampires are said to 'manipulate' people or 'use' them for their purposes, as they get what they officially don't ask for.
Why don't the vampires say what they want directly, but they play games instead?
The reason often lies in the persons' history, in how their essential needs failed to be met by the important people in their life when they couldn't ask on their own yet, and/or the requests were kept being declined when they could already express them. As a rule, that habit arose when they were utterly dependent on these people, and their self-esteem has been shaped based on how important their needs were to the most important people in their life (rather unimportant as the reality shows).
There are universal needs that every person has regardless of nationality, skin color, gender, age, or any other typical human differences. Besides the physiological needs that we need to satisfy to keep our physical system alive, one of our most basic needs as human beings is the need to be noticed, belonging, and connection, the way we are, here and now.
What do "energy vampires" need?
They need the same as every human being. They need to be noticed with their essential needs. But they can't ask for what they need directly. They once learned from important people in their life that a direct request does not work and that only by "dramatizing" and playing a victim, they can get from others meeting their needs. Wrapping a request cleverly reduces the chance of its decline, as the object person does not realize that any request is taking place at all.
Being not proficient in deciphering the tricks and the language the "vampires" speak, people may feel uncomfortable in their companionship and not know why especially if they haven't been explained how this phenomenon works or even have no idea about its existence at all.
Interestingly, the "vampires" may also not know that to get attention and support of people, they "use" them, or precisely - their pre-recorded response system, sensitive to a specific type of stimuli-behavior they possess. Their life circumstances forced them to learn this "skill," and they don't know that they could achieve the same goals more constructively.
I dare say that each of us probably used to have or had the vampire ways to get what we care about from other people.
How do we know that a person triggers other people's behaviors that lower their energy levels? Here are some of their prevalent practices, although there are countless versions of them, and the list probably has no end. The pattern is quite simple, and its standard components are no relation to reality and hitting precisely the recipient's sensitive point - in various varieties:
In the company of more well-off friends, they utter "general truths" about the dishonesty of wealthy people and the "virtues" only the poor can have.
They only talk about themselves and their matters, without showing interest in the other party.
They express negative opinions about absent third parties, especially those close to the other party's.
They get offended if they don't get what they expect from the other party, distance themselves, remain silent, or are being ostentatiously nice to other people.
They present their situation dramatically and tragically, inadequate to reality.
They present themselves as victims concerning people with whom they have conflict situations.
They assure of having no one else to support whatsoever.
They find it obvious to support them, showing no gratitude. Still, when they don't get it once out of a hundred times, they show their discontent, resentment plus complaining about how the other party treated them and how unimportant, underrated, harmed, neglected they feel.
They attribute somebody else's merits and use them as their own in the companionship.
They behave imperiously towards those who are kind, friendly, and helpful, but gentle in their behavior, and show a kind of submission to strong-minded and authoritarian people.
They behave artificially "sweet," and doing so, they make malicious comments about what has value to the other party.
When do we allow such people to manipulate ourselves?
Only when we can't feel and thus distinguish when we genuinely want to give support or force ourselves to do so.
In relationships with such people, when we are unable to find a balance between giving and refusing to give, we can also have a problem with specifying when we want to give and when we do not. Therefore, we can often feel guilty (when we refuse) and angry at the person for being pushy or manipulative (when we give against our will). We are, in fact, mad at ourselves, but we blame the other person for forcing a gift in the form of our attention or specific action on us. We do not realize that without our will - conscious or not - it would not be possible at all. The so-called energy vampires can't take anything from us - suck up or steal, or whatever we call their practice. The only thing a person can do is bring us to a situation when we will have to decide whether to provide what they are trying to get from us or to refuse.
It is a consolation that we can learn to deal with similar situations without guilt and anger and remain in harmony with ourselves, which should be our life priority.
Do we have to meet these people's needs for attention and support? The answer is relatively simple - we don't have to do anything. But to get out of the vicious circle of forcing ourselves to give them attention and provide services, we must notice that we do that, and when we do that, in the first place. Our body sensations tell us about it - energy drop-offs after the fact occurs. Over time, we will notice some resistance in the body when we are close to doing something against ourselves, i.e., violating the unwritten "law of justice" (works like the law of gravity - you can't see it, but you can feel its results). At first, we may not know (as it may not seem familiar) what that signal from the body means. If we leave the "vampire" out, focus on ourselves, and wait a moment, we recognize this resistance as our ally and give up a thought of pushing through it.
Along with our body feelings, we also need to verify if the information provided to us by a person is real. It can also help us determine what is and whether we want to give anything in this situation. At the same time, we must use our verification tools to tell us about the real intention behind the person's words and the "game" they're playing.
Can we meet the needs of the attention and support of such a person? Of course! Only if we really want it and think that it’s right - according to our scale of values. We want to help - we help, we want to listen - we listen, we want to support - we support, but: we want to refuse - we refuse, we want to end the meeting - we finish, we want to leave - we leave. Polite but persistently. The other person's needs are important, but ours have priority over them.
The "vampire" behaves vampirically as long as we allow them to, until we learn to recognize the hidden motives included in their behavior and determine whether we really want to give our attention and help. Only from that moment on we can begin to give involuntarily not out of fear of guilt, but voluntarily out of the genuine need for giving attention and support to others. At the same time, we'll be able to refuse without guilt, knowing we are always ok, regardless of our choice.
So - do energy vampires exist or not? Or maybe they exist only in our imagination, because it is easier for us to assume that it is "someone else" who hurts us, and in fact, are we doing it to ourselves?
Maybe we should simply stop labeling such people "energy vampires" as it seems that regardless of how disturbing and difficult to bear sometimes their behavior can be, they don't do what we think they do?