Home » Blog » Stress Management » 3 Ways Emotional Vampires Create Work Stress

3 Ways Emotional Vampires Create Work Stress

Do you know someone who, after spending even a little time with them, you feel completely and utterly drained but don’t know why?

I bet you do — ESPECIALLY if you work in a hostile workplace! That’s the definition of an emotional vampire and probably the primary cause of your work stress.

Here are three common tactics emotional vampires use to suck your energy and also some tips on how to stay safe:

1. Vacuum Cleaner Eyes

An emotional vampire can use his or her eyes to draw you into a deep, dark vortex that vacuum-sucks the life-force out of your body, without your agreement. This tactic is deployed by her imploring look that says: “feel sorry for me,” and you do, but you feel awkward at the same time, as if you’re supposed to do something but aren’t sure what.

When you disengage from the unbearable eye-contact, you start feeling guilty and she gazes at you reproachfully, then leans even closer into you. Your rational mind can’t explain why you feel so reluctant to give her anything, after all, she’s nice but has such a hard time, right?

If you give into her demands, you’ll feel resentful and annoyed at yourself for being a pushover. If you don’t give in, you’ll berate yourself for your lack of compassion and generosity: “What’s wrong with me?” In either case, you feel drained.

2. Tone of Voice

Someone who’s grounded and balanced tends to talk in a deeper, slower tone of voice that comes from their belly and projects energy (think Oprah).

An emotional vampire has a disconnected voice, usually with a soft or high pitch, emanating from the chest or throat (like a child). It can evoke a strong emotional reaction in you, such as intense irritation. 

The voice indicates incongruence, meaning that the person intends to convey one thing (e.g., “I’m so nice) while really feeling something else entirely (such as angry at you). Your irritable reaction is likely tipping you off to the fact of being manipulated.

3. The Energetic Suck

A state of balance is where you draw your energy from the Universal Energy Field, which is infinite. Conversely, an emotional vampire’s defining identity is one of lack — of energy, resources, love, or connection. From this fearful and desperate state, she believes that her best source of energy is you and will attach a cord into your energy field to replenish her supplies.

What You Can Do:

The most important thing you can do is to cultivate awareness by listening to your body, which is trying to tell you something. If something feels off — it is.

1. Practice Mindfulness

The best way to do this is through a regular practice of mindfulness. To help you with that, I’ve created a free guide called: “The Silence of Mindfulness: A Simple Guide to Inner Peace and Emotional Well-Being,” which will help you to raise your awareness of the more subtle signals given off by emotional vampires.

2. Cut The Cord

Close your eyes and focus on what’s being created right now. What do you see? Imagination is the key to perceiving energy beyond the perception of your five senses.

See how many cords are attached to your energy field and cut them off, one-by-one. Then, place a seal of love and light on those places so the emotional vampire can no longer attach cords to your energy field. You can also use rituals to release yourself from attachments using essential oils, smudge sticks, bells, chanting or crystals.

3. Balance Compassion with Wisdom

If you’re susceptible to being drained by an emotional vampire, chances are it’s because you’re an empathic person and you tend to care too much about others, at the expense of setting appropriate boundaries with someone who just wants to use you.

Wisdom in action is to develop discernment. The best gift you can give someone is an opportunity for growth — which happens when you say “no” to the emotional vampire. In turn, when someone grows in emotional maturity, they’re less likely to engage in destructive behavior.

3 Ways Emotional Vampires Create Work Stress

Sophie Henshaw, DPsych

Dr. Sophie Henshaw is a clinical psychologist in private practice with over 20 years' experience. She loves helping mid-career women who long to get away from hostile workplaces and bad bosses. She believes with a little imagination, escape into a free-spirited life is possible. Dr. Sophie is the author of two books: "Stressed, Depressed And Dreading Mondays" and "What Every Target Of Workplace Bullying Needs To Know." She's appeared on Channel 10, 6PR, HuffPost Live, PsychCentral, Women's Agenda, NineMSN Health, Rebelle Society and Witch. She's a regular Huffington Post contributor (under her pen name). For more, visit:

One comment: View Comments / Leave a Comment
APA Reference
Henshaw, S. (2018). 3 Ways Emotional Vampires Create Work Stress. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 22 Jul 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.