Tired Lately? It May Have Nothing to Do With You

06/16/2015 06:16 pm ET | Updated Jun 16, 2016

The vampires are out, have you been bitten?

Not Dracula or the teens with six pack abs from Twilight, I'm referring to the vampires that you and I come in contact with more often than we realize. These vampires don't suck your blood, but prefer to take your energy instead.

Emotional vampires -- they come in and leave you feeling drained, tired, and unsuspecting. They are in and out without a trace. Sneaky energy draining vampires.

How many of us continue to maintain relationships that we feel are heavy and hard and chalk it up to being a good friend or family member?

When who we hang out with or listen to has a direct negative effect on our lives, that's not being a good friend. That's piloting life with a blindfold on.

Their lure can be enticing. Emotional vampires are in need and instinctively we all want to feel needed. We listen and tell them we will be there for them, so they come back.

Vampires are relentless with their negativity and/or drama. There's more wrong than right going on in their lives, with no sight of improvement, or they like to make you feel that what you have to say isn't valid or important. The super sneaky ones make you think they are the life of the party, until you leave feeling railroaded and unsure of what just happened.

The good news is you don't have to wear a necklace of garlic cloves to protect yourself against these emotional vampires, you just have to be aware of them.

Here are a few things you can do to bring awareness to your circle.

4 Ways to Identify Your Vampires

1. How do you feel when they leave
As in how do you feel in your body, mind and spirit? Do you feel tired, uneasy, drained, anxious, hopeless or down? Were you feeling this way before your encounter? If not, chances are you've just been bitten.

2. Negative talk / Controllers
How much of what is said is negative? Friends share dreams, hopes and desires. Emotional vampires bitch and complain and find themselves in dramatic situations. They can also make you think you're unworthy, unlovable or powerless, or want to control you by invalidating your feelings and telling you what you should or shouldn't do.

3. Would you rather not take that call?
When you see who's calling, do you avoid the call, or are you happy to pick up? We all get busy, but if a wave of anxiety or despair washes over you when you see their name, you may want to check your neck.

4. Ask
Close your eyes, take a deep breath and ask yourself, who is dragging me down? Who is making me feel disconnected from myself? Is there someone in my life draining me and making me feel tired? Is there someone in my life that I am trying to help but can't? You have an immense level of knowledge within you, check in with it and trust your answer.

Okay, the emotional vampire has been identified, now what?

It's difficult for a lot of us to self preserve when we feel we aren't being a good friend or family member. We want to be the one they can count on. And besides, we can take it, we're strong.

That's when we blindside ourselves. Because strength also comes from knowing what's not good for us. Strength comes from setting healthy boundaries and knowing we can't save anyone when we go down with them.

When we allow ourselves to be drained, we go down in flames too. Our dreams and hopes and desires get pushed back.

Let the Vampire Go

It doesn't have to be a dramatic release. You can send them off with love and let them know you care deeply for them, but until they can start to make positive changes about the things they constantly complain about, you can't be let in on it. You're happy to brainstorm about positive changes with them, but will no longer take the daggers of their complaints.

Be Assertive - not bossy or pushy, but assertive. If it's a controlling emotional vampire, let them know you appreciate their advice, but that you're ready to make this decision yourself. Be clear with the affect the relationship is having on you.

Let Clarity Be Your Elixir
When we acknowledge how we truly feel while we are around someone we gain clarity about who we are and what affects us. We are far more sensitive than we let on and people and situations can have a lingering effect on us. You don't have to be so tough anymore.

It may not feel like it at first, but losing momentum on what's important to you by being set back with negative emotion that doesn't belong to you is like pedaling on a stationary bike - you just don't go anywhere. And you've got places to go, baby, so blaze that trail.

I hope this gives you the courage to identify the emotional vampires in your life and take action to stop indulging them.

Your words matter, so please share them here. How do you deal with the ones that drag you down? Or have you just been made aware of a vampire you've been energetically feeding? Don't be shy, what you have to say may be what someone needs to hear to break free.

With bite-free love,