I'd like to share with you a quiz from my new book Emotional Freedom. I often get asked the wonderful question, "What do I do if I'm draining someone?" I love this question because it is honest and means that the person is ready for change. We all have a little vampire in us at different times. Be compassionate with yourself in this inquiry, and applaud your desire to make change. They key to change is to look at the draining behavior, such as being negative or controlling, and setting out to treat others and yourself differently. Quiz: Are You An Emotional Vampire?
1. Do people avoid you or glaze over during a conversation?
2. Are you self-obsessed?
3. Are you often negative?
4. Do you gossip or bad-mouth people?
5. Are you critical or controlling?
6. Are you a drama queen or king?
7. Do you corner people and tell them your life's story?
8. Are an emotional black hole, but won't get help?
Your score: 0 Congratulations! There are no signs that you are being an emotional vampire.
Your score: 1 This behavior could very well be draining others. Start being mindful of when do this and begin to shift the behavior. Then see if people are relieved.
Your score: 2 These are warning signs that you may becoming emotionally draining to others. Ask yourself what is motivating you to engage is these draining behaviors and move forward to make positive changes.
Your score: 3 You are showing some definite emotional vampire tendencies. It is time to compassionately examine your behaviors and begin to make a change. Do not beat yourself up. Be proud that you can be emotionally honest and want to be more positive.
Your score: 4. You are showing moderate emotional vampire tendencies. Take a breath. Begin to tackle each behavior individually over time and take baby steps to change. For instance, if you tend to be self-obsessed you can begin to ask others about themselves. Celebrate every change you make to be supportive.
Your score: 5 You are showing moderate-strong emotional vampire behaviors. You may ask your loved ones if they feel drained by a specific behavior--such as nagging or being critical. Then you can begin to be mindful of when you fall into it and start to change.
Your score: 6 You are showing strong emotional vampire behaviors. You may ask your loved ones if they feel drained by a specific behavior--such as being negative but being unwilling to get help. Seriously consider their suggestions about how to improve your communication. Be compassionate with yourself all along the way.
Your score: 7 You are showing strong-extremely strong emotional vampire behaviors Be kind to yourself and set out to make small changes to improve one behavior at a time.
Your score: 8 You have extremely strong emotional vampire behaviors that can be draining others in your life. Commend yourself for your honesty, but begin to understand what motivates you. Is it fear? Feeling less-than? Angry? Don't hesitate to ask for help--from friends who can offer honest feedback or a therapist. People around you will appreciate the positive changes you make.
Judith Orloff, MD, is the author of Emotional Freedom Now available in paperback. Check out this book and article on Emotional Vampires on her web site drjudithorloff.com.