The Mindful Leadership Blog

Just In! Emotional Vampires Create O-T-J Stress

August 3rd, 2017


What’s hot?


Dr. Sophie Henshaw, a clinical psychologist and author of  “Stressed, Depressed and Dreading Mondays” and “What Every Target of Workplace Bullying Needs to Know,” describes an emotional vampire as someone who, after spending even a little time with them, leaves you feel completely and utterly drained.  

So what?


Emotional vampires don’t bite into your neck to sap your vitality. They don’t even use words.  Oh no. They use “Vacuum Cleaner Eyes” to draw you into a deep, dark vortex that sucks the life-force out of you.  They send looks that:

  • Implore pity (woe is me!), or
  • Radiate threat (do it or else!), or
  • Marginalize (eye rolling, refusing to dignify you with direct eye contact)

What to do?


  1. Use your words.  Language is the equivalent of a wooden stake.  Call the Vampire on it.  Examples: You seem sad/disappointed/overwhelmed.  What can you do to get some relief?  Or, I noticed when I proposed that we collaborate with the developers to get the ZYP project back on track that you rolled your eyes and changed the subject. What do you think of the idea?  
  2. Don’t disengage from the vampire’s insufferable eye-contact “ looks can’t kill”.  Steady, unflinching eye contact on your part signals that you are not a push-over.

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