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9 Warning Signs Of An Emotional Vampire

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Divorce and Transitions: Mardi Winder-Adams

There are two types of people in your world at any point in time.

Recognizing the difference between the two during life transitions is critical to your mental health and wellbeing. Beneficial people are your friends, family, and colleagues who offer emotional support, hold space, or help you clarify your needs and self-care.

“They do not tell you what to do – they help you explore and consider your options.”

To Be Your Best Self:

For most women, this is the largest group in their life. They may be new friends or those who have been with you for years. They may be younger or older, but when you are with them, you feel supported and encouraged to be your best self.

These are the people to bring into your life. They help you process issues that come up in a positive, encouraging, and thoughtful way. They do not tell you what to do – they help you explore and consider your options. These individuals also allow time to consider the pros and cons of decisions by providing level-headed, caring, and compassionate insight while still allowing you to do what is right for you.

For many women, these people include trusted professionals assisting them through the life transition. They may consist of coaches, therapists, counselors, religious leaders, or others who genuinely have your emotional needs first and foremost in all they do. 

Chaos Cheerleaders:

The other group of people is what I like to call the chaos cheerleaders. These people may be friends, colleagues, or family members. It is also important to note that some people in the helping professions also fall into this category, which is why assessing the fit of any professional with your goals for divorce or life transitions is essential. 

“The chaos cheerleaders feed on the drama and challenges in your life.”

9 Warning Signs Of An Emotional Vampires:

The chaos cheerleaders feed on the drama and challenges in your life. They not only live vicariously through your challenges and conflicts, they actively attempt to create drama in your life. Some of the signs of these destructive types of individuals, who are also aptly known as emotional vampires, include:

  1. Encouraging conflict with your spouse or children throughout the divorce
  2. Constantly challenging the choices you make with help from your attorney, therapist, divorce coach, or counselor
  3. Telling you how to handle situations rather than supporting your decisions
  4. Pushing you to do things that are not in your best interest
  5. Leaving you feeling emotionally drained and stressed after communications and interactions
  6. Turning everything into an attack and building mountains out of molehills
  7. Constantly focused on problems rather than solutions
  8. Repeatedly bringing up past wrongs and even gaslighting you on how events unfolded in your relationship or past interactions with your spouse
  9. Making themselves the center of the conversation while you are just the supporting cast

How to Deal with Chaos Cheerleaders/Emotional Vampires:

If possible, avoid contact with the emotional vampires or chaos cheerleaders in your life during divorce or significant life transitions. This doesn’t necessarily mean cutting off all contact; but limit your time in their presence. Meet with a group of friends rather than on your own to help diffuse the emotionally charged situations these people strive to create. You can reduce their negative impact on your emotional health. 

Boundaries are also important. Set clear expectations about what you will discuss and when you will end conversations. Be firm and end the conversation, get up and leave the table, or hang up the phone.

“The bottom line is that YOU choose who and how you interact with people.”

Guard Your Emotional Strength:

You do not need to be the source of their chaos or keep them entertained by struggling through challenging situations they have helped create. In most cases, these people drop off the radar once they understand you are no longer a source for their emotional needs. 

The bottom line is that YOU choose who and how you interact with people. You do not need to continue to have unhealthy chaos cheerleaders in your life at any time. Remember that it is imperative to guard your emotional strength during life transitions and challenges – your wellbeing and personal peace are worth too much to give away to those who are only there to create problems.

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Mardi Winder-Adams

About the Author:

Mardi Winder-Adams is an Executive and Leadership Coach, Certified Divorce Transition Coach, and a Credentialed Distinguished Mediator in Texas. She has experienced her own divorce, moved to a new country and started her own business, and worked through the challenges of being a caregiver and managing the loss of a spouse.

Handling life transitions and pivots is her specialty! In her professional role as a divorce coach, Mardi has helped hundreds of women before, during, and after divorce to reduce the emotional and financial costs of the process. She is the founder of Positive Communication Systems, LLC.