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McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition / Edition 2

Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition / Edition 2

by Albert J. Bernstein


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Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition / Edition 2

Protect yourself from people who take undue advantage and suck the energy out of your life

Emotional Vampires will help you cope effectively with the people in your life that confound you, confuse you, and seem to sap every ounce of your energy. Bestselling author Dr. Al Bernstein shows you how to recognize each vampire type--antisocial, histrionic, narcissists, obsessive-compulsives, paranoids--and deal with them effectively. He uses many examples from the latest news headlines, which will help you distinguish between the types and deepen your understanding of each one.

In response to the daily calls and emails he got about the previous edition of this book, Dr. Al Bernstein has added his advice for dealing with those emotional vampires who come in the shape of spouses and lovers, relatives, and children. Dr. Bernstein shows you how to deal with each vampire type and what you need to do to keep from getting drained.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780071790956
Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
Publication date: 05/25/2012
Edition description: List
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 127,407
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Albert J. Bernstein, Ph. D., is a clinical psychologist, speaker, columnist, and business consultant. Dr. Bernstein is also the author of Dinosaur Brains, Neanderthals at Work, and Sacred Bull.

Read an Excerpt

Emotional Vampires

Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry

By Albert Bernstein

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2012Albert J. Bernstein
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-179096-3



Children of the Night

Who Are These Emotional Vampires?

Vampires stalk you, even as we speak. On broad daylit streets, under the blue pulsations of your office fluorescents, and maybe even in the warm lights of home, they're out there, masquerading as regular people until their internal needs change them into predatory beasts.

It's not your blood they drain; it's your emotional energy.

Make no mistake, we aren't talking about everyday annoyances that swarm around you like bugs in a porch light, easily whisked away with affirmations and assertive I statements. These are authentic creatures of darkness. They have the power not only to aggravate you, but to hypnotize you, to cloud your mind with false promises until you are tangled in their spell. Emotional vampires draw you in, then drain you.

At first, emotional vampires look better than regular people. They're as bright, talented, and charming as a Romanian count. You like them; you trust them; you expect more from them than you do from other people. You expect more, you get less, and in the end you get taken. You invite them into your life, and seldom realize your mistake until they've disappeared into the night, leaving you drained dry with a pain in the neck, an empty wallet, or perhaps a broken heart. Even then, you wonder—is it them or is it me?

It's them. Emotional vampires.

Do you know them? Have you experienced their dark power in your life?

Have you met people who seemed so perfect at first, but later turned out to be a perfect mess? Have you been blinded by brilliant bursts of charm that switched on and off like a cheap neon sign? Have you heard promises whispered in the night that were forgotten before dawn?

Have you been drained dry?

Emotional vampires don't rise from coffins at night. They live down the street. They're the neighbors who are so warm and cordial to your face, but spread stories behind your back. Emotional vampires are on your softball team; they're star players until a call goes against them. Then, they throw tantrums that would embarrass a three-year-old.

Emotional vampires could be lurking within your family. Consider your brother-in-law, the genius who can't hold down a job. What about that vague, almost invisible aunt who takes care of everybody else until her strange and debilitating illnesses force you to take care of her? Do we even need to mention those loving, infuriating parents who are always telling you to please yourself, then expecting you to please them?

A vampire may even share your bed, a loving partner one minute and in the next, a cold, distant stranger.


Though they act like creatures of darkness, there's nothing supernatural about emotional vampires. The melodramatic metaphor is nothing more than clinical psychology dressed up in a Halloween costume. Emotional vampires are people who have characteristics of what psychologists call personality disorders.

In graduate school, I learned this simple distinction: when people are driving themselves crazy, they have neuroses or psychoses. When they drive other people crazy, they have personality disorders. According to the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatric Association, a personality disorder is:

An enduring pattern of inner experience and behavior that deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture. The pattern is manifested in two (or more) of the following areas:

1. Ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events.

2. Range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response.

3. Interpersonal functioning.

4. Impulse control.

The manual describes diagnostic patterns of thoughts and behavior for eleven different personality disorders, of which we will consider the five that are most likely to cause you trouble in your daily life: Antisocial, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Obsessive-Compulsive, and Paranoid. I chose these five because they occur most frequently in the population, and, more often than the others, they may be present to a subclinical degree. Day to day, you are far more likely to meet people who are a little bit Narcissistic or Histrionic, say, than people who are slightly Borderline or Schizoid.

The main reason I chose these five is that each of the types discussed here, although pathological and draining, also has characteristics that people find very attractive. Over the course of more than 40 years as a psychologist and business consultant, I have seen that these five disorders consistently cause the most trouble for the most people, at home, at work, and everywhere in between.

The bulk of the emotional vampires discussed in this book are not severely disturbed enough to qualify for an official diagnosis of personality disorder, but the ways they think and act still correspond to the patterns described in the diagnostic manual. Think of the patterns as a catalog of the ways in which difficult people can be difficult, ranging from severe enough to be hospitalized to mild enough to behave normally until the person is subjected to significant stress. In the world of psychology, everything is on a continuum.

All the patterns derive from the fact that emotional vampires see the world differently than other people do. Their perceptions are distorted by their cravings for immature and unattainable goals. They want everybody's complete and exclusive attention. They expect perfect love that gives but never demands anything in return. They want lives filled with fun and excitement, and to have someone else take care of anything that's boring or difficult. Vampires look like adults on the outside, but inside, they're still babies.

Emotional vampires don't go around wearing capes and snapping at people with their fangs. Usually, the difficult people discussed in this book are indistinguishable, both physically and psychologically, from everybody else. Vampires' immature tendencies usually come out only in threatening situations. The rest of the time, emotional vampires act like normal, responsible adults. That said, I'll also point out that vampires tend to be threatened by things that don't bother ordinary people. If you use your own experience as a guide, you wouldn't expect anyone to have problems with crosses, garlic, or holy water. Just as real vampires cringe in the presence of those traditional banes, emotional vampires are inordinately threatened by common adult experiences, including boredom, uncertainty, accountability, and having to give as well as receive. In the rest of the first section, we will more fully discuss the ways of vampires, the subtle differences in their personalities that make them both dangerous and seductive.

The easiest way to classify emotional vampires is according to the personality disorders to which their thoughts and actions are most similar. Each vampire type is driven by a particular immature and impossible need that, to the vampire, is the most important thing in the world. Vampires themselves are usually not aware of the childish needs that drive them. That's all the more reason you should be.


Antisocial vampires are addicted to excitement. They're called antisocial, not because they don't like parties, but because they're heedless of social rules. These vampires love parties. They also love sex, drugs, rock 'n' roll, and anything else stimulating. They hate boredom worse than a stake through the heart. All they want out of life is a good time, a little action, and immediate gratification of their every desire.


Excerpted from Emotional Vampires by Albert Bernstein. Copyright © 2012 by Albert J. Bernstein. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi

1 Children of the Night 1

Who Are These Emotional Vampires?

Are They Really Vampires? 2

Antisocial Vampires 4

Histrionic Vampires 5

Narcissistic Vampires 5

Obsessive-Compulsive Vampires 6

Paranoid Vampires 7

2 Maturity and Mental Health 9

If Emotional Vampires Are Children, What Does It Take to Be a Grown-Up?

What Causes People to Become Emotional Vampires? 11

Immaturity Versus Evil 11

The Everybody and Nobody Rule 12

What If You See Yourself? 12

3 The Way of Vampires 15

How Emotional Vampires Are Different from and More Dangerous than Other Annoying People

Vampires Are Different 16

Vampires Prey on Humans 17

Vampires Can't See Themselves in a Mirror 19

Vampires Are More Powerful in the Dark 20

Protecting Yourself from Vampires 20

4 Lovable Rogues 21

The Antisocial Types

The Ferrari-Toyota Dilemma 22

How to Recognize an Antisocial Vampire 23

The Antisocial Emotional Vampire Checklist: Listening to the Call of the Wild 24

What the Questions Measure 25

5 Vampire Daredevils 27

Sexy, Thrilling, and Definitely Bad for Your Health

The Physiology of Excitement 27

Daredevil Hypnosis 28

Female Daredevils 29

How Vampires Keep You Coming Back for More 30

10 Ways to Protect Yourself from Daredevils 31

6 Daredevils in Your Life 39

Daredevil Lovers and Spouses

The Action Hero 39

The Liar 42

The Unfaithful Lover 43

Daredevil Ex-Husband 44

Daredevil Dads 47

Daredevil Adult Children 50

7 Antisocial Used Car Salesmen 53

Slicker than Cheap Polyester, So Always Remember to Read the Fine Print

Used Car Hypnosis 55

Is Honesty Really the Best Policy? 61

8 Vampire Bullies 63

Big, Scary, Powerful, and Stupid as the Guys Who Used to Take Lunch Money

The Instinct for Aggression 63

Vampire Bully Hypnosis 65

What to Do About Bullies 65

How to Do the Unexpected 67

9 Antisocial Used Car Salesmen and Bullies in Your Life 75

Living with a Liar 75

Bullies in Your Life 80

Living in a Minefield 80

10 Therapy for Antisocial Vampires 89

The Goal 89

Anger Control Treatment 90

Treatment for Addiction 90

Self-Help 91

What Will Hurt 92

11 Show Business, Vampire Style 93

The Histrionic Types

What It's Like to Be Histrionic 94

The Histrionic Dilemma 95

What the Questions Measure 95

The Histrionic Vampire Checklist: Living a Soap Opera 96

How to Protect Yourself from Histrionic Vampires 99

12 Vampires Who Ham It Up 101

Whether It's Sex, Sickness, or Secrets of Success, There's Only One Show Business

Ham-It-Up Hypnosis 103

Writing a Safe Role for Yourself 105

Illness as Theater 105

Celebrities, Fans, and Wannabes 106

Nine Ways to Protect Yourself from Histrionic Hams 106

13 Passive-Aggressive Vampires 111

Deliver Us from Ghoulies and Ghosties and People Who Are Only Trying to Help

Giving Until It Hurts 115

Illness as Communication 115

Passive-Aggressive Hypnosis 120

The High-Self-Esteem Syndrome 120

Nine Ways to Protect Yourself from Passive-Aggressive Histrionics 121

14 Histrionics in Your Life 127

Histrionic Martial Arts 127

My Mother, the Drama Queen 128

The Queen of Gossip 129

Your Depressed Sister 130

Male Histrionics 134

15 Therapy for Histrionic Vampires 137

The Goal 137

Professional Help 138

Self-Help 138

What Will Hurt 140

16 Big Egos, Small Everywhere Else 141

The Narcissistic Types

What It's Like to Be Narcissistic 142

The Narcissistic Dilemma 143

Narcissism and Self-Esteem 144

What the Questions Measure 144

The Narcissistic Vampire Checklist: Identifying the Self-Styled Smartest, Most Talented, All-Around Best People in the World 145

17 Vampires Who Are Legends in Their Own Minds 151

With Talent Like Theirs, Who Needs Performance?

How Narcissistic Legends Prevent Themselves from Succeeding 153

Narcissistic Legend Hypnosis 155

How to Socialize Narcissistic Legends 158

Nine Ways to Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Legends in Their Own Minds 159

18 Vampire Superstars 165

You've Got to Love These Guys! Worship Them, Actually

Dealing with Superstars' Insatiable Needs 166

Superstar Hypnosis 169

Sex and the Superstar 169

Superstar Depression and Anger 171

Nine Ways to Protect Yourself from Narcissistic Superstars 173

19 Narcissists in Your Life 179

Pundits from Hell 180

Tiger Mom 182

Season's Greetings from the Narcissist in Your Life 184

20 Therapy for Narcissistic Vampires 187

The Goal 187

Professional Help 187

Self-Help 187

What Will Hurt 189

21 Too Much of a Good Thing 191

The Obsessive-Compulsive Types

What It's Like to Be Obsessive-Compulsive 192

How Much Is Too Much? 193

Punishment, Where Good and Evil Meet 193

What the Questions Measure 194

The Obsessive-Compulsive Vampire Checklist: Vice Masquerading as Virtue 195

The Obsessive-Compulsive Dilemma 197

22 Vampire Perfectionists and Puritans 199

Can the Undead Be Anal-Retentive?

Why Do They Always Seem Angry? 200

Obsessive-Compulsive Hypnosis 200

Product Versus Process 201

Demanding Priorities 202

Perfectionists How the Imperfect Can Deal with Perfectionists 205

Puritans 206

Meet Your Inner Teenager 207

Nine Ways to Protect Yourself from Obsessive-Compulsives: What to Do When the Good Guys Are After You 210

23 Obsessive-Compulsives in Your Life 215

Control Freak 215

Control Freak Parents 218

Married to a Control Freak 218

24 Therapy for Obsessive-Compulsive Vampires 223

The Goal 223

Professional Help 223

What Will Hurt 225

25 Seeing Things That Others Can't 227

The Paranoid Types

Paranoid Purity 228

What It's Like to Be Paranoid 229

The Paranoid Emotional Vampire Checklist: Next Stop, the Twilight Zone 230

What the Questions Measure 231

26 Vampire Visionaries and Green-Eyed Monsters 235

Inspiration Always Involves Blowing Things out of Proportion

The Paranoid Quest 235

Paranoid Hypnosis 236

Visionaries 236

How to Recognize Crazy Ideas 238

Paranoids and Religion 241

Green-Eyed Monsters 241

The Nine Elements of Vampire-Fighting Strategy: How to Give Paranoids a Glimpse of Reality 244

27 Therapy for Paranoid Vampires 249

The Goal 249

Professional Help 249

Self-Help 250

What Will Hurt 250

28 Sunrise at Dracula's Castle 251

Index 253

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Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry, Revised and Expanded 2nd Edition 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Personality-disordered people are not ignorant dummies - far from it. They are super-slick users and the more you know about them ahead of time, the more likely to you will respond effectively to your body's inner thump of warning you that are being taken advantage of. This book details such conscience-less characters for you in such a way that you will never disbelieve yourself again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago