Emotional Vampires: Must-Know Skills For Dealing With Narcissists


couple argue
Expert Margaret Jacobson shares insights gained from Albert Bernstein's, book "Emotional Vampires".

Consciously uncouple? That's what I wanted to do. I really, really, really did. Some would say that I had that opportunity and turned it down. My ex had suggested that we go to a mediator instead of an attorney; however, I said that I didn't think that would work. Now why would I say that? Basically saying NO to mediation left me with the other option which was to use divorce attorneys.

I'll tell you why I did it. The power dynamic in our relationship was so out of whack that if I had stepped into the room with a mediator, I would have caved on everything. I was so weak. I simply couldn't hold my own, and I knew it. We were leading a very parasitic life, and I was the host and he was the parasite. The thing is, I didn't realize where he ended and I began. I had no clear boundaries. I only knew it was unhealthy and incorrect and that I had to get out of it.


So I entered the arena of the Divorce Corp, as I talked about last week when I interviewed Joseph Sorge on my radio show The Mother Rising on VoiceAmerica's Empowerment station. I began the expensive, confusing and yucky adversarial arena of divorce through the Family Court system.

However, that didn't change the fact that I still had to learn to create new behavior patterns in my interactions both in person, by phone, by text, by email, as well as through court documents that would equalize the power dynamic once again. Enter the book, "Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry," by Albert Bernstein, Ph.D. (my interviewee today on The Mother Rising). This book was a game changer for me. When I was reading, it was as if lightbulb after lightbulb went on. For the first time, I could understand the type of person I was dealing with.

"…the most dangerous mistake you can make is believing that underneath it all, vampires are really regular people, just like you. If you interpret what they say and do according to what you would feel if you said or did the same thing, you'll be wrong most every time. And you'll end up drained dry, "Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry, by Albert Bernstein, Ph.D.

In his book, he differentiates a variety of different kinds of emotional vampires:

  • Antisocial Vampires (Daredevils, used car Salesmen, Bullies)
  • Histrionic Vampires (Ham It Up Types, Passive-Agressives)
  • Narcissicistic Vampires (Legends in their own mind, Superstars)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Vampires (Perfectionists & Puritans)
  • Paranoid Vampires

What I love so very much about Dr. Bernstein's work is that he makes a point of not focusing on the reasons for Emotional Vampires becoming vampires but on understanding how they work and how you can begin to function in new behavior patterns to create your own boundaries and end the parasitic relationship. He gives fabulous examples so that you can really try them on for size and see if that type of vampire is the one you are dealing with. 

I found that my vampire was not pinpointed to any one, but was a mix of several. The skills for recognizing the hypnotic state I was being put into by the vampire prior to the bite were simple, practical and extremely eye opening. I was able to awake from my deep slumber and end the parasitic disempowering relationship of which I had been apart.

"Dealing with Emotional Vampires requires a lot of effort. They may be worth it, they may not. Only you can decide. Sometimes it's better to run away or not get involved in the first place." Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry, by Albert Bernstein, Ph.D.

Running away is not an option in my case, and it has been my experience that what I am learning about vampires has been tremendously helpful to my clients as I specialize in helping people with difficult endings, especially when there are children involved. It is an honor to bear witness to my clients as they awaken from their hypnotic state and create an awareness that allows them to feel a sense of clarity, calm and control that they haven't felt in years. 

Though I always have to keep my wits about me while I continue to raise my children with their father, I am heartened to know that though emotional vampires are known to never grow up, there is possibility for growth and maturity with diligent self-work. I keep open to watching for signs that he has come back to the living all the while never entering the dark in which he has been known to lurk. I await the possibility of his arrival in the light.

And remember, "Vampires can't hurt you unless you invite them in." So join me today as I interview the author of Emotional Vampires and five other books on The Mother Rising where we will be discussing his next book coming out soon…"To Fight Vampires, It Takes The Calm of  A Jedi Knight and The Chutzpah of a Jewish Mother.”" We will explore the intricacies of understanding how you have let them in and how to handle them Jedi Knight/Jewish Mama style!

Tune in today 4/24/14 on The Mother Rising at VoiceAmerica's Empowerment Channel at 4pm PDT

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Article contributed by

Margaret Jacobson

Divorce Coach

Margaret Jacobson, radio show host of The Mother Rising on Voice America's Empowerment station, understands the challenges of isolation and deep struggle in all stages of divorce (before, during and after). As a Divorce Wellness coach she helps those going through divorce or separation maintain their health and stay organized so that they can feel in control and find clarity and peace.  She specializes in working with clients dealing with difficult endings.

Laying a foundation  for understanding the landscape of divorce on the mental, emotional, physical and spiritual levels, Margaret speaks on The 9 Things You Can Depend on in Divorce so that you can flow through the process with greater ease.

Making clear choices in the midst of the temporary insanity of divorce can seem like you are swimming upstream but with Margaret's nurturing heart in her weekly group sessions with Clear Choice Divorce, you are expertly guided through 12 weeks of topics allowing you to feel connected with others along this journey and learn the skills it takes to create a strong vessel with great stamina. 

Begin both learning what you can depend on and feeling connected. Sign up today. 

Honor yourself. Celebrate yourstrength. Empower your transformation. 


Location: Tiburon, CA
Credentials: BA, MA
Specialties: Divorce/Divorce Prevention, Spiritual, Wellness
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