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Excerpt from The Empath’s Survival Guide on Toxic People (Energy Vampires)

In my psychotherapy practice,  I teach my patients how to deal with toxic people or energy vampires. I’ve found that some relationships are positive and energizing for my patients, but others are draining. In fact, certain people can suck the positivity and peacefulness right out of you. I call these drainers “energy vampires.” At work, at home, or in the world, energy vampires sap your physical and emotional energy. The super toxic ones can make you believe you’re flawed and unlovable. You may tiptoe around them for fear of an explosion. Some attack with put-downs, blame, or shame. They might say, “Dear, you’re looking really tired and old today,” or “You’re too sensitive.” Suddenly they make you feel as if something is wrong with you.

An essential action step in The Empath’s Survival Guide is to identify the energy vampires in your life and develop strategies to effectively deal with them. Doing so will make a tremendous difference in the quality of your relationships and prevent you from being sapped by them. Don’t let energy vampires take you by surprise. Create a plan. Try not to take their barbs personally, even when they are intentional. The effort, though often strenuous, is necessary to take back your power and protect your sensitivities. Remember, these drainers are motivated by fear and insecurity. They annoy and deplete many people, not just you.


Judith Orloff, MD is the author of The Empath’s Survival Guide: Life Strategies for Sensitive People, upon which her articles are based. Dr. Orloff is a psychiatrist, an empath, and is on the UCLA Psychiatric Clinical Faculty. She synthesizes the pearls of traditional medicine with cutting edge knowledge of intuition, energy, and spirituality. Dr. Orloff also specializes in treating empaths and highly sensitive people in her private practice. Dr. Orloff’s work has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, the Oprah Magazine and USA Today. She is a New York Times best-selling author of Emotional Freedom, The Power of Surrender, Second Sight, Positive Energy, and Guide to Intuitive Healing.

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