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Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,751 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Best-selling author Albert J. Bernstein helped thousands of people deal with the dangerously stupid at work in Dinosaur Brains. In Emotional Vampires he goes even further to protect unsuspecting mortals from more devious and harmful creatures vampires ready to bite, suck, and kill the emotional and psychological wellbeing of their victims. Like the fabled demons, these vam ...more
Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Published (first published 2000)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,751 ratings  ·  174 reviews


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Greta G
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 per ...more
Jeanette
This is a book I would have given a 4 star rating to before I went back to get my last two degrees in my 50's. And especially if I had not done the 9 years of counseling or had so much input on case studies for those seeking vocational or consequential path realities and/or choices. Or maybe even then I would have, but not after I supervised a Federal Work Study Program.

Why? Because he just paints this picture with an enormously wide brush. Too wide. Yes, there are personality disorders. Yes, pe
...more
Natalie Richards
Sep 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-book
I remember reading this several years ago and found it to be so insightful and very helpful to me. This book then led me to research the topics of narcissism, personality disorders and toxic relationships and although I have learned so much since first reading this book, and for me better readings, it holds a special place in my heart as it gave me "lightbulb" moments and for that I`m grateful.
This book would be a great place to start for anyone interested in "emotional vampires" as it is so eas
...more
R.
Didn't finish because the library was closing on a late autumn night - but read enough to get the gist, though I've since forgotten some of the strategies for dealing. Emotional jiu-jitsu: that kind of thing. But not this, the simplest of the lessons: when you can, avoid 'em.

And wasn't just reading to avoid the "vampiric, emotionally", either: was trying to see if I was one of the needy undead. But there's a fine line, isn't there? We're all dependent on others to some extent: it's unavoidable.
...more
Marc MacYoung
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is a sanity saver. And the sanity it will save is yours.

What I particularly liked about this book is that it takes the DSM IV section on 'personality disorders' and turns it into something a layman can understand. That means this isn't some half-baked, feel good, self-help book. It's nuts-and-bolts practical about dealing with people who have low level personality disorders. And there's a lot of them out there folks...

Not only does the author explain the nature of the beast and how the
...more
Judith E
Jun 30, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Dr. Bernstein gives a good overview of various personality disorders and ways to deal with them. From daredevils to histrionics to antisocial bullies, he gives good examples of their draining behaviors and how best to survive them. I closely read about the personality that, unfortunately, is in my circle of acquaintances and I now remind myself of the best survival strategies to keep from being ‘bitten’.
Kristin
Mar 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People in draining family, work, or love relationships; personality disorders
Shelves: psychology
This is a book about dealing with people (family members, coworkers, significant others) who drain you emotionally, financially, and any other way you can imagine. Their ability to "suck the life out of you" is rooted in their tendencies (or full-blown pathology) toward certain personality traits and disorders (the antisocial, passive-aggressive, narcissist, histrionic (drama queen), paranoid, and bully-types). The author, Albert Bernstien, a clinical psychologist and business consultant, outlin ...more
Joey
It is said that bad feedback could be attributable to your personality problem. If you do not know why you are disliked by a majority of people around you, well, it’s about time you learnt the Johari’s window: There may be some things the people around you know about you that you never know.
Admit it. There is someone or at least some of your co-workers whom you find annoying drain you dry in the sense that you cannot put up with them any longer. No matter how colossal your patience is, but stil
...more
Jessica
Nov 06, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The concept for this book is good. It describes five common personality disorders and how they manifest themselves in day-to-day life, so you can recognize the signs in other people (even if they only have a slight tendency toward a disorder) and learn to protect yourself from getting bullied, hoodwinked, or just constantly irritated.

Unfortunately, the execution is lacking. It's overly simplistic in almost every way, from the broad generalizations that are sometimes flat-out false to the screenp
...more
Jenny
Feb 05, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! Wonderfully accessible and practical look at a handful of not-quite personality disorders. And how recognize and handle people who drain you.

Emotional vampires never grow up/they are immature, they are not connected or empathetic (you exist to serve their needs) or fair. They take, they are selfish, and they do not follow social rules. They cannot be at fault, they won't wait for what they want, and things have to be their way. They have no insight and no guilt. They thrive on s
...more
Jennifer
Emotional vampires, Dr. Bernstein tells us, are the people who leave us feeling drained whenever we interact with them. Bullies, thrill seekers, the overly dramatic and excessively paranoid, they may wear a variety of faces, but they're all manifestations of the same basic immaturity and desire to control. And after decades of working with them, Bernstein has some concrete suggestions on how to make our interactions with these soul-suckers more peaceful and productive.

In fact, those simple, conc
...more
White
Sep 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is genius. It is probably the best written self-help book on the shelf. It not only teaches about the concept of emotional drainers, it also gives different styles, techniques, and focus on various types of emotional vampires. From Paranoid vampires to obsessive compulsive vampires to passive aggressive vampires to antisocial vampires. This book has it all. It also gives reasons for the predator to prey as he does which gives the reader a compassionate understanding that helps connect ...more
Daniel Taylor
This a dangerous book: if you start labelling your friends as vampires, then you'll quickly find yourself without friends.

Based on work into personality disorders, this book equips you with practical tools to drive a stake through the heart of the emotional vampires that suck your energy.

On my first read-through, I got the impression that this was one of those personality-type books that are hard to wrap your head around and keep the distinctions clear. But as I did my second reading, I spotted
...more
Kirsten
Aug 13, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This was a fairly interesting read except that I didn't really feel like I gained much insight from it. I could definitely relate to the types of people he was describing, but he was much to absolute in his descriptions and motivations. He just didn't allow for the humanity in all of us to come through in his descriptions of the "vampires." I think he is a bit too anxious and willing to put people in boxes. Truth is, nobody fits in a box. ...more
Erika
Jul 27, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book feels padded by repetition and I don't feel I got much useful information out of it. ...more
Nahid
Aug 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites

Emotional Vampires by Albert J. Bernstein is an excellent book of recognizing energy draining people and the ways to deal with them effectively. What I particularly liked about this book is that it takes the DSM IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders by American Psychiatric Association) section on 'personality disorders' and turns it into something a layman can understand. That means this isn't some half-baked, feel good, self-help book. It's nuts-and-bolts practical about dea
...more
Damaskcat
Dec 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you have people in your life who seem to drain your energy? Do they need your attention all the time and expect you to put their needs before everything else in your life? Do they question you minutely about what you’ve been doing, who you’ve spoken to and where you want?

If you can answer yes to all those questions you may have one or more emotional vampires in your life. Like the fictional blood-sucking variety they may seem more attractive and more fun than anyone else you’ve ever known. B
...more
Zoe
Sep 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book about 5 years ago, when I was dealing with a difficult situation at work. Sadly 5 years later, I dug out this book again for another difficult work situation.

I personally find this book very helpful, because it gave me the information I needed. I was looking for specific information which will help me understand a specific type of personality disorder. I am fairly informed on said disorder. So I knew what I needed when I read the book. I was able to quickly locate the informa
...more
Kathleen
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is concise and offers very practical advice on dealing with very difficult people, those with tendencies towards a variety of personality disorders. What Albert Bernstein doesn't do: Try to explain the origins of the behavior -- and that is an intentional omission. There's a definite focus on the workplace, which makes some of the information less helpful when it comes to family and personal relationships. At the same time, there are still many an insight to be had. You'll see aspects ...more
Joy Bessent
Feb 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If you want to learn how to engage with people that are "emotional vampires" effectively, this is a great book. It does not offer any hope for the people that are "draining you dry" to ever change or offer an explanation for why they act the way they do. However, that is why I liked it. It offers practical solutions to relationship problems. If you recognize some of the behaviors in yourself, it also gives advice on how to overcome them. ...more
Cherie
May 07, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
There is a lot of good information contained in the book. It is well organized and complete. I say complete because I've read many self-help books that spend all their words defining and describing a situation and then leave me asking "Ok, what do I do now?". This one has a list of things at the end of each chapter. Funny though, they were almost identical for each and every type "vampire".

Why the book didn't work for me: I was looking for the answer to the exact title: Emotional vampires that d
...more
David
Nov 29, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an entertaining and informative book that makes you conscious of people out there who may be unconsciously sucking the life force out of you in any number of ways. There’s a lot packed into this to help you recognize the people who are draining you, which is the first step to stopping it. A vampire’s reactions, consciously or unconsciously, have the effect of manipulating you. And there are any number of manipulative tools—histrionics, playing the victim, pathological giving, subtle rese ...more
Becky Rivers
This book is indispensable and should be on every college reading list if not high school.
Early identification is key in dealing with emotional vampires who suck the life right out of you. This description of personality disorders is spot on! And a toolkit of garlic, stakes and holy water is contained therein.

Having read some of the negative reviews on the book on this site, I remember the mantra he continues to chant, "Vampires can rarely see themselves in the mirror." If you haven't been seduc
...more
Era Singh
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
this book saved my life in some metaphorical way. when bombarded by some sort of crazy chaos in the form of conflicts with someone, i was recommended this book by a friend, and learned an incredible amount about recognizing personality disorders in other people and effective ways to deal with them and not get sucked in by the hypnosis of charming emotionally shallow people.
Jostalady
I met this author and heard him speak at a Library conference. I felt his class was useful for working with the public so I would read his book. It turns out that it was useful in dealing with everybody! I quickly was able to identify some major bloodsuckers in my life and my stress level came down even with their ongoing feedings. I thought this book was great at the time.
C.B. Brooks
Sep 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Outstanding, informative approach to the evil Personality Disorders. So good that I reference and quote parts in my book, Trust Your Radar. If you can identify and avoid these people, you will have a much better life. Get involved with one as a partner, romantic interest, co-worker, boss, roommate, friend: and your life will be turned upside down.
Molly
Jul 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I tend to attract people who suck me dry. I am finished doing that. Bernstein's book is helpful as an at-times humorous and highly precise navigation of those patterns. If you find yourself in these scenarios, this book will help you out of them. ...more
Passenger
This is such a weird book to me.
It's clearly written with the average Joe in mind, who will not care much about clinical terminology. But why then does the author feel the need to make up his own terminology and rules, which make it harder for people who want to use more than one source, to understand what's what?!
Reminds me of those authors who admit that they want to bind the readers to them so they won't look for any other sources and keep paying for their material. Seems just a tad narciss
...more
Lekeisha The Booknerd
Dec 26, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Read this over the summer. Best recommendation from a coworker. Ever!
Yodamom
I am surrounded by them, they suck the energy right out of my day and I am left feeling drained and exhausted from exchanges with them. �Haven't you ever spent time with someone that left you feeling empty ? They are Vampires, emotional vampires. I know they are real and they are not afraid of the light.�
This books shows you ways to spot them and how to deal with their energy draining ways. It is light, funny and yet very serious. It amazed my that many vampiric types have serious mental disorde
...more
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4 likes · 2 comments
“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.” 6 likes
“Life offers a cruel choice: you can be right or happy. Not both. This is true regardless of whom you may be involved with, but it is especially true if there is an emotional vampire in your life.” 6 likes
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