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Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry Paperback – March 22, 2002

4.3 out of 5 stars 183 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Clinical psychologist and business consultant Albert Bernstein's Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry is a humorous yet serious look at our interactions with people who seem to sap our energy. Through anecdotes, Bernstein makes the various categories of vampires distinctive and recognizable (Anti-Social, Histrionic, Narcissistic, Obssessive-Compulsive and Paranoid) and offers practical guidance for how readers can deal with them effectively (Understanding Emotional Vampires' immaturity is your ultimate weapon). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From the Back Cover

"If I'd had a copy of this book when I started therapy, I might have saved myself a lot of time and money. Bernstein provides a field guide to the various types of Emotional Vampires and advises readers how to protect themselves from being victims of these predatory personalities."­­Diane White, The Boston Globe

Emotional Vampires: They're out there . . . masquerading as ordinary people. They may lurk in your office, your family, your circle of friends; perhaps they even share your bed. Chances are, you know all too many of them. Bright, talented, and charismatic, they win your trust, your confidence, and your affection­­then drain you of your emotional energy. But take heart as you walk through the darkness, it doesn't have to be that way­­the more you know about vampires, the less power they have over you.

Here Dr. Albert J. Bernstein, vampire-slayer and author of the best-selling Dinosaur Brains and Neanderthals at Work, reveals the secrets that will protect you once and for all. Detailing a whole range of personality types and human responses, Bernstein shows you how to spot the "vampires" in your life: self-serving Narcissists, hedonistic Antisocials, exhausting Paranoids, or over-the-top Histrionic drama queens. And, with valuable advice, psychological perspective, and much-needed humor, he gives you a range of defense strategies that are guaranteed to keep the blood-sucking creatures of darkness from draining you dry.

By the end of Emotional Vampires, you'll be armed with superior knowledge, a treasure chest of vampire-slaying tools, and all the confidence you need to take on the most draining people in your life and win without shedding the first drop of blood.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill; 1 edition (March 22, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071381678
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071381673
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (183 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #382,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Emotional Vampires teaches you how to protect yourself from people who emotionally and materially drain you for their own gain and at your expense. These "vampires" prey on colleagues, friends, and family. They are especially dangerous because their self-absorption prevents them from seeing that they are harming others, and even makes them think they are helping others. "Vampires" are especially gifted at finding the most vulnerable victims. With Dr. Bernstein's help, these vampires will see you as no easy prey and move on to others. You recognize Emotional Vampires by the emotional aftermath: they "take a lot out of you," they leave you feeling "drained," they "pushed your buttons," they are "high maintenance," etc. Dr. Bernstein is right on the money with "vampire bite" as a metaphorical diagnosis for the real harm these types cause, but beware: the fangs seldom show, and emotional vampires can seem as harmless and ineffectual as Aunt Bea, or as affable as Will Rogers. Each chapter is a recognizance of different "vampire" personality types. I realized I was particularly vulnerable to the "histrionics" who thrive on drama for its own sake. I used Bernstein's techniques on a certain "histrionic" vampire in my life, and now I'm thankfully out of her perpetual soap opera. I urge everybody to buy this book. It's a funny and easy read, but the subject is serious and the insights ring deeply true. Once you have read it you will have the power to protect yourself from a lot of hard times and wasted hours.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Gee, I work with two vampire personalities but I have to tell you that this book by Bernstein has to be, by far, the finest non-technical description of personality disorders that I've ever encountered. It's for both the layman and the psychologist and, best of all, it's self-help. I can't say enough about it. It reads like deja vu for anyone who has ever suffered the attentions of self-promoting, self-worshipping, narcissistic psychopaths. His advice is sound but they're so crazy you can't always use it--yet you will feel better after reading his work.
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Format: Paperback
I found this to be incredibly helpful in dealing with strong, needy personalities that I encounter. In fact, I found it so like an instructional (how-to) text, I highlighted in it!

Many people are difficult sometimes or often -- including each one of us -- but Bernstein writes that his "emotional vampires" are people who see the world differently. "Their perceptions are distorted by their cravings for immature and unattainable goals. They want everybody's complete and exclusive attention. ... Emotional Vampires are inordinantly threatened by common adult experiences, including boredom, uncertainty, accountability, and having to give as well as receive" (p. 4). He bases his categorizations of emotional vampires on personality disorders as defined by the American Psychiatric Association, but states that the people who give us trouble, or the types he addresses in this book, aren't likely to be that seriously dysfunctional.

After a few introductory chapters helping to set the stage (and firmly establish his vampire metaphor), Bernstein dedicates a chapter to each type of vampire. The introductory chapters outline how "vampires" are different from other people, how they are "made" and how their sucking black holes of emotional needs will suck the life out of anyone who doesn't know how to defend him or herself. Bernstein repeatedly makes the point that life is lonely for vampires: For them, the world comprises only their needs, nothing else.

Regarding this last point, Bernstein emphasizes that to fight a vampire, or at least to protect oneself, individuals should NOT try to make vampires care about their feelings, or tell them they've been hurt by them.
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Format: Paperback
This is one book I wish I'd read before venturing, happily but naively, into the dim and murky world of the emotional vampire. But then, of course, none of this could possibly apply to the charming, gorgeous creature sharing my life. What a ridiculous thought! The poor thing has had a lot of tough breaks, and just needs a little help, right? Nobody's perfect. We can all use a little support. What's friendship for, let alone love? Yeah, lean on me, babe. I'm here for you... The next thing I know, a gradual sense of the surreal slowly begins to pervade my life. I find myself trying to figure stuff out all the time. What was that she said? Why did she say that? Why would someone do that? Is it me? Am I missing something? My mind going round and round in ever decreasing circles. Little did I know this is the first symptom of blood loss.

I enjoyed this book even though it's quite a while since I managed to escape, dragging my poor depleted body through the Transylvanian woods to freedom and slowly regaining my sanity. Bernstein is the emotional equivalent of Van Helsing and this book is the string of garlic you need to hang around your neck. He writes well with much wisdom and a few laughs thrown in and there were many 'Aha!' moments for me.

Good as it is, I feel that this book will be most useful for victims outside of intimate relationships. God forbid that your significant other is an emotional vampire. The effects are devastating, extremely damaging and the abuse of friendship and love (much worse than physical abuse in my opinion) takes years to get over. The important thing to grasp is that these creatures are NOT human in the sense that most 'normal' people would understand. By definition, a vampire is not a human being.
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