Who is a self-esteem vampire ?
I know that vampires are all the rage with the young people at present, but did you know that vampires actually exist? You’ve seen them, I know you have; everyone has. Forget the fangs and the capes though, these are self-esteem vampires and seem to thrive on causing those around them to take a hit on their self-worth; something they achieve by making comments calculated to make the person they are speaking too feel bad about themselves.
From something as simple as “I don’t know, blue really isn’t your color” to “I was sure that you understood what I was talking about but I guess I must have been wrong;” self-esteem vampires have a myriad of different ways to undermine your self-confidence and make you question your self-worth. The most insidious of these are the ones who have honed their ability to a fine art and can deliver an insult in such a way that you don’t even realize it until minutes or even hours later.
So how can you keep from being a victim of these self-esteem vampires? Is there a psychological equivalent to hanging garlic around your neck or carrying a silver cross? Luckily for you there are a number of methods to eliminate the power that these creatures have over your feelings of self-worth.
Methods for Dealing with Self-Esteem Vampires
Identify the Vampires. Once you have run into a self-esteem vampire, make a note of the person. Being aware of what a person is and what they are capable of helps you to be prepared when having to deal with them again. While avoiding a self-esteem vampire is by far the preferred method of dealing with these individuals, that is not always a possibility, especially in a workplace setting, so make a note of them, then use some of the other methods listed below when dealing with them.
The Withering Power of Wit. It’s true; laugher is the best medicine. When a self-esteem vampire says something that is calculated to hurt, laugh it off; preferably in front of them. Respond to their cutting remark or underhanded insult with a laugh or a light-hearted comment. If the vampire thinks that they are not affecting you then they may move on to other targets.
Heaping Coals of Fire. Have you ever heard the expression “heaping coals of fire on their head?” This is an expression that means that by singling out someone who has been mean to you or who seems to delight in making you feel bad and doing something calculated to be nice (in retaliation for the calculated things they do and say to make you feel bad) that the two will cancel themselves out by making the person feel bad for having treated you that way. Mind you this doesn’t always work; especially if the self-esteem vampire is a veteran, but if they are an amateur you may very well be doing yourself and them a favor by helping them to snap out of it.
Counter the Curse. Every time the vampire says something calculated to make you take a hit on your self esteem, counter it with a positive statement. This is another method that tends to undermine the effect of a self-esteem vampire’s power, though it works best if you use it to their face. For example, your co-worker says “You know, I really don’t think that blue is your color.” You know that you look good in blue, and that this is a statement made specifically with the idea of making you feel bad in mind. So counter it with something like, “interesting that you should say that, because this shade always makes me feel like a million bucks.”
Don’t underestimate the power of any of these methods, for it is amazing how quickly the self-esteem vampire will stop their attacks if they aren’t getting the reaction from you that they are looking for.
By changing your reactions to their comments you can not only stop their attacks, but bolster your self-esteem in the process, a byproduct that the vampire would probably never have expected.