Emotional Vampires: Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry

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"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."­­Boston Globe

From bestselling author Albert J. Bernstein

The author of Dinosaur Brains offers protection from people who seek to destroy the emotional and psychological well-being of others. Like the fabled demons, these vampires:

  • Think their needs are more important than yours
  • Believe "the rules" apply only to other people
  • Use their tempers in the same way terrorists use bombs

Emotional Vampires tells readers how to spot a "vampire" in their lives, which defense strategies to employ to prevent one from striking, and what to do if and when they find themselves under attack.

Customer Reviews:

  • Make sense!
    This is a great book. It's practical and entertaining to read. I work with a paranoid vampire. It describes him so completely. It's amazing. I feel validated. This book demystifies difficult blood-sucking dark creatures in your life....more info
  • Great book
    I found this book to be very interesting and eye-opening. I was amazed to see some of the most difficult people in my life so perfectly described. I thought that the advice was helpful and the warnings about these folks well worth heeding....more info
    First, to diffuse some of the objections to this book you might come across:
    1. "Overuse of the Vampire analogies and other metaphors and imagery." Whoever found them distracting was just not understanding them. Bernstein uses each one to make a very specific point, and with their aid he makes that point compeletely clear and accessible. He does use the vampire analogy, but at almost every turn there's a new take on it. His writing is very colorful and just as intentional.
    Also, Bernstein is uproariously funny (but never funny just for the sake of being funny). And a lot of that is in his use of metaphors, etc. Before I got 1/2 way through, I checked the 'about the author' to see if he'd done stand-up comedy on the side. Apparently he does a lot of public speaking. A good comedian points out things you haven't really thought about and then makes them entertaining. And when you laugh at something it usually means that you can relate to it and that you completely understand the message. The clarity and liveliness needed to be an effective public speaker, along with the didactic humor, keep things humming from cover to cover. If you're not at least giving a chuckle every few pages or so, either you're not getting it, or there's a much more serious concern...
    2. "Not enough concrete advice." Whoever could think this, they are truly not seeing the forest for the trees! This book is loaded with practical advice and revolves around delivering that advice in the most effective way.
    I identified my vampire, and I'm going to take a totally different approach to them based on the practical information I found here. In fact Bernstein says outright that while finding the root cause of a disorder can be interesting, it can often be a distraction from how to deal with the practical issues you have face. And, true to his word, everything he says either frames his practical advice, tees it up or delivers it--usually with illustrations on how one might apply it.
    3. "There are better books out there on the subject." It's hard to imagine. Maybe there are. But it's all moot anyway when the critic doesn't actually provide any alternative titles or make any effort to back the statement up.
    While you're reading and enjoying, you're picking up some rather subtle points all along the way, maybe without even quite realizing how difficult it would really be to take up these otherwise abstract and difficult points and then render them as accessible as Bernstein does. This book is full of valuable tools, and concepts that are crucial to understanding and dealing with this type of person. I know, based on personal experience--frighteningly personal experience.
    My vampire is a paranoid obsessive-compulsive. Bernstein illustrates a typical conversation that an OC vampire might have, and I've had that EXACT SAME conversation, in almost identical circumstances and which included a lot of the same exact words and phrases!
    Bernstein accomplishes everything, and more, that one would want to see in a practical introduction to the more common personality disorders--only EXTREMELY WELL! After reading this book you'll feel a lot less alone in your situation and a lot more equipped to deal with your vampires.
    ...more info
  • Best Book On Personality Disorders
    I bought several books about personality disorders after I discovered a difficult person in my life was a diagnosed Anti-Social. I found most of the books borring and they provided more clinical information than I needed. Emotional Vampires was the exception. This book explains Anti-Socials from a real world perspective and helped deepen my understanding of the disorder. Bersteins humor made the reading experience more enjoyable. ...more info
  • Learn How Not to Let Others Drain You Dry
    If you have to deal or live with controlling, emotionally draining people, then BUY THIS BOOK. The author identifies 5 personality types who are so draining they can be classified as "emotional vampires." He presents psychological concepts simply, clearly, and with humor, and gives practical advice on dealing with emotional vampires. I read the book from cover-to-cover in about 3 days, and may read it again. It's a very useful tool for learning how to deal with draining people, and is a must-have for those who have to deal with emotional vampires on a regular basis. ...more info
  • Informative and Practical
    One of the best book on this topic. Very helpful. A must read for people interested in this subject....more info
  • best of pop psych
    Clearly written insights and advice that helped me deal better with problematic interactions right away. No other pop psych book nails stakes into the hearts of problems this well. A wise reader will try to notice when the book becomes a mirror and whether you flinch. When I saw myself, it was shock worth absorbing. I ended up feeling the author had manipulated me -- in a good way. ...more info
  • Entertaining, informative, and accessible
    This is an interesting, humorous (maybe a bit too humorous), and engaging exploration into the people who drain you dry. This book is written for lay people. It's hard to put down.

    The author classifies "emotional vampires" into a number of different categories, provides guidelines for identifying them, and most importantly, the tools for dealing with them, if you choose to do so. The book may be a revelation for you, as it was for me, by helping you see that there is nothing you can do to "help" the individual in question, you can only learn to manage them, AND your own response to them, or cut them loose....more info
  • Vampirism Beyond Rice
    Interesting book about the people we deal with and ourselves. The author gets repeitive and emphasizes the vampire too much for my taste but his precepts and observations are sound and illuminating on why people act as they do....more info
  • The Family's Memoirs
    This book helped our family deal with a sister when our mother passed away. Her sole refuge, Mother excused, endorsed, even promoted behaviors and vicious verbal attacks against family members that left the rest of us an armed camp...and scarred. Extend a hand to this sister and she'll gnaw it off verbally while she's plotting her next assault.

    Dr. Bernstein's very positive approach is to invest less time in "fixing" and more into learning how to live constructively with a personality type. He identifies the strengths of each type and cautions against labeling...and expectations that the "vampire" will change. Ever.

    Clearly stated "Danger, Will Robinson!" flags are needed to alert readers when quirks are escalating into areas where GREAT caution should be exercised...or to indicate when all contact should cease. His brief observation that Paranoids sometimes take lives leaves a world unsaid.

    You know how readable and effective this book is by checking the number of reviews!

    ...more info
  • understanding the blood drain
    I found this book really helpful to understand certain personality types who have breezed disturbingly into my life. It helped me understand these personality types, how they operate and why they operate as they do. Now I don't have to fall for their tune any more! Thanks for this great, informative book....more info
  • Aware
    This book will give you information on how other people effects your engery field, Emotional Vampires, you will become aware how you fell when you are around other's and how they make you feel "sick"....you know it's time to walk away and don't waste your time with them. ...more info
  • A wealth of information about human behavior!
    This book read like it was telling my story. It is an amazing truism about why people behave in ways that you will not understand until you read it from cover to cover. It explained all the idiosyncracies of why I felt absolutely powerless and emotionally numb about what and who I was dealing with. Also, I would have recognized some of my own behaviors. I definitely would have seen the signs and understood the path in which my relationship was headed down much sooner. A must read for all!...more info
  • The Lightbulb went "DING!"
    If I hadn't read this book at the precise moment that I did, I would have quit my job. My boss is THAT obnoxious. The most important thing that helped me transcend my constant annoyance is this: you will NEVER NEVER NEVER be able to change these vampires or make them understand why they are wrong. Or that they are wrong at all, or at fault for anything. This book gives you tips on how to get around people's personality disorders and even work them to your advantage. And the best part is, you'll get out alive!...more info
  • Very useful information
    This book is a great introduction to personality disorders. It's extremely well written.
    I agree with another reviewer; the subject of personality disorders is not funny. On the otherhand, as a daughter of a severe narcissist, humor is a matter of emotional survival.
    The main thing that makes this book so special is that it's not another DSM description of severe disorders. It's useful information for everyday people- and yet that's what makes it so scary. Bernstein's analogiies made my skin crawl, but were hysterical at the same time. It's absolutely brilliant. I felt the repetitive reference to vampires was done in an extremely creative way.
    If you have any interest in this subject at all, even if you are very well versed- you will love this book.
    ...more info
  • Unsuspecting Souls Will Never Again Be Victimized!
    Here's another book I wish I would have had 13 or more years ago. I could honestly say this information would have prevented not only an extremely bad marriage but also several very bad relationships. Not only does this book identify core characteristics of people who drain you dry (beyond the normal "self help" books), but it also tells how to deal with these people.

    Dr. Bernstein divides these vampires up in groups, each with certain characteristics which might differ from their counterparts. We are also advised how to overcome (or co-exist with) each different group. This is invaluable. Again, I can't say it enough - I wish I would have had this book 13 years ago!

    What I liked is that it also provides insights into the minds of each individual group of emotional vampires. I have read so many things I just wanted to highlight and underline! I will DEFINITELY be reading this book again, with highligher in hand. I can think of at least two people right off who really need this book and would greatly appreciate it.

    Not only does it help identify others who may be bleeding you dry but it also helps identify certain characteristics in yourself as well, and teaches you how to co-exist with yourself, so to speak.

    I recognized a barrage of people that I have known over the years in this book, and I also recognized myself in some parts. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, especially those in their 20s just entering the corporate and serious relationship phase of their lives. The most important part is recognizing and then in turn, knowing what will work with certain groups and what will not work with others. Dr. Bernstein does a wonderful job, and this is also an entertaining read....more info
  • How many times can an author write the word "vampire"
    I know that Dr. Bernstein is trying to communicate an idea but his constant use of the word "vampire" really put me off. Pg 65 - 5 times; pg 188 - 6 times... you get the idea. The information he conveys is interesting if you have never read about Personality Disorders like anti-social, histrionic, narcissistic, obsessive-compulsive and paranoid. Buy the book at a used price and you'll get your money's worth. ...more info
  • Entertaining, Informative Read...
    This is a wonderful book in particular for lay people who know nothing about personality disorders. I am a psychologist and much of it was very basic and more of a review for me, but I can see how this book would really help initially educate those dealing with difficult people who have personality disorders. It seemed to be written in a way that was either targeted toward or easier to apply in the workplace, rather than in personal life, but still worthwhile....more info
  • False
    This book is a disgrace to all vampyres, it is not stated on any facts, let alone there are some. You should not write a book when you know nothing about the subject, this book should be discontiued, it is a disgrace....more info
  • Emotional Vampires Strike 24/7
    If you are tired of being used, abused and emotionally and physically drained by certain people at work, at home, at the malls and many other places and even by those who appear nice, this book is a must read.

    Read and devour this book or else these Emotional Vampires will eat and devour your emotional energies and at times talk you out of your hard-earned money. Author of "Emotional Vampires" wrote, "To protect yourself, you must know with whom you are dealing" (Page 17). As a sage once said, "Ignorance is not bliss;" in fact, it can make life a living hell.

    "Professor Van Helsing, eminent expert on the occult, has been summoned. He steps off the train into the swirling mists on the platform. He's wearing thick tweed and carrying a battered leather valise that rattles when he walks, as if it were filled with wooden stakes. Van Helsing shakes his head. `You do not know with whom you are dealing.'

    Muttering under his breath, he sets his valise down and fumbles around inside it. He takes out an ancient book with a large crucifix embossed on its cover. `You must learn the ways of the vampires. Read this before sunset'"(Page 17).

    The author, choosing vampires as a metaphor, could not have used a better way to describe people who drain us dry. I read the book "Emotional Blackmail" by Susan Forward, and although she exposed the strategies to deal with these sick individuals, Bernstein does one thing better, he calls them what they are, identifies their true nature, and offers us strategies to deal with them effectively.

    Bernstein, on page 14, wrote, "Probably...everybody...has some of these characteristics." However, unlike Emotional Vampires, some of us dare to look in the mirror and attempt changing our thoughts and behaviors. "To protect yourself, you need to recognize...them...The strategies these emotional vampires use are the same whether they want to make you think you're a chicken, buy a used car, or get into bed with them" (Page 24).

    These Emotional Vampires are slick people, real slick. Although some of these Emotional Vampires may continue to fool me from time to time, at least, now I have a fighting chance. When I was seventeen years old, a charismatic religious leader duped me and stole thirteen years from me. For years, I kicked myself stupid, berated myself, drank and drugged myself to relieve emotional pain and often blamed myself for being so stupid.

    Author, Bernstein is opening my eyes to the strategies strangers, a religious leader and others use to control and manipulate me. Bernstein wrote "Here's how (some of them) do it: Misdirection, Identification, Isolation, Control, Alternated Reality, and False Choices."

    Albert J. Bernstein has written a much-needed book, providing insight to the ways and means of how these Emotional Vampires use us and take from us leaving us emotionally and physically drained. Unlike the mythological vampires that normally strike only at night, Emotional Vampires strike 24/7.

    Steven Haack
    Columbus, Ohio
    September 2006
    Email: cyclingsteve2006@yahoo.com
    ...more info
  • GREAT Reference Book!
    So many personality disorders!!! This book offers not only descriptions of various personality disorders, but also gives practical advise on dealing with these individuals and points the disordered personality types themselves in the right direction for therapy.

    I love the check lists and the book's compassionate approach. The information provided within was empowering. WISH I had stumbled upon this gold mine of knowledge 20 years ago!!!...more info
  • Never Too Late
    My only regret is that I didn't know about this book a few years ago. It would have saved a great deal of heartache.

    As I read each chapter, the book sounded like an accurate biography of someone who has been making not only my life but the lives of others absolutely miserable. It gave a clear insight into the devious and manipulative methods that these Emotional Vampires use to further their own gain with no regard or consideration of the rights of their victims.

    At least now I know how to better deal with the situation. It's never too late. ...more info
  • Realistic and practical.
    I have explored a number of texts from this genre and found Dr. Bernstein's presentation offers the clearest insights and most practical strategies for dealing with emotionally draining people. Rather than suggesting combative approaches or simplistic cliche'-ridden "Dr. Phil" formulas, the book outlines judo-like moves that use the offending behavior as part of the solution.

    Although the sections are logically organized to be read sequentially, the reader can easily access chapters in a random manner based on interest in specifically identified emotional vampire types. In addition, the author encourages us to acknowledge and address these behavioral tendencies when they occur in ourselves. A most valuable text for dealing appropriately with difficult relationships as well as with our own inner demons. Highly recommended. ...more info
  • Emotional Vampires changed me
    It has been a few months since I have read this book. Yet, its message still rings in my mind. I wish that I had been able to understand the issues and personalities revealed here at the time that I was going through it. Not that it still does not exist, and I have trouble with the problem. I realize that he is the most exciting person that I have ever met yet the most damaging. Anyone who is on that on again and off again relationship that just will not die should read this book. These people will literally suck you dry. These people are experts at getting you to do what they want and making you feel guilty if you do not. The book explains that.

    ...more info
  • Exactly as promised
    The book arrived very quickly in the exact condition it was promised. Thanks and good work!...more info
  • Can't see themselves in a Mirror
    I found the book very helpful. These people although full adults have many childish behaviors, and have difficulty seeing themselves in the Introspective mirror. Neurotic People drive themselves crazy, people with personality disorders drive other people crazy. The book helps you understand them, and function without going crazy....more info
  • Best resource to deal with difficult people
    Normally, you would like to deal with people nicely, kindly and sometimes go out of the way to make others comfortable. It works with most people. However, with some people you always come out of a transaction feeling cheated and violated. This is a book to deal with such people.

    A wonderful book, that provides you solid insight into the behavior of "vampires" those self-seeking, immature individuals. Has solid advise and some life guiding principles like - Do not attempt to change people, attempt to change their behaviour.

    If I was forced to hold onto only 3 books in my library, this one would be among them. A persons education is incomplete without reading this book. This advice works! The best part is that you regain your peace of mind.

    Thanks a million Albert Bernstein for encapsulating a lifetime's experience into a small and easy to read book....more info

  • Excellent practical guide to personality disorders
    I found this book to be funny, enlightening and very helpful in dealing with the vampires in my workplace and personal life. Albert Bernstein took the complex concepts of the psychology of personality disorders and made them understandable even to the layman. I was quite impressed!...more info
  • Incredibly useful, action-oriented book!
    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. Bernstein's tips are entirely practical to ensure that the healthy person is not taken in by the need of the vampire, and can cope with him or her. He often focuses his scenarios and tips on a work environment, which I found very helpful.

    While he states that most types of vampires have common traits, he divides the vampires into Antisocial (Vampire Daredevils, Vampire Used Car Salesmen, Vampire Bullies); Histrionic (Vampires Who Ham It Up, Passive-Aggressive Vampires); Narcissistic (Vampires Who Are Legends in their Own Minds, Vampire Superstars); Obsessive-Compulsive (Vampire Perfectionists and Puritans) and Paranoid. All chapters outline common behaviors, include hypothetical scenarios, behavior checklists, and most important, REALLY HELPFUL TIPS on how to cope with these people without getting scarred for life! (Some of these tips included things like telling a bully you need time to think about something before answering a "throwdown" type question, and to stop explaining yourself or your decisions to bullies, who only use your rationals as points of vulnerability or weakness.)

    Throughout the book, Bernstein stresses that while one may be interested in how someone becamse a vampire, that is not necessary knowledge to develop the skills to defend oneself. He also says repeatedly that trying to change vampires is nearly impossible. The goal of his tips and instruction is to protect the reader from the harm that may come to them psychologically or organizationally from individuals whose own emotional needs overpower any other human and social instinct they have in dealing with others.

    I have found this book to be extremely helpful in dealing with difficult people in a polite but self-protecting manner. I highly recommend this book if you have an emotional vampire in your life!
    Bernstein, A.J. (2001). Emotional vampires: Dealing with people who drain you dry. New York: McGraw Hill. ...more info
  • pretty good book, a bit harsh on vampires
    The book is pretty good in terms of telling you how to protect yourself from being drained dry without telling these people to get out of your face. It doesn't tell you how to be nice to these people. Most examples portray corporate environment. ...more info
  • Emotional Vampires : Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry
    Anyone will come away leaning something, maybe even about themselves. It has helped me to understand some of the difficult people/family members in my life a little better and how to deal with them....more info
  • Dealing With People Who Drain You Dry
    This is the kind of book that is a great eye opener to help you to see how people can literally suck the life out of your with their emotional manipulation, self absorbtion, and demand more of you, leaving you feeling as if no matter what you do, it's never good enough.

    I avidly recommend this book to help you see how to rid yourself of the very people that drain you, the people that make you feel less of a sense of self when you are exposed to them, and that usually leaves you not only wondering why, but feeling emotionally exhausted.

    Along with this book, I avidly recommend 'Stop Being the String Along" by Barbara Rose. Both books have helped me so much in coming back to center, recognizing the signs of a person that is just not good for you, and how to turn it around for a life of happiness that you deserve. They are OUTSTANDING BOOKS!
    ...more info
  • An answered prayer!
    I am one of those whose whole life has been sucked dry and made crazy by a pair of emotional vampires for decades. I have never been able to deal with them well at all until I read this book, no kidding. I have been to o so much therapy and that only helped a little. THIS is the manual I needed all this time. The analogies are perfect, they are NOT overdone. I'm glad they go all the way through the book because it helps me refer to what I need in a way my mind can understand when in that potentially dire state. The categories are amazingly insightful and helpful and instead of just stirring up anger at recognition of patterns like most books in this category, it told me effectively WHAT to do and what NOT to do about the situations they create. I just spent 6 days with this scary pair and feel relatively unscathed for the first time ever! And yes I learned to identify & hopefully erase the remnants of my own negative behaviors that I could not get my focus on before. If someone you can't avoid has been making you crazy, this investment, with diligent repeated reading, (you should see the number of dogeared pages in my copy already) might just give you the sanity you've been seeking. Thank you thank you thank you to the author....more info
  • Fangs for the Memories -- if Need Be...........
    Your beloved Seer is known to get a hot toddy or a brandy before relaxing for the evening. Mind you, dealing with spiritual matters (difficult guides) and earthly inconveniences (my dragon and seaserpent) certainly does take it's toll on my poor brain synapses. That said, I do read sometimes before I sleep which I feel is a calming past-time. I finally finished this one and I am now here to report.

    Being the true sensitive that I am, I have always been curious about why people act the way they do. This is a continuing learning enigma which (I hate to admit) I need a little help now and then. A book like this is so very informative. And considering it was written by a psychologist makes it even more interesting. Albert Bernstein enters areas of personalities that we have probably all been exposed to - yet were never able to put our finger on it. That is - until now.

    "Emotional Vampires" - it sounds ominous! It is. He explores various personalities (categorizing them by type, i,e; Antisocial, Histrionic,Narcissistic, Obsessive Compulsive, and Paranoid). These people have the unique ability of draining your energy and making your life a living hell. That is - if you let them.

    Mind you - each of these types have their own traits- and some of them over-lap. But, he does point out that they have their own unique quirks that may harm you and your emotional well-being. The book is dedicated to being able to identify them and what you can do as protection. He does not dwell too much into why these people develop the way they do. As he states "understanding where a problem comes from is not the same as solving it". Thus, his concentration is the here and now. Delving into the past will only direct focus towards validating the already set destructive behavior of these people.

    I was really enamored by this book. First off, the drawings here of each type made me chuckle. But, believe me, the problems and havoc they can create in your life is no laughing matter. Mr. Bernstein also delights with constructed scenarios which show you exactly what's going on in the dynamics of a relationship with them. Profound, astute and wise. I came away with really great insights.

    In each chapter he gives you a checklist of traits for each subject and how to reveal who is, or who is not an emotional vampire in your life. You can also put yourself to the test - and if you answer honestly, you may find you might have some of these traits. But, if so, it is a good thing because recognition and introspection of self is a valuable tool to change. If you don't recognize what you're doing wrong in your relationships, they will never get to a better plain. I think most people want to get alot more value from their relationships, whether it be family, friends or bosses. But, for any of that to happen, it takes introspection and awareness from all.

    He gives you fighting tools in dealing with these vampires. And, to my mind, some of the suggestions may or may not work. I am under the impression that if you are the one getting hurt over and over, and being drained, you have the option of just walking away. It might be a last resort- but it is an option if enough is enough.

    With any relationship I believe that, starting out, there is an underlying, unspoken contract between people. In my own experience I got into a disastrous relationship whereby the rules were set, but I had changed and wanted to rewrite for a better script. Unfortunately, some people (or vampires) refuse to change. And then we have a most difficult situation.

    I know what some of you out there are thinking. You think your beloved Metamorpho is a narcissistic vampire. But, I can assure my vast fan club that Metamorpho's purpose is to enlighten and entertain. My (supposed) bloated ego is there to amuse, and no one does a better job of deflating that than me. I am a circus show on the side of the road as you rubberneck by. Face it. You are enjoying the sight. Now, if we could all learn from this book and not be a pain to each other!

    In closing, there are certain parts of this book that I should reread again - if only to really clarify certain points that he makes. It is a fascinating book. Revealing, entertaining but ohso essential for the modern man or woman. Read it at your peril - but read it! You just may learn something. Highly recommended!

    I do NOT have sharp teeth! ---your own, Metamorpho ;)

    ...more info
  • Vampire metaphor
    Emotional Vampires by Albert J. Bernstein is different than most books on difficult people because instead of identifying a random set of annoying folks and how to deal with them, it deals specifically with people who prey on other people. Dr. Bernstein not only helps you identify or verify the suspected vampires in your life, but he also gives you the tools and tactics to protect yourself.

    I've read the reviews on this book and noticed some people just can't get with the vampire metaphor. Lucky for me, I've been referring to these energy-draining types of people as vampires long before I picked this up. If you can look past the metaphor, or better yet embrace it, this book can help you tremendously....more info
  • Personality Disorders put into practice
    People who drain you dry- or otherwise just suck the life from you. Whatever analogy you want to use, the "emotional vampires" the author is referring to are those people with personality disorders.

    Each chapter discusses a "vampire" aka personality type (borderline, obsessive compulsive, narcissitic, etc-). The author reviews how to spot or identify one of these predators, how to deal with them, and how to recognize whether you yourself demonstrate a possible personality type. Equally helpful is how the reader can understand why people tend to act like this-

    Although most "vampires" are in reality a mix of 1 or more of these types- I found it very useful and helpful to understand why people act like this and how I can not let these type of people get to me on a daily basis.

    I also found it comforting that the "vampires" I interact with in my life are out there-worldwide- and that I'm not the only one dealing with these types of people....more info
  • Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry
    I found this overview of five commonly-encountered personality quirks to offer invaluable insight into past difficult relationships. The 20 or so item checklist for each identified personality category and the "how to deal with" the particular personality were extremely helpful. It's both a fascinating read for those interested in the human psyche and a practical guideline for dealing with people with the identified tendancies. You are sure to recognize people you know in these pages....more info
  • Eerily accurate
    The tone is tongue-in-cheek, but the criteria the author lays out surprisingly spot on! For anyone who's been emotionally drained (as I've been for the past few years), you'll recognize the diagnosis immediately. What I like about the book is the author's pro-active stand in offering solutions to present problems, rather than pleading with us (as most self-help books tend to do) to empathise with the aforesaid vampire's emotional problems. Understanding their problems is one thing, allowing yourself to be trapped by those very problems is another. Worth the investment, if only to know that you're not mean or mad by wanting to get rid of these (apparently) sweet and loving creatures....more info
  • wish it wasn't focused on work environments
    Overall, the information about these types of people is great. But the book focuses almost entirely on encountering these types in the work place, not in personal life. I deal with a histrionic cousin, who maintains her blond hair and Jaguar, while crying to me that she doesn't have enough money for food or medicine. Her non-stop need for me to take care of her has drained me. While I was able to get a lot of understanding from the chapter on histrionic vampires, I had to take the workplace solutions offered and try to tailor them to personal life. I would have liked the book better if it dealt with both personal and professional types and offered solutions for both.

    And I do agree with the others that he does take the vampire analogy too far. It seems to me he almost felt obligated to talk about vampires when it wasn't appropriate to do so....more info
  • Haven't read the complete book yet
    This book seems to be pretty helpful. I have been going through a terrible divorce and find that parts have hit on my feelings. ...more info
  • This should be a college course requirement
    I have been exposed to negative people through out my life but never understood their motives or behavior until i read this book. I had no idea of the various kinds of personality issues that we can be exposed to or have acted out ourselves in order to control. Empathy is the key to understanding these various dysfunctions as well as determining who you want in your life. Bernstein explains these in detail to the tee. This book will keep your attention to the end. One of my favorite sections is the Theorapy section at the end of each personality disorder. He states that "Always remember that attempting psychotherapy on someone will only make you both sicker" How true. Until later in my adult age did i realize just to accept people for how they are. It wasn't until I read this book that I discoved a vampire personality. I wouldn't just accept them for how they are but now i feel certain I am equipped to handle their bite with out bleeding. Wow! what a feeling. I recommend this book. As i stated it should be a college course or a least a pre-requisite for any late teenager or early adult coming in to the world of relationships! Many thanks to the Albert J. Bernstein!...more info
  • Eerily accurate
    The tone is tongue-in-cheek, but the criteria the author lays out surprisingly spot on! For anyone who's been emotionally drained (as I've been for the past few years), you'll recognize the diagnosis immediately. What I like about the book is the author's pro-active stand in offering solutions to present problems, rather than pleading with us (as most self-help books tend to do) to empathise with the aforesaid vampire's emotional problems. Understanding their problems is one thing, allowing yourself to be trapped by those very problems is another. Worth the investment, if only to know that you're not mean or mad by wanting to get rid of these (apparently) sweet and loving creatures....more info
  • Short, sweet and to the point...identify those energy thieves and breathe easier.
    People are not simple and it's challenging to manuever through days of endless interactions in this every day world. This book defines behaviors and then offers checklists so that you can identify basic motivation in others. Whether others are acting unconsciously or with intention, you have the tools to identify energy-robbing behaviors so that you can react with awareness or avoid the stinkers altogether. The reading is easy, well organized and easy to understand. I love the checklists...they are not comprehensive, and we definitely need to avoid labeling others...but they allow a peek into the thought processes of others. ...more info
  • Okay----but!
    This is an adequate attempt to treat a difficult subject with a humorous twist. The problem is that readers who are seeking a book like this are in need of real help in dealing with a difficult person in their life and this book describes difficult people and provides a one solution fits all. People, unfortunately, do not fit into nicely defined categories and often display observable behavioral traits that cross the boundaries between categories making the offered solutions in how to deal with them not very functional.
    It may be a good tool for someone who has had no previous introduction to the literature on sociopathic or dysfunctional personalities but even then caution should be applied when pidgeonholing personalities. One size does not fit all.
    ...more info
  • The Best of Pop Psychology
    I classify this as pop psychology because it (a) uses frequent references to popular culture and (b) sometimes oversimplifies concepts in order to jazz up the readibility. And it is easy to read, often entertaining because of the light touch. Yet there is some excellent information in this book, including very useful advice.

    I wish I'd had the advice on corporate advancement back when I needed it. It's in the chapter on perfectionists and clearly explains the difference between tasks which are part of doing a good job but will not lead to advancement and tasks which lead to advancement but are not part of doing a good job (such as taking management's side and generating paper with your name on it). Yes, that's a bit cynical, but realistic in many workplaces.

    I've seen other books on dealing with people which I wouldn't even bother to review. This one is worth reading....more info
  • I could not read this book
    I could not read this book all the way through. The vampire, vampire, vampire thing was carried WAY too far. There is a real need for a book on personality disorders written for the layman, but this book appears to have been written with a second grader in mind. As a matter of fact, many second graders would probably feel insulted by the condescending way the author addresses his audience. ...more info
  • Useful, Informative, Easy to Read
    I came across this book when a close friend of mine ran into issues with a difficult person in her life. Some one gave her the book, and (because I read everything in sight!) I subsequently read it. It was very beneficial in explaining my relationship with my youngest son and in helping him understand me as well. I have tendencies toward the obsessive-compulsive side, while he tends toward the hystrionic. I credit this book with helping both of us to come to terms with our very different views of the world, and I am happy to say that our relationship is stronger and much more positive because of this book. The book helps you pinpoint your own strengths and weaknesses, gives you strategies for self-improvement, and recommends specific steps for dealing with all types of difficult, puzzling people in your life. It does all this in and easy-to-read, informative, and entertaining format. If you have a person in your life whose personality you just can't seem to "get," or if you seem to rub others the wrong way and don't understand why, I highly recommend this book! I have given away copies and continue to loan my own out on a regular basis....more info
  • Emotional Vampires Keep on Sucking
    I thoroughly enjoyed the humor and broken record technique to educate the layman on personality disordered individuals that thrive on emotional drama and trauma, rather than the sociopathic/psychopathic appetite for murder and rape. Few people recognize the daily contacts we have with disordered people, especially if they were born to one! As an advocate and counselor, this is a good read for the highly intelligent and motivated client that is confused by the chaos one of 'the disordered' is stirring up in their lives. For management, that are not disordered themselves, it is good to recognize what you are dealing with before probationary periods are completed! Anyone that is feeling like their emotional investments in an individual are not egaltarian or not paying off equitably ought to read this book. Fun approach to a very painful, dark subject....more info
  • Emotional Vampires
    I found this book full of brilliant and profound insights all understated in a highly readable, metaphoric even poppy, humorous style. I suspect his insight is partly a gift, I doubt it can be entirely reduced to training or experience. The humor is one of the great pluses of the book, he makes people who are terrorising you seem ridiculous, a very good start toward being able to deal with them. The clarity and readability is a little deceptive, there is actually a huge amount of info crammed in that in my case took plenty of (facinated) rereadings to really begin to use.

    My only complaint is that he does not point out to people who know little about psychology that the book is not comprehensive, he covers only 5 of the 10 personality disorders (he actually focuses on personalities with varying degrees of these disorders), perhaps because he doesn't consider the others "vampiric". there are other ways to drive someone mad, you may need to do other reading including the DSM before being sure of what youre dealing with.

    For me it was also good for understanding and trying to outgrow my own vampiric tendancies (paranoid) but as the author predicted showing the book to narcissistic or anti-social vampires may as well have been serving them garlic.

    One of my favorites.
    ...more info
  • emotional vampires
    Much more practical advice on how to deal with difficult people than I expected. This is not a book that trashes difficult people but provides their positives and negatives and how to deal effectively with them. ...more info


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