Wednesday, 17 August, 2005
While I'm on the subject of emotional immaturity, I'd be remiss if I didn't mention what I call emotional vampires--people who purposely do and say things that are intended to elicit emotional responses from their victims. Emotional vampires are skilled manipulators who can spot emotionally immature individuals and turn them inside out, usually by lavishing false praise to bolster the victim's mood before thorougly demolishing the person with a single well-placed insult and reveling in the raw emotional response. I suspect that most people have encountered a fair number of emotional vampires over the years.
The curious thing about these emotion suckers is that they are as emotionally immature as their victims. They appear incredibly secure as long as they have somebody to torment, but in a group of emotionally secure individuals the emotional vampire gets frustrated. Then he gets angry and starts to bleed emotion like a spoiled three year old throwing a temper tantrum. Few things are as pathetic as a grown man or woman getting visibly upset because their childish manipulations are ignored.
I know that it's terribly irresponsible of me, but from time to time I get a deliciously evil sort of satisfaction by playing the unwitting victim, letting one of these idiots start his game and reacting as expected to the lavish praise and condescending compliments. With just a little practice it's incredibly easy to see when the manipulator is about to move in for the kill. When the intended coup de grâce is finally delivered, a cold stare and a calmly delivered mild insult results in a blank look followed by a stream of screaming incoherence. That's the time to walk away chuckling. I know it's childish, but it's fun sometimes!
The responsible way to handle an emotional vampire is to ignore him. If you're lucky he'll go somewhere else.