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Emotional Vampires Part four (4) Behavior Patterns


Special interest Article;
Anthony J. Iantosca, BCFE

Emotional Vampires
Part Four (4)
Behavior Patterns
In part four of  (emotional vampires) I will get into more detail on the behavior patterns that are exhibited by these personality types. Many of these behaviors are listed in my original article called (Dysfunctional Personalities) on my web site, . These personalities were not born this way, they were made this way by early childhood upbringing. This could have been by the parents "spoiling" the child, teaching the child a unrealistic sense of "entitlement" or "depriving" the child of love and affection or by emotional or physical abuse. These personalities were never given the proper survival skills to react to the real world in a mature adult manner. As they mature in age, they never mature emotionally. They have remained an emotional immature child in an adult body.           
These behaviors will help you to understand why these personalities act the way they do towards you. These behaviors and defense tactics  are employed as a form of (ego protection) to protect them from getting emotionally hurt. They cannot deal with emotional pain or loss. They fear it, their behavior is a well crafted smoke screen to cover up their  fear and insecurity. Their motto "if you do not get close to me, you can't hurt me."  When their (engulfment fears) are triggered then (abandonment) "real or imagined" is not far behind. Better I hurt you before you hurt me. I will run from you first, before you leave me type of thinking. With these personality types "they will twist the facts to fit their emotions" with normal emotional mature adults "our emotions fit the facts."  Many of these personalities types are (commitment phobic types), (avoidant types), (fearful types), (introverted types), (borderlines), (narcissists), (anxious pre-occupied types). Each and everyone of these personality types are very insecure and use a long list of dysfunctional behaviors patterns to hide and mask their insecurity. Remember you are not the problem. When you are made to feel that you are not good enough for them, the real issue is they feel they are not good enough for you. This last set of behavior patterns is that I run into the most when talking to a client that has just become involved with a new love interest. They are the (commitment phobic and avoidant type).  What causes this behavior pattern.  
Commitment Phobic By
 People who have commitment issues, commitment phobia or relationship anxiety (l will use these terms interchangeably) generally have a serious problem in staying in a relationship for the long-term. While they still experience love like anyone else, the feelings can be more intense and scary than they are for most people. These feelings drive increased anxiety, which builds upon itself and snowballs as the relationship progresses  and the expectation of a commitment looms larger.

The causes of commitment phobia are as varied as the people who suffer from it. Typically, however, many people with commitment issues have complained of having experienced poor romantic relationships, either first-hand or through observation of others (such as their parents acrimonious relationship or divorce while growing up). Other common causes of commitment phobia may include:

  • Fear of, or having had, the relationship end without notice or signs
  • Fear of not being in the right relationship
  • Fear of, or having been in, an unhealthy relationship (characterized by abandonment, infidelity, abuse, etc.)
  • Trust issues because of past hurts by those close to the person
  • Childhood trauma or abuse
  • Unmet childhood needs or attachment issues
  • Complicated family dynamics while growing up
An unhealthy and overwhelming level of attention and dependency on another person, which comes from imagining or believing one exists only within the context of that relationship.

Feeling Swallowed Up by my emotions for another person. Engulfment is a distortion of reality, in which the status of a relationship is given inappropriate levels of priority over other physical and emotional needs. The Personality-Disordered person believes there is a sense of crisis around the relationship, and a "fix-it-at-all-costs" strategy is deployed to deal with any perceived weaknesses in the relationship - real or imagined.

People who practice engulfment sometimes put immense pressure on family, friends and partners to behave as if the Personality-Disordered person is at the center of their world. They may demand time, resources, commitment and devotion from a Non beyond what is healthy. Relationships with outsiders, family and friends may be seen as threats and be frowned upon. Work, hobbies and interests which take a partners attention and energy away may appear threatening to them. Acts of independence by that person may be met with begging, argument, threats, even acts of retribution and violence.

Ironically, when a person deploys an engulfment approach to managing a relationship they are more likely to become less attractive to the other person and drive them further away emotionally as they speak, act and make decisions in ways that are increasingly dysfunctional. As a result, engulfment is often visible in a cyclical or intermittent basis rather than on a continuous basis as the emotional temperature of the relationship ebbs and flows. It is sometimes the case that a person with a Personality Disorder will follow a cyclical pattern between engulfment and rejection which is known as Push-Pull.


Ambivalence occurs in intimate relationships when there is the coexistence of opposing emotions and desires towards the other that create an uncertainty about being in the relationship. It is our nature to split our experience into polarities, such as good/bad, right/wrong and emotions such as love/hate, joy/sadness. One could say that we constantly deal with the opposite of our experience even if that is unconscious.

As we become closer to our beloved and feel connected our experience is defined by the possibility of separation. Every time we say 'yes' there is a 'no' in the background informing our choice. If I am saying 'yes' to something wholeheartedly, I can feel that yes in every cell of my being. 'No' has been considered and rejected, however fleetingly, and my 'yes' has the quality of certainty. If my desire to say 'no' interferes with my 'yes' it will be said with hesitation and doubt, and a lingering uneasy feeling that causes me to hold back; I am unable to fully commit to that yes. So not only does the opposite polarity define my experience but the degree to which I have integrated it into my conscious­ness will also affect my experience.

Ambivalence could be said to occur when we are stuck between two polarities, and unable to reconcile them.


 Push Pull By Out of the Fog.

Push-Pull - is a chronic pattern of sabotaging and re-establishing closeness in a relationship without apparent cause or reason. It's that back and forth feeling of wanting to be close to someone, letting them into a more intimate and vulnerable position in our life, being suffocated, or becoming afraid of that vulnerability, needing to escape [potentially] being hurt, fearing the loss, acting on that fear, and then desperately trying to get that person back from fear of that abandonment, often by apologizing profusely and doing everything we can to be perfect for them again. Rinse. Lather. Repeat.

Often for me this breaks down to two key factors; wanting to be intimately close to someone, and fear of being hurt/abandoned by them at the same time. The closer you allow someone to get to you, the more vulnerable you become to the reality that they are now in a position to hurt you more than other people. If you keep people at a distance you have a safety zone, an emotional buffer. But this doesn't allow for true intimacy.


Splitting is when you are loved one minute and hated the next.  You are idealized one minute and devalued the next.  These personalities "project" their self hatred  on to you. "You" are the canvas they paint all of their dysfunction on to. The problem they will have is when "you" do not fall for their gas lighting, dysfunctional tactics. That ramps up their game playing and attempts to regain control over you. They are losing control. When they feel that loss of control, abandonment is not far behind.  Dysfunctional personalities use sex in the early stages of the relationship to get you emotionally hooked in. That is why sex with these personalities is off the charts in the early stages or the seduction phase. This causes most of the confusion when getting involved with these personalities. Many people confuse sex with love. The split comes when they cannot control you. That intensifies their insecurity. That triggers their abandonment fears. I can't control you, you will leave me. You do not jump to my drum beat, you will leave me. Their rage against you is their self loathing,  they are really raging against themselves. You are their dart board.

Passive Aggressive

Passive Aggressive behavior is a form of covert abuse.  When someone hits you or yells at you, you know that you've been abused. It is obvious and easily identified. Covert abuse is subtle and veiled or disguised by actions that appear to be normal, at times loving and caring. The passive aggressive person is a master at covert abuse.

Passive aggressive behavior stems from an inability to express anger in a healthy way. A person's feelings may be so repressed that they don't even realize they are angry or feeling resentment. A passive aggressive can drive people around him/her crazy and seem sincerely dismayed when confronted with their behavior. Due to their own lack of insight into their feelings the passive aggressive often feels that others misunderstand them or, are holding them to unreasonable standards if they are confronted about their behavior.




Sam Viknin; Malignant Self Love Narcissism Revisited

Out of the Fog

Shari Schreiber, M.A.; the Male Borderline

Wendy T. Behary, LCSW; Disarming the Narcissist

Daniel J. Siegel, MD; Disarming the Narcissist

Jeffrey Young, Ph.D.; Disarming the Narcissist

Dr. Susan Forward; Obsessive Love

Wikipedia; the Free Encyclopedia

A.J. Mahari June 26, 2008 
Shari Schreiber, M.A.

Cathy Meyer Original Content  2007-2014 

Understanding Human Behavior; Columbia House Volumes 1-24 



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