Emotional Vampires: Spot Them + Survive Them
Whether friendly, romantic or family, all types of relationships have their ups and downs, but some interactions spiral southward more than others. You’ll occasionally be super mad at your S.O. from a normal fight, and now and then you’ll get a bite from the green monster and simply have to overcome that moment of jealousy. However, if you find these occurrences spilling over into your everyday life, you might have an emotional vampire on your hands. Annie Wright, a licensed psychotherapist in a private practice in Berkeley, CA, has some tips for how to spot vampires, and — more importantly — how to deal with them.
What They Are
Emotional vampires don’t necessarily have the evil intentions of their storybook counterparts. While the term is rooted in the idea of a mythical creature that physically sustains itself by literally draining the life out of innocent victims, it translates to the idea of a person who emotionally sustains themself through the energy they receive (or take) from others.
“Clinically speaking, ‘energy vampires’ are those who lack the internalized, developmental ego strength to hold and maintain their own psychological boundaries and who disrespect and cross the psychological boundaries of others,” Annie explains. In simpler terms, we could say that they’re people whose own low self-esteem leads them to disrespect your space in an attempt to get what they’re missing from you.
A vampire could be a coworker who constantly seeks admiration and compliments from the boss or a friend who always puts others down to make themselves feel superior. Annie says that these people might not even be conscious of what they’re doing to those around them: “A vampire is likely someone who is trying to get a core emotional need of theirs met, but who has maladaptive ways of trying to do this.” They want to feel good about themselves, but somehow along the way they only learned hurtful methods for getting there.
How To Cope
Annie first encourages us to practice self-awareness when around potential emotional vampires. “Notice how you feel after spending time with people and whether you felt like your boundaries were subtly or overtly respected or disrespected by them,” she advises. Once you know how this person truly makes you feel, you can decide what to do about it.
This awareness should point to the kind of boundaries you should enforce with this person. In some cases — such as when the vampire is a coworker you have to see every day — you might want to have a conversation about the way the person is treating you. However, if you’re deeply affected by someone or if their behavior borders on abusive, it might be best to cut them out of your life completely.
Annie also recommends doing work within yourself to deal with the fallout that can come from a relationship with an emotional vampire. Whether you choose to go to therapy or simply chat with a loved one about the predicament, you deserve to walk away from the situation with clear boundaries intact.
How do you deal with emotional vampires? Let us know @BritandCo!
(Photos via Getty)
Welcome to Selfmade Finance School, our new money series with Block Advisors to help small business owners with their tax, bookkeeping, and payroll needs year-round. This week, we explore the tax implications of bringing family members into your business.
The question for today is this: Does hiring your family members make sense for your business? Let me be clear. This is not a piece about whether hiring your family members makes sense for your relationships with those family members. As someone who is part of a family business, I could fill up a lot more than 600 words on my opinions about that. For today's purposes, we focus on whether it makes sense from an overall "good business and tax implication" perspective. As it turns out, there is a decent amount of tax nuance when it comes to employing your family. Let's break it down based on relationship to the employee:
You X Ventures for Unsplash
Spouses Who Are In Business Together
Personally, if I had to be in business with my husband, it would not go well. However, many couples build viable, strong businesses together and I say, good for them! Depending on how you have your business entity structured, it will make a big difference on the tax treatment of you and your spouse working as partners. Because a business jointly owned and operated by a married couple is generally treated as a partnership for Federal tax purposes, the spouses must comply with filing and record keeping requirements imposed on partnerships and their partners. The election to file two Schedule C (Form 1040) forms, (one for each spouse) permits certain married co-owners to avoid filing partnership returns, provided that each spouse separately reports a share of all the businesses' items of income, gain, loss, deduction, and credit. Under the election, both spouses will be subject to self-employment tax and on net earnings from self-employment and receive credit for Social Security earnings.
One Spouse Employs Another
If you have a dynamic where your spouse is an employee of your business, then your spouse's wages are subject to income tax withholding, Social Security and Medicare taxes. If you are self-employed (not a corporation or a partnership), your spouse's pay does not have to be included in your federal unemployment tax account (FUTA) contributions and payments. However, if your business is a corporation or a partnership you must include that spouse's pay in your unemployment tax contribution calculation.
Kobu Agency for Unsplash
You Employ Your Child
First, let's be clear. I work in my family business, but I am an adult, so I am treated just like a normal employee. However, if you, for example, run a family restaurant and want to hire your children under 18 to work for you, there are some tax benefits. But first, you should check with your state for rules on how many hours minors can work (in non-agricultural jobs) and reference the Fair Labor Standards Act for information on limitations on the kinds of work children can perform.
"This is an often overlooked or under-utilized strategy. Paying your children for true services they provide in your business can be a powerful tax-saving tool," says Cathi Reed, Block Advisors Regional Director. "If you are a sole-proprietorship or single member LLC, and the child is less than 18 years of age, the business is not required to withhold FICA or payroll taxes. The child can use his or her standard deduction against income you pay."
You Hire Your Parent
Oh dear. If you are brave enough to do this, know that you will need to pay Social Security and Medicare taxes on your parent's wages and make the appropriate withholdings, but you don't have to pay unemployment taxes. Now all you have to do is convince your parent that you are the boss. Have fun with that!
Is Hiring Family Members Worth It For The Tax Benefits?
"There are some positive tax advantages to hiring family members. It's important to treat a family member like any other employee. Hiring your children can result in substantial savings for businesses. Make sure your child has real, age-appropriate work to do and a reasonable pay rate, comparable to other employees. Consult with a Block Advisors small business certified tax pro to ensure that you are complying with all requirements," advises Reed. "Block Advisors, a team within H&R Block, is dedicated to meeting the tax, bookkeeping and payroll needs of small business owners year-round. To start working with the tax experts at Block Advisors, visit blockadvisors.com."
In my opinion, you should not hire a family member solely because of the tax benefits. You should always hire based on whether that person is right for the job and keep in mind how this hire could materially impact your relationship with that person and others in your family. Finally, as I mentioned, make sure you have a tax professional on your team when making these determinations. As you can see, things can get a little tricky!
*All details were sourced from IRS.gov and blockadvisors.com