Beware The Attack Of The Joy Suckers

My husband taught me the phrase “psychic vampire.” (I thought it was his own but I just Googled it and apparently it garners a spot in the Urban Dictionary) It refers to the people in your life who need constant reassurance and validation. They’re never satisfied. They feed on your self-confidence and security. It wears you down. You’re exhausted after an encounter with them. You know the type. I see you nodding your heads out there.

Well, I have been slowly eliminating psychic vampires from my life. And I’ve been pretty successful.

The ones I will never be able to eliminate from my life, because they’re less sinister and less predictable, are the “joy suckers.” (Now, I thought I had created that phrase. But upon Googling it I discovered there are quite a few people using it. Either I acquired it so long ago, from an unknown source, that I don’t remember first hearing it OR, trend setter that I am, I did create it and the world has embraced my phrase. I’d like to think it’s the latter definition and not the former.)

My definition of a joy sucker is quite simple. They simply suck the joy right out of life. Not all the time. That would be a psychic vampire. And because they’re so unpredictable you don’t see them coming. No, a joy sucker comes along when you least expect it.

You’re bouncing along one day, you smile and say, “What a beautiful, sunny day!” and they say, “Sure, if you like skin cancer.” Or, while enjoying a delicious icy cold Coca-Cola and someone reminds you, “You do know sugar is like rocket fuel for that cold you’re struggling with?” Or, you’re having a wonderful holiday treat, one that you made from scratch and the joy sucker says, “If I ate that (wink, wink) it would go straight to my ass.”

Joy suckers.

Sucking the joy right out of the moment one sentence at a time.


Filed under Observations

29 responses to “Beware The Attack Of The Joy Suckers

  1. Boo! I dislike both types of people. I mean how hard is it to just be nice? Good for you for getting rid of the negative people in your life!

  2. ck

    And if you can’t get rid of them all, then it’s important to laugh about it. SNL to the rescue!

  3. What kind of wretched person would crush sweet Jane’s groove? GRRRRRRRRR.

  4. suzicate

    Great to know what I can call these people. Good for you for working on eliminating them from your life. It makes a world of difference. I did that as well. Problem is when they’re relatives and you still have to be around them to some degree…that’s when I use motivational self talk (you can get through this day, yes you can!). I think we all know people who make us feel this way, but it’s great when we don’t let them rain on our parades!

  5. You are spot-on with your descriptions! One person comes immediately to mind. Could suck all the creativity right out of the air upon arrival. This person was most definitely a hybrid…combining the worst traits of the two to become a Joy-sucking Psychic Vampire. The stuff work nightmares are made of.

  6. Yes, and when you are about to have a baby they say “Enjoy your sleep now, ‘cuz when that baby joins your family it will all be over.” Thanks, just what I needed. I think I’ll go jump off a cliff now.

    (That is what I looked forward to with my first, think about what I got with my second pregnancy!)

  7. Lucky for us there are joy lovers like YOU! I have been pulling the joy sucker weeds out of my life too. Its hard! More power to you. Be Joy!

  8. angelcel

    Oh yes, I’ve known a few of those! It’s especially hard when they’re members of one’s own family.

  9. I know of both kinds! My brother is a joy sucker through and through. I just dread talking to him.

  10. i think i dated her…oh! and she raised me…okay. back to therapy.

  11. unabridgedgirl

    Thank you for the new vocab! 🙂 I needed an idea of what to call some people. 😉 I hope that they haven’t taken too much joy.

  12. Is this my favorite post? Yes, I think it replaces my last favorite completely. Here’s hoping I don’t meet any joy suckers (love that!) this week and even more importantly not to be one myself! So witty and funny! I just love your writing.

  13. As much as a pessimist as I am, I really try not to rain on some one’s parade. We need to get our heads together and come up with a phrase to say back to these people. Do you think pulling out a cross and holy water and yelling “The power of Christ compells you” is too strong?

  14. I think I may be a joy-sucker, sorry.

  15. Nicki

    My kids love when I say I looked it up on Then, they crush me by telling me how uncool I am. LOL!

    I love that you are ridding your life of psychic vampires. Next time a joy sucker comes along, put a happy twist on whatever they say – such as, I have always wanted my ass to be as big as yours – and see if they get the hint.

  16. Okay, I won’t say it, but if we’re ever eating beside each other, just know that it would, indeed, go straight to my ass! It would happen even if someone else was eating it, so feel free to indulge. 🙂

    When I first started reading, I thought you were going to write about Dracula sneezes. (sneezing into the crook of your elbow)

  17. And, they are everywhere!

  18. Joy suckers, what a great way to describe them. Bad Karma! The older I get, the tougher I am at weeding these people from my life.

  19. There’s enough negativity in the world…I choose not to have them in my life either!

  20. Great term! Kind of like blood suckers for the spirit, they are, yes? I say rip ’em out by the roots.

  21. Ah, dammit, did you have to write a whole post about how much I suck the joy out of friends’ lives? If I promise to be more optimistic will you give me another shot?
    Love the terms psychic vampire and joy sucker, btw. My mother is both, which accounts for my crappy life outlook.

  22. As a self-described guru of negativity, there is something about this blog post of yours that I just can’t quite put my finger on.


  23. I’ve had a few psychic vampires in my life at one time or another…. and the joy vampires? They are EVERYWHERE. I think they outnumber the psychic vampires by millions. Geez.

  24. mia

    i think it’s good to be aware of folks who are truly negative beings, miserable, who make poor choices and want to take everyone down with them…or worse, those who are so naive, they walk around imagining they wear golden halos and the world is their enemy trying to steal something from them…or narcissists who need every moment to be about themselves. yuck indeed.

    though–it’s important to remember that being ‘nice’ isn’t always the healthiest way to be in life…nor needing everything around to reflect back to us exactly what we want to feel or how we want to be viewed. there’s a difference between ‘nice’ and ‘kind’. if i indulge in something that might not be healthy and a friend says, “omg how can you eat that, that would make me sooo fat!” instead of internalizing that, getting offended or thinking their limitations has something to do with me, i let them know that as a woman who isn’t male-identified, i’m not as concerned about maintaining a false image of beauty –and since eating hot fudge sundaes isn’t a way of life for most of us, there’s no harm in being generous with oneself.

    it’s important to not let our voices be shut down…if we can’t handle the silly things people say, then we run the risk of becoming the kind of ineffectual woman someone like barbara bush is…”please don’t ruin my perfect mind with all this talk about war!”

  25. Jenny

    I’m married to a joy sucker! He was miserable since the second day of the honeymoon. Didn’t speak to me from Virginia all the way back to Florida. Talk about being hurt and totally dumbfounded! Eleven months later he sucked the joy out when I (thrilled of course) announced I was going to have a baby. Basically it has gone downhill from there!!!!! Get away if you can. They take away your joy until you become one of them!!! I am 58 and so sad to still be with him after 18 years!!!!!!!!!

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