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You’ve known good people. You’ve probably also known some obvious “bad apples.” But for many of us, the biggest problems come from friends, colleagues, and dating partners who seem okay at first, then end up causing major and unnecessary disruption, drama, and disaster.
I’m not talking about good people who sometimes make mistakes, but then try to put things right. Everybody makes mistakes. And I’m not talking about good people who struggle to cope with big problems like depression, failing health, failing relationships, family problems, single parenthood, Alzheimer’s, mental problems, or mood disorders. Everybody I know has some significant problems and issues. No, I’m talking about people who repeatedly cause major life problems, harm, and trauma to those around them, either deliberately or unintentionally. People who do things such as:
- sleep around without telling you and without using protection, and give you an STD
- become emotionally or physically abusive, or molest your kids
- claim they have a vasectomy or tubal, then you or they end up pregnant
- dump you without warning, while you are in the hospital or otherwise emotionally vulnerable
- tell your friends, family, and social network lies that damage your reputation and relationships.
These people are “emotional leeches” — sometimes called “emotional vampires” or “toxic people.”
The bad news: Emotional leeches are all around us. The number of people with serious personality and mental problems likely to cause problems for others is significant — at least 1 in 16.  Add in the people who are simply hostile, clueless, manipulative, addicted, violent, or destructive, and you get a much larger number.
The good news: You can learn to detect and screen out most emotional leeches before they disrupt your life or damage you.
And you can do this based on their behaviors, without needing to label or judge them. This article explains how.
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