I guess we all have heard about so-called "energy vampires". Do they really exist? Without going into any psychic or shamanist stuff, energy vampire appears just to be another term for a narcissist. And yes, I tend to believe they do exist. They come in many disguises, but you recognise one if communication with him/her is constantly giving you bad emotions, if you basically feel lousy afterwards, mentally and sometimes physically.
Some of them are presenting themselves as overly successful know-it-alls who bully everyone around them into submission to their opinions, some are chronically unhappy and whine about everything, others are jealous and covetous etc etc. (Here is a comprehensive list). They all have something in common, they apparently have a huge void in their life which they are trying to feel by basically making others just as miserable as themselves. They are emotionally needy. And they are trying to control and manipulate you for their own personal gratification.
So what to do about them? The easiest way is to cut them out of your life completely but often it's impossible because they are your family, colleagues or close friends. I've read several articles giving various advice which included taking a shower after dealing with a negative person (I'll certainly try this one) or creating a "protective shield" in your mind while talking to them.
Personally I believe this problem is not new and shunning people totally doesn't work unless you want to live as a medieval hermit which is hardly possible nowadays anyway. My parents told me the way to deal with such people is really to ignore them. To grow thick skin. I also believe that we shouldn't engage them. Don't react to provocations, don't argue, don't lose your temper or get emotional. That is what "the vampire" desires most of all (internet vampires are called trolls and spend their whole life goading others into reacting emotionally). Just don't oblige them.
Also set up boundaries. Don't allow them to go too far and if they start meddling into your own family affairs and cause problems, don't hesitate to show them the door as your family always comes first.
It's also important not to turn into such a person yourself. We all have a tendency at times to complain or to go around spreading doom and gloom or become too clingy. In reality, nobody likes such people! I think what really helps to create inner calmness is getting a creative hobby like all sorts of crafts, drawing or learning to play a musical instrument. In fact, this article claims that a simple act of writing on paper for a quarter of an hour trains your nervous system, how much more playing the guitar does?
It's also noteworthy that both articles on how to deal with energy vampires and how to improve your nerves recommend such things as meditation and self-reflective practices including cooking (I should say that a prayer would help as well).
In short, we should build our inner strength so that others won't be able to bring us down even if they try.