How to Identify and Remove the 4 Different Types of Leeches


Table Of Contents for This Series

  1. How To Identify and Remove Real and Emotional Leeches
  2. How To Identify and Remove a Productivity Leech
  3. How To Identify and Remove a Financial Leech

The thought of an icky leech crawling on them makes most people shudder. It’s such a horrible thought! To have this ribby, squirmy, somehow-stuck-to-you thing sucking your blood…gross!

Okay, wormy things are a bit creepy. But there are other types of leeches that do far worse things to you than suck your blood and fall off. There are emotional leeches, productivity leeches, and financial leeches to contend with, as well.

It’s helpful to know how to remove any of the leeches from you, just in case you ever get one attached. This three-part series will give you tips on identifying and removing them. This first part covers real leeches and emotional leeches.

[Introductory Sidebar: The trick here is to understand the difference between those people you can help and who’ll help you and those people who are just draining your energy, time, and money. I am in no way implying that you shouldn’t help others or that all people who need help are leeches.]

How to Identify and Remove a Real Leech

Description: Leeches are worm-like predatory invertebrates which live in fresh water, marine water, and on land. They survive by sucking on and ingesting the nutrients from their hosts.


  1. Recognize that you have a leech on you
  2. Leeches secrete an anesthetic so their hosts are unaware of their presence. If you feel something on you and try to remove it only to find that it will not come off on its own accord, you probably have a leech. You could also have a tick, but those aren’t wormlike.

  3. Find out where it’s actually attached:
  4. The leech is attached by an oral sucker at its skinny end, not by the gripped on the fat end.

  5. Place a fingernail down next to the oral sucker and slowly push it away.
  6. Do not grab a leech by its fat end and pull, as this may cause the leech to regurgitate and cause further infection. It is also inadvisable to burn or place chemical agents on the leech, as this may also cause it to regurgitate.

  7. Once the leech is detached from your body, get rid of immediately, as it will try to reattach itself.
  8. The leech may curl up and reattach itself to your finger. A sudden, forceful flick should remove the leech from your finger.


  • A leech will feed on you as long as it can or until it is full. At that point, the leech will drop off, as your blood will provide subsistence for it for several months.
  • The relatively small amount of blood sucked by the leech will not cause death. The wound will heal after several hours if it is properly cleaned. The aggregate effect of many leeches may drain you and decrease your physical performance
  • Leeches require a relatively flat, stable surface to attach themselves to. They are generally found in still water, on docks, and in other places where they can move themselves to potential hosts.
  • Leeches have incredible senses and can sense heat and movement up to ten feet away. Keep moving and wear clothing that covers your skin in order to avoid leech bites.

How to Remove and Identify an Emotional Leech

Description: Emotional leeches are people drain your emotional energy. Some variants include the Drama Queen, the Continual Crisis Crackhead, and the Complaining Coworker. Be careful of the families of emotional leeches, for the family may breed and propagate leechdom.


  1. Recognize that you have a leech on you
  2. It’s sometimes hard to recognize a leech because it initially may provide a shoulder to cry on or an ear to listen to your problems. However, once a leech attaches itself, you will find that you become emotionally drained around it every time it is in your proximity. If you find yourself avoiding contact with a person because s/he brings you down, odds are you have an emotional leech.

  3. Find out where it’s actually attached
  4. Emotional leeches normally exploit an admirable trait that you have and thus make that trait a flaw. For example, if you are the type of person that will talk to anyone if it makes their day feel better, the leech harnesses that trait and always find you to talk to. If you give good advice, the leech will approach you under the ruse of needing advice. Find out why and how the leech is attached to you before you attempt to remove it. (See notes below)

  5. Calmly inform the leech that you can no longer provide it emotional support.
  6. If you approach the leech the wrong way, it may regurgitate on you and make you feel like crap. If you have not identified how it is attached to you, it will only dig in deeper and make itself all the harder to remove in the future. Under no circumstance should you blow up or become emotionally hostile with the leech, as it will definitely regurgitate on you and make you feel like crap.

  7. Once the leech is detached from you, get rid of it immediately, as it will try to reattach itself.
  8. The leech will attempt to make contact with you again, since it will think that you were having a bad day or some such. Avoid the leech whenever possible, and do not answer phone calls unless you absolutely have to. If the leech begins sucking on you again, quickly detach it before it fully reattaches.


  • An emotional leech will feed on you for as long as it can or until it is full. At that point, it will find something else to do, as your energy will provide subsistence for it for several days.
  • Emotional leeches that are removed poorly will find a way to reattach themselves. Successive attempts to remove leeches become increasingly difficult, as your emotional reserve and ability to fight them is diminished every time they reattach themselves.
  • The relatively small amount of energy sucked by the emotional leech will not cause you too much harm. You will recover your energy after several hours if you have proper ways to recharge your emotional reserve. The aggregate effect of many emotional leeches may drain you and cause depression.
  • Emotional leeches require a relatively stable, happy person to attach themselves to. They are generally found in places where people are having a good time, as it is easier for them to spot potential hosts.
  • Emotional leeches are incredibly perceptive and can sense happiness and helpfulness from across a crowded room. Keep moving and interacting with people in order to avoid their attaching themselves to you.

The next part of this series covers The Identification and Removal of Productivity Leeches. Stay tuned!

If you liked this post, please consider subscribing to my RSS feed.

Like this and want more? Click here to get free access to 10 planners and worksheets, 4 ebooks, and a load of free webinars


  1. Chris says

    Ah darn it. According to your points you made, that makes me an emotional leech (I’m guessing it makes me a leech for the other two as well.) That’s a right bummer as I never realised.

    Well it’s a cool and well written post.

  2. Charles Gilkey says

    @ Chris: I sincerely doubt that you’re a leech, as most leeches won’t read about their leechy ways. Or if they do, they’ll rationalize their leechy behavior and blame it on someone else.

    If, on the odd chance, you are a leech, make one small change a day to remove yourself from your hosts. The easiest way: find small things that provide value to them.

    Thanks for the comment! I hope to hear from you in the future.

    • Jan says

      I have been a ‘leech’ for most of my life. I just didn’t understand the impact it was having on people. A psych and private mental health cover sorted out the problem. I have affected some lovely people and have had to learn to forgive myself for the ‘drainage’ I caused, as well as dealing with all the original pain.

      Put others first by sitting with your head with no audience. Get professional help. When you do this, you know you are giving your friends – true friendship.

  3. Megz says

    My boss is an emotional leech. I sincerely think that the main reason I was hired was to share this office with her (with one cubicle divider) so that I could be the constant, captive audience to her continuous complaining and negativity. Sometimes, I feel like nasty, living black goop (like in Spiderman 3) is growing all over me and I can feel the negativity taking me over like a bad rash. I am not quite sure how to deal with it. I try to appear very busy when she wants to “chat” but it doesn’t work. She will plop down in the chair next to my desk and start complaining about every aspect of our job, the weather, her drapes at home, or anything else she can think of. I am normally an upbeat, positive person and after 6 months on the job, she is beginning to drag me down considerably and even affect my personal life.

    Any advice for me on how to deal with her?

  4. Charles Gilkey says

    @ Megz: That’s a tough situation. I’ll be emailing you to get more information to see if I can help.

  5. says

    Nice one on emotional leeches. For a long time I seemed to attract many leeches (or energy vamps, as I call them) to me. Then I finally knew why: I was one too. Takes one to attract one. Leeches of the same oral suckers flock together. There are more than one type of energy vamps or emotional leeches. They really do come in many guises. I identified ten here, and how to deal with them:

  6. kabir says

    well,since my childhood i always knew one thing,that most of the leeches die when you sprinkle salt on them.
    this morning,i found a really creepy leech which had a head which appeared to be like a hammerhead shark’s head….and i took out some common salt from my kitchen and spinkled on it..within 2 seconds,it DIED!
    yeah ,COMMON salt is your weapon .:)

    • Trenton says

      sorry to inform you that wasn’t a leech, it was most likely a terrestrial species of planarian that had no intentions of sucking your blood. It was probably long yellowish brown with two dark lines going down its “back” and a fanned out quivering mushroom like head that you described as hammerhead like. Terrestrial planarian, not a leech. Save your salt for eggs and popcorn.

  7. Dub says

    Please help! My sister and her boyfriend have had a leech co-existing with them and has been for years now. Before they were together it was just a bunch of boys living there but he never actually lived there but would always find an excuse to be over. This is still going on, every friday and saturday he will call my poor sister incesstantly to the point where her phone is now permanently on silent. And if he cant get through to her he will call her boyfriend and try and come up with an excuse to come over like to play videogames. When he is over he talks about useless, pointless things and he knows it! He doesnt contribute any kind of value to anything and just plain LEECHES off every single person!!!
    My sister has had enough , her and her boyfriend are slowly trying to get rid of him but he always manages to come over at least once a week. Now he recognises that they dont want him anymore, Ive noticed he is trying to attach himself to me and my boyfriend (we are all mutual friends though i wish we werent)
    I have noticed that the leech is shameless and yes, makes himself look pathetic for his leeching agenda.
    Example, today my boyfriend is coming to pick me up after work. The leech has tried to call me all yesterday and the day before and today so i thought i should answer it. He wanted to do something because he is ‘bored’. This is not my problem. I said bf was coming to pick me up so hes called bf to see if he can come 4 a ride to pick me up!! AND MY BF AGREED! i am beyond frustrated. The leech has won again.
    and my bf is dropping him off back home when he gets me so WHATS THE POINT ?! He also suggested to me today that me, bf n him should all move in together. He said it half jokingly but i no he was just testing the waters. I told my bf that i would break up with him if he moved in with him.
    He’s emotionally and mentally draining and I feel sad coz i feel there is a grown up child that self-imposes himself on our lives with no shame that for some reason is attaching himself to us couples and we feel like we are involuntary parents.
    Ive tried to explain to my bf what hes trying to do but hes narrow minded and cant see hidden agendas an stuff n thinks im just being mean. What can i do?!

    • says

      This is a rough situation, Dub. I’m sorry to hear that you’re going through it.

      Has someone actually asked him what he’s needing or what he’s going through? Instead of looking at the symptoms, try to assess the cause. Once you figure that out, there may be some compassionate and constructive ways to support him as a person without supporting the behavior.

  8. Nadra says

    Would you say that a person who makes use of your daily experiences and uses it to create spiritual videos on YouTube a leech? This psychic constantly makes use of mine and does just that. Despite telling this person off nicely, this person still continues to plague me, trying to force their spiritual ideals onto me. What I’m doing now is just ignoring her very existence and practicing blocking but she still keeps coming back. It’s getting me quite irritated because my life is mine to live and not for her to feed off. Please help me. It’s been almost a year and a half since this person did this. I’m at my wits end and my heart chchair’s not healthy. Just a day ago, she invaded my mind while I was in the supermarket and somehow ended up in the detergent aisle without knowing and felt drained. Please please help me. There’s a difference between a pro psychic that recognises their boundaries but this psychic doesn’t

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *