How to deal with high maintenance people
As I sat down to indulge in a True Blood marathon last night, I was inspired to do a bit of writing on energy vampirism. Not the literal, mythological “Vampires” who subsist by feeding on the life essence of living beings (namely, blood), but the equally menacing figurative, emotional ones who similarly suck the life out of their victims and drain their energy (albeit sans gore!).
So what characterizes someone as a Vampire or Victim and, more importantly, how can we protect ourselves from that type of seductive, destructive energy?
Vampires are the original addicts. Their very being depends on some type of sustenance, be it actual blood or metaphorical life energy. They need it, crave it, have to have it and will stop at nothing, including “killing” their victims, in order to attain it. Similarly, addicts rely on something (drugs, alcohol, love, sex, etc.) despite adverse consequences and the risk of dependency.
Addiction forms when we attempt to fill a real need, or to provide relief from some type of pain. When we start to rely on these external stimuli, our brain rewires itself to accommodate what we believe we need. If the stimulus is removed, then a withdrawal shock is experienced, followed by feelings of fear, panic and confusion, as well as compulsion to attach to the source of the addiction.
Addictive (vampiric) love is not healthy love. It causes to us to confuse codependence for passion. We believe the intense feelings we are experiencing are indicating true love and connection, when in fact, it’s just a chemical rush that activates our cells, along with a deep, subconscious self-worth issue (usually caused by early trauma or neglect) that is surfacing in order to be healed.
Usually, we attract the perfect (unsuspecting) partner who activates our particular childhood wounds, such as abandonment, shame, guilt and distrust. If this happens and we recognize it, it’s the perfect opportunity for healing! But, if we remain unaware, the old wounds are reopened and activated again and again, without relief. And so the vicious cycle and blame game continues. Compulsive, obsessive or needy behavior is a strong indication that healing is required before real love can enter the picture.
So, are you a love Vampire?
- Do you feel incomplete without a relationship?
- Do you jump from one relationship to the next without pause?
- Do you find yourself needing more from your partners than they are able to give?
Or, perhaps you’re the Victim of a love Vampire?
- Do you constantly find yourself in relationships with partners who need to be “fixed”?
- Do you find yourself giving too much in order to be loved?
- Does your happiness depend on someone else’s mood?
Most Victims will allow themselves to be fed upon because they believe that they are “helping”. But beware, Vampires often unconsciously create drama or emergencies in order to “feed”.
Another way an energy Vampire can feed is by poking you with blame, guilt and judgments. When you buy into their judgment, you begin bleeding energy that goes straight to them. One way to think of it is like this: during healthy interactions, energy glides back and forth between two people like tossing a Frisbee. But if someone is in a place of fear or survival mode, they hold onto energy instead of giving it back. Now that’s not exactly a fun way to play, is it?
But there’s hope. You can take charge of the situation by creating clarity, taking responsibility, forgiving yourself and the Vampire, and expressing your boundaries. When you do this successfully, the Vampire will either stop, or move on to another victim.
And remember, don’t beat yourself up! We all have been both Vampire and Victim, and there is valuable healing to gain from these relationship dynamics. So, if and when you notice Vampiric behavior, try to practice self-control and discipline…traits that are SO much sexier than addictive attachment and dependence.
Be a Vampire Slayer (these tricks work better than garlic!):
- Remove yourself from emotional Vampires (If only temporarily). Seek clarity about what a balanced energy exchange might look like.
- Strengthen your solar plexus charka. Vampires can hook you in and use you like a battery unless you unplug them.
- Feel and heal the emotional issues that led you into painful and addictive relationships. Nurture yourself.
- Adopt new beliefs, develop self-respect and practice discipline. These are crucial for any healthy relationship.
- Create appropriate boundaries. You have to be the one setting parameters for yourself. Remember, we train others how to treat us!
- Learn ways to effectively communicate what you need.
Ultimately, all of the tools you need are within you. No one (even the savviest Vampire!) can victimize you, unless you allow it.