You’re a gorgeous mystery with a wild heart and a lofty purpose. But, like all of us, you also have a dark side–a part of your psyche that snarls and bites, that’s unconscious and irrational, that is motivated by ill will or twisted passions or instinctual fears. The shadow is not inherently evil. If it is ignored or denied, it may become monstrous to compensate. – Rob Brezsny
How to deal with high maintenance people – Part 2
It’s Halloween-the perfect time to talk about Zombies and Vampires. Not the literal, mythological beings who feed on the blood and flesh of humans, but the emotional ones who do damage to their victims in an equally frightening way.
So what characterizes someone as a Vampire or Zombie, and, more importantly, how can we protect ourselves from the destructive energy they bring into our lives?
Most monster behavior involves self-focus and in some cases involves a hijacking of the self by the shadow. In a previous article, I wrote that Vampires represent the addict archetype. A Vampire’s very existence depends on sustenance that comes from an unsustainable source. Similarly, addicts rely on something external (drugs, alcohol, sex, etc.) to fill a void and make them feel more alive.
• They get demanding and frustrated when their demands aren’t met.
• They jump from relationship to relationship or are ‘social climbers’.
• They struggle with addiction.
• They exhibit self-obsessive behavior. They may post lots of ‘selfies’ on social media 😉
Just as dangerous, Zombies are numb, resigned or distracted. If you’ve been in the presence of an emotional Zombie, you find yourself wondering if they have emotions or if they even realize you exist. Oftentimes, Zombies have suffered ongoing disappointment or have had their boundaries crossed one too many times. To protect the soul from further damage, these individuals shut down their emotional system entirely, becoming closed off from society. Overwhelmed with the complexity and pressure of emotions, Zombies harm others through their lack of presence or inability to consider how someone else is feeling.
• They are exhausted, overwhelmed and tuned out.
• Their loved ones constantly beg for their attention or presence.
• They often hurt other people’s feelings without knowing it.
If you think you may know a Vampire or Zombie, or perhaps see the qualities in yourself, have no fear, and don’t beat yourself up. We have all been both Vampire and Zombie at one time or another. When you notice monster behavior, stop, breathe and follow the MEPS steps at the bottom of the article. Unlike in the movies, there is a cure!
Let’s talk attack prevention first. Most victims allow themselves to be fed upon because they believe that they are “helping” the monster. Get clear on the difference between helping and enabling. Many times the most helpful thing we can do for our monster is to say ‘no’ (or ‘hell no’ in some cases) and take space. This allows them to hear their wake up call–which is normally drowned out by our ineffective complaints or pleadings. Enter interactions with your monsters with a loving, warrior spirit and follow your instinct about when it’s time to take a break or get out entirely.
*Beware, Vampires often unconsciously use guilt or create emergencies in order to “feed”. When you feel guilty, you begin bleeding energy that goes straight to them. If you suspect this may be happening, distance yourself and get perspective, perhaps with help from an unbiased observer or coach. Your discernment about when your full attention and assistance are warranted will grow over time. Once clear, take responsibility, practice forgiveness of yourself and others, and enforce your boundaries. When you do this successfully, the vampire will either stop or move on to another victim.
Zombies are a bit different. They don’t tend to seek out victims, but will attack with a wave of negativity when you bump into them. They may seem harmless, but your attachment to helping them is where the danger lies. Emotional Zombies can be like black holes that no amount of support can impact. You may want to give help more than they want to receive it. This is often the result of their complete identification with a limiting belief. ‘I can’t trust anyone’ or ‘I’ll never get ahead’ etc. Some Zombies will defend their limiting beliefs to the death. Beware. They may need to hit rock bottom in order to break the cycle and some Zombies will take you with them if they can.
An effective tool in dealing with Zombies is to actively listen and ask good questions. Be sure to ask questions earnestly and without condescension. Emote appropriate feelings and reactions to the Zombie; in essence, remind them to feel. For instance, you might say ‘Wow, if that happened to me, I’d be really angry.’ Often they will tell you about the limiting belief at this point. Be a safe space without buying in to their beliefs. A balance between boundaries and vulnerability is the secret elixir to bring a Zombie back to life.
Tools of the Trade:
Hyp Keys are formulated to expand awareness by incorporating subconscious communication-friendly principles in a MEPS format.
What are MEPS?
Mental, Emotional, Physical and Spiritual nuggets of goodness that you can apply immediately.
MEPS Keys for Monsters:
M – Practice the following mantra:
Vampires – I easily meet my own needs.
Zombies – It is safe for me to feel and heal.
E– Feel your underlying feelings and seek out healing.
Vampires – Feel and heal the emotional issues around attachment.
Zombies – Feel the emotions you are resisting. Emotional flow will bring you back to life!
P – Maintain a safe distance from possible victims. Engaging with others when you are in ‘monster-mode’ will only harm your relationships.
S – Be honest with yourself. Nurture yourself. Achieve a balanced energy exchange in your interactions.
Armed and protected with the awareness, tools, and patience to save ourselves and teach others, together we can make this a much more loving, kind, and tolerant world.