Who is the energy vampire? He or she is a person who poisons your life, somebody who drags you in a DDT dreaded drama triangle, in a toxic relationship that makes you sick and ill. The vampire is a covert manipulator and dangerous aggressor.
It’s very important:
1. to recognize him/her
2. not be a victim
If you are coping with an energy vampire, you must find the courage not to tolerate manipulative or abusive behavior anymore. You need to find the courage to move away. Each one of us sooner or later is going to meet and have to deal with manipulators in life.
But what if the energy vampire is a family member? Someone with whom you must live? For classical psychology the destructiveness and perversion of a vampire are usually the behavioral consequence of a “gone wrong” attachment with his early caregivers. The energy vampire can also be a narcissist, sociopathic or passive aggressive. He is always a manipulator. According to Dr. George K Simon (also check “gaslighting” phenomenon), on the contrary, the manipulator is conscious of his behavior, but he simply does not care to hurt others as he lacks in empathy and he is motivated by desire.
If, as we consider in this case, the vampire is a family member things can get really tough. In fact we assume that family members are biologically programmed to love one another, to develop relations based on affection, support and mutual esteem. And this is exactly what happens in families that work. But what happens in dysfunctional families? (Families in which conflict, unjust behaviors and abuses occur regularly so as to induce its members to consider them normal actions). It happens that we are not prepared to protect and defend ourselves. It happens to be the prey of vampires for years, losing energy and precious time. It happens to feel sick and do not know why.
How does the energy vampire manipulate you? There are various ways in which the family vampire can undermine your integrity and ultimately your whole life. Here I will make only few examples, those I personally came through:
2. the vampire attempts to SCARE YOU by constantly saying that you can’t achieve, that everything will go wrong, that you’re a wimp.
3. the vampire gives you the SILENCE TREATMENT. Once a person I lived with stopped speaking with me for about 3 years (with the exception of some monosyllables..). I never understood why. One day, I took the courage and I asked “what have I done to you?”. The answer was: “You interrupt me while I read.” The vampire wants to create a constant state of tension and pressure and then he blames yourself for creating an uncomfortable climate.
4. the vampire gives you a SMEAR CAMPAIGN: your friends become his friends. Maybe he will try to seduce your partner. The vampire is gossiping about you in order to: -undermine your reputation (and build for himself a good reputation) -provoking jealousy (example: if you tell him something, he does not believe you; but if the same thing is said by others, he immediately takes that into account ) -causing in you worry and guilt (eg, ” mother is ill because of you”). He constantly arouses negative feelings in you.
5. The vampire ACCUSES you of actions that you have never committed. For years he operated a smear campaign against you and others believed him (think carefully, a lie is always a collective action). The situation gets hopeless and contributes to cause thoughts of revenge and frustration. The most common reaction is to respond to violence with more violence, to the threat with a threat. Unfortunately, this usually does not work and does not solve anything. Why it does not work? Because you become “the crazy one” and “the bad one” and the vampire will win again.
The energy vampire systematically deny the evidence. As the biggest crooks in history, he created a system of justifications, excuses and self-assessment so he considers himself a “good person”. He enjoys a high reputation as well. The vampire can also be a highly esteemed teacher or a very respected religious and pious person. The vampire manipulates you to the point where you no longer know who you are, you doubt your abilities, skills and competences.
So what can you do to protect yourself?
- AWARENESS is the way. We must understand and accept that the ones who are supposed to love you the most are, in fact, sucking away your energies. It would be helpful to have full knowledge of your family dynamics, with the assistance from an expert, such as a relational systems psychologist or a psychotherapist. (you can also study your family tree, experience family constellations workshops, etc …)
- You should CREATE BOUNDARIES, clearly define what you are willing to tolerate and what you are not willing to tolerate. The vampire will feel you stepped away and will probably tell you “you are selfish” … this is a good sign, a sign that he cannot manipulate you anymore! You are building a fort around your soul.
- It’s useful to think that the situation in which you find yourself is a challenge, an OPPORTUNITY to grow stronger. If you manage to get out of the sucking family-member-vampire, you’ll be a stronger and more sensitive person.
- YOU CAN NOT HAVE CONTROL ON OTHER PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOUR AND THOUGHTS. Screaming your own truth during a “smear campaign” would have the opposite effect. The vampire has worked for years to build his reputation and he has people who believe him, this is a losing battle. Wage this struggle can lead to feeling even more helpless, desperate and alone. You should walk away, cultivating your personal interests such as sports or artistic interests and confide only in people who really love you and know exactly who you are. Telling your truth to a real friend is not a smear campaign nor gossip- however be sure you only open up to those who have the good heart and the sensitivity to listen to you with empathy.
- During conversations or discussions the vampire wants to bring your attention to particular aspects of a situation from which he will benefit. In this case BREATHE deeply, take some brain breaks and DO NOT REACT EMOTIONALLY, try to maintain clarity and focus on your arguments. The vampire love “tragedies”, loves the drama, he is a perverse manipulator, a covert aggressor and will use your emotional responses against you. You must ALWAYS PROTECT YOURSELF with phrases such as “It’s interesting to know you feel that way” or “I wonder why you’re saying this”, “I see that we are not of the same opinion.”
- DO NOT GIVE PERSONAL INFORMATION to a vampire. Never gossip with anyone. It’s okay if you need to tell your truth to a friend … but it must be a friend of yours! Break relationships or minimizes contact with the vampire’s sympathizers. Although they are childhood friends. They will report him everything you said and he will use this information against you.
- Always focus on how you feel. Keep in touch with your gut and your deepest emotions. BE MINDFULL. If the vampire is being gentle, seductive, if he makes you gifts, but you are feeling discomfort or tension anyway … listen to your emotions. Rational thinking can be wrong, your heart can drag you into romantic fantasies (eg. “everything is coming out right in the end”) but the body never lies.
- Create a MANTRA to repeat to you in difficult situations. The world is not a den of vipers and if you feel you are in a den of vipers you can certainly get out. You will find another family and other friends, people who understand you and who will be on your side. Walk away with courage and serenity by the people who cannibalize your mind: they are not worth your efforts and your energy.
- Nurture LOVE FOR YOUSELF. If you try to fix your dysfunctional family you will feel exhausted and you will end becoming insane. Get control over what you can control: your thoughts, the optimal functioning of your body and your time. If you’re a mom, you can dedicate your energy to your children, they are the most beautiful thing in the world! Working on yourself is the best option for yourself and for others. Do not worry about the sense of loss, it will disappear and you will find yourself. When you discover your true self, real life and fun begin.
- DO NOT PARTICIPATE IN THE LIFE OF A VAMPIRE, become a living example of joy and satisfaction! Be free.
If you want to know more check out this book: “In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulating People” by George K. Simon