Saturday, April 30, 2011

Energy Vampires

Leave the suckers for Twilight

We’ve all experienced it at one time or other, a friend who is distraught after a break-up and bends your ear every time they see you with stories of their ex and their biased analysis of why their relationship didn’t work. Nothing much logical or rational passes through their lips. At first you were supportive and understanding, but let’s face it, there’s a limit you can take and after a while it just becomes wearisome and draining. You feel too guilty to say no to them when they turn up dejected on your doorstep. The result is that you start making excuses not to spend time with them and eventually your friendship will start to suffer. These people are energy vampires, feeding off your energy and draining you until you yourself become depressed.

When you go through a break-up you need to make sure that you do not become an energy vampire. Initially there will be a temporary over-charged emotional phase, make sure you pick a friend with vast emotional reserves to suck energy from. But then you need to be kind to yourself and stop it. Admit where you’ve become like a stuck record and amend your behaviour. A good thing for friends to do is to make a pact. You’ll feed off each other up until a certain predetermined point, and then your friend will gently tell you when it’s enough. This requires trust and honesty in your relationship, and you have to listen when your friend says enough is enough. It’s important that these boundaries be backed up with definite consequences, otherwise the energy-feeding will continue.

If you’re going through a break-up yourself you need to sweep your house clean of any and all energy vampires. When you’re a wreck is not the time to be a rescuer and be there for someone else to let prey on you. Physically remove yourself from that person and distance yourself emotionally. If you are already in a weakened state, letting an emotional vampire feed off you will just make your situation worse and cause you to crash.

Not all energy vampires are created equal, and not all of them are in that space because they are depressed after a break-up. Some of them drain your energy for other reasons, but they are just as draining. Unempathetic, narcisstic people who always put themselves first and aren’t really interested in your life can be draining. So can drama queens who thrive on negative energy. Friends who never have a good word to say about anything and constantly criticise every little thing are energy vampires. As are friends who are moody and constantly re-arranging the status order of their ‘best friends’; these are skilled at pitting people against each other and love causing ructions in your social circle. Stay clear of friends who don’t value your opinion as they are also draining your energy.

You need to be surrounded by people who build you up, not drain you. And you need to make sure that you don’t become an energy vampire yourself. You need all your energy to pick up the pieces and get your life back on track.

Excerpt from How to say no to sex and other survival tips for the suddenly single.


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