So how do you recognize and deal with an emotional vampire before they wreck your life and health in the process, and suck the life right out of you, destroy you and others around you? No, I'm not talking about True Blood, Twilight or The Vampire Diaries, although those can be entertaining they are fictional.
I am talking about the flesh and blood true to life people in your life. Your significant other, your life partner, your parent (s) siblings, child, or children, friend (s) co-worker (s). Those that you deal with day-to-day or on important holidays. Those that you love, trust and confide in. Or those that you have to deal with on a have to only basis. And those you should not trust when your gut says "run for the hills".
They can make your mood take an emotional nosedive so fast your nose doesn't even have time to bleed from the fast altitude adjustment. You can go from feeling good to drained in an instant when they show up, just zapping you of all positive energy. They make your positive life changes go down the drain and you will binge on junk food like there is no tomorrow-the fridge will want to go run and hide when it sees you coming around the corner with that determined glint in your eye. Your eyes will suddenly become heavy and you'll want to take a nap when the Vampire is talking and you lose all track of time as everything feels like it's going in slow motion. Your body doesn't even feel like it's there anymore. You feel like your having an out-of-body experience or a bad dream but come to and realize in despair it's all true and not a dream after all.
This person will take on the role of Narcissist, Drama Queen, Controller, Victim and Non-Stop Yapper. Ever try getting in a word with a Non-Stop Talker, well good luck. Or getting in the way of a Drama Queen, Lord help you if you do. Or the person that can top every ailment you ever had and then some-he and she can go on for hours and hours. That's called the Attention Seeker or hypochondriac .
And then there are those who are cold-hearted, or emotionally or verbally abusive and don't really care about your thoughts and feelings, or about your illness. In fact they will turn the tables on you and cast you to blame for your own misfortune, or blame you for your illness like your not doing enough or just being inconsiderate enough by not offering you the emotional support you need when you are sick. Lets call them emotionally damaged. They are the ones that grew up in defective homes by emotionally distant parents where one or both parents were emotionally distant or abusive. These are not Emotional Vampires even though they suck the life out of you if you let them.
How do you deal with these people. You have to do it in baby steps but it can be done. And you must do it in order to survive and keep your sanity and regain control over your health. You must remain calm above all else. If you're at work you must keep a distance but stay calm and focused and do the work that is required of you-no more and no less, and do not speak negative or positive of anyone to anyone. Do not trust anyone as you really in a way cannot trust anyone at all because you don't know who will or will not stab you in the back as a brownie point or promotion. In short, cover your behind and protect "your" back because no one else will. Do not react when your buttons get pushed. This is hard to master, it takes time and practice but it's do-able. You will back slide from time to time but pick a positive phrase as your mantra and repeat it silently to yourself when your being pushed and go about your business like your deaf dumb and blind. Pretty soon it will become 2nd nature to you and hopefully pretty soon your vampire (if at work) will move on when they grow tired of their "dull" prey. Never try to take control of a controller. Try to stay calm if an argument breaks out. Say as calm as you can "can we talk about this later when we calm down" and if you can't talk calmly maybe write it down and present it later. Be assertive in a healthy way. Say "I value your advice but I really need to think this through for myself and give it some real thought". Be confident and do not play the victim or else they will get a foothold and take advantage of it and trip you up.
Some people just have this sense about them on how to pit others against each other. If you come into this situation don't fall prey to it. Calmly walk away and do not be led into this and retaliate. People that do this are damaged-they feel alive when they can stir things up and get others in an argument or a feud. This is what happens when there are long-standing feuds in families that never die down, it's because there is one member in the family that loves to stir up the pot so to speak and sit back and watch the others go at each others throats and they get a sick thrill out of it. This person is damaged beyond repair and God have mercy on this person's soul because this person has damaged each one in the family to stir up such dissension where one sentence or two can get them all riled up. And it carries onto other relationships outside the primary family and it has a cascading effect. The cycle of abuse continues until someone decides to grow up and break it and learn a new way of life.
But always, ALWAYS protect your emotions. Try to remain calm and keep a lid on your anger. Loosing your anger makes the Emotional Vampire happy and they succeed in their goal. If your Vampire goes into a rage calmly say "I'm leaving until you calm down then we can talk" and then hopefully you can leave, or walk away into another room and hopefully not be followed. REFUSE to take sides if it's a family situation. A Vampire LOVES nothing more that to split and divide a family and cause a big mess that can go on for years and years that can oftentimes put the Vampire itself at the center of attention which they so often desire and probably lacked as a child and so crave now. A family needs to at all possible show a united front and not let the Vampire have their way. But that is often better said than done if years of abuse have taken place.
The Emotional Vampire is worse in the work situation. That is how they get promoted. They suck you dry and make you look worse to make themselves look better. They do it at your expense. If you come up with a good idea or do the work, they take that idea and run with it and make sure they get the credit for it. Or they make sure the big boss sees them do the end of the job or makes them believe they did the work instead of you. They ride on your back onward and upwards to the road to success and your left behind in the trail of dust. They get promoted and become your boss, or your supervisor and they put the screws to you, or screw you over. Which ever comes first, and they try to pressure you to quit or eventually end up firing you in the end if they tire of playing with you. Some get elected to political office. They become madly popular entertainers. Some have that personality that just draws others to them for some reason as they spin their stories of lies and deceit and people buy it hook, line and sinker leaving the good guys to finish last or making them the door mat.
When it comes to your emotional health it ties in so very close to your physical health, and when you live with or work with or even have to encounter an Emotional Vampire it can drastically make you spiral out of control if you do not stay focused on the positive and keep guard over your heart and mind. It has been proven time and time again that there is indeed a mind and body connection. When you are thinking and feeling positive you have a sunnier disposition and you're not as focused on your ailments, aches, pains and your disease. Your not as tensed up as you would be when you're in a negative state of mind and your muscles are more relaxed and your medication, when you take it, works more effectively. If you let the Emotional Vampire into your mind and wreak havoc and bring you down to the level he/she wants you become negative, think negative, you see all doom and gloom and that nothing will work out for you and that you will never get better. You will start to believe why take your meds they will never work. Your Emotional Vampire might even tell you to stop taking your meds because they are not helping you. He/She will sabotage you and try to brainwash you into thinking that, and will talk you into stopping your therapy because it's a waste of time. Pretty soon you will be all tense and your meds won't work as effectively because as it is, mind over matter, your body is fighting the effects of the medicine.
So what do you do. How do you change your mindset. How do you defeat and conquer your Emotional Vampire. How do you survive the onslaught as well as improve yourself and go forward and strengthen your inner mind while helping yourself to heal, or at best to cope with your chronic illness. This is not in any way a suggestions of a cure nor by any means this is NOT medical advice, these are only suggestions based on personal experience only:
- Meditate (download soothing meditation music and play at times of stress or pain)
- Pray (can't stress it enough)
- Journal (the best way to get those feelings out-read and destroy if you wish)
- Therapy (group or individual, but get therapy and get it NOW!)
- Educate Yourself (go online and surf, or go to the library to check out books if you can)
- Tackle one painful challenge at a time (make a list and check them off one by one)
- Find and focus on the positive benefits-always focus on the positive only
- Enlist a close and trusted partner to encourage you (make sure it's NO ONE you work with!)
- Always remember the glass is half FULL (stay on the positive)
I have backslid a few times, I’ll be honest. It’s really hard to be positive when your under constant attack when you're at your lowest and in a lot of pain. But were only human and we do the best we can. We cannot beat ourselves up for it. Learn from it and strive to do better for the next attack and hopefully over time your Vampire will grow weary or God willing will grow up and learn his/her lesson that they are picking on a human life, a precious gift from God who deserves better treatment than they are getting. Well, one can only hope and pray that will happen. Miracles do happen so we can pray for that. Life is difficult but through God all things are possible.
Until next time I wish you Peace, Love and Good Health,