Sunday, October 10, 2010

Putting a Metaphorical Stake through the Hearts of Your Energy Vampires

By Julie Rahm

Novels by Stephenie Meyer and Anne Rice are not the only place to find vampires. In fact, they are lurking all around you in the form of family members, friends and co-workers. At their first opportunity they bite, leaving even the healthiest person feeling drained, weakened and deflated while they are rejuvenated. Brief encounters can be quelled by fresh air, homemade chocolate chip cookies, or aspirin. However, prolonged exposure over time can increase your risk for fatigue, depression, nausea, headaches, overeating and conditions ranging from “ulcers to heart attacks” according to psychiatrist Judith Orloff, M.D., author of Positive Energy.

Dr. Orloff describes the eight most common energy vampires as sob sister, drama queen, blamer, fixer-upper, charmer, go-for-the-jugular fiend, constant talker/joke-teller (aka jester), and unintentional sapper, although others may be lurking in the shadows awaiting their metaphorical full moon to reveal themselves. Each vampire has a unique attack method, yet strategies for defending yourself follow the same principles – set boundaries and work on your own positive energy.

Every encounter between human beings is an exchange of energy. We are energetic beings in physical bodies. Without energy we are nothing. Once you become aware that a family member, friend, or co-worker is sucking the life force out of you and is regularly causing your metaphorical level to tilt, start plotting your defense.

First, establish your boundaries and limits. For instance, the sob sister is one of the most prevalent and harmful energy vampires. She talks on and on about her numerous problems – a victim without focusing on solutions. When you encounter her, tell her you can only listen to her grumble for five minutes. Use your metaphorical pliers to pluck out any thoughts that you have a responsibility to be her therapist or fix her situation. Her problems are not your job. If she wanted to find solutions and do something other than complain she would. She will likely resist you and say something like “I thought you were my friend!”. At which point you can say to her that you are her friend and you need to take care of yourself, too. You will need to have this conversation multiple times. Be firm and kind at the same time.

Second, use your metaphorical hammer to hammer in your mindset for clear, positive energy. Your positive energy, clarity and vision must be greater than your energy vampire’s negativity. Try hammering in a vision of yourself in a beautiful place. Jack Canfield suggests imagining yourself in the center of the fountain outside of the Bellagio Hotel in Las Vegas, with sunlight dancing off the walls of water droplets surrounding you. Or, hammer in visions of things that make you happy – children, puppies, sailboats on the water. Or, use your metaphorical screwdriver to reconnect your mind with one of the best moments of your life. All of these defenses build a strong positive field around you which will keep out negative energy.

With some energy vampires walking away is the best strategy. This works best if you are in a conversation with a “jester” or a “charmer” who is only interested in hearing his own voice and opinion while being the center of attention. Some people feel like they are being rude if they walk away in the middle of a conversation. My favorite way out is to say, “Excuse me, I have to go to the bathroom.”

It is easy to resent energy vampires. Just remember that most of the time they are not malicious in their intent. They often have no awareness of their effect on people. So be kind to them as you take care of your own energy needs. To neutralize their negative energy make sure you are not being negative, too. You can stop the cycle of negativity by sending them love and prayers even while you are together. See them for the beautiful spirits they are even when their behavior suggests otherwise.

Maintaining your positive energy to slay energy vampires is like maintaining your immune system to slay disease. Make a list of things that boost your energy both physically and emotionally. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Choose foods that raise your energy. Breathe deeply. When you are physically tired you are more susceptible to energy attacks. By taking care of your own energy and not adding to the negativity of your energy vampires, you are bringing them your best help.

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