I really, really love vampires. Especially Spike. And, of course, my Arthur. They are sexy and mysterious and tortured and totally romanticized in modern literature and other forms of entertainment. Some aren’t, of course. Arthur, although redeems himself with love, is a right cheeky bastard, really. Quite sadistic. Even the evil monsters are fun on the page or on the screen.
But in reality, they truly suck.
I’m talking about emotional vampires. These creatures are characterized by the way they make people around them feel. The term “emotional vampire” has a rather wide range of definitions and can range from that needy friend with unending problems and negativity to the more predatory narcissist & other types of sexual predators.
Let’s focus on the latter type, the ones who are very dangerous in intimate relationships. In past posts, I’ve spoken about that indescribable connection that happens all too rarely. Unfortunately, that connection doesn’t not necessarily mean you’ve met a soul mate, and I believe we all have many “soul mates” in this world, ones that manifest as family, friends, and lovers, or if they are a “soul mate,” it doesn’t mean they are a healthy soul mate. Sometimes we meet people who touch us deeply, but they end up being dangerous to our lives and our emotional well-being. After the seemingly unending pain has subsided, we find that they came into our lives to teach us something.
Basically, an emotional vampire is someone who drains you. Like their romanticized fiction counterparts, they enter your life with charisma and charm. They energize you, making you feel as if you found someone truly special. At the beginning, it is intoxicating, as you are giving freely to each other, but before long, the emotional vampire stops giving and just feeds off your love and affection. Perhaps at first you give more, trying to bridge that gap and recapture the connection you first felt.
Here is the crucial part and so very difficult to see when it’s happening because there is an ebb and flow, ups and downs, in any relationship. But when you feel your beloved or friend pulling back, you need to pull back yourself, no matter how painful it feels. Certainly for me, I have a tendency to give more when that happens, but I’m learning. If their giving returns, that’s great, but still beware because they might just be giving you a little dose just to pull back further the next time.
As a very intensely loving person, things happen very quickly for me if I feel that connection with someone, but after some crippling falls, I’m starting to purposely slow things down. And that’s the same thing I recommend to you. Slow down. It takes time to build trust. Trust is built when actions meet words over and over and over again. This might take weeks, months, or even years in some cases for people who have been greatly injured or victims of abuse in the past.
Relationships are work. Period. They are not easy. If it’s too easy, then look closely. The falling in love part is wonderful and relatively easy, but one must work on communication, both being heard and truly hearing what your partner expresses, building trust, and deepening intimacy. Forever.
As long as communication is open in a relationship, as long as both are trying to make things work and don’t shut down, then almost anything can be worked through.
SIGNS THAT YOU’VE ENCOUNTERD AN EMOTIONAL VAMPIRE
(from “Emotional Freedom” by Judith Orloff MD)
• Your eyelids are heavy—you’re ready for a nap
• Your mood takes a nosedive
• You want to binge on carbs or comfort foods
• You feel anxious, depressed, or negative
• You feel put down, sniped at, or slimed
Listen to your body, it will tell you what’s going on when your eyes are blinded with desire or with love. During a fairly recent encounter that ultimately ended with considerable pain, I felt nauseous for most of that evening. That was my body telling me RUN! VERY VERY FAST! — but I didn’t listen. I chalked it up to nerves or just the moral dilemma, but it was my biological fight or flight instinct kicking into high gear. Anxiety is the body’s warning siren. Listen to it. Please.
So, I’m not saying run at the first sign of trouble, by no means. Relationships and people are complicated and require great amounts of energy, commitment, and work. Don’t run, unless there are huge red flags showing a predatory or abusive nature, just put on another layer of armor and tread cautiously until that trust can be built. Stay open. Stay honest. Express your fears and encourage your beloved to do the same. You both have emotional baggage. Everyone does starting from early childhood. All this plays into the person that you are and the person that s/he is, just watch for predatory and abusive signs.
And that brings us to the topic of Emotional and/or Sexual Predators, which will be the topic of next week’s post. See you then, my friends.
Have you had an experience with an Emotional Vampire? Feel free to share publicly in the comments or privately via email. Were there warning signs you either didn’t recognize or chose to ignore?
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~ by omgrey on October 5, 2011.
Posted in Romance & Relationships, Trauma & Recovery
Tags: author, broken heart, emotional vampire, emotional vampires, grief, healing, heartbroken, honesty, infidelity, love, misogyny, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, passion, postaweek2011, predator, relationship advice, relationships, romance, sex, sexual predator, vampires