My friend is taking a class at Antioch called Archetypes in Classical Literature. The Vampire Archetype is the first one they are studying which brought she and I to a conversation about this Archetype and where we see it in our lives: in our relationships.
Her professor, a Jungian analyst, mentioned that in vampire stories, the victim must invite the vampire in, that there is a sort of complicit energetic exchange in this dynamic. The question we must ask ourselves if we are feeling like we have been drained by someone is, “What was in it for me?” “Why did I allow that?” The vampire is gentle and charming. He subtly finds his way to the young woman’s neck and she keeps coming back until there is nothing left. The question is why does she do this?
For every victim, there must be a perpetrator and for every perp, there must be a rescuer, right? All the world’s a stage, we all play our part, yada, yada. This construction of reality is becoming really obsolete as consciousness becomes aware of itself and we awaken to a new reality of shared power and co-creation.
I am only taking the time to write about this so that I can be more aware of my own patterns in these areas. I have absolutely been all of three of those in relationships and am consciously tasking myself not to go there anymore. If I a begin to feel creeped out by something a man says or does, for example, I will say so rather than feel like a victim of lecherousness. And likewise, if I begin to feel that urge to do something to emotionally, sexually or energetically “hook” someone, I resist it. Manipulation is manipulation. If I’m telling someone what they want to hear so I don’t have to face conflict, I am being manipulative. If I’m doing something to get attention or approval rather than just out of pure love and joy, if I’m doing it to “get back”, it’s not love, it’s manipulation. Who wants that?
It’s much harder to live with this kind of integrity in many ways but it’s also less draining.
Here are a few things I’ve seen in myself and others that are obvious signs of energetic vampirism. (By no means a complete list.) The point here, by the way, isn’t to judge yourself or others but just to see it and choose a different response–a response that keeps your energy system intact:
- Lecherousness: Leering or overt and not-welcomed sexual touch or attention. This includes someone expressing unrequited desire and/or telling you about their dreams or fantasies about you.
- Making jokes and needing a laugh. Possible feeling resentful when they don’t get it.
- Outwardly charming but who you feel uncomfortable around.
- Constant storytelling and/or performing and needing an “audience” for validation.
- Giving gifts that are either extravagant or inappropriate to the length of the relationship.
- Accepting gifts that are either extravagant or inappropriate to the length of the relationship. (No victims, remember?)
- Someone insinuating themselves into your life by offering to help or assistance that you either haven’t asked for or in ways that, as an adult, you need to do for yourself (like bill paying for example). Caretakers/rescuers see themselves as “helpers/supporters” but are often demanding and draining.
- Needing constant eye contact or attention in conversation.
- Not respecting boundaries or setting any. When you say “no” and the person keeps pushing a bit (or a lot), they are looking for the opening. Do you succumb and expose your neck to their fangs or stand firm in your resolve? If not, why? What do you gain from giving away your power?
Dr. Judith Orloff writes about how to deal with energy vampires in this article and goes on to say that energy vampires in our lives often mirror back something to us. I agree that it’s important to see whatever comes our way as a reflection of our own inner being. Whether it’s something we are actively expressing or repressing, it’s still a possibility.
The thing I’ve learned is to just notice how I feel. My body gives me cues that I can tune into. If I feel bad around someone or feel like there is no space for me, I don’t linger long anymore. Cultivating the ability to say, “no, thank you,” and meaning it is the best thing I’ve ever done for myself.
Finally, in addition to leaving or avoiding relationships that are draining and doing the inner work to heal my wounds so I’m not open to psychic attack, I am finding it invaluable to put up energy shields of white light, and cut cords in relationships that are toxic or over. It doesn’t take a cross or a stake or garlic to fend of a vampire, it takes looking in one’s own heart to find the vampire within and love it. That’s true of all of the Archetypes. Integration is the surest path to wholeness I’ve found.