7 steps to Evaluate & Stake Energy Vampires

Brittney the Vampire Slayer//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Brittney the Vampire Slayer knows how to stake those energy vampires!

I have something shocking to share with you. You might want to sit down for this.

Everything dies.

Death is the price we have to pay for life, there is no way out of it. So why waste what precious time we have in life letting energy vampires suck us dry? I cannot stress how integral healthy relationships are to our well-being. At any time, any age, any stage of our life, it is ideal to take a step back and reexamine our life and the people in it.

For each relationship we have (significant other, family members, friends) we must evaluate:

Energy Vampire Evaluation Questionnaire:

1) How do I feel when I spend time with this person?
2) How do I feel before and after spending time with this person?
3) Does this person only make contact when they are in trouble or need to vent?
4) Does this person only contact me when they are in need of some sort of expertise I possess?
5) Does this person make themselves available when I need their companionship?
6) Is this person filled with passive-aggressiveness and/or put-downs?
7) What do I get out of this relationship?

Let’s elaborate:

1) How do I feel when I spend time with this person?

Do you constantly feel like you are on eggshells when you are around this person, as if you cannot truly be yourself least this person argues or belittles you? There is a big difference between minding your manners versus completely suppressing your personality for the sake of keeping “peace” in a relationship. That’s not peacekeeping; it’s a hostile hostage situation and not even Batman can rescue you. If this person cannot handle thoughts/views/opinions that differ from their own and are leaving you in a constant state of nervous vigilance, it is time to call forth your inner hostage negotiator and get yourself out of this emotional/psychological landmine.

2) How do I feel before and after spending time with this person?

The prospect of hanging out with this person should not give you feelings of dread, nor should your instinctive reaction to chilling with your would-be loved one be a plethora of made-up excuses to evade them. Wishing for a natural disaster, zombie apocalypse, or a swift and sudden illness that just so happens to hit on the date of your set hang out time should not outweigh the desire to spend time with your friend/family member/loved one. Upon concluding your visit, how do you feel? Like you’ve been sucker-punched, drained quicker of your energy than a victim extra on Buffy? If thoughts of, “Oh, boy, I hope they lose my number and forget I exist!” prevail over thoughts of, “Man, I can’t wait to see him/her again! What a great time!” It’s definitely time to estimate the value of keeping this person in your life.

3) Does this person only make contact when they are in trouble or need to vent?

A very common pitfall, one to check ourselves and self-evaluate with every now and then. We get so caught up in our busy, busy lives that we’re unaware of negative patterns we’re creating with our friends when we only use them as a shoulder, an ear, a wall or bail outs. The occasional “OMG, Becky! You won’t believe this!” phone call should always be welcomed, but when the friendship has been reduced to a never-ending cycle of “FML” phone calls, it’s time to throw your chum a life saver.
If you’re wary of a pal that’s fallen into this pattern, see if you can’t break them out of it by calling them up and setting up a drama-free day to hang out. If they take you up on it, follow through and everything goes honky-dory, chances are you are giving them a big, helpful push into putting the pieces of your friendship back together. Make sure to end the day with a follow-up schedule in the form of a call or letter to subconsciously remind your mate how much fun you two had.

4) Does this person only contact me when they are in need of some sort of expertise I possess?

Similar to above, this mate only wants to ring you up when they need your car, clothes, alibi, hacksaw, or frighteningly impressive knowledge on forensic & cadaver decay (Hey, that CSI: Miami fanfic ain’t gonna write itself and wouldn’t you know it, someone who calls you a friend just so happens to be a medical examiner). This problem poses the same answer as above: call them up for an unrelated hang out. If they take you up on it, there’s hope, if they constantly dodge you, it’s time to label this friendship D.O.A.

5) Does this person make themselves available when I need them?

Relationships are a two-way street, tit for tat and all that. It’s easy enough to have friendships when it suits our needs, but when you want a little companionship, and there is no tangible incentive for the other party to give you their time/energy, your friend is nowhere to be found. When is it genuine absentee friendship VS. being busy?
Being busy can only be an excuse for so long – weigh it against how long you’ve known your friend, the quality of the relationship up to the point when you first suspected you were driving on One-Way Friend Lane, when was the last time they were there for you versus you for them, your effort to maintain said relationship, what changes have come into their lives recently and do a little math work. If cutting ’em a little slack is in order, you ought to be able to have a frank talk about your friendship. Get your day planners out and make some time with one another. However, if the equation is promised returned emails/calls + excuses aren’t lining up with facts = it’s probably time to switch gears and find a new route.

6) Is this person filled with passive-aggressiveness and/or put-downs?

Use a bit of your Google-Fu and read up on ‘passive-aggressive behavior’. Sound like anyone you may know? Is your chum always putting you down, especially when you’ve got some positive in your life? Their inability to communicate and feel happy for someone they call a friend/family/lover is a major warning signal and it is time to hit the emergency eject button. They may be aware of the control-freak, confidence-crushing behavior they’re putting on you or not, but either way, if they refuse to even recognize these negative, Energy Vampire traits in themselves, you cannot force them to change, no matter how much you love them. Putting your own health first is key. If you can’t keep yourself healthy and forward-thinking, how can you be there for the people you love and who truly love you?

7) What do I get out of this relationship?

Every relationship you have should be comprised of co-operative balance to ensure a healthy, positive life. What you should “get out of” a relationship is not something material, but feelings of love, respect and happiness.
You deserve that.
Why settle for apathy, or worse, misery, when you deserve so much more? It isn’t selfish or greedy to want respect and joy in a relationship, it’s normal and recommended to be at the top of your standards list. If you are struck with the realization that you had duped yourself into thinking you were participating in a co-operative relationship when in fact you have been playing host to some parasitic force, it is definitely time for a serious delousing.

let's go a'slayin'//embedr.flickr.com/assets/client-code.js

Staking Energy Vampires (Without Being a Dick)

You’ve done everything within your power, but without the give/take and willingness of the other party to pitch in, or the failure to recognize the problem(s) in the first place, it’s time to pull the plug. Congratulations! I would say I am sorry for your loss (of your time, that is), but really, I’m too excited for your prospects of future relationships!

If your “pal” is already halfway out the proverbial door of the relationship anyway, all you have to do is learn to stop making the wasted effort and end things quietly by not chasing after them (or the illusion of friendship).

If a more face-to-face effort has to be made, make sure it’s in a neutral, open-but-secluded place like a cozy corner of a park. Don’t you use the accusatory “You” (“You don’t respect me, you ignore me and belittle me.”) Tell them your feelings from the “I” perspective (“I don’t feel respected, I feel that I am being deliberately shut-out and oftentimes, I feel belittled.”) When you bring the conversation back to yourself, there is a better chance of their defenses being down as they won’t just hear “YOU YOU YOU” and feel attacked. Even if you had talked to them previously, now that a finale is actually here, it may wake them up enough that they offer to work on the relationship. Alternatively, you may discover that they have been taking issue with you, as well. Be open to hearing their grievances and perhaps a middle ground can be found to work it out. However, it may not. Be prepared that salvaging the ‘ship just may not be possible.

Re: above. If you are determined to end it, end it. Stick to your guns and be strong. Get away for a little while if you need to, or hibernate and distract yourself with some new projects.

However tempting it might be to vent, and however life force-leeching your former friend may have been, do not talk mad trash about them; especially to mutual friends and on the internet! You’ll sound bitter and if they’re already an Oscar-worthy actor at playing the victim, they’ll only look more compelling when they can use your harsh words to start drama.

It’s OK to mourn the loss of your relationship/time, but be realistic about how much time you spend in this state of mind. It’s time to look forward, not back.

Acknowledge that people can change, and if down the line of life your former companion tries to get in touch and offers an olive branch and promises of a renewed effort it may be worth your while to give them a second go. Ask around if they keep in touch with people whose opinions you trust, just be sure to take things slow and stay vigilant for any old familiar warning signs. On the flip side, some people are incapable of change and best to keep your separate ways. Energy Vampires in particular rarely change. Listen to your instinct.

Annie & I engaging in co-operative competitiveness

May all of your relationships be healthy, and full of respect, fun, and love!

QUESTION: How do you handle energy vampires and relationships turned sour?


5 thoughts on “7 steps to Evaluate & Stake Energy Vampires

  1. he lives a block away from me, at this point in my life, i’d rather have the relationship over and done with, but it’s a near impossibility, especially considering the kind of person HE is, he’ll never leave me alone.

    i’ve been trying for YEARS to find the safest way for me to approach our relationship, but nothing has seemed to work yet.

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