Starving the Energy Vampire (aka Deflating the Drama Queen Effect)
Not long ago but long enough ago, in a serene little home I call my own, I fell head over heels in love with someone I never expected to think twice about. I knew from that first moment that our time together was short—he was moving away soon, and soon after that to the other side of the planet to a life-or-death situation, and he’d had troubling premonitions that he would die in that foreign desert. He was an amazing man, very spiritual and with a strong sense of service to his country and sacrifice for those he loved. Sitting in my car in front of the Armament Museum, still tasting of a Starbucks chocolate drink we’d shared across town, he kissed me for the first time…and broke my heart.
But that’s not the worst of it. The worst of it was the unintended drama he brought into my life that led to a touch-and-go situation with my health and repeated harassment from a romantic rival I hadn’t known about for the first month. It took more than a year, but I was finally able to stop feeding my energy to a woman I now define as a Vampire Archetype personality. Though I’d certainly felt the drain of energy, I hadn’t realized that I was allowing it to happen and how detrimental it was to me until I discovered the works of Caroline Myss. It’s damned near impossible to move on from a relationship when you’re being harassed about it daily—and just as impossible to heal physically in the present when you’re giving your energy to a wound in the past.
Several months before this breakthrough, my very psychic pal (whom I jokingly call Obiwan) told me that on a specific date, I’d read a book that would be of tremendous help to me in healing a medical problem that originated during my relationship with this man. She also told me that it would be a rather old book related to spirituality. I shrugged off her forecast. There’s plenty of brand new material on spirituality, much of it on my To-Be-Read pile, so I didn’t see myself backtracking to older works. I forgot all about it until two days after I’d finished the book. Technically, Obiwan wasn’t 100% correct: I didn’t “read” anything and it wasn’t a “book”—it was a 9-hour audio download of a speech that had been out for 10 years, Caroline Myss’ Energy Anatomy. I quickly followed that one up with a 12-hour audio download of another speech, The Language of Archetypes by Caroline Myss.
Caroline Myss is not someone I would be friends with in daily life. Her personality is far too caustic and arrogant to suit me; however, there are definitely some life-changing nuggets in her material. I generally don’t care for the work of someone I find personally unlikable, so this is high praise indeed. Here’s how I came to apply Caroline Myss’ insights to my life, heal an old wound, and unhook a…vampire…of sorts.
When the soldier first began pursuing me, I put him off for several weeks before agreeing to a first date—and then wondered why I’d waited so long. I’d thought he was too young for me but he won my heart in a matter of hours. I still remember our first phone conversation, me walking barefoot in the front yard and looking up at summer stars, a cell phone glued to my ear before he lost the signal yet again. One of the first things he told me that night was about his high school fiancee’ and how she gave up their baby for adoption without him knowing until years later. He wanted so badly to be a daddy. He seemed deeply hurt that he could not be in his child’s life, and I was moved by enough things he said that I agreed to meet him. In a way, that revelation set the stage for what was to come and how we both reacted.
Several dates later, by the time we were inseparable, he sat on my bedroom floor and confessed he’d had a more recent ex-fiancee’ who’d ditched him before he had an interest in me, and that he was concerned about her threats to harm herself because he still cared about her. That I could understand; if you can love a person enough to plan to marry them, you don’t just stop caring overnight. We prayed together for her in my backyard at 3 AM, that in the faraway place she lived that she would stay healthy and safe.
I was in great health at this time. Feeling wonderful, both physically and emotionally. All my chakras, the main theme of Myss’ speech about energy anatomy, seemed to be wide open and active.
During this time, life in my house was peaceful, fun, serene, and happy—for everyone, including him, including my daughter, and especially me. We were together every moment we weren’t at work—even grocery shopping was fun with him trying to carry all my groceries inside at once and making me laugh with his boyish antics or warning me that I need never take out the trash as long as he was around. Yeah, my serene and happy household became deliriously blissful while he was with us for the next month or so.
Even when he called to tell me his ex-fiancee’ had called to say she was four-months pregnant and wanted to get back together but that he wanted to be with me.
That’s when the drama set in, even before she knew about me. My neighbors expressed concern over his profanity-laden phone calls in the hammock with him yelling “I don’t want to marry you anymore!” while swearing to take care of his child. My friends at our social gatherings worried over him when he spent hours on the phone, not knowing he was within earshot, begging her not to hurt herself while she hung up on him again and again. My daughter and I cringed when she would berate him so loudly that we could hear her on his phone two rooms away. I talked with him about legal custody and his parents’ advice on lawyers to make sure he could be part of his son’s life. I held him on nights when he sobbed that she would take his baby away from him if he didn’t go back to her. He was a very gentle man who was in over his head—and pulling me down with him.
I had begun having some second chakra medical problems at that point, related specifically to our relationship. I didn’t know why then and my doctor repeatedly misdiagnosed the situation, but Caroline Myss’ speech on energy anatomy later made the connection for me. This was an emotional wounding that meant someone else had to make a choice and I was one of the two choices. According to Myss, emotional wounds that are left unhealed become physical wounds. I got my first correct diagnosis the day the ex-or-maybe-not-ex-anymore-fiancee’ found out the extent of our relationship by snooping through his email accounts, voice mail, social networks, IM logs, and ultimately through my personal online journal that he’d unintentionally led her to because, as he believed, he had nothing to hide. That was the day the harassment started, enough so that my family and friends were worried for my physical safety.
You know, I don’t think I could ever be with a man who, in a choice between his child and me, would choose me over his child. Ironic as it may be. And especially one who wanted his little boy so badly. I stepped aside. Though I wasn’t happy with the way he handled the situation, I didn’t fight to keep this man because that would only have made it harder for him. I already knew he was leaving town in another few weeks and leaving the country soon after, so I would be deprived of his company anyway. We made promises to each other when he left town, and among those was that the drama with her would stop and that she would stop harassing my family and me.
She didn’t. The drama actually got more absurd. And to this day, he has not kept his promise to keep her focus from me, even though he went back to her and became a daddy.
My second chakra wound only got worse, with more problems, more incorrect diagnoses, more medical tests, more invasive procedures. Myss talks a lot about how putting so much attention on past wounds or focusing on old hurts—I’m paraphrasing—steals your energy and that that is energy that goes to keep you healthy and heal you. If your energy is distributed to another person or an old situation, then it’s not there to heal you in the present. This was an incredibly useful observation for me to make, many months harassment later.
I could explain the empathic connection that developed between her and me even before he left town, but unless you’re very open-minded, you won’t understand. It’s almost supernatural how many times I would hearing her screaming at me, and at that very instant, she was tracking me online or trying to get into my personal logs. But unless you understand quantum entanglements and empaths, I’ve lost you. So let’s look at the more mundane reason for this energy drain on me and forget the less tangible black-magicky kind of stuff.
Unlike most drama queens I’ve observed, she could not simply smirk that she’d “won” and prance away, never to think of me again. I say “most” because in the five years I’ve been divorced, I’ve dated several men who were still attached in some way to an ex, who learned the guy was moving on and swooped in to do something to scare me off. Like setting up the guy to be arrested for trespassing when picking up his kids because of a phony emergency or having his kids interfere with a date by dumping them unannounced at his front door on the mom’s night with the kids. That kind of thing. Then once I was no longer a “threat,” off she went, never to bother me again.
That didn’t happen in this case. She got my contact information through his email accounts and used it to email me, which is easy enough to block, but more disturbingly, to call and text me. She would send text after text, ranging from threats to guilt trips to pleas to reasons to hate him. She would call 40-plus times in an hour and hang up when I refused to answer. My daughter would go to bed with headphones on to keep from hearing the ringing, well past midnight, or I’d have to turn off my ringer and never know if my elderly mom was trying to reach me. She would have him call but with her conferenced-in so that she could listen to our conversations without me knowing but, of course, he always told me when she’d be on the line. My home phone would ring until I answered it and hang up—always an unknown number. She tried to pretend she was him, IMing me when I knew his computer was broken. She dug around on the Internet to find out everything she could and tried to friend me on social sites to get into private information. She found articles written that mentioned an Army officer who was planning to visit me for the weekend and immediately assumed, without looking at the six-month-old publication date, that it was him. She found one-sentence posts to a friend that said [the cross-dressing defense attorney who pursued me for over a year] was after me again and assumed it was him. She found references to a difficult decision I had to make and assumed it was about him, even though the public and private discussions centered around whether I wanted to make a business deal with a writer whose work I adored. She found messages to my daughter in Orlando to meet my other daughter and me in Gainesville and assumed I was on another trip with him. She found a mention of a new guy that my friends knew I’d had a date with and assumed (somehow) that it meant I had seen her baby. She found private online forums I was a member of, such as discussions of sexuality and psychology, and joined them. I was on a miscarriage self-help forum and deleted my posts there before she could read them. As my medical problems worsened, I desperately wanted to ask an online forum for advice but dared not since she’d found others I was on. She posted demands for an apology to my personal family blog when I wrote about a certain relative–who used to beat her babies–because she assumed everything I wrote was about her or about him. (In the case of this article, she would finally be correct.) She brought in other people to read what I’d supposedly written about her or review my personal photographs with her. And on and on it went, ad nauseum.
This was, for the most part, a regular and grueling part of life up until I listened to Caroline Myss’ The Language of Archetypes, which showed me a perspective I had not seen before and gave me a way to deal with it. All during these months and months of harassment, I was dealing with my medical situation but I didn’t see improvement until she vanished for a while. Out of the blue, after her being all over my websites in the middle of the night for week after week, she disappeared. The anonymous calls stopped, the cyberstalking stopped, the emails and anonymous posts to my family blog stopped, the attempts to friend me on various social networks stopped. All overnight. For almost four blessed months.
I honestly wondered if she was dead. Or in a coma. Or in jail. Or had just sworn off computers and phones. In any case, I had four whole months of peace and quiet from her. What a pleasure to go about my business without feeling her demanding my attention or flinging drama at me! No threats, no demands for apologies, no following me everywhere I went online. She’d stopped. It didn’t last but while it did, it was wonderful not to have her focusing all that hate in my direction instead of working on her relationship with the father of her child and taking responsibility for her own unhappiness. Energetically, the focus was off me and I wasn’t always drained.
In fact, my medical problem stabilized and—I’ll know soon for certain—may have healed completely. I was able to reclaim the distribution of my energy from her and from her constant reminders of the emotional wound of a choice I still believe was the right one for him. That reclaimed energy has helped me to feel better and healthier than I have since I first heard her name. But here’s where the speech on archetypes comes in.
The archetypes themselves are quite interesting, and I quickly identified a few that applied to me. Writer, of course, being probably the first and foremost because it’s how I communicate best, how I work through my own issues the best, how I teach best. I can’t not write.
Late in the 12 hours of audio, Myss talks about some of the more unusual archetypes, including the Vampire Archetype. This is not the darkly elegant or erotic vampire of an Anne Rice novel but something I’ve trouble with from time to time, because my nature is to feel responsibility or compassion for others to a point where they demand too much of my energy if I don’t draw strong boundaries. Myss explains it this way:
There is such a thing as the Vampire archetype, meaning that there
are people who thrive on the psychic energy of others. People, for
instance, who complain a great deal or who are severely emotionally
needy can leave one feeling as if they had been up for a solid 36
hours. They tend to want the other person to make their life decisions
and to work out their problems. (more at http://www.myss.com/features/askcaroline/detail.asp?id=59)
Yes! I can identify! “A solid 36 hours.” OMG, yes! In more situations that just this one, too.
Not only did Caroline Myss call this archetype to my attention, but she gave me a way to deal which now makes Myss an invaluable teacher in my opinion. I’ve been letting this person feed off my energy since she first realized how bonded her child’s father was to me and that while he felt he had “nothing to hide,” he was terrified of her power over him. I never really slapped back, didn’t go after that restraining order, or set a distance between us because I was compassionate toward her situation and her child. I’d been giving her my own power instead of taking care of myself.
How do you deal with a Vampire Archetype? According to Myss’ speech, you stop feeding it. You unhook it, detach from it, cut it off from your veins. I canceled home phone, blocked various emails, blocked my cell and text numbers, made my social networks all completely private—even at the expense of no longer being able to talk regularly with certain elderly family members who don’t understand passworded networks. I rearranged my blogs and articles and even stopped writing new material for a while so she’d lose interest. I brought myself to a point of distance, of detachment, where I no longer have any concern whatsoever for what happens to this person or what her situation is. I know that sounds cold but I didn’t defend myself early on, not because I felt guilt or responsibility, but because I’m empathic and kindhearted. Something I cannot afford with some people. So I drove a stake through my compassion. For her, but for him as well. I’m no longer worried that things will be worse for him if my articles, the vast majority of which have nothing to do with him, are mistaken as love poetry about him or something equally ludicrous and send her into yet another frenzy. If so, then that’s his issue to deal with and he can consider it a delayed reaction to matters he should have taken care of when he was still here with me instead of 6,000 miles away.
I’m looking forward to that next doctor’s appointment and to test results that show I’ve completely healed. My energy is mine once again.