Chalk it up to being close to Halloween, but I’ve been thinking a lot about vampires lately. I find myself listing cultural references in my head. In fact, I’ve made this BINGO card with vampire references. See if you can get 5 in a row diagonally, vertically, or horizontally.
Even if you couldn’t get a BINGO, I’m sure you have great familiarity with several of the references, and, of course, this is not an exhaustive list. In every case, however, we know vampires are fake.
I want to draw your attention to real vampires. In your life right now, you are falling prey to energy vampires. You know the type. These are people who PsychoCentral.com explain as people who “consistently make you feel overstimulated, annoyed, apathetic, fatigued, and/or stressed.”
There is more than one way an energy vampire can strike. Here are six disguises from VeryWellMind.com that energy vampires use to suck your energy.
The victim: Some people enjoy playing the victim card and are always ready with a new sob story about a perceived slight. They are innocent but the whole world is always against them. They tend to complain often and loudly about their problems.
The criticizer: Some people spend a lot of time and energy criticizing other people, things, and situations. Nothing is ever good enough for them and they can find fault with just about anything.
The dramatizer: Some people create and attract a lot of drama. They always seem to be in the midst of a major catastrophe and often need your help and support.
The manipulator: Some people are able to manipulate just about any situation to their advantage. They rarely say what they mean and usually have a hidden agenda.
The negative thinker: Some people always see the glass as half empty and have a very negative attitude toward life. They can always be counted on to point out the downside or potential risks, without leaving any room for hope or excitement.
The blamer: Some people are quick to place blame on others. They’re never at fault but always willing to hand out heaps of shame and guilt.
Given that energy vampires are real, here are some lessons from fictional vampires we should all take to heart.
Vampires Are Real
“Forget what you think you know. Vampires exist”
~ Blade, Blade II
If someone is taking your energy, your joy, your sense of well-being, your purpose–that person is a vampire. Though this vampire may not be sinking teeth into your neck and sucking your blood, an energy vampire is still behaving in a monstrous capacity that should be guarded against and thwarted.
Vampires are Attractive
“I’m the world’s most dangerous predator. Everything about me invites you in…I’m designed to kill.” ~Edward, Twilight
Though we think we’d be repelled by vampires, the truth is, we are often drawn to them. They can be attractive in many ways. Sometimes we think we can fix them, for example. Sometimes they add some initial pizazz when we feel bored. Sometimes they morph from being kind and supportive to being needy and demanding. No matter how a vampire relationship starts, it doesn’t mean the relationship has to continue.
Vampires are Invited In
“Don’t ever invite vampires into your house, silly boy. It renders you powerless.”
~Max Lawrence, The Lost Boys
Vampires will come in when you invite them in. I’m not victim-blaming. I’m simply saying when you see you have one or more vampires in your life, no matter how they got there, you can decide whether or not you want to continue to allow them in. You can change or eliminate the relationship once you see there is a problem.
Vampires Don’t Care
“They had forgotten the first lesson, that we are to be powerful, beautiful, and without regret.”
~Armand, Interview with a Vampire
Since many times you are a kind person and came to befriend the vampire before they started to suck you dry, you may think the vampire will ultimately be remorseful when confronted with the harm they have caused you. They won’t. See the next quote.
Vampires Enjoy Their Destruction
“A vampire lives in a constant state of desire and disgust. His nature often revolts him, but he doesn’t have the will to deny his indulgences.”
~Foever Knight, Stranger Than Fiction
Vampires lack empathy. The world revolves around them and even though they may sometimes question their actions, the reflection doesn’t lead to change. You cannot make vampires change their ways, so you need to change your relationship with the vampire.
My guess is when I’m writing about energy vampires, you’re thinking about certain people in your life. I want to also remind you of your own inner voice which can sometimes be vampiric. If your inner voice perseverates on something you said or did, you can be draining yourself. In other words, while you want to be on the lookout for others who treat you in unhealthy ways, you also need to be mindful of how you’re treating yourself.
Unsure of how to respond to energy vampires? Megan Telpener’s visual, “How to Handle Energy Vampires” gives straightforward and simple ways to combat energy vampires.
We know we could never fight off a vampire in the way they are described in books and media. They have physical strength we don’t have. They are faster, stronger, and more experienced at fighting than we are. Energy vampires do not have this luxury. Energy vampires, unlike their supernatural counterparts, draw their power from emotional manipulation and draining the vitality of those around them. Since they do not overpower their victims with the physical might of fictional vampires, we possess the tools to defend ourselves against their draining influence. By recognizing their tactics, setting firm boundaries, and prioritizing self-care, we can protect our emotional well-being and break free from their energy-draining clutches. Just as garlic and wooden stakes are believed to repel vampires in folklore, our resilience, self-awareness, and assertiveness serve as the modern-day weapons to keep energy vampires at bay.
P.S. Earlier this year, my friend told me about this virtual conference called, Level Up Your MTSS. There were several powerful sessions, including, but not limited to the keynote by Dr. Adolph Brown, “Empower Students: Life Skills that ‘Level Up’ Your MTSS.” The first 5 minutes of his session are ones I will always remember. However, if you only have the chance to watch one session, I would say, you have to watch Character Strong’s Chief Development Officer, Dr. Clay Cooke’s session, “Empower Educators: Prioritizing the Needs of Adults to Get to the Outcomes for Students.” I have lost count of how many times I have told people what I learned in this session. My most quoted note is this:
There are two truths:
Students cannot benefit from ineffective things implemented well,
Students cannot benefit from effective things they do not receive.
This is so incredibly powerful and worth sharing with every educator you know.
P.P.S. Please remember to...
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