This is part two in my series on Energy Hygiene, and the enigma of the Energy Vampire.
After my first post about the power of holding our boundaries and honoring our integrity as a major practice in energy hygiene (read it here),a friend reminded me that sometimes the vampire is real and is actually being energized by keeping others off balanced. These people are predatory, and deserve an examination of their own.
I am grateful to have had only a few of these people in my close circle, though one in particular was a close family member who changed the entire trajectory of my life.
When my grandmother died of liver cancer at the young age of 58, the power dynamics of my family shifted and it created a ripe opportunity for my aunt (a true energy predator) to cause a lot of pain and suffering to those around her.
It was hard for me to imagine, but this person felt powerful when she was taking power (attention, material possessions, peace of mind, etc) from others. It seemed that she was not able to connect to the power of her own success unless it was through robbing another of their power. She received a thrill, like winning a game or outsmarting an opponent, every time she got something that she wanted to our detriment.
To the energy predator, energy is finite and a bigger boost of energy is available through the pain of the emotional charge caused by betrayal and manipulation. These moments of getting the upper hand prove to the predator that they have more power than their vicitm. The pain that is caused is proof that they are in control, that they are on top, that they are the ones creating reality.
Most of the time, these energy predators have very severe mental health problems like narcissistic personality disorder, anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder and others. These disorders create an impossibility for the sufferer to feel positive bonding connections. Love, affection, remorse, sympathy, etc are all feelings that are alien to the predator, and instead they feel the high of connection, of being real and seen and in control, by taking safety and power away from another person.
Keeping the people in their life off balance, using gas lighting and secrecy, manipulation and other oppressive tactics are their love language. And their only experience of love is the love of their own power, their own success, the feeling of winning.
If you find yourself in relationship with an energy predator, especially a close relationship, you may be in true danger. As an empath or highly sensitive person, we are wired for compassion. We can sense the inherent dignity of every person, despite their inability to feel love or compassion, or to take our needs and feelings into account.
I have heard statistics that 10% or more of the population is classified as an energy predator. With numbers this high, we are all sure to know a few of these people. Using our energy hygiene practices is important, and recognizing the person clearly and protecting our own boundaries is of utmost importance.
When we try and communicate our boundaries to the energy predator, we are signaling a chase, an opportunity for a thrill for the predator. They will pull out all of their charm and their manipulative prowess. This is especially dangerous for those of us who are wired for redemption and reconciliation of all people and all behaviors. Often, we will need the help of a third party to be able to see the behavior objectively, and to make a plan to protect our boundaries, and maybe a plan for escape.
The energy predator cannot be rehabilitated by your love. The energy predator does not have the wiring to feel your love. The energy predator can only learn to use behaviors and strategies to function more normally and to minimize the damage that they cause-and this can only occur when the predator has made a clear eyed decision to put effort into functioning within relationships as something worth his or her time.
Other forms of energy predation include sexual abuse, pedophilia, hazing rituals, etc. The people who abuse others in these ways may not be sociopaths, but they lack the wiring for human compassion in certain categories of their lives (like sex, or power). These folks are more complex in some ways, but just as dangerous as the sociopath version of the energy predator.
If you think that you may be in relationship with a true vampire, a true energy predator who is getting a thrill from causing you pain, please get help. Talk to a trusted friend or counselor. I highly recommend Ellen Dionna, MSW, LCSW, as a gifted local healer. You can find out more about her here. She also offers distance sessions if you are not in the York area.
Please take care of your energy, and know that it is not the healers job to reconcile all evil of the world. There are powers much greater than us who are working toward that end.