Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Vampires

Yes, this post is about the vampires. I am not talking about the sexy vampires called 'Cullens' from the movie 'Twilight' (however tempting it may be), I am here to talk about this mythical monster's real-life non-sexy counterpart - the emotional vampires. Odds are high that you have one of these demons lurking in the folds of your life. Emotional vampire is someone who zaps all your energy and makes you feel worse than you were feeling before.

There are many traits of vampires - narcissists, controllers, drama queens and victims.
I am going to talk about a vampire from my life today who entered my life a while ago. We started to hang out, created some amazing memories, slowly the vampire was comfortable with me and started sharing her fears, worries, stress, problems and confusions. I listened to her struggles in life and sympathized, empathized with her. At that point I did not realize how much negative impact it was causing me, I thought this is what friends do, they stand by when the other is facing problems.

She complained about studies, politics at work, family troubles, struggle finding a descent job, and then about the boy that she herself chose to marry after four years of courtship. I should have realized by now that vampires are going through perpetual problems as this is how they view life, even a paper cut is a big deal for them. They attract drama, create their own storms and cry when it rains.

And so it happened that she started having an extra marital affair. I kept telling her to not do that or at least separate from her husband first. She did none of that. Vampires seldom listen to advices or take actions on their mistakes.

My family and close friends asked me to disassociate with her saying someone who can have an extra marital affair have low morals and their conscious is dead. I wonder what happened to my standards, values and principles that I supported her throughout the affair (while her poor husband had no clue of what was going on), then her divorce and when the boy she was having an affair with ran away. In this phase I helped her find a job in Seattle in my company, helped her settle in this new place and made sure that I met her every other day so that she doesn't feel lonely and also looked for a match for her on dating sites (even though this was adding to my already existing stress levels).

It slowly hit me that the vampire was never happy even if good things happened to her. So if to cheer her up I said 'your mom received the most prestigious award in the country, you must be happy', to which the vampire said 'yes she did receive the award but she still has xyz problems'. The vampire never saw the bright side of life no matter how much one tried to divert her attention at it but at the same time she never failed to notice the good happening in others lives.

She would compare her mother's life with my mother. My mother is a housewife, she doesn't have to go through office politics and in turn is not rewarded with national awards either, she has her own share of problems that she is handling gracefully with a smile on her face. No need to mention that vampires always compare their own life with others and ask the question 'why me'.

She felt most other people have lives that are much easier than hers. One of the vampire's friend got a job in Google and her reaction was 'oh, she is the dumbest person I have come across, she absolutely did not deserve the job, she got it by luck'. 'Why?,' I asked 'people in Google grill in interviews, they are not stupid to lend her a job just like that'. Yet, she was stuck on her opinion.

Her constant lectures on 'luck' (which were many times taunted at me) made me annoyed one day I asked her 'In 12th you had 60%, did you deserve an admission in one of the best engineering colleges simply based on caste system reservations while so many with + 90% had to opt for low rated colleges? Or did you deserve admission for your MBA program which you got based on family ties? Everyone has some advantage in life and if you name it as luck then in that sense you have been lucky too'. She obviously disagreed and claimed that she deserved every bit of it because she has been through a lot in life! Victim consciousness defies logic.

I avoided telling her any good things happening with me, as that made her more sad and jealous. I stopped being myself around her. The vampires feed on your grief, loss or pain so for their lunchtime they want to talk about your worst phases, agony and sadness, once you vent they feel quenched. Misery loves company. Every interaction with her made me feel drained, negative and sad, may times even low self esteemed as I was taunted that I am simply lucky to have the good things.

To prove it to her that everyone goes through troubled times I kept telling her sad stories - derived from my life and others I have known. Once when she was going through her usual 'oh my life sucks' phase, to pacify her I started telling her a story from my life. I told her about my father - without going into details - he is going through one of the saddest thing that can happen to a person, when it happened my entire family was shattered, we went through shock and panic attacks, it has been 17 years and we still feel sad every single day about it and find it tough to deal with, unfortunately it has happened to the most beautiful soul we have ever known. When I told the vampire about my father - her reaction was 'at least your father is alive, mine is dead'.

 At this very instant I realized that the vampire has no empathy but just jealousy, comparison and disrespect for me. I started avoiding her and stopped sympathizing with her anymore. The vampire under any circumstances wants to prove that they are suffering more than anyone else in the world, they seek sympathy, attention. Saying that others are bad does not prove that you yourself are good, saying that others do not deserve things does not make you any worthy of them and downplaying other's pain does not prove that yours is bigger. She was going through problems because she created them for herself and dark is how she viewed life.

I must admit that it is extremely hard to cut the vampires out of your life completely, even though you know it is the wisest thing to do because you are so sucked into their world of worries that somehow you feel that you owe it to them, so we still were in touch and would meet once in a while.

It so happened that last year I was going through the lowest phases of my life, I was stuck in a black hole, the more I tried coming out of it the more it sucked me in.

During this time I met an old friend who went through 8 chemotherapies. I listened to her problems, shared mine. Though I wasn't going through a cancer treatment she didn't downplay my worries. "Shit happens and it is sad," she said "but fighting spirit comes naturally when you look at the many beautiful things that life has to offer, just enjoy every bit of the beauty". I could instantly relate, this is my attitude. Life is beautiful inspite of the problems. The sky, colors, relationships, nature, dancing, painting, reading, movies, creating, consuming, being able to live with two legs, two hands, functioning eyes and organs, still having hair on the head... everything is beautiful.

I realized that everyone around me and including me is going through minor-major issues, but no one is a drama queen filled with negativity, jealousy, comparison or the why me attitude.

Not to mention the vampire was nowhere around when I went through my troubles, vampires do not add any value to your life, it is always debit from your emotional bank and never credit. I of course came out of the black hole of my worries by taking actions on my mistakes, vowed never to repeat them again and by engaging in activities like meditation, dancing, reading and painting rather than complaining, gossiping and comparing.

A short while ago the vampire told me that she got married and bought a new house, I congratulated her and asked her why didn't she tell me about it when it happened, she said she has been busy with everything going on and then listed the number of problems that are keeping her busy. "You could have sent me a message" I said. To which she mentioned that we have nothing in common now, we are in different phases of life and have different lifestyles.

I wonder what took her so long to see the difference? We were always different, when I listened to her crib for hours or when she stayed with me until she found a place to live or when she was dating and breaking up - we always had different lifestyles, decision making patterns, attitudes, aptitudes, interests, energy, belief system and outlook towards life.

The vampire stops being around you when you say 'buck up you sissy' and deny to be their crutch, they simply find new crutches who support them better. As they say - a friend in need is a friend indeed, for the vampires they are always in need. Finally, she was out of my life entirely, I felt used at the end, it is a sad feeling but there are no regrets only lessons. I have no one to blame but me for the distress the vampire caused me, no one had put me in a prison and made me listen to her.
But at the same time I feel extremely relieved as I don't have to be around this toxic person anymore, even as a formality.

Whether it’s negativity, cruelty, jealousy, the victim syndrome, or just plain craziness, vampires drive your brain into a stressed-out state that should be avoided at all costs, I know it is hard to do that if they are your family members, colleagues or childhood friends. Vampires are affecting your physical, mental, emotional well-being in more ways than you understand. All I have to say is let go of the people who dull your shine, poison your spirit and bring you drama. Simply cancel your subscription to their issues.
I stumbled upon an article on emotional vampires the other day and it dawned on me that it is not just me who has been a prey to their blood-sucking nature, there is a huge research on this personality type. I wish I had read the article long ago, that would have saved me energy, time, emotion and undue stress.

Here is the link - https://psychcentral.com/blog/archives/2013/11/14/how-to-avoid-being-drained-by-energy-vampires/   --- don't miss the 'Vampire assessment' section.


And here is a good book on the topic - Emotional Vampires: Dealing with People Who Drain You Dry.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ours lives are full of vampires like these, its best to avoid them. You save time, money and more importantly your self by cutting them out of your lives.