Saturday, May 1, 2021

Beware of Vampires

I'm not sure what made me think to write this post just now, but it's a good warning nonetheless.

Guard your energy. Be aware of vampires. Your grief is yours, your journey is yours, and your recovery is yours. No one is entitled to the wisdom or rewards of your hard work.

When I started my new job last fall (the one that I quit this past winter), I was so excited to meet my new co-worker. Unfortunately, my excitement did not last long.

It's okay to be unresolved. It's part of the process when you're coming to terms with not having kids. But it's not okay for other people to thrust their unprocessed feelings onto us while simultaneously expecting answers. We are not their therapists. They are not paying us a co-pay. Their healing is not our responsibility.

Be mindful of when people latch on to a new friendship too quickly. This was a very common experience for me in my teens and twenties, and I suppose it's more developmentally appropriate at those ages. But in our forties? No thank you! Close, stable, and healthy friendships take time to develop and grow.

This new co-worker of mine asked me very personal questions right off the bat. At first, I thought I was helping her. I would answer them. Then she would argue against my answers. And I wouldn't feel good. That's when I knew the situation wasn't healthy. 

I felt judged by her for not adopting. She actually questioned me why I didn't foster children. I was going home and venting to my boyfriend almost every day after work. I realized I needed to save my energy and protect myself. I stopped sharing any personal information with her. 

Perhaps the reason I am writing about this today is that I realize I haven't heard from her since I quit my job. I haven't felt judged or questioned about my life without children for four months now. 

With some time and space away from her, I realize now that she was judging and questioning herself, not me. But it still didn't make me feel good. I didn't do all of my own work and come this far just to be treated like that, by someone I had just met no less!

Sometimes we can be helpful to others who are living through their worst nightmare, but it shouldn't come at the cost of our energy or our hard-earned contentment. We are not responsible for other people's happiness.

4 comments:

  1. dear Phoenix, I completely agree with you: we have to guard our energy.
    Wishing you a lovely May!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some people are givers; some people are takers. Avoid the takers!! I've let too many into my life over the years but not anymore.

      Happy May dear Klara! <3

      Delete
  2. I think you introduced me to the term, "energy vampires," and it makes so much sense. I hate that this woman immediately wanted in to your most personal decisions, only to judge and disparage. You are so reflective, to see that really sheer was judging herself, but holy moly, to be in the path of that vampiric activity...ew. I'm glad she disappeared once you weren't a convenient punching bag. I'm sorry you were ever the the emotional feast, but it's hard to get away from people like that. For me, an energy vampire was a long term friend, but it took forever for me to fade away and disappear even though I felt like crap after every time I saw her. Which was a good clue! There is a power in refusing to hang out with people who consistently leave you feeling bad and drained. Such good advice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was Dr. Judith Orloff who introduced me to the term! I read her book Emotional Freedom about a decade ago and then read The Empath's Survival Guide this year. Both books were very helpful for me.

      I really listen to my body after I'm around people now. Our bodies always tell us the truth. This woman made me mad, but I also noticed my stomach was always upset on the days that we worked together. (We weren't always at the same campuses every day.) It was extremely disappointing. Other parts of her were really cool. I thought I was going to have a new friend. But no. Absolutely not. So, amidst my disappointment, I congratulated myself for recognizing toxicity and not pursuing a friendship. Just ten years ago I would've given away all of my energy to her and then wondered why I felt so empty.

      I'm sorry to hear about your long term friend. Sadly, I've had a lot of those in my life. But I refuse to repeat that pattern. I am so over it.

      To a future filled with healthy, fulfilling friendships! Beginning with our relationship with ourselves!! <3

      Delete