I’ve been a fan of yoga since the moment I stepped on the mat. But one thing I made sure of is to learn how to live the practice. I called myself catching feelings for a guy who really didn’t have much going on for himself. But because I was being all yogi….he slid into my heart as easily and welcomed as a tired yogi slides into a devotional pose. He was rest at work for me. His kindness and carefree nature were attractive until I realized I was more of a relief for him than I could stand to be.
Here I had fallen for a “love vampire”; a person who feeds off your good loving and good energy and finds themselves feeling better with your presence, words, insight. He would say to me things like “I love the energy you give me” and at first it felt like a compliment, it felt like an affirmation of all I had been doing to be the not bitter black woman I was practicing being. But over time I realized I couldn’t say the same. Over time I had to prepare myself to be sucked dry, he would take and take and give so little that I would leave feeling empty.
It isn’t to say that he did this purposely, but he sure didn’t know how not to do it. I brought it up to him and asked him point blank what does he believe I get from his companionship, friendship…his presence. I wasn’t surprised that he had absolutely no response.
I’m not the only one that had dates with love vampires. My bestie “O” would join me in disbelief about how women he dated also would want to get from him but have nothing to offer. These women would want his company, enjoy his humor and compassion but wouldn’t want anything more. They wanted him to be accessible for their brokenness but didn’t want a relationship, or would terminate the relationship and try to hold onto the kindness of his heart. The only problem with that is that their actions to want to hold onto his best parts was selfish. They never thought of what he gets out of this extended situationship other than a constant reminder that he is good enough to fill their time but unwanted in other ways.
We both began to talk about setting boundaries because no one wants to feel used. But real talk we both at some point mistook their love draining practices as healthy attention. If you have a love vampire in your life here are some steps “O” and I used to take back our hearts and energy for our use and share it in ways that we choose that honor us.
- Stop being available when they want you to be available
Love vampires pop up at any given hour. Their needs are pressing and focused on what they want and need from you in that moment. Conserve your energy by setting some rules of engagement. The guy I dealt with wanted me to acknowledge his reaching out to me immediately. He would text “good morning” but I wouldn’t respond…CAUSE I WAS BUSY LOL. After telling him I’m not a place simply for your love to land and I respond when I choose and in what capacity he began to understand my time is my own and I don’t exist to simply respond to him when he wants. Especially if I initiate contact and it takes him 3 days to respond. Love vampires will always control contact and they will turn on you when you don’t follow their rules of timing.
2. Evaluate your ego
I told my love vampire I was not interested in being there for his comfort or needs and I get nothing from it. But initially I felt needed, I felt valuable, I felt useful. His words that expressed what he got from me made me feel good. It was as if someone was finally seeing my worth. Looking back my ego was being stroked but my heart was being emptied. This soul version of the slide of hand is tricky. By the time you realize your soul is being snatched you’ve probably invested quite a bit of time with this person. One has to wonder what was going on that they were able to get access to the best parts of you without nourishing you. Love vampires feed you but feed you things like shrimp lol…they are filling but devoid of any nourishment for a sustainable healthy body…but hey you’re not hungry right?
3. Acknowledge your own desire for closeness but choose to share yourself
It is ok if love vampires exist in your life. No one is saying that these people are pointless. But if you have found their interactions hurtful, harmful or painful in any emotional or mental way it is very important to address how you allow access to your best parts. It is true that if love were a ripe fruit on the tree….if left unpicked it would rot, spoil and be inedible and unpalatable. Sharing love is a lifestyle, it is honestly who I am but that gen pop love comes from a deep intentional place. When you have a love vampire you aren’t in control. They take what serves them and may or may not care about your process of replenishing.
Some questions to ask if you are on the fence about if you have a love vampire in your life are; Do they constantly say that you being there makes everything better? Do they call you during their moments of need but don’t contact you to share moments of joy? Do they come to you and when they leave do you feel drained? Do you feel used when they call as if they are unloading on you and when they hang up they let you know how grateful they are….but they only say thank you when they unload….gratitude is attached to a release. Do you feel fulfilled by their presence or do you feel needed/useful? Does this person make you feel bad about setting boundaries for your self-care? Does this person ever offer you space to replenish by offering you moments of release? Is this person aware of when you are going through something and choosing to hold off on unloading on you….or do they not notice your energy and take what they want from you regardless?
These are some things to consider as you evaluate the closeness with beautiful people who leave you feeling less than whole. Again folks don’t have an agenda to hurt, but there also is a lack of awareness that causes the same harm. Be well through your journey of relationships and love vampires need love too, take care to offer them only what serves YOU!