I’ve become fascinated with the term psychic vampirism. Psychic vampirism is a instinctual aspect of human behavior and operate under the idea that all humans are biological creatures that have basic physical needs of hunger, thirst, sex, sleep, activity, comfort, and energy. A psychic vampire is a person who satisfies their need for these things by taking them from other people without consideration for that other person’s needs or wants. I had an acquaintance this week tell me that she has attracted psychic vampires for her entire life; that’s a gift that nobody wants to have.
Unfortunately, I believe that I possess it as well.
In simple terms, I attract people and relationships who are bad for me. It isn’t that I want to do it. I don’t go out and SEARCH for these things. But I’m like a magnet, and I don’t know how to turn that off.
My first recorded (remembered) example:
When I was a kid, I was horribly socially awkward. (Still am most days.) There was this boy in middle school named Jason. If it was possible at that age to have an arch-nemesis, he was mine. He tormented me mercilessly all three years of middle school and I hated him for it. The most vivid memory that springs to mind was in seventh grade. I had Mrs. Dobbs for Language Arts, (what we adults call English), and we were reading Hatchet. Because I hated almost everyone at school during that time, I ate lunch in her room a lot to avoid the cafeteria. (This is a process I would repeat the following year as well.) I had finished Hatchet long before everybody else, and she kept giving me new and different things to read. During this particular lunch hour, I was reading Bridge to Terebithia. I really liked it, and continued reading it all the way out of her room and down the hallway as I was walking. At some point in that hallway, Jason came out of nowhere and started squirting shampoo all over me, yelling that I’d be prettier if I could just do something with my hair once in a while. I cried for the book, but not for me.
I will not bore you with all of the pain of middle school. We’ve all had it. We all know. But know there are many more examples.
Fast forward to the next example:
High school. I had this amazing friend. At least, I thought she was amazing. Quite possibly because she was the first one I had had for any massive duration of time. But I let her use me. I let her cheat off my homework and copy my answers. Sometimes I did the homework for her. I listened to her stories, and I smiled and nodded in all the right places. I did whatever she wanted. But when my road got rough, we essentially parted ways. That was better for all.
Fast forward again:
My first boyfriend. Senior year. He lasted all of…well, not long. I suppose boyfriend is even a strong term for him…Let’s call him instead my first dating relationship. His name was Chad. I met him on a blind date that I agreed to go on with a “friend” of mine, who was only allowed to go on a date with her boyfriend if it was a group thing and I went along. And so I did, because that was my thing. She and her boyfriend ditched us and left us alone at the bowling alley. We drove home, and when he asked me out again, I said yes. Why the heck not? We went on a few dates; most of them were to shoot-em-up cop movies and the like. When prom came around a month or so later, it seemed natural to ask him. What was unnatural was that I paid for it. ALL of it. The tickets, his tux, my dress, the boat dinner that sucked, and the after party. We made it through the dinner and about an hour of prom. He wouldn’t dance with me. He wouldn’t talk to my friends. And then he slipped something into my drink. At which point I made him take me home. That was the end of that.
Fast forward again:
My marriage. Enough said.
Where does this come from, this…just…letting other people suck the life out of us? At what point do some people go from being children who make good decisions to children who fail to make any decisions for themselves at all? Why do we think that we are only okay when we are serving somebody else?
Why did I think this? Why did I close off my personal self to the world for so long and let other people feed off of it? Why didn’t I put a stop to it sooner? Is it possible to gain back the things that I’ve lost?
I’m not sure that there are any easy answers to these questions, or that there are any answers period. I believe that conquering this phenomenon has to do with being fully aware—of myself, of others, of even the simplest day to day interactions. I think it has to do with being me and not caring what anybody else thinks, with writing what I want and saying what I want and doing things for myself instead of always asking what other people want. This doesn’t mean I need to be selfish all the time; it means that I need to find a healthy balance between my own needs and wants and those of others.
And with that statement, I believe I have an answer to the question of why. It happens when a person thinks that need somebody else to fulfill them, that they need to be in some sort of relationship in order to be a whole person. When that happens, the desperation behind it attracts the most unsightly of people; it attracts the vampires.
This, here, is me saying that I’m not going to play this game anymore. That I’m going to do things for me. That I don’t need a relationship to be happy.
I create my own happiness.
Screw you, psychic vampires. My needs win.