I recently shared my friend Dr. Christiane Northrup’s online course, Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath’s Guide to Health & Regaining Power, with our community. Chris’s teachings (and friendship) have impacted my life in a big way, and it warmed my heart to see so many of you connect with her message. I received beautiful responses from people saying that the course helped them identify their energy vampires and start to heal the toxic relationships that had plagued them for years.
Since her message resonated with our community, I asked Chris for some more practical tips that you can put to use right away to protect yourself from toxic relationships with energy vampires. But before we dive into that, I want to share something personal with you—one of my own energy vampire stories.
Facing my energy vampires.
When I was newly diagnosed, I was shocked by the folks who needed me to take care of them. There I was, super scared and fragile, sharing my incurable, stage IV cancer diagnosis and before I knew what hit me, I was comforting them—again and again. It was as if my diagnosis was just so sad and depressing and somehow I needed to cheer them up. Who would be there for them if I went away? If I could get really sick maybe they could too? And so on…
Look, I get it and have compassion, mortality wake-up calls push everyone’s buttons. They certainly pushed mine and I didn’t always bring my best self to the situation either. But when I look back, I can clearly see that a few of these people had always drawn on my energy. There was never a give and take, only a take and take.
I’m not judging these well-meaning folks, but there came a time when I could no longer carry the load for both of us. I had to conserve my energy for my healing—my life depended on it.
Now I want to make something very clear: I don’t advocate walking away from a friendship you care about without having a difficult conversation first. You might be surprised what kind of healing can take place when you give people a chance. I voiced my needs to my friends and some of the relationships became more fulfilling and balanced than ever before. In other cases, the relationships took a back burner, and some even ended, as I focused on my well-being. And that’s ok, too.
I’m hoping that by reading one of my examples of how these toxic relationships might play out, you can better understand how energy vampires work and start to identify, heal or release these relationships in your own life. Or at the very least, learn how to protect your precious energy.
I also hope my example shows you that not everyone who needs you or is going through a tough time is an energy vampire. We all react differently to tragedy, stress, frustration, etc.—and we’re all deserving of love, understanding and patience.
OK, now that we got that squared away—on to Chris’s tips!
Dr. Northrup’s Tips for Protecting Yourself from Energy Vampires
1. Know what to look for.
According to Chris, true energy vampires are masters of disguise. They can be sneaky. But, there are some key red flags to look out for. Energy vampires are manipulative and charming. Because they get their self-esteem from other people, they constantly seek validation and need to be the center of attention. They’re stubborn and rarely back down from disagreements. They call you to talk for hours about what’s going on in their world and never ask how you’re doing.
Keep in mind, energy vampires may have all of these traits, and some might just have one or two. Chris’s advice is to trust your first impression before you talk yourself out of it. If you have one of those deep, inexplicable feelings that someone isn’t good for you, you’re probably right.
2. You can’t revamp a vamp.
As empaths, we see the best in people. Because of that, we often ignore red flags or look at toxic relationships as fixer upper projects. But here’s the thing: We can’t change people. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t learn and grow in our relationships—that’s one of the best parts! But, trying to force change on an unwilling party rarely works, and it often leaves us drained or sick.
This is important, so listen close. Hardcore energy vampires don’t want to be fixed. In fact, Chris says that they usually know exactly what they’re up to. And because they depend on your energy for fuel, they’ll take you up on your attempts to help them—with no intention of changing their ways. You deserve unselfish love and someone who can give that to you doesn’t need to be convinced.