This is a guest post by my creative and talented big sister, Kelley. (Actually, she’s smaller than me, but that’s only because she got the brains and I got the height.) I hope you enjoy her insight – I found the article enormously helpful and very timely! ~Kristin

The manipulative non-stop texter. The guilt-inspiring family member. The angry punitive boss. The desperately needy friend. The clingy grasping lover.

They all hunger for the emotional nourishment only you can give them, and they must be fed.

They want your time. They want your energy. They want your creativity. They want your advice.

They want your blood.

“Just one more time, I promise.”

“This is the last time. Really!

Do you find yourself making promises like this to yourself as you once more fall under the spell of their evil charms?

And then, like any good, sweet, chronically nice horror movie victim, do you find yourself lulled into submission, sleepwalking your way toward your worst enemies?

Stop. That’s right. Turn and run in the other direction. Don’t wait. Do it now.

These aren’t your friends and they don’t have your best interests at heart. They’re filling their own selfish needs at your expense. They’re your emotional vampires and you must slay them. (Or at least banish them from your dining room!)

Arm yourself with garlic, holy water, a crucifix, and your trusty pen and journal. It’s time to go after the real bloodsuckers in your life.

Vampires in the Midst

It’s possible that you haven’t even noticed how many vampires you’ve been feeding.

You can’t quite put your finger on it, but you don’t feel like your abundantly optimist self. It’s just that you haven’t had your usual energy. Your inner light seems to be controlled by a dimmer switch.

You have a sense of lingering malaise. Someone is draining your emotional batteries, and they no longer hold a charge.

Sometimes it’s a slow, insidious leak –just a little taste – and you’re not quite even sure you’ve been tapped. Other times, it’s a full-frontal dramatic horrific emotional assault, leaving you reeling with gaping wounds and arterial bleeding.

As you try to stanch the flow and profess your shock at the situation, you can’t help but admit to yourself that you should have seen it coming. One thing is certain: everyone has been stalked by emotional vampires at one time or another.

Journaling the Hard Questions

These aren’t pretty birds flitting around a feeder in your backyard while you nod, smile, and watch. So why are you giving your power away?

Why are you feeding others at your own expense?

What are you getting out of the deal? Do you love to feel desperately needed? Do you require some daily drama? Is it soul-crushing suffering you’re after? Do you love to wallow in your own guilt and self-recrimination?

We need to be truthful here. According to all known lore, vampires can’t victimize you unless you invite them into your home and your life.

So get out that pen, and start by making a list: who are the people you’re spending the most time with? How do you feel before, during, and after the time you spend with them?

Who among them are disposable? Who among them can you not completely avoid and cut out of your life (family, perhaps? Perhaps you really NEED that job?)

Once you’ve identified your vampires, you can start taking proactive measures to get rid of them. Perhaps you just need a little metaphorical garlic, like caller ID, to keep them at bay. Perhaps you need to cut them off from the food source once and for all.

Some vampires are more persistent than others. But if you are consistent in your resistance, they will slowly starve and then fade away into the night, seeking dinner invitations elsewhere.

Then as you reclaim your energy, yourself, and your personal power, you’ll find it’s easier to feed yourself, and meet your own needs. You know how to turn on the lights in your own world, and so perhaps you can even light up the world so that others can see the way.