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Are you a relationship vampire?

Are you a relationship vampire? / CC BY-NC 2.0

All people suffer from a sense of inadequacy in some area or time in life. It is normal and it presents us with the opportunity to grow, evolve and become better people, but when deep feelings of lack, insecurity and unworthiness become pervasive, many people look to romantic relationships to fill their inner void. They turn their lover into their host and use the relationship to feed their insatiable needs. They become Relationship Vampires.

I've studied Relationship Vampires from every aspect for many years. I've been one, had one and watched tons. Motivated by a desperate need to feel whole, valuable and worthy these vampires move through the world doing some or all of the following:

--quickly jumping into relationships with almost anyone who shows an interest

--manipulating and controlling to get what they want

--pretending to be the person they think their mate wants

--holding on tightly to people who do not meet their needs and/or are harmful to one or both parties

--spending no time as a single person

--believing and fearing that fulfillment, happiness, security and love come only from others

--feeling lost, panicked or that life holds nothing good in the future, when a relationship ends or is threatened

--neglecting life goals, responsibilities and obligations because they are consumed with a relationship

--obsessing (ex. being consumed by where their mate is or was, what he is thinking, doing or wants to do)

--behaving inappropriately (ex. incessantly calling, checking up on, thinking and talking about his mate)

--remaining in the relationship after betrayal, infidelity, abuse etc.

--being overcome with warranted or unwarranted suspicion and distrust

Invariably, Relationship Vampires are completely unaware that the savior they seek is within. If they are lucky, something gentle happens to shake them into the realization that they will never cure their emotional ails through a lover (or a child). Often the awakening is violent, but it needn't be. We all have the power to see ourselves and choose better.

Healing these kinds of wounds takes deep work. We may need the help of a counselor, spiritual adviser, friends or support group.

The starting point for a self acknowledged Relationship Vampire is self-care. We must take our attention from the object of consumption and place it on ourselves. Healing begins there. A good approach is to treat oneself with the same care one would the most loved child in the world. We would not subject that child to the exhaustion and misery of obsessing over someone else. Instead, we would tend to that child's need for self-love, approval, comfort and acceptance. We would lovingly restrain the child from harmful behaviors and we'd allow her to express all of her anguish, anger and sadness because of it. We would set good health habits for her and ensure that she was always engaged in learning and growing. We would forgive her every time she made a mistake and encourage her to begin again. We would give her the love she so desperately sought from others. It would take time. It would require faith in her and the one who created her. It wouldn't be easy, but there would be moments of hope and light. With a commitment to loving her the moments would turn to hours, then days and eventually the Energy Vampire would be a vaporous memory.

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