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Know a Vampire? 

Of course you do.  Harsh, but even with the best will in the world, no matter who they are to you, I guarantee there will be people that you have met, will meet or know that have such a negative impact on you that you feel as though your very soul is being drained of life.

This is not about who you are as a person; just because these people really affect you is not just about your coping mechanisms. This is not about you being a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ person – that is a myth and a very slippery slope way of thinking.  So what is a good strategy and what can you do?  Well, I think it’s more about how you see your relationship with these people over time.  We need to take certain things into account before we decide on what we need to do and how to deal with them, before we can make a judgement on whether we need to pull away in order to preserve ourselves or stay and put the work in to make the necessary changes.

So, this person is in your life, they have a very negative impact on you and your thoughts and feelings.  Start by thinking about your history – how far back do you go?  When you think about your historical relationship, what is the predominant feeling – is it one of love and happiness or something else?  On balance, what kind of relationship do you two have, sum it up in three words?  Is this a temporary blip, maybe they need your support and there are misunderstandings between you?  Evaluate.

You may want to ask yourself how this relationship became the way it did.  What ownership are you prepared to take over your contribution to the state of it?  Is this a blame game, and how genuinely do you feel aggrieved?  What could you have done to change it?  What do you think they could have done to change it?  Are there outside factors influencing this relationship?  Be prepared to be honest with yourself.  Question.

Then think about how you picture the future together.  Do you believe it will be more of the same, or is there hope of change?  Are you willing to make changes, communicate effectively and compromise?  What conversation will you need to have in order for you to move on more positively?  Are you willing to entertain the option for change?  Are you prepared to work at it, or is it simply not worth that effort?  How powerful do you feel in shaping your future with this person?  If you are not committed to spending the time and effort on this relationship, is it really that valuable to you?  Take responsibility.

You then need to consider the pros and cons of remaining in the relationship.  Do you have some non-negotiables, is there a bottom line?  Maybe you need to move away to protect yourself or others around you.  Maybe you need to reduce the time you spend with this person - you will need to think about how you would manage that.  At the end of the day you don’t have control over what other people do; you can only hope to positively influence them with your own words and deeds.  Decide.

So, be honest with yourself, communicate effectively and lovingly, act according to your values, be kind to yourself, take your responsibilities on board but always be clear on when you may need to just walk away.

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