I have been thinking a lot about energy vampires. Not so much the friends and family we all have that drain us with their crazy, that's do-able for the most part because you can hang up the phone. I'm thinking of those true vampires that you collide with out in the world that cause you to walk away feeling abused, twisted out, enraged, shaky, hurt, anxious, etc.
I am a magnet for psycho. If there is a lunatic in a room full of a hundred people and I'm sitting in the corner under an umbrella they will spot me. This is partially my doing as I am usually the first one to engage with the lunatic and tell them to shut the fuck up or stop shaking the baby or whatever seems appropriate at the time. I am overly empathic and tend to connect very quickly to whatever is going on in the room, plus I don't have much of a filter and carry a strong energy. So someone unable to manufacture their own energy/power will naturally drift in my direction to pull it or create a reaction. I'm sure many of you have experienced this phenomenon.
I am trying very hard in my maturity not to engage the crazy. When I see it coming I put my head down and swallow all of the retorts that burble up and fight desperately to escape from my mouth. And sometimes I manage to escape unscathed. But it's difficult to know exactly what to do sometimes because I also don't want to be one of those New York assholes who stand there mute as some other innocent bystander gets abused by someone crazy or awful. Misanthropy aside, I am very much of the mindset that we need to take care of each other out there in the world. So I walk that tightrope between not wanting to risk expending energy and damaging my mood to still wanting to do the right thing.
Yesterday I was in the bank at the teller and there was a long line of five or six people behind me. The bank had a television on and Obama was speaking. The man at the very end of the line started shouting to his friend (who looked a bit like he got hijacked to this trip to the bank on the way to picking up his methadone) that he hates Obama, that Obama is a pig, that he would like to set Obama on fire, on and on and on and on. It was an aggressive and violent diatribe and the way he shouted out towards the back of people's heads clearly stated that his purpose was verbal assault. People in the line were uncomfortable but stayed silent hoping that he would run out of steam, but he just kept going. It was really disturbing.
I knew if I even looked at the guy he was going to come for me, so I kept on with my transaction and just gave the teller a look. After a minute or two no one could take it anymore and people started turning around and telling him to shut up. And then he went into "OH, SO I GUESS THIS ISN'T A FREE COUNTRY WHERE A MAN CAN SPEAK HIS MIND! MAYBE SOMEONE WOULD LIKE TO SHOOT ME." (Side-note, the man had an accent from one of the islands, so I don't even think he was from the U.S., but whatevs.) A woman with a toddler (who had been happily giggling moments before and was now looking scared) asked him to keep his foul language down, and he lit into her - "I HAVE A RIGHT TO MY OPINION!" And in her defense a very big man got more aggressive, telling him to SHUT UP in no uncertain terms, so the shouting turned down in volume to a more mumbled litany.
I remained silent but was fully engaged mentally and glared at the offender during this exchange. The big man behind me apologized as I left the window and I said, "No apologies necessary. It's him, it's not you." and then as I passed the asshole I said, "You are an incredibly rude man." To which he responded with more bitching about free speech, but I kept walking to a desk at the front of the bank.
As I continued my bank business I realized my hands were shaking. Then the rep helping me explained that the bank had fucked something up that would entail more paperwork and another visit, and I flipped out on her. I was so angry and said, "What are you talking about? What kind of moron would set my account up this way? I can't believe anyone would think this is good business!" That kind of thing.
She was very patient and sweet and said she would make some calls and try to fix the situation. And as I sat there waiting it dawned on me that I had completely mentally engaged with the asshole, given him my energy, gotten thrown off balance and now was transferring his negativity to the poor woman helping me. Maybe I was even sucking her energy now. This one awful person had purposely set off an entire room that was peaceful and cheerful moments before, completely shifting the mood to something dark, and he walked out satisfied while the rest of us dealt with our own emotional fallout. It was so horrible.
So I've been thinking about how a person goes about protecting themselves energetically from these kinds of vampires, and I remembered that I'd read about this in "A New Earth" by Eckhart Tolle. I highly recommend picking this book up, it's dry and slow reading but there is so much interesting information about ego and energy that it's kind of mind-blowing.
He talks about remaining in "presence" and not having an attachment to the outcome of the situation, or to your own ego and "pain-body" need to control the situation, which will connect to that crazy person's crap on a subconscious level. There is an unconscious pain-body drive to engage, even if mentally you feel that you don't want to interact. I know this is true in my case, sometimes I can feel that there is a recognition with certain lunatics and that shit just clicks in, and we're off and running in a death struggle. I'm not the asshole (most of the time), but I still become part of the equation, even if it's just me walking away feeling shaky and upset.
I think the real key to self-protection happens when these people aren't even around, and has to do with making sure that we are in a happy, centered state in our lives, healing the pain and releasing old energy. Then these people can't find the trigger in us because it doesn't exist anymore.
But I know this is easier said than done so I looked around online for information from Mr. Tolle that specifically addressed this situation. His message is much deeper than a simple step by step how to deal with being in a room with crappy people, so I didn't find anything that I could paraphrase for a blog. But I did end up spending a half an hour on youtube marveling at how so much information and entertainment is there for viewing. There are other people out there who address these situations as well--Dr. Judith Orloff is a good starter point, if anything I've written today resonates for you I would recommend checking her out as well. For today I thought I'd at least leave you with a ten minute snippet from Mr. Tolle that is not completely directed towards what I am talking about, but is still very interesting and does have to do with not connecting emotionally to scenes around us. I'm sorry the side of the video is cut off, blogger layouts and the huge side margins torment me.