April 27, 2010

Le Vampire

With tonight's full moon, it seems appropriate to bring up the topic of vampires.   Emotional Vampires.

Everyone knows or has come across an emotional vampire at some point, someone who leaves you feeling drained when you leave them.  Someone who sucks your energy for their own.  I had a run-in with one last summer. 

It all happened so quickly.  My instincts questioned her motives at first, but I put them aside.  I met her on a social networking site.  She asked several times to meet in person for coffee or lunch.  I finally said yes.  I thought that I may be meeting a new friend.  However, she saw me as prey. Soon after meeting, she needed a "volunteer" assistant to help her organize her home office.  She thought it would take a day or two, depending on what needed to be done.  I decided I would do it.  I am interested in her line of work and thought that I could learn from her.  Additionally, she offered to life-coach me in exchange for my help.  This sounded like a fair trade.

Instead of me being Karen to her Grace, I ended up being Christabel to her Geraldine.  I went from helping her organize, to writing ads for her to drum-up business.  I couldn't use certain terminology in the ads because she isn't licensed or certified in the areas of her "expertise".  Ding ding.  I should have put the brakes on the coaching right then and there.  But no, I gave her the benefit of the doubt.  She began to pick at my appearance, a little here or there, while mixed in with praise.  About three weeks into the collaboration, she stopped me in the middle of my work to tell me that I looked like "white trash", that my summer clothes, which were cotton capri pants and a knit Henley top, looked like pajamas, and finally, in a exasperatedly hopeless voice she sighed "No one will ever hire you.".  N A I L   I N   C O F F I N.

What I see now is that she was trying to bring my confidence down so low, that I wouldn't even pursue any real employment opportunities and keep working for her, for free, long term.  I was too damned nice to stand up for myself and not allow her to speak to me in such a manner.  By this time, she had me believing her criticism.  Instead of walking out right then and there, I asked her why she had pursued a friendship with me.  She said she saw great energy and a great soul in me.   I asked her if she still felt that way and she said yes.  I stayed and finished my work that day, but that was my last day.  I never went back.   

She had started on the pretense of becoming a friend.  I think I may have mentioned in that first meeting of my plans to start volunteering.  I think she saw a ripe opportunity and pounced.  I just wanted a friend.  I thought I would be helping her, but I got sucked in before I knew it and got used.  It won't happen again.  I will pay attention to the warning signs:  If I am around someone and feel drained, depressed and exhausted after being with them, I won't meet with them again.  I will pay attention to my gut reaction and not be dazzled by anyone's pretenses. 

The Vampire

Thou who abruptly as a knife
Didst come into my heart; thou who,
A demon horde into my life,
Didst enter, wildly dancing, through

The doorways of my sense unlatched
To make my spirit thy domain —
Harlot to whom I am attached
As convicts to the ball and chain,

As gamblers to the wheel's bright spell,
As drunkards to their raging thirst,
As corpses to their worms — accurst
Be thou! Oh, be thou damned to hell!

I have entreated the swift sword
To strike, that I at once be freed;
The poisoned phial I have implored
To plot with me a ruthless deed.

Alas! the phial and the blade
Do cry aloud and laugh at me:
"Thou art not worthy of our aid;
Thou art not worthy to be free.

"Though one of us should be the tool
To save thee from thy wretched fate,
Thy kisses would resuscitate
The body of thy vampire, fool!"

— George Dillon, Flowers of Evil (NY: Harper and Brothers, 1936)

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