It happened again. While scrolling though my Facebook feed, enjoying my morning coffee, there it was; another video warning about the dangers of Energy Vampires. This one was from Dandapani, a “Hindu priest, speaker on self-development and an entrepreneur”, to quote his website.
I’ve seen this kind of message before – from well-respected medical doctors, New Age healers, and spiritual swami’s – and it frustrates and disheartens me. This casts people in the role of victim, and diminishes their sovereignty and autonomy. Why is this so sexy?
The video began by stating that there are 3 kinds of people (Really? Only 3?); Uplifting People, Neutral People, and Energy Vampires. Uplifting people energize with their presence, neutral people neither give nor take energy. And Vampires? They’ll victimize someone and suck them dry. I laugh a bit when I think of this gross simplification of people, except that this kind of story persists in spiritual circles.
The video further delineated energy vampires as “Transient Energy Vampires” and “Inherently an Energy Vampire”. A Transient Energy Vampire is someone having a hard time in their life – perhaps a friend whose parent is dying of cancer – they need support (i.e. other people’s energy) to make it through. According to the video, it’s OK to offer energy in this case, because it’s needed.
Someone who is Inherently an Energy Vampire has “always been this way” and “they’re just not an uplifting person”. This comment was supported by a dramatic photo of a person with ice blue eyes and fangs. “Danger! Beware! Protect yourself!”.
The video then describes how to shield from this kind of person. Be “affectionately detached – be loving and kind but not engage with them”. All good, except few people are well versed in emotional detachment. That’s a pretty important skill to learn, but it’s not taught in school.
So, let’s explore that a bit more. The energy system I work with is based on the Western chakra and aura system first discerned by the Theosophists and expanded upon by spiritual teachers such as John Friedlander, and Jill Leigh of the Energy Healing Institute.
Our energy bodies have optimal settings, that allow us to engage with the world from a grounded place of knowing who WE are, and what OUR beliefs, thoughts and emotions are. Additionally, when the energy body is set correctly, it is contained by energetic boundaries that define and hold our space.
Every interaction we have with someone else creates energetic connections and an exchange, or flow, of energy. If our chakras and aura aren’t set optimally and are misaligned, there is the potential to leak our own or take on other people’s energy. This creates the sensation of being pulled on or drained or overwhelmed when we take on other people’s energy.
Where the new age “Energy Vampire” theory fails us is in the premise that someone is doing something to us over which we have no control. We are always co-creators of our experience, whether it’s uplifting or life-sucking. We are not victims of energy vampires who suck our energy without our (energetic) consent. If you’re not familiar with how to set your energy field, your consent is unconscious, but it’s an entirely fixable issue.
Returning to the friend who is having a hard time and the rightness of giving our energy willingly. From the video’s perspective, pouring your energy into that person is a selfless and giving endeavor. However, it creates a false dependency, and can still be quite depleting, right?
I’d advocate giving the friend my time and compassionate attention without holding his problems for him. Holding space for my friend to process and figure out how to help himself is powerful, affirming and respects his sovereignty and autonomy.
Every interaction you have is a reflection of where YOU are vibrationally. If interactions leave you feeling drained, it’s time to address your own energy body. “I don’t like interacting with that person. It doesn’t feel good to me be around him or her.” would be a much more accurate and useful way of thinking about this. I encourage you to choose differently. Own your energy body, set your field and take responsibility for how you engage and interact with others.
To modify Eleanor Roosevelt’s brilliant phrase, ‘no one can vampire your energy without your consent.’