Today’s prompt for Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is: Vampires.
There are many types of vampires. I’m going to write about the emotional vampires – people or jobs that try to suck the life out of us.
After I retired, my husband said, “That job was sucking the life out of you.” (That’s my one liner unless I find one that’s more positive.)
It wasn’t always like that. But it got worse in the last five years of my 30 year career when demands became unreasonable. It was common to work through lunch and take work home – physically as well as emotionally. Never mind the emotional risks of trying to help people fight the monster of addiction – that I could understand and deal with. It came with the territory. Addiction is a vampire. There was always the Serenity Prayer and I used it often.
During those last five years on the job, I often told myself, “I’m not going to let this job kill me.” That’s a little more positive for a one liner.
I am thankful to be free, is even better.
Being in a relationship with an emotional vampire who is a person can also suck the life out of you. It can be subtle at first, and sometimes it’s obvious. Maybe the person has unreasonable demands on your time. Maybe he or she talks constantly or yells a lot. Maybe he or she is narcistic and manipulative.
If you find yourself stuck in a life sucking relationship, here are some ways to take care of yourself and save your own life:
- Clarify your boundaries. First do this by yourself or with a trusted friend who is not a life sucker. Put your boundaries in writing. This is as much for yourself as anyone else.
- Be assertive. State what you want and need. Be specific: “I need an afternoon to work on my art by myself.” or “I’ve been listening to you for a ___ minutes. I need you to (or will you please) listen to me without interrupting for ___ minutes,” or “I don’t take calls or texts between 11pm and 9am.” If you don’t feel safe being assertive, focus on 3, 4, and 5 below:
- Self care: Surround yourself with safe, nurturing people and/or pets. Engage in activities that add positive energy and comfort to your life. Take care of yourself in every way you can physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Believe that your health and time are valuable.
- Create Distance from the vampire. This could mean making a plan to leave. It could mean actually walking away from the relationship. But it could also mean limiting the amount of time you spend with the person or how much you think them. I had to make myself stop thinking about my job when I was home by using mindfulness and positive distraction.
- Be safe. Develop a support network and let a trusted person know your situation. If you are in a domestic violence situation, and don’t feel safe physically or emotionally, make a safety plan. Here is just one example.
Just Jot January and One-liner Wednesday is hosted by Linda Hill. For details, visit: