I have been thinking recently about what I will call “light friends” and “shadow friends”. To put it bluntly, light friends are those who feed you, who you can give and take reciprocally so both your worlds grow in tandem. Shadow friends are those who leave you drained, who mostly take (or give only to feed the co-dependent bond), and who drag you down into your darkest memories of trauma and fear.
This topic has recently been on my radar: the idea of shadow and light, and how friendships can be founded on either. The thing is, love is not really a factor here, because you can be absolutely loving and want the best for someone, but you can still be in an unbalanced relationship. It’s possible for either party, too, to be the one who drains and the one who gives. A normal healthy relationship prefaced by healthy boundaries is one that has an equal reciprocity of give and take; although ideal, I think it is a red flag if one party is purely giving, or the other purely taking.
I think that I, too, have been a bit of a vampire in the past. That is what makes me feel particularly bad when I meet someone who is one. I see their internal wounds, and how they are hurting in such a way that makes them think that they need to suck another’s life force in order to survive. At its core, all manipulation is rooted in a feeling of deprivation. You do not feel the universe is an abundant resource, so you steal from those who you feel are ‘light’ beings so you can feed that need.
I know how that feels like, to feel like you have been deprived of your inner power, your inner resource, so you have to take, take, take. Deep inside, you are fraught with a feeling of being robbed and denied of your true nature. There is a veil between you and your true self which you cannot tear, because you feel like revealing your self will make all around you recoil. This denial of yourself prevents you from accessing your innate power, making you feel like a starved monster needing to feed on others in order to survive. For me, it was because those I was living with a couple who made me believe that I was a Bad, Stupid Person. I felt to be able to be ‘good’, I needed to be better, neater, more ‘normal’. I failed miserably, and as a result I was alienated from my own true self. I had starved the child me deep inside to fit into an exterior mould of what was ideal. And it hurt. So I took from others because it was how I could survive, even if it was with a minimal of soul-fluid.
So, yes. I understand the deep wounds and trauma that cause one to become a vampire. But here is the thing: I realized what was happening was hurting me more than anyone else. Even if I was hurting those who tried to help me, I was the one who was left broken and disempowered at the end of the day. So why was I letting myself be in such a state? So I made some changes. I moved out, I did shows, I drew. I created myself into being through art till my personal mythology was strong enough for me to feel confident being me unapologetically, without feeling I had to be sorry for who I was. I no longer felt I had to change for someone else in order to be loved.
Ironically, now I am meeting another who is facing the same patterns as I did. This is what draws me in so I feel so invested. I want to help this person, because I see the potential of what they could be more than how they actually are. It makes me blind to the fact the energetic pattern of our relationship is an unequal relationship of take, take, take on her part, while I give, give, give.
Here is what I am trying to do: I compare those who feed me and those who drain me. I have another friend who I will call M who, after talking to her, I always feel inspired and invigorated. We wander through bookstores and talk about the bare bones of reality. Things are crystal clear with her. Everything is as it is if there were no incongruous webs or foot-traps to skip over or a million shades of grey to decipher. It is like a breath of fresh air.
One day, my husband and I met up with M and then I talked with my vampire friend, and the contrast was such a jolt that I felt the fall hit me like a pile of bricks. It was like I was in the open sunshine singing, and then I was shot down a black hole of darkness and nothing was clear. I spent two days feeling anger and betrayal, coupled with flashbacks to all the toxic relationships I’ve had in the past. I could feel the universe patting me on the shoulder saying, this is the difference between Shadow and Light.
I do not think that there is truly ‘good’ and ‘evil’ in this world, only things that are closer to love and light, and those who feel deprived so they seek to feed on those who are closer to the sun. It is nature to want to feed when you are empty, just as an animal consumes when it is hungry. However, when this hurts someone else, when you carry a ravenous, endless hunger within you that makes you prey on others, it’s not okay. I still love this friend, but I feel like I have to take care of myself first now. As my husband says, if I give all I have, I, too, will become empty, a vampire, an explosion of angry emotions shot back into the past through a wormhole, a whirlwind of mouths with endless hunger, only wanting to feed its insatiable hunger. You get the idea.
So, I have decided to have space. No cutting cords. No dramatic stepping aside and declaring Endings. Just having Space. Space to think, to feel, to be with myself, to feel my own boundaries and to be grounded within my world. If my friend respects my need to be within this space to heal, our friendship is feasible. If not, I will have to distance myself further till I let it go completely, even if I hold her close to my heart as one of my deep soul friends.
(The title of this blog entry was suggested by a lovely woman named Julie Jordan Avritt, whose stories of her own vampiric friends have helped me to acknowledge my own patterns.)