Readers, please enjoy this guest blog post by Claudia Cunningham, author of Biting Back: A No-Nonsense, No-Garlic Guide to Facing the Personal Vampires in Your Life.
How can you tell if someone you know is a vampire? This is a great question, and one we can all use a little help getting to the bottom of, too; it can be pretty confusing sometimes, trying to figure out who are the vampires in our lives and who arenâ€™t.Â We tilt our heads and adjust our perspective again and again in our efforts to decide about them: are they deliberately malicious? Are they trying to drive us nuts?Â Do they even know theyâ€™re sucking the life out of us?
Is our neighbor so clueless that she really canâ€™t figure out we donâ€™t want her â€śdropping overâ€ť every two seconds?
Is our spouse so distracted that he really doesn’t know how hurtful his criticism and indifference to us is?
Is our coworker truly blind to our need for her to leave us alone and let us get a little work done?
It can be hard to tell.Â And tiring, too!Â What with all our justifications, rationalizations, equivocations, and plain old benefits-of-the-doubt, just how are we to decide who’s a vampire and whoâ€™s not? We hate to rush to judgment or be unfair to anyone, but in the name of all thatâ€™s practical, just what are we to do?
When it comes to identifying the vampires in our lives, we need to forget about what they appear or donâ€™t appear to be, and start determining the extent of our injuries instead.Â We should know weâ€™re dealing with a vampire when weâ€™ve got gaping, bleeding woundsâ€”and know especially when those same old wounds keep getting reopened: when that neighbor, spouse, or coworker causes the same resentment, frustration, or pain for us repeatedlyâ€”and still we find ourselves looking at them to decide whether theyâ€™re truly vampires or not.
As hosts to these insatiable but often seductive and enthralling bloodsuckers, we must always try to remember that the most reliable information we have at our disposal is right within us. Vampire slaying has everything to do with seeing the truth about ourselves and taking the steps we want to change us. Changing the vampire is not only impossible, but itâ€™s also none of our business.
Thank goodness, too â€”because all our attempts to change the vampire require loads of mind reading, planning, and about a ton of second-guessing, too.Â And honestly: who wants to spend the rest of their lives doing that?Â Not me.
Or you, either, I hope.
Our thanks to Claudia Cunningham for her guest post! For more from Claudia, read her article “Our Undying Love for Vampires.”