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 aren’t.  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?  Do they even know they’re sucking the life out of us?

Is our neighbor so clueless that she really can’t figure out we don’t want her “dropping over” 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.  And tiring, too!  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 who’s not? We hate to rush to judgment or be unfair to anyone, but in the name of all that’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 don’t appear to be, and start determining the extent of our injuries instead.  We should know we’re dealing with a vampire when we’ve got gaping, bleeding wounds—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 repeatedly—and still we find ourselves looking at them to decide whether they’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 it’s also none of our business.

Thank goodness, too —because all our attempts to change the vampire require loads of mind reading, planning, and about a ton of second-guessing, too.  And honestly: who wants to spend the rest of their lives doing that?  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.”

Written by Anna
Anna is the editor of Llewellyn's New Worlds of Body, Mind & Spirit, the Llewellyn Journal, and Llewellyn's monthly newsletters. She also blogs, tweets, and helps maintain Llewellyn's Facebook page. In her free time, Anna enjoys crossword puzzles, Jeopardy!, being a grammar geek, and spending time ...