Christiane Northrup on "Energy Vampires" and How to Avoid Having Them Suck the Life Out of You
Today I listened to an episode of "The Kate & Mike Show" featuring Dr Christiane Northrup (Kate's mother), in which she promotes her latest book "Dodging Energy Vampires: An Empath's Guide to Evading Relationships That Drain You and Restoring Your Health and Power."
An Energy Vampire is a person who sucks the energy out of another person. They are often people who fit a certain psychological personality profile. Those susceptible to their actions are often people who could be characterized as empaths. More details on Energy Vampire and Empaths follows below.
Upbiquitous Energy Vampires
It's difficult right now to successfully dodge certain Energy Vampires (ahem, Frump), if you're a person who follows politics in the news. I am not a psychologist, but it is very difficult not to read a description of the symptoms of "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" and not come to the conclusion that Americans currently have a "Narcissist-in-Chief" in the most powerful position in the country.
Given that there is less immediate things one can do for that situation, it's better then to turn to the Energy Vampires we know and encounter on a personal level. For it is on that level that we can take action and seek results in the near-term.
First, though, I needed to do my own research on the topics at hand.
Cluster B from the DSM-5's Ten Personality DisordersThe DSM-5 is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (5th edition). It is the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States. (https://www.psychiatry.org/psychiatrists/practice/dsm)
Of the ten personality disorders in the DSM-5 there are three clusters: A, B & C. To learn more about these personality disrders, especially Cluster B, which have been dubbed the "Energy Vampires," I read articles from MentalHelp.net.
They describes the clusters as:
- Cluster A (the "odd, eccentric" cluster);
- Cluster B (the "dramatic, emotional, erratic" cluster); and,
- Cluster C (the "anxious, fearful" cluster).
When discussing these personality disorders, I like the disclaimer from MentalHelp.net on the bottom of each of their explanatory articles:
*It is important to remember that everyone can exhibit some of these personality traits from time to time. To meet the diagnostic requirement of a personality disorder, these traits must be inflexible; i.e., they can be repeatedly observed without regard to time, place, or circumstance. Furthermore, these traits must cause functional impairment and/or subjective distress.
Cluster B personality disorders are:
- Borderline Personality Disorder - experience intense and unstable emotions and moods that can shift fairly quickly; frequently have angry outbursts and engage in impulsive behaviors; their perceptions of themselves and others may quickly vacillate back and forth between "all good" and "all bad.
- Histrionic Personality Disorder - excessive emotionality and attention seeking. Their lives are full of drama (so-called "drama queens")
- Antisocial Personality Disorder - pervasive pattern of disregard for the rights of other people that often manifests as hostility and/or aggression. Deceit and manipulation are also central features.
- Narcissistic Personality Disorder - have significant problems with their sense of self-worth stemming from a powerful sense of entitlement. This leads them to believe they deserve special treatment, and to assume they have special powers, are uniquely talented, or that they are especially brilliant or attractive. Their sense of entitlement can lead them to act in ways that fundamentally disregard and disrespect the worth of those around them.
Empaths and the Energy VampiresWhat is an empath? Dr Judith Orloff describes Empaths: "the trademark of an empath is that they feel and absorb other people’s emotions and/or physical symptoms because of their high sensitivities. They filter the world through their intuition and have a difficult time intellectualizing their feelings." These are Top Ten Traits of Empaths, as listed on her website: https://drjudithorloff.com/top-10-traits-of-an-empath/
10 Traits of an Empath
- Empaths are highly sensitive
- Empaths absorb other people’s emotions
- Many empaths are introverted
- Empaths are highly intuitive
- Empaths need alone time
- Empaths can become overwhelmed in intimate relationships
- Empaths are targets for energy vampires
- Empaths become replenished in nature
- Empaths have highly tuned senses
- Empaths have huge hearts but sometimes give too much
So How Do You Shield Yourself from an Energy Vampire If You're an Empath?Let's start by meditating on this advice from Dr Orloff regarding being an empath.
As an empath myself, I use many strategies to protect my sensitivities such as fierce time management, setting limits and boundaries with draining people, meditation to calm and center myself, and going out into nature. Being an empath is a gift in my life but I had to learn to take care of myself. Empaths have special needs. It’s important to honor yours and communicate them to loved ones.
Good place to start. Another good thing, is to arm yourself with the knowledge of what an Energy Vampire is. I noted above what the Cluster B personalities are, but what does that look like in an every day situation?
One of the things Kate Northrup talked about was how you literally feel when you encounter an Energy Vampire. For her, it was instant fatigue and brain fog.
For me, I feel it in my guts. When something is wrong, I know it ahead of time because my tummy tells me. It gets upset and I feel sick. And then -wham!- something interpersonally terrible occurs. It's very strange. But now that I know, I have used this raging IBS-d superpower to protect myself from the terror my body senses from a situation or a person before my mind has caught up to what is wrong. I can try to figure out what my body is trying to tell me sooner than I would if I ignored this symptom altogether.
What else can you do? Dr Northrup went all out to exorcise her Energy Vampire from her life. Listen towards the end of the podcast episode when she talks about ripping up a books and drowning it in the river, hoeing around her property line while burning sage, and then incinerating files associated with the Golem Smeagol Energy Vampire. Pretty funny, and I kind of love that sort of thing.
Another big thing is this: listen to the people who warn you against that Energy Vampire. If the people you know, love, and trust are warning you, then listen. If you experience something and tell it to those trusted people, and they affirm your negative experience, then you are right to avoid and let them go.
I also loved the advice from Kate Northrup, "If you ask yourself, 'Would I ever do this?' and the answer is, 'No!' then that is confirmation that you're dealing with an Energy Vampire."
Anyway, I recommend you listen to the episode and I'm going to put the book on my list, too! And what out for those Energy Vampires in your life!