The first enemy we discussed, was Approval Addiction. Today, we discuss Psychic Vampires. We all know them and likely are related to more than a few. These are the complainers, the whiners, the neverending-vortexes-of-need, the flakes, the wafflers, the haters, the critics and the bullies.
Writing is a unique profession. We are in the entertainment business which means we wear many, many hats. We are artists, but we are also entrepreneurs in a marketplace with staggering competition, where discoverability is nothing short of a nightmare.
Our profession is also distinctive because our emotions and state of mind cannot be separated from our work. Anything that drains us, distracts us, discourages us can spell death if not dealt with early and swiftly. Toxic people will poison our muse, the root system of our art.
Things to Understand About Psychic Vampires:
Psychic Vampires are Never Full
They feed because that’s what they do. We can’t give them “just a minute of time” because they will take an hour, a day, a week, our lives.
We Can’t Change Psychic Vampires
We can’t negotiate with them, change them, rehabilitate them or rescue them. All we can do is set boundaries and avoid them at all cost. Often these people may not mean ill, they simply can’t see the truth of what they’re doing. Thus, trying to rationalize and negotiate is a waste of time that drains our creative energy.
When It Comes to Psychic Vampires, Stand Firm
In our society, we are taught to be polite, but psychic vampires don’t take hints and they don’t go away easily. Sometimes we have to be “not nice.” Boundaries aren’t “being mean.” All healthy relationships have boundaries.
Don’t Change to “Appease” a Psychic Vampire—There IS NO Appeasing Them
Recently, a writer friend of mine posted something rather innocent on her FB page. A “friend” of 20 years went nutso, ranting on her page and then unfriended her. My friend was contemplating starting another private page to avoid insulting anyone, and I stopped her, saying something akin to:
Why are you fracturing your platform , your focus, and your time to make ONE jerk happy? He unfriended you. Good. Dead Weight did you a favor and removed himself. Be grateful.
Psychic Vampires Start Drama to Feed
This person who started the digital row on my friend’s page fully expected her to pursue him and ask what she did wrong and how she could make it right and blah, blah, blah, drama, drama, drama….
BAH! That’s crap. Let the vamp start drama elsewhere. Eventually, if enough people starve the PV, he/she might get a little enlightenment and be forced to grow up and change.
Common Psychic Vampires and How to
Stake Handle Them:
Friends who repeatedly go back to deadbeat exes and then want to whine.
Family members who continually make stupid decisions because they know you’ll be there to “fix” things.
Tip: Voicemail. We all learn by failing. When we rescue others from their failures we aren’t doing any favors. We are actually setting them up for a harder fall with harsher consequences.
Remember, we learn to swim faster if we aren’t provided water wings.
Writer pals who believe in luck not work, who want to gripe non-stop about how unfair publishing is.
Tip: Change writing groups before they poison your attitude and work ethic.
Pals who start dumb drama on social media and drag you into it.
Tip: Unfriend. They are tarnishing your author brand. If they don’t value your brand, they don’t value you. If they genuinely apologize, let them back. ONCE.
People who want you to be their personal free therapist.
Tip: Be unavailable.
Friends who take and don’t give.
Tip: Distance yourself and make better friends. Be too busy with REAL friends to cater to deadbeats. Hopefully, Deadbeat will get a clue and mend her ways. No company is better than BAD company.
Friends/family who change their minds what they want to do with their lives all the time, and want your unwavering support and advice. But, since they never make up their minds and stick to anything, the effort stresses and exhausts YOU.
Tip: They will never make up their minds. Cut bait. Or simply be quiet and wait. Something shiny will distract them soon enough.
Friends, family who can’t be trusted to keep their word.
Tip: Don’t rely on them or we’re the fool.
Friends or family who only remember you when they want/need something.
Tip: Again, voicemail.
I know it seems like I am recommending a lot of avoidance tactics. Yep. We’re writers, not shrinks. Feel free to try some loving confrontation, but most Psychic Vampires are so steeped in their own immaturity and self-centered ways they will only defend, attack, or fight and then we are right back feeding their need for drama.
What are your thoughts? Am I being too harsh? What would you recommend? Do you have some Psychic Vampires in your life and no idea what to do? Have you effectively dealt with Psychic Vampires and have some tips to offer?
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of January I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.