Newsletter #28 The Importance Between Vampiric and Toxic Energies
How The Differences Between Introverts & Extroverts
Can Influence Our Perception of Toxicity
In an earlier newsletter I reviewed Christiane Northrup’s book
Dodging Energy Vampires, which opened the door to our understanding how interacting with some people can affect us negatively. We have all had some experience with energy vampires, feeling drained by even brief encounters with those folks.
For some time now, I have been wrestling with understanding my interaction with what I call Toxic people. It is easy to confuse that kind of reaction to that of encountering a vampire, since both are so negative. As I have studied these reactions, I realize there are distinct and important differences.
Reactions to energy vampires are almost universal (everyone who encounters them will have the same reaction to different degrees) and consist of feeling drained, exhausted, depleted after every encounter. Once you have a feel for this, it becomes easier to pick up on and identify that reaction so that you can do your best to avoid it, or minimize it.
Our reactions to Toxic people vary enormously, because it is a personal definition of what constitutes a toxic reaction. This means that when a group of people encounter an individual, at, say, a party, the way in which we respond to that person may be entirely different.
Let me share this from my personal perspective. My wife and I are both organized and prepared. We like our ducks in a row. We do not like surprises, but when life throws curveballs at us, we cope with it fairly well.
Our lives are quiet and fairly simple. We live in the woods, virtually out of sight of our neighbors, so we like the peace and serenity of the lives we share with our two beloved dogs. (Our 6 month old puppy, Sasha, is a ray of joyful sunshine brought into the COVID world). We are both, to different extents, introverts, and to different extents, empaths. We have learned to evaluate interactions with other people, or couples, by how much we talk about them when we leave their presence. If we have nothing to say about them as we drive home, or over the next day or two, they are clearly a “safe” comfortable couple and we can enjoy our future encounters with them without reservation. If, however, we wind up talking about them for days, with comments like “Can you believe that she said….?” or “Did he really express that opinion?” then what we realize we were doing is essentially detoxifying from that experience. The length of time it takes is to detoxify appears to be directly proportional to how toxic they are for us. Once we recognize that we are detoxing, we will make some efforts to avoid future interactions since we have discovered it will happen every time. If this resonates for you, this is a simple way of identifying toxic interactions: the more you talk about them, the more toxic they are, or, conversely, if you have nothing to say about them, they are just fine. (However, having said that I want to acknowledge that sometimes when we are talking about others we are simply appreciating their positive qualities and interesting accomplishments and that would not be considered an example of detoxifying).
But, and this is most important: Another couple in the same room might have a completely different experience. Especially if they are extroverts, they may experience that same encounter as exciting, scintillating, invigorating and stimulating in a very positive way and can’t wait to have another visit with that couple.
When my wife and I encounter any form of chaotic or untamed emotional energy, this is immediately disturbing to our sense of peace. When extreme or intense, we need to leave that environment. This behavior, to many extroverts, may be baffling. What has gotten into the Nathans? We were having such a good time. Why did they need to leave? And we have discovered that we can rarely, if ever, explain it to them.
We all see the world through our own lenses. It is difficult to put on another pair of lenses to look through, and most folks can’t do it very well.
Keep in mind that there is nothing wrong with either of these perceptions or either of these approaches. What I am driving at here is that what matters is that we each honor our own perceptions and act accordingly. There is no judgement here, just a difference in experience and perception.
For those of you who are introverts or empaths, even with no judgements, a clear perception that for you, if someone is Toxic, you need to minimize your interactions with them, just as you would for a vampire. This can be problematic, as it so often is, if the person you identify as Toxic is a family member, co-worker, or your boss.
So first, identify the problem. It may initially be subtle, but if you find yourself discussing that individual and what they have done for long, long periods of time, until finally cleansing yourself of that interaction, only to have it recur again and again, you have identified someone who is Toxic for you. A hint is that if you leave your family gatherings, or work, frustrated and upset with regularity, with the sense of a “bad taste in your mouth” or the feeling that someone literally “got under your skin”, these are accurate metaphors for this kind of Toxicity.
If we analyze this in a bit more detail, there are people who simply enjoy chaos and the energy it brings to their lives. Taken to another level, we may be dealing with someone who has a personality disorder, in which not only is chaos craved, it is a method for manipulating and controlling the behavior of those around them, and takes on a different meaning. While some people are seemingly oblivious of their actions (and may be) others use it more consciously for control. They may habitually be late to their appointments, or just when things seem to be calm and peaceful at a family gathering, they will demand something unusual to bring chaos into that situation. For some, it appears to be a game: they are just tossing out subjects (politics or religion for example) to see how others will react. These folks are just looking to find where your “buttons” are, and how sensitive they are to being pushed. This information gets filed away for later use. The effect, however, is just as desired—-they have turned a boring, quiet day into one that is far more exciting for them and now they can be comfortable in that environment.
To reiterate, the point of this discussion is simply to help those who are empathic or introverts to be able to look at some of the negative interactions they have——to understand that this is not their fault—–and, regardless of the experiences of others around them, they need to honor their reactions or otherwise they will spend hours or days trying to figure out what just happened and then do it all over again. If someone feels Toxic to you, then they are. Accept that and behave accordingly and your life will be much more comfortable.
Some of these thoughts will be expanded upon in my next book, currently being completed, called “Energetic Diagnosis.” We should begin the editing process shortly and hope it will be available by early winter.