"Biting Back takes a compelling look at self-care, setting boundaries, and protecting ourselves from friends, loved ones, enemies, and sometimes even ourselves. Written in a page-turning and warm style, Claudia’s refreshing addition to the self-help shelves offers empowering solutions to effectively remind us to stop inviting troubleinto our homes and souls." -- MELODY BEATTIE, NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLING AUTHOR OF CODEPENDENT NO MORE


Hosting Here, Or What?

Dear Slayer,

My boyfriend is a really great guy, but he sometimes makes fun of me about stuff like my job (I don’t make as much money as he does), my figure (which is not model-perfect), and the fact that I’m not as smart as he is (I never finished my college degree). I have to admit that what he says is pretty funny sometimes, but it can also hurt my feelings, too. Sometimes I think he’s kind of a vampire, and then later I think I must be crazy to think he’s a vampire – he’s just not the type. Everybody likes him, so maybe I’m just being sensitive (that’s what he always says). If he’s not a real vampire, then I should be ok, right?

You know, when a dog bites us, most of us don’t look at the dog to see how badly we’ve been hurt – we look at the bite. And yet, when most of us begin to suspect we’re being drained by a vampire, the first thing we’re apt to do is try and take a closer look at what the vampire is doing. As if the vampire can reveal to us the extent of our wounds! It’s almost like we’re saying, “If this isn’t a real vampire, then that must not be a real bite on our necks, either.” Think about that for a second: that bite that’s bleeding all over our shirt and getting sticky and hurting like heck and getting infected and pinching when we turn our necks sometimes – that’s the bite that’s not real if we decide it’s not a real vampire? Please.
Diagnosing vampire attacks is not so much about analyzing our vampire's behavior as it is about evaluating the extent of our wounds. I’m not saying that our vampires don’t have some distinguishing characteristics, because they certainly do; but when it comes to getting reliable information about whether I’ve been attacked by a real vampire or not, I’ll check the wound every time.
Here are some questions I ask about my wounds:
1. Does it hurt? What did they say or do that hurt? Do I feel mad, sad, frustrated, defeated, furious, or all of these things?
2. Have I been bitten here before? (Is this familiar, have I felt this pain before? Am I having the same thoughts I had the last time I was hurt this way? Am I trying to defend myself in the same way I have in the past?)
When the area seems particularly thin-skinned, and especially when the pain from the wound is familiar – as it often is when someone is making repeated “humorous” slights about my earning ability, my appearance, or my competence in general – these are pretty sure signs of a vampire lurking about in my life.
But only you can say whether a vampire’s been feeding on you or not – they’re your wounds. The important thing to remember when diagnosing a vampire attack is to keep the focus on ourselves and our injuries, and NOT on our vampires! I know it can be hard to break that thrall once it’s been established, but this is important. When we focus on ourselves, we’re looking where the power is, where the solution is, and (by the way) precisely where our vampires don’t want us looking.


Anonymous said...

(I hope this doesn't post twice.)
This is my first time to your blog. Great job!

Even though I'm late, I just wanted to add that this gal is lucky she recognized there is a problem BEFORE they got married.

Her "great guy" sounds just like my husband. I've realized that if I put my trust in ME and my own feelings, he has less power. He can sense the difference, too. He fought it at first, but I'm weaning him off, and it seems that he is now better able to find HIS OWN power, instead of getting it from me. A win-win situation.

The Practical Vampire Slayer said...

Yes, her situation was familiar to me, too. It sounds like you've got some slaying tips to share yourself! There is nothing like the voice of experience, and I'd love to hear more from you any time!

Anonymous said...

Now that I read this... it sounds just like my Dad. It's very sad 'cause sometimes he says things (incorrect accusations and insults) just to get me to cry. Then he just sat infront of the TV or the computer like nothing had happened. It took my years to figure it out. Finaly I learned that if I don't pay attention to what he says or if I just laugh at it he doesn't make me miserable. I think the most important thing is to realize that the problem exists and then try an solve it.

PVS said...

Yes, Anonymous, I agree. And I think it's important to realize, too, that the vampire's appetite (desire to be so mean and make us cry) has nothing to do with us and everything to do with the vampire. It's the vampire's condition (or illness) that makes them that way, NOT who we are or what we're doing. But we do have to learn to keep our distance, as you say, by not paying attention to them or "feeding into" their behavior by reacting.

Thanks for stopping by and commenting!

Anonymous said...

Look, I know that your pre-conceived notions about vampires are bad from the way you speak of us. You guys are giving a bunch of bs.

Anonymous said...

Oh you stupid slayer! You really think that all those idiotic humans can tell us from the rest of you? Ha! I would love to see you try.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the two vampires before me. You are giving us a bad name. And you have to admit that we are well hidden in the human world.