"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


Other Hosts

Dear Madam Slayer,
What if you have a friend who keeps complaining about vampire-type people in their lives but can't seem to say no to them? Is there some kind of a kit or something that a person could give them to help them out? Also, is it proper slaying etiquette to offer assistance to someone like this? The person I'm thinking of does not have a computer so can't read your blog.
A Wondering Friend

Dear Friend,

First my question: How come all of a sudden everyone is calling me "Madam?"

And now to your answers: 1. Anyone who "can't say no to their vampire" (or, as we like to say around here, "cannot revoke their invitation to a vampire") is most likely feeling powerless because they haven't yet accepted responsibility for their invitation.

The rule is: if we cannot accept responsibility for our invitations then we will not find the power to revoke them. You probably heard a varation on this in the Spiderman movie (although PVS said it first)-- I think they said, "With great power comes great responsibility." That's not bad, but around here we like to say, "With a given amount of responsibility comes a given amount of power." which has, for one thing, a sense of proportion that I feel the other one lacks. Plus it makes sense. And you have to admit, it's only fair.

2. Yes indeedy, there is a kit... or rather, a book called THE PRACTICAL VAMPIRE SLAYER, but it's not available yet. It's good to remember, though, that we may lay the "kit" (or tool, or book, whatever) at the feet of our friends, but we cannot pick it up for them. They have to do that themselves, and the desire to do that must come from within (where I can assure you, their Slayer resides).

3. And, by the way -- although offering the tools to a suffering host is perfectly fine, always try to remember that slaying is about making informed, conscious, and therefore free choices about our lives; it is not about following someone else’s script for what’s supposedly “best” for us. No one is allowed to push us into revoking our invitation, and no one who knows what’s good for them will so much as raise an eyebrow in our direction should we choose not to revoke our invitation. Aside from being in extremely poor spiritual taste, judging what another chooses to do about their vampire is simply not a thing that any of us can reasonably expect to get away with. Many of us have tried pronouncing judgment on others and discovered, too late, that the price is just a little out of our range.
I’m talking about this “Judge not, lest ye be judged” business, specifically: No matter how we try to bend the rules, we will always find it impossible to judge others without judging ourselves right along with them. After all, our judgments don’t come from some objective standard “out there;” our judgments come from within, so we can hardly expect to separate ourselves from them. When you stop to think about it, why in the world would we be designed to escape the measure of our own standards, anyway? What would be fair, or even practical, about that?

So I'm just saying: Be careful out there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Madam, eh, er, I mean, Ma'am (I imagine that isn't much better), okay, hows this, , Dear Slayer,

I worry that I am the Vampire in somebody's life. They invited me in and make it extremely easy for me to suck the lifes blood out of them. It's almost as if they want, or need, me to do it.
I know I am an enabler, but if I was invited in, and if we both get something out of it, does it make it okay?
Or am I at fault, and do I need to revoke my own invitation?
Please advise.

An old, old (creakily old) friend from your very distant past.

BTW, holding good thoughts for you and sending white light your way everytime I think of you.