"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


Necessary Lengths, Part 2

As I was saying: Polite hints and clever innuendo are never going to cut it with our vampires -- they're just not designed to receive that stuff. And since vampires will ONLY leave when asked to do so in clear and precise terms, they force us, in a roundabout way, to get clear and precise with ourselves first. After all, how can we tell our vampires what we want if we don't even know what that is ourselves?

See? Our vampires are good for something.

By the way, see that picture? I want you to notice at least two things about it:

  1. The Slayer does not love his work, but appears to be proceeding anyway, and

  2. The stake is pointing exactly to the heart -- not approximately, not almost, not close, but exactly.

This is what we have be: EXACT.

Here are some sentence-starters that WILL SUCCEED in shooing the vampire away:

  • I want...

  • I don't want...

  • I will...

  • I will not...

and my all-time favorite

  • I'm sorry if my previous actions confused you on this point, but I'd like to be clear about his matter now: I want, don't want, will, will not...etc.

Notice how in each of these examples the speaker's WILL is engaged. This is because if we tell a vampire that we "can't" or that we "have to" (both commonly used and always-failing phrases) it sounds as if we would if we could. And you know what's wrong with that? The vampire will be only to happy to assist us in overcoming our obstacles! I know you know how this goes:

We: "I really can't help you clean your attic today, my back..."

They: "Oh, no problem! You can just do the light stuff and dusting..."

We: "Yeah but, I haven't even had a chance to go through my own junk at home. I have that income tax to do..."

They: "Oh, when is that due? Geez, I have to get to mine, too! And then I have the lawn besides! Man, do you think you could help me for just an hour?"

We: "I don't know if I'm going to have time later today..."

They: "No, that's fine! We'll do it right now!"

And 3 hours later...well, you know the story when it comes to insatiable appetites, right?

So I guess the question is: What do we want? What are we protecting or avoiding by not telling the truth about ourselves, and is that thing worth bleeding for?

If we decide it's not worth the blood-loss anymore, we speak clearly and directly about what we want.

If we decide we're not ready to give up whatever it is we're holding onto, then we remind ourselves that we made this choice freely, next time the vampire comes to feed. That way we don't have to see ourselves as "victims."

And we can always reconsider our choice, whatever it is.


Sherri said...

Good point. It's our choice. And our wishes are just as valid as theirs.

claud said...

I'll say our wishes are as valid as theirs, and even more so, I think, since we're talking about OUR time, not theirs!

Thanks for stopping by again, Sherri!!

funforager said...

Yes, yes, that's it. It is always about choice and aligning our will with the choices that nourish us, expand our connection to ourselves and others.

I love the dialogue examples because I don't know anyone who hasn't had these conversations. Thank you Claudia for putting the fine line on what comes up when we have to say no, and how to do it so that it is heard.

Dancer said...

Thank you, Madame Slayer, for helping me learn, very specifically, when I'm not being clear. I think vampires have a way of sniffing out those of us who consider ourselves especially "nice", or some other such nonsense, because they know it's HARD FOR US TO BE CLEAR! All the more time for them to feed. They must really get a kick out of it sometimes.

jennifer said...

Free choice, aye there's the rub. It means we have to take responsibility for what we want, and don't want. Which means we have to _decide_, and be present and active in the events of our lives. What a lot of work!

But truly, I think it's the very best way to live. The work doesn't get easier by avoiding it; in fact, I think it grows exponentially by how hard you try to avoid it.

Thanks for the words of wisdome, Madame Slayer.

pvs said...

Wow are you Slayers SMART. Thanks for YOUR words of wisdom, guys!