"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


"This Is This"

I've always been so taken with that scene in The Deer Hunter where Robert DeNiro tries to explain to an uncomprehending John Cazale that the bullet in his hand really is the bullet in his hand, and not something else.

Sitting on the hood of of that beat-up cadillac, he holds the bullet up for Cazale to see, points to it and angrily declares:

"This is this. This ain't something else. This is this."

There are a lot of ways to say what he's trying to say -- many ways to try and talk about the problem of denial -- but his is certainly one of my favorites. It speaks to the heart of practical vampire slaying, and to the uncomfortable first step we have to take before we can even hope to be free of our vampires: The step where we admit to ourselves that our vampires really are vampires, and not something else.

That intruding and advice-giving neighbor who can
never take a hint to leave is not "just lonely and trying to help."
She's a vampire, and she's feeding on me .

That isolating and critical spouse who is never satisfied
no matter what I do is not "just a loner and telling it like it is."
He's a vampire, and he's feeding on me.

It's funny how hard that can be to see, isn't it?

Maybe the truth is so hard to see because we're nice guys and really like to give people (and vampires) the benefit of the doubt; or maybe it's just hard to admit because we fear the prospect of having to revoke our invitations -- either way, the fact of the matter remains:

"The strength of the vampire
is that people will not believe in him."

Or so Van Helsing warns us in the 1931 movie version of Dracula. And I, for one, take him at his word.

Next Time
: Reminder On Diagnostics


jennifergg said...

I love this post. It's so hard to SEE. Why is it so hard to simply sit, and look, and recieve it, without excuse or explanation. Well worth thinking about!

Dancer said...

Why does it take so long to learn that when we make excuses for our vampires, we're really NOT making excuses for them, but for ourselves. And we become more and more pale. Thanks, PVS. You're a slayer worth her weight in fudge. :)

PVS said...

That's HOT fudge, to you, Dancer! And I like that "pale" stuff!

And yes, Jennifergg, thinking about what blocks that for us is part of the slayer journey, I think: to look within instead of all the time looking at the vampire is our key to freedom.

Anonymous said...


Charles Pergiel said...

I was brought up to give people the benefit of the doubt, and I did not know there were vampires. I eventually figured it out, though the term vampires was never used. I think you hit the nail on the head. Good on you.