"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


Back To The Mirror

Fortunately for us, when we look in the mirror we can see our reflections. And that helps just a heck of a lot when it comes to considering our wounds.

So what are we looking for when we examine ourselves? What do our wounds look like, anyway?

Well, to me the most obvious look a lot like:

Resentment: And I ain’t talking about just being mad, either. What I'm talking about is that movie we keep playing in our heads featuring past feedings by our vampires and future imagined feedings by our vampires -- and our anger, anger, anger about both.

I'm driving to work, and instead of seeing the road in front of me, I'm seeing an ambitious coworker who's been doing his best to prove to me (and everyone else in the office) that he's a faster, harder, and all-around better worker than I am. I can see all the little insinuating ways in which he's tried to make me look bad in the past, and I'm seeing all the possible ways he's going to try and make me look bad in the future. The one thing I can't see is the thing I need to see most at the moment: the road and the traffic in front of me!!
And that's the exact same movie I was watching yesterday on my way to work, too!

Fear: This is another one -- that dread we feel at the prospect of our next visit with our vampires, and how preoccupied we can become with how we're going to dodge, handle, ditch, or (worst of all ) feed them in a hopeless attempt to quiet their insatiable appetites, even for a short time.

I'm finishing the last of the breakfast dishes, satisfied that the livingroom is somewhat clean and the baby is about to go down for her nap. As I contemplate the heavenly possibility of taking a nap with her, it dawns on me that my vampire may be coming to call without notice. I invited her in once long ago, and now she comes and goes as she pleases. Terror-struck at this maybe-she-will/maybe-she-won't scenario, I cannot rest, and search for a plan to keep her out or keep her visit short. But now I'm too worried to rest at all.
And my vampire never even made an appearance!

The trouble with vampire-hosting is that it can get to be a way of life. I can have these kinds of wounds and think these kinds of thoughts for years and never notice how they're draining the life right out of me.

And I'm not even talking about the wounds that just plain-old hurt.

So, Slayers, should we talk about those, too?


Mountaineer said...

I hosted a workplace vampire for several months. One day, my boss threatened to fire us both if we didn't iron things out while he was out of town for a week. I love my job and everyone else that I work with except that one person.

Because she has much more experience than I do, I've started looking for areas to ask her input and to evaluate the criticism. Sometimes there's a nugget of value, even if she is less than constructive about it. Other times she's completely full of it. In the first instance, I focus on the helpful part and ignore her tone, in the second, I ignore her entirely.

I like getting along with others and being friendly with others, but I've recognized that it just isn't going to happen. And I'm okay with that. Mostly.

PVS said...

Hi Mountaineer, and thank you for your comment! This is so cool that you can accept what she is and how much you're willing to do about it, and how much you're willing to let go of. Way to slay!

Jaye Wells said...

"never notice how they're draining the life right out of me."

Perhaps we become addicted to being the victim?

PVS said...

There are plenty of good reasons for keeping a vampire around -- no doubt about it, Jaye. For one thing, they make excellent scapegoats!

Balone said...

Whooeee! Resentment. I can be on a resentment trip for days and not know it. For instance, I can be driving and realize (like a song you can't get out of your head) that for several days I've had this vision of the person that I resent having their fingernails pulled off, boiling in oil, buried alive...I could go on but now I'll just say etcetera.
This vision is just adjacent to consciousness that finally snaps into focus. I've heard someone refer to this as the person you resent having free rent in your head...but exactly!

PVS said...

Yes, Balone. And what a shadow that resentment casts over everything else, eh?

alex said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

wait, do you think you're a vampire? if you do, your crazy. they are fake, my cousin thinks he is one and my family disowned him. But it's cool, i kinda sorta respect you for your advice, if you can call it that.

M. said...

Resentment is a major one, definitely. I almost let my resentment for a vampire with whom I was in a long term relationship pull me to pieces, until I finally realized what I was doing to myself.

Being addicted to feeling like a victim is part of it (to the extent that you begin to mentally victimize yourself to maintain that feeling), but that description feels like it's missing something and I'm not sure what.

Sherri said...

Yes, M. It's easy to get used to being a victim. And half the time you don't even recognize it, you just feel out of control, and you can start to resent yourself for not being able to get it together.

Give me a topic and I can ramble on it.

Anonymous said...


Matthew said...

Wow! It's a lot of smoke and mirrors for some vampires. I have one co-worker, who has been at me for months. Every time I'm around him, I get a chill up my spine, and then I sat down and thought about it. Oh my gosh! He's a vampire! And all this time, he was able to stay just beyond my recognition. Now that I know what he is, his magic is immediately dispelled. A vampire's best attack is to make everyone else doubt themselves.