ENERGY: HOW TO BUILD VITALITY AND STOP ENERGY
VAMPIRES FROM DRAINING YOU
By Judith Orloff, M.D.
Adapted from Positive
Energy, Harmony Books, April, 2004
I learned to honor my energy
needs the hard way. As a psychiatrist who specializes
in intuition I knew how important it was to
listen to my body. Yet still Id vacillate
between intense weeks of speaking tours to bouts
of utter exhaustion at home. I couldnt
turn down irresistible opportunities.
Here was my dilemma--I trusted my intuition,
and was committed to living by it. But I had
a blind spot: Although I was quite successful
at helping others at trusting intuition and
leading high energy lives I was ignoring my
own energy crises. Finally my fatigue was so
profound I had to change.
I know first hand how important
it is for us to cherish our precious energy
so we don't compromise our capacity for passion.
I now believe that the most profound transformations
can only take place only on an energetic level.
Ive met many patients whove spent
much time and money on talk therapy hoping that
intellectual insights will bring emotional freedom,
but theyre disappointed. As much as I
love the linear mind, my approach, which I call
Energy Psychiatry, goes further
to also facilitate a conscious rebuilding of
a subtle energies, the most basic life force
in each of us.
Do You Get Drained
By Other Peoples Energy?
Our bodies are made of
flesh and blood, but theyre also composed
of energy fieldsthough sadly I wasnt
taught this in medical school. Each day we encounter
a wide range of energies, both positive and
negative. Positive energy includes compassion,
courage, forgiveness, and faith. Negative energy
includes fear, anger, hopelessness, and shame.
We need to be experts at dealing with energy
so we dont get demolished by draining
situations or people whore energy vampires.
Like me you may be an intuitive
empath, someone whos so sensitive to energy
you pick it up but youre also drained
by it. This goes way beyond feeling sympathy
for a distraught friendwe actually take
on their pain either emotionally or physically.
To cope we take refuge in solitude. We empaths
are so attuned to others that we can feel whats
going on inside of them. This can put us on
energy overload and aggravate everything from
chronic fatigue to overeating.
Growing up, my girlfriends
couldn't wait to hit the malls, but I dreaded
them. I always felt overwhelmed, exhausted around
crowds, though I was clueless why. "What's
the matter?" friends would say, shooting
me the weirdest looks. All I knew was that crowded
places and I just didn't mix. I'd go there feeling
fine but leave nervous, depressed, or with some
new ache or pain. Unsuspectingly, I was a gigantic
sponge, absorbing the energy of people around
Thank goodness, as my intuition
matured, I realized I had intuitive empathy.
Once I learned to protect my energy, empathy
has become a gift enhancing my compassion. Heres
how empathy works: the more people per square
foot, the more our energy fields intersect--thus
the tendency to become overloaded in high-density
areas. This aspect of intuition is the most
can make even a good doctor's life hell. They
manifest so many "unexplained" symptoms,
that frustrated physicians write them off as
hypochondriacs. Empaths are notoriously misdiagnosed.
Patients have come to me with obesity whove
failed diets because they needed strategies
other than eating to protect themselves from
negative energy. Others were labeled "agoraphobic"
or with "panic disorder," having received
only minor relief from traditional treatments.
Some were nearly house-bound. They'd all say,
"I dislike crowded places where theres
no quick escape. Forget department stores, busy
streets, elevators, tunnels. I just avoid them."
Sounded very familiar. So I decided to take
a history of how these people processed subtle
energy in the world, something all health professionals
must be trained to assess. Voila! I found many
were undiagnosed empaths. For me, this changed
everything. My job as a physician then became
teaching my patients to center themselves and
protect their energy.
How do you know if youre
an empath? What are the signs?
Are You an Intuitive Empath?
I overeat around people Im uncomfortable
you've answered "yes" to one or more
questions, it's likely you have experienced
intuitive empathy. Responding "yes"
to every question indicates empathy is draining
Guide to Protect Yourself from Energy Vampires.
You dont have to
be an empath to experience the fang marks of
an energy vampire, though empaths are often
hit the hardest. Relationships are always an
energy exchange. To stay feeling our best, we
must ask ourselves: Who gives us energy? Who
saps it? It's important to be surrounded by
supportive, heart-centered people who make us
feel safe and secure. It's equally important
to pinpoint the energy vampires, who, whether
they intend to or not, leech our energy.
Positive energy in others
can be rejuvenative. For instance, you're nervous
about a job interview, but the minute you meet
your prospective boss you relax. He's so calm
and welcoming, you calm down too. Or perhaps
you have a good friend around whom you always
feel loved. These are energy-givers, those we
must gravitate towards.
In contrast, energy vampires
exude negative energy that drains. Vampires
range from the intentionally malicious ones
to those who are oblivious to their effect.
Some are overbearing and obnoxious; others are
friendly and charming. For example, you're at
a party talking to a perfectly nice person,
but suddenly you're nauseous or weak. Or how
about the co-worker who drones on about how
she broke up with her boyfriend for the tenth
time? Eventually, she feels better, but you're
spent. The bottom line is that on a subtle energy
level these people suck you dry.
There are many types of
vampires to watch out for. The main ones I stress
in my book are the Drama Queen who wears your
out with her dramas; The Sob Sister, who whines
all the time; The Blamer, who cuts you down
with criticism and The Go-For-The-Carotid type
who purposely cuts your down without any respect
for your feelings. Keep an eye out for these
types so youre aware of their methods,
and stop them from draining you.
for Dealing With Energy Vampires
an inventory of people in your life who give
energy, and people who drain. Specifically
identify the energy vampires, and begin to evaluate
ones you'd like to limit contact with or eliminate.
Plan at least one complete afternoon with people
who give off positive energy and avoid drainers.
Notice how this beneficially affects your physical
and emotional well-being.
Clear Boundaries. Its crucial to
limit the time you spend discussing a vampires
gripes. When approaching her, remember: the
difference between being a bitch and setting
boundaries is attitude. Instead of saying, Youre
selfish and self-obsessed, I cant take
you anymore, which a part of you likely
feels, take a breath and shift to your heart.
Meditate. Sitting in meditation is a
life-line to your center, to the earth. it will
ground you when youve been struck by a
vampire. By calming the mind, you can re-align
with your essence. Close your eyes. Focus on
your breath. Then gently extend your awareness
downward to strata, bedrock, minerals, and soil.
From the base of your spine begin to feel a
continuity with the earth's core. Picture having
a long tail that roots in that center. Allow
the earth's energy to infuse your body and stabilize
you. If you meditate for five minutes or an
hour this is sacred time.
Walk away. If you feel your energy being
zapped don't hesitate to politely excuse yourself
from a killing conversation. Move at least twenty
feet from the person, outside the range of his
or her energy field. I have to go to the
bathroom is a foolproof line. Most people
are oblivious to how their energy impacts others.
For years, reluctant to hurt anyone's feelings,
I needlessly endured these types of situations
and suffered. How many of us are so loathe to
appear rude that a raving maniac can be right
in our face, and still we don't budge for fear
of offending? In a spot, physically removing
yourself is a sure quick solution.
Build an energy shield around you. When
youre with vampires you cant get
away from visualize a protective shield of while
light surrounding every inch of you. This lets
positive energy in, but keeps negative energy
outparticularly efficient for vampires
at family dinners or social events where youre
I hope Ive
inspired you to be more fierce about asserting
your energy needs. Never put yourself down as
being overly sensitive. Sensitivity
is an asset as long as you learn how to protect
yourself from negative vibes. Understanding
how you react energetically in the world is
particularly important if youre chronically
tired and want to build vitality. Knowledge
is power. Meeting your energy needs can balance
mind, body, and spirit to create a vibrant life.
Orloffs Tips for Keeping Your Positive
Eliminate energy vampires from your life.