When I work with a writer who is struggling to finish a novel—or struggling just to get through it—the first question I ask is about their characters. Specifically, how do they feel about their characters? The answers are always surprising.
In the past few months, I’ve gotten so many emails from creative people telling me they’re feeling isolated, alone, apathetic, and tired with everything going on in the world today. A lot of people have gone through big shifts in the past couple of years and they know they’re ready to step into their power and embrace their creativity, but the problem is, they just can’t seem to find the energy or guidance on how to do that.
As an empath and an INFJ, my relationships with other people have always been out of the ordinary. In my last two articles I talked about how I always attracted energy vampires in my life (Do You Always Attract Energy Vampires? This Is the Reason Why…), and how even my most well-intentioned friends still managed to drain me to the point that I felt like I couldn’t have close friendships with people (Are You an Empath Who Struggles with Relationships that Always Take Too Much? Here’s One Way to Break the Cycle).
These experiences only exacerbated the feeling of loneliness that I already had in the world. From the time I was very young, I knew that I was different, and I knew it was a difference that other people couldn’t understand. What really hurt though, was that I could understand other people so incredibly well. So, I was left feeling like, even though I could fully see, hear, acknowledge and appreciate the depths of another person, no one could do the same for me.
On top of this, I noticed early on that other people did not seem to be interested in the same things I was interested in. I wanted to explore my inner landscape and the psychological terrain of others. I wanted to talk about topics like spirituality, metaphysics, history, philosophy, stories, and dreams. Whenever I brought anything like this up in a conversation, people either gave me blank or puzzled stares, or said something snarky to let me know what a weirdo they thought I was.
In my last article, Do You Always Attract Energy Vampires? This Is the Reason Why, I talked about how empaths and intuitives (i.e., people who have the INFJ or INFP personality type) tend to go through life attracting energy vampires not only because of our heightened empathy, but also because we usually struggle with feeling overly guilty and this guilt shows up as a strong emotional charge in our energy field, and that’s when energy vampires take advantage of us.
Most empaths and intuitives I’ve worked with have told me they feel guilty for existing, or taking up space, for a variety of different reasons. Some of us had parents who were unable to handle the challenge of having a child (us), and some of us had parents who were unable to process their own emotions and so they dumped those emotions on others (again, us). Whatever the reason, most empaths and intuitives in childhood did not receive support from loving, mentally healthy people with appropriate boundaries, and so we grew up finding much the same in our adult world.
This is one of the main reasons that so many empaths and intuitives feel completely and utterly alone. Although we long to form deep connections with others that feel loving and meaningful, and actually nourish us, it seems like this just never happens. When we do make friends, we find that we most often act in the role of constant counselor to them, even if they’re not an actual energy vampire and they really mean well.
As an INFJ and an empath, I have attracted energy vampires most of my life. They’ve ranged from the relatively harmless person who tends to dump all their personal problems on me every time we meet, to the severely toxic people who can be classified as narcissists and psychopaths.
Since this has happened to me since the time when I was very young, I’ve gone through every stage of disconnecting from a person you can imagine. I’ve done the quiet fade out and the way more extreme door slam. I’ve changed my phone number and ignored Facebook messages forever. When I tell “normal” people I know (i.e., non-empaths) about my experiences, they are always puzzled. This doesn’t happen to them, and so my methods of cutting people off and cutting people out of my life seem overly dramatic. But the other INFJs and INFPs I know ALWAYS get it. Because it happens to them too.
This was the way life was for me up until about six years ago. The actual process of change was activated years before that, but it was six years ago that I started seeing a significant shift in my life. I began to notice that the energy vampires didn’t seem to be so prevalent in my reality anymore. It wasn’t that I was fending them off better. It was that they just plain weren’t showing up so I didn’t even have to deal with them in the first place.
It was weird, but it also felt awesome. Suddenly, I knew what it meant to be free.
This is an issue that all empaths and intuitives deal with on a constant basis. Energy vampires are attracted by our strong sense of empathy. They meet us and quickly understand that we will pretty much always lend an ear (or a few units of our energy) to their black hole personality. But there’s also more to it than that, and that’s why empaths and intuitives struggle with this so much. We think that the energy vampire shows up in our life so often because we have too much empathy for them, so we naturally conclude that the only solution is to become tougher, less empathetic, less compassionate, and less kind. However, for an empath and/or intuitive person, this is an impossible thing to ask.
The little-known secret is that it’s not about making yourself less empathetic. It’s about changing your energy signature. This is the energetic “fingerprint” of your energy field that other people can read subconsciously and to which they always react. Empaths and intuitives all share a very similar energy signature, and there’s something in this signature that attracts the energy vampires like nothing else.