I was angry after I read the letter, but that didn’t quite compare to the feelings of guilt and shame that were fighting to take control of my mind. I pushed away questions that made me doubt myself, but as soon as I handled one, another came. The gravity of the situation started weighing me down and I felt myself spiraling into an accusation-induced depression.
Vampires are described as mythological entities that can suck the blood out of people until they are dead. Spiritual vampires may not take your life essence, but they drain your energy through their parasitic dependence on you for whatever they are intent on taking. It could be money, sex, power or information, but the victim is usually left devoid of energy.
These leeches may show up as family members, friends, colleagues, teachers and even bosses. You can recognize them by their modus operandi, always taking without returning benefit or being satisfied. They take all the opportunities, make all the decisions, complain incessantly and never say thanks. Sounds familiar?
My Experience with a Spiritual Vampire
Thirty years. Three decades. Ten thousand nine hundred and fifty days. I had done my best in caring for him. Not because he did anything to deserve it, but I’ve learned to freely give what I freely received. God’s grace is multiplied to me daily despite my shortcomings and because of His benevolence, and I know that where much is given, much is required. So, I overlooked his flaws and treated him the way I wish he would have treated me.
Whatever the necessities, as long as I could, I provided. Whether it was clothes, money for food and medical care, personal care items, and a person to care in my absence. You name it; I did it. On the occasions when I would pay him a personal visit, he bombarded me with complaints instead of gratitude. He severely tested my patience. Still, I continued doing what was in my heart, but slowly, over the years, my emotional attachment dwindled, yet I continued to provide out of duty more than kinship.
I know the pain of love withdrawn when you say no to what they ask for. They’ve loved me all my life until that moment and then I never heard from them again, not even to inquire about my well-being.
So many of us live as captives to the expectations of others. The problem with that though, is that when we cannot meet those expectations, they become disappointed and un-managed disappointments often lead to resentment, which can lead to broken trust and a withdrawal of affection. More often than not, these relationships are never repaired because both parties feel wronged but aren’t willing to listen to the other’s perspectives.
The praise they used to heap on me has now turned to the disapproval that has become a threat to my mental health. The contents of the letter felt like a punch to my gut that left me winded and gasping for air. The accusations were unfounded and hurtful, to say the least, and the level of entitlement served as a slap in the face. I read fabrications, criticisms, and accusations but not a perfunctory query into my state of affairs.
The truth of the matter is that at that point in time I wasn’t able to provide as I used to due a sudden and drastic change in my circumstances. I had to focus on finding a solution, which means thinking about myself for a change. The nerve! How dare I concentrate on myself while he is in need! When I finished reading the letter, I put it down and crawled under my comforter because that’s what I needed. A comforter. The tears flowed, and I prayed through them, asking God to show me where I went wrong.
Pray, Solution and Moving Forward
“God, show me if there’s any truth in this. I promise I will repent immediately and do whatever you say,” I cried.
I didn’t speak for three days after that. I went completely silent. On day three, my answer came.
“You are not responsible for his irresponsibility. He is reaping the harvest of the seeds that he has sown. No seed. No harvest. Poverty is prolonged when one draws from an account where they made no deposit. It leaves a deficit for future generations to cover, rendering them helpless to gain a solid foothold so they can make progress. A good man leaves an inheritance for his children’s children.”
I thanked God profusely and responded to the letter and freed myself from that oppressive spirit. I set my boundaries by limiting their access to me and making arrangements to share the responsibility with other family members. Your vampire may look different from mine but examine your situation to see if it’s constantly:
- Taking more than giving
- Complaining, not complimenting or thanking
- Controlling instead of empowering
Relationships go both ways, so examine what you are allowing. I realize that I had been allowing their dependence and inadvertently encouraging laziness all these years. The behaviour can only continue if you do nothing about it. So take back control, set your boundaries, and live in the freedom that Christ has called you to.