Psychic Vampirism

  • An unconscious competition for energy underlies all conflicts. By dominating or manipulating others, we get the extra energy we think we need. Sure, it feels good - but both parties are damaged in the conflict. ( 4. Celestine Insight )
  • Intimidators steal energy from others by threat.
  • Interrogators steal it by judging and questioning.
  • Aloof people attract attention (and energy) to themselves by playing coy.
  • Poor me's make us feel guilty and responsible for them.


The great achievement of the interaction psychologists was to identify and explain the way humans tend to compete and dominate each other because of a deep existential insecurity. It has been from the East, however, that we have gained further clarification of the psychology underlying this phenomenon.

As both science and mysticism demonstrate, humans are in essence a field of energy. Yet the East maintains that our normal energy levels are weak and flat until we open up to the absolute energies available in the universe. When this opening occurs, our chi - or perhaps we should call it our level of quantum energy - is raised to a height that resolves our existential insecurity. But until then we move around seeking additional energy from other people.

Let's begin our discussion by looking at what really happens when two humans interact. There is an old mystical saying that where attention goes, energy flows. Thus, when two people turn their attention to one another, they literally merge energy fields, pooling their energy. The issue quickly becomes: Who is going to control this accumulated energy? If one can dominate, managing to get the other to defer to his point of view, to look at the world in his way, through his eyes, then this individual has captured both energies as his own. He feels an immediate rush of power, security, self worth, even euphoria.

But those positive feelings are won at the other person's expense, for the dominated individual feels off center, anxious, and drained of energy.1 All of us have felt this way at one time or another. When we are forced to defer to someone who has manipulated us into confusion, thrown us off balance, shown us up, we suddenly feel deflated. And our natural tendency is to try to win energy back from the dominator, usually by any means necessary.

This process of psychological domination can be observed everywhere, and it is the underlying source of all irrational conflict in the human world, from the level of individuals and families all the way to cultures and nations. If we look realistically at society, therefore, we see it is an energy-competitive world, with people manipulating other people in very ingenious (and usually quite unconscious) ways. In light of the new understanding of the universe, we can also see that most of the manipulations used in this regard, most of the games people play, are the result of basic life assumptions. In other words, they form the individual's field of intention.

When we move into interaction with another human being, we must keep all this in mind. Every person is an energy field consisting of a set of assumptions and beliefs that radiate outward and influence the world. This includes beliefs about what an individual thinks other people are like, and how to win in conversation.

Everyone has a unique set of assumptions and style of interaction in this regard, which I have called control dramas. I believe that these "dramas" fall along a continuum ranging from very passive to very aggressive.

 The Poor Me

The most passive of the control dramas is the victim strategy, or what I have called the Poor Me. In this drama, rather than competing for energy directly, the person seeks to win deference and attention through the manipulation of sympathy.

We can always tell when we enter the energy field of a Poor Me because we are immediately drawn into a particular kind of dialogue in which we are pulled off center. Out of the blue, we begin to feel guilty for no reason, as though we are being cast into that role by the other person. The individual might say, "Well, I expected you to call yesterday, but you never did," or "I had all these bad things happen to me and you were nowhere to be found." He might even add, "All these other bad things are about to happen to me, and you probably won't be around then, either."

Depending on the kind of relationship we have with the person, the phrases might be shaped around a wide range of subject matter. If the person is a work associate, the content may refer to his or her being overwhelmed with work production or meeting deadliness situation with which you are not helping. If the person is a casual acquaintance, he or she may just pull you into a conversation about how rotten life is going in general. Dozens of variations exist, but the basic tone and strategy are the same. Always it is some kind of bid for sympathy and an assertion that you are somehow responsible.

The obvious strategy in the Poor Me drama is to throw us off balance and win our energy by creating a feeling of guilt or doubt on our part. By buying into that guilt, we are stopping and looking through the other person's eyes at his or her world. As soon as we do this, the person gets to feel the boost of our energy added to his or her own and so feels more secure.

Remember that this drama is almost completely unconscious. It flows from a personal view of the world and a strategy for controlling others adopted in early childhood. To the Poor Me, the world is a place where people can't be counted on to meet one's needs for nurturing and well-being, and it is too scary a place to risk pursuing these needs directly or assertively. In the Poor Me's world, the only reasonable way of acting is to bid for sympathy through guilt trips and perceived slights.

Unfortunately, because of the effect on the World of these unconscious beliefs and intentions, very often the same kind of, abusive people the Poor Me fears are exactly the ones that they allow into their lives. And the events that befall them are often traumatic. The universe responds by producing exactly the kind of world the person expects, and in this way, the drama is always circular and self validating. The Poor Me is caught unknowingly in a vicious trap.

 Dealing with the Poor Me

In dealing with the Poor Me, it is important to remind ourselves that the purpose of the drama is to win energy. We must begin with the willingness to consciously give the Poor Me energy as we talk with him; this is the fastest way to break the drama. 

The next thing we must do is to consider whether the guilt trip is justified. Certainly, there will be plenty of cases in our lives when we should feel concern over having let someone down or sympathy for someone in a difficult situation. But these realities must be determined by us, not by someone else. Only we can decide to what extent and when we are responsible to help someone in need.

Once we have given the Poor Me energy and determined that we are facing a control drama in action, the next step is to name the game - that is, to make the control drama itself the topic of conversation.2 No unconscious game can be sustained if it is pulled into consciousness and placed on the table for discussion. This can be done with a statement such as, "You know, right now I feel as though you think I should feel guilty."

Here we must be prepared to proceed with courage, because while we are seeking to deal honestly with the situation, the other person might interpret what we say as a rejection. In this case, the typical reaction might be "Oh, well, I knew you really didn't like me." In other cases, the person may feel insulted and angry. It is very important, in my opinion, to appeal to the person to listen and to continue the conversation. But this can only work if we are constantly giving this person the energy he wants during the conversation. Above all, we must persevere if we want the quality of the relationship to improve. In the best case, the person will hear what we are saying as we point out the drama and be able to open up to a higher state of self-awareness.



A slightly less passive control drama is the Aloof's. We know we have entered the energy field of someone using this strategy when we begin a conversation and realize we can't really get a straight answer. The person we are talking to is distant, detached, cryptic in her responses. If we ask about her personal background, for instance, we get a very vague summary, such as "I traveled around a bit," with no further elaboration.

As we have this conversation, we sense that we have to ask a follow-up question, even for the simplest of inquiries. Maybe we have to say, "Well, where have you traveled?" And we receive the reply, "Many places."

Here we can clearly see the strategy of the Aloof. The person constantly creates a vague and mysterious aura around herself, forcing us to pour energy into digging to get information normally shared in a casual manner. When we do this, we are intensely focusing on the person's world, looking through her eyes, hoping to understand her background, and so we are giving her the boost of energy that she desires.

We must remember, however, that not everyone who is being vague or who refuses to give us information about herself is using an Aloof drama. She may just want to remain anonymous for some other reason. Every person has the right to privacy and to share with others only as much as she wants.

Using this distancing strategy to gain energy, however, is something altogether different. For the Aloof, it is a method of manipulation that seeks to lure us in, yet keep us at a distance. If we conclude that a person just doesn't want to talk with us, for instance - and so we shift our attention elsewhere - very often the Aloof will come back into interaction with us, saying something designed to draw us back into the interaction so the energy can keep flowing her way.

As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy comes from situations in the past. Usually, the Aloof could not share freely as a child because it was threatening or dangerous to do so. In that kind of environment, the Aloof learned to be constantly vague in communication with others while at the same time finding a way to be listened to in order to win energy from others.

 As with the Poor Me, the Aloof strategy is a set of unconscious assumptions about the world. The Aloof believes that the world is full of people who can't be trusted with intimate information. She thinks the information will be used against her at a later date, or will be the basis of criticism. And as always, these assumptions flow out from the Aloof to influence the kinds of events that occur, fulfilling the unconscious intention.

Dealing with the Aloof

To deal effectively with someone using an Aloof drama, we must again remember to begin by sending energy. By sending loving energy rather than becoming defensive ourselves, we relieve the pressure to continue the manipulation. With the pressure off, we can begin again, naming the game and bringing the drama into awareness by making it the topic of conversation.

As before, we can expect one of two reactions. First, the Aloof may flee the interaction and sever all communication. This, of course, is always a risk that must be taken, because to say anything else is to continue to play the game. In this case, we can only hope that our directness will begin a new pattern that will lead to self-awareness.

The Aloof's other reaction may be to stay in communication but to deny being aloof. In this case, as always, we must consider the truth of what the person is saying. However, if we are sure of our perception, we must hold fast and continue to dialogue with the person. Out of the conversation, we hope, a new pattern will be established.


A more aggressive control drama, one that is pervasive in modern society, is that of the Interrogator. In this manipulation strategy, one uses criticism to gain energy from others. In the presence of an Interrogator, we always get a distinct feeling that we are being monitored. Simultaneously, we may feel as though we are being cast in the role of someone who is inadequate, or unable to handle our own lives.

We feel this way because the person we are interacting with has pulled us into a reality where he feels that most people are making huge mistakes with their lives and he must correct the situation. For instance, the Interrogator may say, "You know, you really don't dress well enough for the kind of job you have," or "I've noticed you don't really keep your house very neat." just as easily, the criticism could involve how we do our jobs, the way we talk, or a wide range of personal characteristics. It doesn't really matter. Anything will work as long as the criticism throws us off balance and makes us unsure of ourselves.

The unconscious strategy of the Interrogator is to point out something about us that gives us pause, hoping that we will buy into the criticism and adopt the Interrogator's view of the world. When this happens, we begin to look at the situation through the eyes of the Interrogator and thus give him energy. The Interrogator's aim is to become the dominant judge of other people's lives so that as soon as interaction begins, others immediately defer to his worldview, providing a steady flow of energy.

Like the other dramas, this one springs from projected assumptions about the world. This person believes that the world is not safe or orderly unless he is watching everyone's behavior and attitude, and making corrections. In this world, he is the hero, the only one paying attention and making sure things are done carefully and with perfection. Usually, the Interrogator comes from a family in which his parental figures were absent or not attentive to his needs. In this insecure void of energy, the Interrogator gained attention and energy in the only way possible: by pointing out errors and criticizing the family's behavior.

When the child is grown, he carries with him these assumptions about how the world is and what people are like, and these assumptions in turn create that kind of reality in the Interrogator's life.

Dealing with the interrogator

Handling the Interrogator is a matter of staying centered enough to tell him how we are feeling in his presence. Again, the key is to keep from assuming a defensive posture ourselves and to send loving energy as we explain that we feel monitored and criticized by him.

The Interrogator, too, may have several different reactions. First, he may deny being critical at all, even in the face of examples. Again, we must consider the possibility that we are wrong and somehow hearing put-downs when none are intended. If, on the other hand, we are sure of our perspective, then we can only explain our position, hoping that a genuine dialogue can begin.

Another reaction the Interrogator might have is to turn the tables and call us critical. If this happens, we must again consider whether the accusation is true. However, if, as before, we see this is not happening, then we must return to our discussion of how the other person makes us feel in his presence.

A third reaction that the Interrogator might have is to argue that the criticisms are valid and need to be given and that we are avoiding facing up to our own faults. Again, we have to consider the truth of this statement, but if we are sure of our position, several examples can be given to show that the Interrogator's criticisms have been either unnecessary or inappropriately given.

Each of us will face situations in which we sense that others are doing something that appears not in their best interest. We might feel that we should 'intervene to point out the error. The key factor here is how we intervene. We are learning, I believe, to make very unassuming statements, such as, "If my tires were bald like this, I would buy a new set," or "When I was in a situation like yours, I quit my job before finding another and later regretted it."

There are ways to intervene that do not take the person out of his centered viewpoint or undermine his confidence, the way the Interrogator does, and this difference must be explained to the Interrogator. Again, this person may sever the relationship rather than hear what we are saying, but this is a risk we have to take in order to stay true to our own experience.



The most aggressive control drama is the Intimidator's strategy. We can tell when we enter the energy field of such a person because we not only feel drained or uncomfortable; we feel unsafe, perhaps even in danger. The world turns ominous, threatening, out of control. The Intimidator will say and do things that suggest she might erupt in rage or violence at any moment. She may tell stories of harming others or show us the extent of her anger by breaking furniture or throwing items across the room.

The strategy of the Intimidator is to win our attention and thus our energy by creating an environment in which we feel so threatened we are totally focused on her. When someone gives off the impression that she might go out of control or do something dangerous at any minute, most of us watch this person very carefully. If we are in a conversation with such a person, we usually defer to her perspective very quickly. Of course, when we look through her eyes, trying to discern what she might do (in order to keep ourselves safe), she receives the boost of energy that she most desperately needs.

This strategy of intimidation is usually developed in a past environment of severe energy deprivation, most commonly involving relationships with other Intimidators who are dominating and abusive, and where no other strategy works to win energy back. Guilt-tripping as a Poor Me doesn't work; no one cares. Certainly, no one notices if you are playing Aloof. And any attempt at Interrogating is met with anger and hostility. The only solution is to endure the lack of energy until one is big enough to intimidate in one's own right.

The world the Intimidator sees is one of random violence and hostility. It is a world in which one is lost in supreme isolation, where everyone rejects and no one cares - which is exactly what these assumptions bring into the Intimidator's life, over and over.

Dealing with the Intimidator

Confronting the Intimidator is a special case. Because of the obvious danger, in most cases it is better simply to remove oneself from the presence of an Intimidator. If one is in a long-term relationship with an Intimidator, the best course is usually to place the situation in the hands of a professional. The therapeutic plan of action, of course, is much the same as with the other dramas. Success with such an individual usually involves making her feel safe, giving supportive energy, and bringing the reality of her drama into awareness. Unfortunately, there are many Intimidators still out there who are receiving no help, and who live in alternating states of fear and rage.

Many of these individuals wind up in the criminal justice system, and certainly it is wise to keep these people away from society. But a system that keeps them locked up with no therapeutic intervention and then lets them out again does not understand or address the root of the problem.3



Most of us, throughout life, hear various complaints from others about our behavioral patterns. The human tendency is to ignore or rationalize away these complaints in order to go on with our preferred style of life. Even now, when knowledge of self-defeating scripts and habits is becoming a greater part of human awareness, we find it very difficult to view our personal behavior in an objective manner.

In the case of severe control dramas in which a person has sought professional help, crisis reactions can undo years of progress and growth in counseling as the old patterns, once thought conquered, reappear. In fact, one of the emerging revelations among professional counselors is that true progress takes more than the catharsis that occurs during the personal exploration of early childhood traumas. 4 We now know that to end these unconscious attempts to gain energy an security, we must focus on the deeper, existential basis of the problem and look beyond intellectual insight to tap a new source of security that can function regardless of external circumstances.

Here I am referring to a different type of catharsis - one that the mystics have pointed to throughout history and one that we are rapidly hearing more about. Knowing what we do about the energy competitions in human society, our challenge is to look closely at ourselves, to identify our particular set of assumptions and the intentions that constitute our drama, and to find another experience that allows us to open up to our energy within.

(From James Redfields commentary on the 4. Insight of Celestine)


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  • Back again. Like the bad penny.

    Was thinking about Dr Claire Weekes who wrote a book called Self help for your Nerves. Such a good book I consider her my grandmother guru. Very kind person, she was. And wise. The book should be called Self Help for the Psyche, because the ''nerves'' bit puts people off, by making them think Wha? Neurotic? Me? I think not! (lol) We are all somewhat neurotic, I reckon...after all we live in a mad world. But anyways her way of dealing with stuff coming up from the psyche was very tantric, I thought.

    Four Rules ~ Face, Accept, Float and Let Time Pass.

    Facing is basically AWARENESS. No more running away or hiding.

    Accepting is what it says on the tin. Involves compassion for self (self-tonglen).

    Floating is the interesting one~ letting go of armouring, be that physical, mental, spiritual, emotional resistance and letting things be as they are. Loosening up on all levels, being kind to oneself, softer, letting go. Surrendering to spirit.

    And Then Time Passing is the Patience part, the part where we wait calmly and with fortitude for the mysterious synchronicity and mercy of Grace, time and inevitable change to un-knot the kinks.

    Edit...later thought...sorry, perhaps this is only obliquely relevant to your post. :) I reckon a lot of psychic conflict is with ourselves and not with others even if it looks that way?

    • I love the "cooking recipes" of the self help teachers too. Dr Weekes reminds very much of the utilization exercise in the Mahamudra - Tradition , where you utilize your negative emotions as means on the path (see in buddhism group " The Mahakala principle of working with difficult emotions and situations")

      In my personal experience even the best recipes don´t work sometimes .

      Perhaps this is the best  time,  where divine Grace can come into the play.

      I agree, that a lot of internal conflict is projected outside, for exampel most of the paranoid conspiracy crap on the net. However,  I must insist , that there are external negative influences and unhealty personal relationships and that it is possible to get rid of it. Have you ever have made the experience, to enter a place  or encounter a person and afterwards feel completely sucked up or even energetically knocked out ?

      • Have you ever have made the experience, to enter a place  or encounter a person and afterwards feel completely sucked up or even energetically knocked out ?(@ Dj)

        yes I have, Dorje. It is mysterious to understand how that apparently 'external' negative stuff and even the fundamental question of the very existence of evil fits with the understanding of Unity. How I am that, even that.

        It is a big stumbling point for me. Where is God when a child is raped? if all is One, then what is that? Kind of gets to the nub of confusion. It seems personal and a bit awkward to try and explain my feelings on that. 

        I'm tired now so maybe another time.. 

        Thich Nhat Hanh describes very much that ''recipe'' you post.....holding the upsurging emotion as lovingly as a mother would hold a crying infant.

  • That's a good one, Dorje. Lots of cringing as I recognise

    Fed up of bumping into my shadow at the moment. The hammer beats the anvil, I hope. (Be the hammer or the anvil - Goethe).

    This area is kind of what inspired me to post that Paul Brunton piece yesterday.  For the ego cannot transcend itself, and whatever it does will still remain within its own self.  ~ Brunton

    What follows is ramblings, just wondering type things..

    The Taoists speak of Self power and Other power and some mystics look down on the ''other'' power adherents as some how less sophisticated... i.e. they are waiting on Kuan Yin or some merciful deity to help them out, etc., while the ''self'' power adherents are considered the intelligentsia who can figure their way through the maze by study and self-knowledge. etc. (This is my brief summary so may be wrong.) Although in practice in Taoism practitioners combine both paths (the Long path and The Short Path,as Brunton calls them). And they do this with no self-consiousness, (something not often in the gift of westerners, sadly, for we have analysed  everything to

    It reminds me of Nisargadatta who was pure advaitic sage but yet he sang bhajans and hymns 4 times a day (because his teacher told him to do so), so he combined the enquiry path with the devotion path. Self with Other power.

    (I'm getting to a point, I hold on)

    So the point is this, our psychological set up is such a tangled knot, such a subtle weave of helpless childhood conditioning and self-will and unknowable interventions, that...well, for me...i am wondering if it is worthwhile trying to untangle it at all. It goes so incessantly deep, a place one could be trapped for the whole of a precious life.

    In a way its like doing sadhana to try change the shape of your big toes. The psychology is incessant, even if it is being full of bliss. It is irrelevant but unstoppable in the same  way our big toe automatically flexes as we walk to balance the body.

    Our psychology fascinates us, as if we imagine we can actually change ourselves. This is the great prize displayed by wonderful sages such as Jung. But i wonder if this is so? Are we so successful at overcoming our conditioning by dint of will?  As a yogi friend of mine said to me, ''40 years of intensive daily sadhana and I still see my father in my behaviour every day.'' (hahhaha. He's a funny guy. But ain't it true.)

    Any fundamental change i have ever experienced has been as a result of either slow or fast Grace, something that happened beyond my tiny futile thrashing mind, like it came from an ''Other'' power. Or at least it has seemed so to me. Periods of intense suffering that people call 'dark nights' and so on, seem in retrospect to have been karmic occurrences that must simply be traversed until their time is spent. And then when that time is done they evaporate, the seeds having been burned up, but not because of any great exercise of will on my part. (I'm just saying my experience). Like the fate is already written. (oooops does that make me fatalistic? )

    I remember trying very hard to change my psyche once in a bad bad time and wondering why i absolutely could undo nothing, and asking my husband why why WHY can i not stop this. He said look, be patient, this is obviously your karma, ride it out and it will pass when its time is done. It may seem passive, but works too.

    A couple of other things. When i see the shadow I accept it knowing that ''I'' am not ''that''. It is there, sure, that rotten part of so-called me, but it is just the result of a confluence of random circumstances that built a so-called personality (which is just a  temporary shell).

    So I see it. This monster.  Cue cringing etc, but then acceptance. And then I do not try to scramble around looking for the way to change something, as this always generates some nightmare knot of mental tension.

    But after i accept it something some kind of synchronistic magic, slow or fast, that gradually alters the groove in the behaviour.

    And then, as my sister says, immediately you're done with that, the next fecking horrible thing crops up for you to look at. Psychology hates a vacuum, it seems.

    There is an interesting approach to psychology which comes under the banner ''Human Givens''. I am not saying they are 'the be all and end all', but one point they make is that when treating engrained behaviours there is no point in 'talking therapy'. What happens in talk therapy is that  the trauma is revisited and revisited until the groove it makes in the psyche gets deeper and deeper (they are speaking specifically about anxiety-inducing affairs, but the point holds for any facet of our psyche). What we actually need is a way to by-pass the normal mental grooving.  For some this will be some form of NLP, for some hypnosis, for some surrender to that Other power that is so much vaster than their puny minds. Another Goethe quote is appropriate here.....the you and I in this case being the same (the Self addressing the self)..''If I accept you as you are I make you worse; however if I treat you as though you are what you are capable of becoming, I help you.''

    Anyways, just random thoughts. Basically I don't know. One foot in front of the other :)

    • 3025758?profile=originalDear Ad ,

      Trust in God - but tie up your camel first :)

      (old arab proverb)

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