This is love that is not given freely; love that is only given based on certain requirements being fulfilled and met.
It is during our childhood that we have our first experience of love and our meaning or model of love is also created as a child.
And to be more specific here, the love I am talking about can come across as; acceptance, attention and mirroring.
This is love that is always there no matter what is said or done, it is love that is not retracted as a result of the child not doing what its parents/caregivers wants or of doing something that they disagree with.
The Importance Of love
Experiencing unconditional love as a child has got to be one of the most important factors in creating a functional human being. This is a human being that not only accepts themselves, but also accepts others.
When this is not the case, the individual will question if they are enough, and if what they are doing is pleasing enough to others. It can be normal for this person to never quite know where they stand, or whether they are truly accepted.
The word emotional abuse or emotional manipulation comes to mind here. Unconditional love should be a normal part of the child and parent/caregiver’s relationship.
However the reality is that this is not always the case and it can create problems throughout an individual’s life.
Taking Care of Ourselves
Another consequence of this is that it becomes very difficult to take care of one’s own needs and what is important. And this is because if one was only deemed worthy based on pleasing another and doing what they wanted, it will be a real challenge to realise or understand their own self worth.
And this is because although many years have passed since those times of having to please ones parents/caregivers they still exist in the mind.
Feelings of guilt and shame can surface during and after one comes to focus on themselves. The powerful feeling that is rejection can also arise at these moments.
So if one feels they are not enough they can easily end up bending over backwards or they can go to the other extreme and not want to do anything.
The first example is that of the person that is always willing to help another, their own needs are irrelevant. Although deep down they can feel incredibly angry and frustrated, on the surface they are only happy to help another over themselves.
With the second example, it shows the individual who has gone to the other extreme and they are only interested in themselves, what their gain is and how it can help their life.
This is something that will shape our relationships in a massive way, with friends and in our intimate relationships.
What can play out here is the need to always agree with what our friends might say, never questioning or going against their way. There might also be the need to constantly buy gifts or to offer numerous favours.
The area of conditional love is something that might seem more prevalent in intimate relationships and this has to be because we generally look for more from this type of relationship. With more needs having the potential to be met.
If ones history on conditional love has not been looked at it will attract two people who have the same history, however it will be two people that generally display it in different ways.
Victim and Perpetrator
There are two dynamics at work here, they might not always play out in this way, but they tend to.
The victim will be looking for love, looking for what they didn’t achieve as a child. However there will always be a sense that their partner is distant and that their love has to be earned. It might feel like a constant battle, with the stakes always rising. Behaviourally, they will usually appear needy and dependent, and this allows the other partner to have control over the relationship.
With the perpetrator, they will still be looking for love, but they will come across very differently. When it comes to their behaviour they will usually seem more aloof and without the neediness of the first victim. It could also be perceived that they don’t need love. It would not be unusual for them to hold their partner at distance, using the same form of behaviour that was used on them. What this allows is for the individual to have some form of control on the situation and to the degree that they are hurt again.
The Same Experience
In the above two examples we can see that one person is perceived to have the power and the other is seen to have very little choice on what happens. However, neither of these has any functional benefit or consequences that will result in love being received.
The first is constantly overcompensating to achieve love, always looking to do as much as they can, with it never being enough. And the second has their guard constantly up, not wanting to open themselves up to the pain of their past.
Why Do They Exist?
Upon reflection we can see that neither of these behaviours lead to love or happiness. And yet they can seem so natural and normal. These are behaviours that appear to just happen, without any conscious choice or awareness.
And this is because of how the ego mind works. Everything it perceives as safe is a consequence of what is familiar. And what creates these associations are our earliest experiences.
One Generation To Another
I would say that if we were to go to the childhood of the parents/caregivers who couldn’t love their children we would find that they experienced the same occurrence.
Passed down from one generation to another, creating another generation that finds themselves in the same situation. Perhaps the behaviour was slightly different or the environment was different, but nevertheless the same devastating consequences ensue.
Unconditionally Loving Ourselves
So if an individual was brought up by people who couldn’t accept themselves, it is of little surprise that they experience the same challenges themselves.
These are perceptions that didn’t reflect the world, they reflected ones childhood environment. Which is an environment that seemed to represent the world and all that there was.
Some areas might take longer than others to let go and move on from, however there is always a way to move on from our past. With the right commitment, guidance and patience - it can be achieved.
The word anger and the behaviour that it creates is not something that is typically looked upon with acceptance or positivity. Anger is often portrayed as a troublesome emotion; an emotion that leads to destructive and abusive behaviour.
And there is no denying that anger can be extremely destructive when expressed in a certain way or when it is taken to the extreme. However, I believe that if we look at the world and our own individual lives, we will see many examples when anger has been appropriate and has lead to positive action and change.
Anger could be looked upon as neutral and as something that will lead to something constructive or destructive. With the intention of the individual or individuals that are expressing it, ultimately being the defining factor.
What Causes Anger?
When I think about anger and what causes it, what comes to mind is - compromise. When we feel compromised or even abused in some way, anger will come upon us. The intensity of the anger will not only depend on what is happening to us; it will also depend on how we interpret what is happening.
This shows anger is also a subjective occurrence. What makes one person angry might not have the same effect on another and vice versa.
Where is it felt?
Anger is something that is often experienced in the mouth and throat. The specific areas where we can feel it are in our gums, our teeth and through tension in our throat.
This is due to our throat being our area of truth and expression. And both of these areas are being restricted if we are being compromised.
However, we can also feel anger in other parts of our body; this is because emotions and experiences are not only stored in our brain, but in ever part of our body.
So we can also see that anger could be described as a feedback mechanism; we are being informed about when our boundaries are being crossed and our own survival is potentially at risk.
The question is: how do we come to shape these boundaries or walls? When do we form these ideas of what is compromising to us and what is not? And how do we know what is a potential threat to our survival?
we can see from above that although there are general themes when it comes to what makes people angry, there are also unique and specific things that can cause one person to feel compromised.
A way to describe it could be to say we all have our own ‘hot’ points or areas that cause us to feel agitated. These are those situations or people that press our buttons and make us angry.
In our childhood there will have inevitable been moments when we were not treated in a way that honoured who we were. Perhaps this is a normal consequence of wanting to please our parents or caregivers (for our own survival) and through them doing what they genuinely believed was right for us or maybe this was the result of being compromised or abused in our childhood.
This could be through the form of; criticism, control, manipulation, dependency and/or rejection.
This causes us to disown parts of ourselves, the parts of ourselves that were abused or compromised then become the parts of ourselves that we come to dislike and reject. Through the identification of what we were told and how we were treated, we become dissociated from ourselves.
That true part of ourselves, that is far stronger and far more significant than anything externally placed upon us, is momentarily lost. Covered up with everything we have been told by others and everything we have come to tell ourselves based on what we have be told.
What happened in those early years can be forgotten about and lost from conscious awareness. The trouble is we can’t run away from it, it will always be there until it has been processed and acknowledged.
By repressing our anger and labelling it as ‘bad’ we cut ourselves off from what we are being told and what is coming to our attention to be healed. This will also cause us to miss what is being shown to us as a re-enactment of our past.
As well as repression we can also choose to act out or re-enact these past behaviour and stories in our current life. What is happening this time is that the roles are being played by different people and the situations look different, but still feel the same. However there is always this sense familiarity around what is happening.
By acting out we end up unconsciously interpreting and perceiving situations in our present moment as the same as our past, this is a way that our past pain calls out to be healed.
And without the awareness to see these patterns appearing again and again, one can easily keep behaving or reacting in the same way, each time getting no further or achieving any kind of closure
During ones younger years they might have been raised by someone that was controlling or critical, and as a consequence of this whenever they are told to do something or whenever they are criticised they are filled with anger.
This might be displayed externally in an aggressive way or internally through withdrawal. Nevertheless, both of these examples will end in similar feelings. To The observer; this situation might seem completely out of proportion.
And this is because old memories and associations are being triggered; the behaviour is being influenced by the past and not primarily by the present moment. This situation could have been completely different to the original, but it still feels the same.
This is because all it takes is a word, a certain tone or a facial expression and the past will appear once more.
Recognising the Feedback
We can become angry and look outside of ourselves at the situations and the people that cause this reaction in us or we can look within. That is to look inside ourselves at what is being triggered.
The Situations and people that cause this do not have control over how we respond; this is something that is within our own control.
As we process our past, we will begin to respond, where before we have reacted and begin to create functional boundaries.
The term ‘Energy Vampire’ can conjure up all kinds of associations and meanings.
What Does Energy Vampire Mean?
The question is: What does the term Energy Vampire mean? The logical answer would be to describe someone that causes another to feel emotionally and mentally drained and lifeless. With it being a behaviour that is usually carried out on a regular and consistent basis by the individual.
In addition to the emotional side, there can also be a physical aspect. With it sometimes being a whole body experience and not just an emotional and mental reaction; one can feel physically overwhelmed as well as come into contact with disempowering cognitions and emotions.
Who Are They?
Each one of us has the potential to be an energy vampire; with it being highly likely that there has been times or a time in our life when we have been one. So I don’t believe that it’s a black and white scenario.
It can also be easy to label and categorise someone as an energy vampire. When in reality the behaviour could be an isolated occurrence and the result of a stressful situation in the individual’s life. A situation that by no means makes them an energy vampire, with a more appropriate description being that it demonstrates where the person is currently at in their life.
However, there are clear instances of people who are energy vampires on a consistent basis. These are Individuals that seem have no awareness of their own behaviour and as a consequence are oblivious to the effect they are having on others. This is one of the reasons why energy vampires can be so dangerous.
When Are They Experienced?
They can be experienced in any kind relationship and are not limited to people we come into contact with on a short term or momentary basis. The people we spend the most time with, for example; family, friends, and loved ones; can also have a draining effect.
How Do They Behave?
When it comes to the behaviour of an energy vampire there is inevitably going to be many variations and subtleties.
As a rough guide I would say the common behaviours include (but are not limited to): control, aloofness, manipulation, passivity, interrogation and a lack of empathy.
Invisible Energy Vampirism
And as well as the visible side, there is also an invisible element. This is the side that is invisible to the naked eye; however this doesn’t mean that its effect is any less destructive. Understanding this ourselves or even describing this to another is often difficult; as the effects are clear but the cause can be somewhat hard to explain or comprehend.
What Do They Have In Common?
So what do energy vampires have in common? Firstly I would like to add (As I have briefly mentioned above) that I believe this behaviour is only possible due to the individual’s lack of awareness of themselves and of others.
To me the biggest commonality of the energy vampire is a lack of boundaries. If we look at what an energy vampire is doing; we can see that they are taking another person’s energy for themselves. The problem is not that they are taking energy; we all need to do it, the problem lies within how they are going about achieving this end.
They take, but what they offer is not equal to what they are taking; what they offer amounts to nothing. So the people they come into contact with will always feel low or compromised in some way. And will often not be able understand how or why it has happened to them.
Having boundaries allows one to say yes and no in an empowered way. When one of these sides is out of balance it can lead to all kinds of dysfunctional behaviour.
With the energy vampires boundaries being out of balance, they then go on to abuse the boundaries of another individual. The person they abuse probably has very similar boundaries.
It Takes Two
This is why this is a two way relationship and something that needs to be looked at from both sides. The energy vampire’s lack of boundaries creates their own need to take energy from another in a way that is dysfunctional.
However if someone is routinely attracting energy vampires into their life and I’m not talking about attracting them on the odd occasion, they might need to look at and perhaps work on their own boundaries.
Giving And Receiving
Boundaries also allow one to give and receive in a functional way.
For example: if one can only receive; they will be seen as always taking; they might also come across as aloof. If on the other hand one can only give, they will feel like they never get what they want and that their needs are rarely, if ever, met.
Why Do They Exist?
So what does the Energy Vampire really want? I believe they exist because deep down they are looking for attention. Their way of behaving is undeniably destructive and dysfunctional, but it has become a coping strategy that allows for their needs to be fulfilled in some form.
This is not dissimilar to how a child is dependent on its parents or caregivers to take care of its every need. At this stage it doesn’t have the capacity for assisting in the needs of others or the awareness to do so. This is normal; considering we are talking about a baby or a young child here.
Self Centred Behaviour
If someone is still acting from this stage of development in their later years they will have very little awareness of the needs of others and on their own behaviour. Their attention will be consumed by their need to have their needs met.
This will create behaviour that is self centred and perhaps unconsciously they still expect others to fulfil their needs just like when they were younger. Through not having these needs met during ones younger years there might also be anger, frustration and other emotions that have accumulated.
There might even be the desire or the longing for revenge. With a general indifference to the needs of others; this only reflects their own past. And given what they have probably gone through this wouldn’t be a surprise or unnatural.
Passive Or Active?
This can create two types of energy vampire; one being more active or masculine and the other being more passive or feminine in nature.
Some energy vampires will resort to one or the other or might even have instances where they display both. This will also depend on what was classed as acceptable ways of behaving during there childhood and how their parents/caregivers behaved.
We can see how important boundaries our not only when it comes to explaining the behaviour of energy vampires, but also in protecting ourselves from them.
It would have been easy to point the finger at energy vampires and make them the perpetrators. On a basic or surface level they are; but if we really want to understand them and empower ourselves, we have to look a little deeper than the usual victim/ perpetrator dynamic.
We can have moments in our life when we feel victimized, but it doesn’t mean we have to become a victim. The same goes to being a perpetrator, we may have had moments when we were a perpetrator, but it doesn’t make us perpetrators.
We only become these identities if we chose to be and this can happen either consciously or unconsciously. It is down to us to define who we are and who will be and not our past experiences.
Controlling behaviour is surely one of the more common ‘negative’ behaviours in the world today. And if one was to reflect upon human history they would find that this kind of behaviour is neither new nor different to the behaviour of the past.
The severity of this behaviour varies - from what might be portrayed on the news; to something that might go unnoticed in our individual lives.
What Is Controlling Behaviour?
So the question is: what is controlling behaviour? How can it be defined? I would loosely describe controlling behaviour as that which causes another to go against their individual wishes or wants.
Where Does It Come From?
As I reflect upon controlling behaviour my attention is taken to the ego mind. With the very nature of the ego mind being control.
How the ego mind functions will depend on how developed it is or should I say the conditioning it has received. With the more undeveloped it is the more control it will want to exert and the less it will want to trust and let go.
The ego mind also creates our sense of individuality and as a result of this; it causes us to feel separate from everything else. This is another big clue when it comes to our understanding of controlling behaviour.
What influences the ego mind or should I say what drives the mind; is the need to be safe. And what is classed as safe to the ego mind is what is perceived as familiar. This causes it to micro manage our life so that everything is familiar to us and this of course creates control.
So How Is The Ego Mind Conditioned?
The ego mind is conditioned by the messages and stimulus it received during our younger years. It is influenced as much by what we did receive as it is it by what we didn’t receive.
After these experiences become familiar to us, we then begin to form an association of it being what is safe for us. At that age we had not yet developed our critical abilities so that we could question whether something is a functional or dysfunctional perception to have and to hold onto.
We were also dependent on our parents or caregivers for everything, so it wasn’t exactly safe for us to question them either.
When we are children we are dependent on our parents/caregivers to take care of our needs. The problems arise when those needs are not met. And this creates conflict, not only in our childhood but also in our later life.
The needs could be to do with being loved, accepted, approved or validated and many others. This creates a sense of emptiness inside when these needs are not met, and we feel as if something is missing; that there is a hole within us. This will naturally create feelings of powerlessness and hopelessness.
These become lost parts of our true self that need to be integrated. They are parts of who we are, that can’t really be lost or gained externally. However, due to not being mirrored during these moments we can’t accept these parts and then look to have these needs met externally.
This is what I believe causes the controlling behaviour. The parts of ourselves that we have not yet realised or acknowledged become parts we then believe we can only gain through another.
Our egos sense of separation can also cause one to perceive these needs as being external.
So What Does This All Mean?
What this reveals to us is that through not having one’s own needs met, we then come to believe that we need others to fill these needs.
Now, as I have mentioned above there are different extremes when it comes to controlling behaviour. Having these needs met in a functional way by others allows us to integrate these needs and leads to our growth and evolution as human beings.
What I am talking about here is a relationship or relationships that are based on mutual consent; trust, appreciation and acceptance, these are values that support functional relationship/s. This is fundamental to our wellbeing to not only survive, but also to thrive.
So what if these needs are taken care of in a dysfunctional way? This is where controlling behaviour comes into it. If one hasn’t had these met as a child, the perception is that why would they get them fulfilled as an adult?
This then leads to the conclusion: either go without or use others for these means. This goes on unconsciously and is formed out of what the ego mind knows. And the ego mind knows only what has happened in the past or a rearrangement of what has happened in the past.
As the main drive of the ego mind is to be safe and to survive, if it means controlling others for its own existence then it will do so. This is all based on its history and what it ‘knows’. Unless one starts to observe their mind there won’t ever be the possibility of moving beyond these old ways of being, as to the mind that is the only option.
It is highly likely that if our needs were not met as children it was because the needs of our parents or caregivers were not met during their younger years.
And if this was the case they will then typically use us to take care of these needs; meaning we will have very little chance of getting our own needs met.
So if ones parents/caregivers controlled them for the fulfilment of their own needs, it won’t be much of a surprise if they then go on to control others for the fulfilment of their own needs.
So How Does This Play Out?
The big area it plays out is in the relational sphere. This must be because relationships are the primary ways we get our needs met.
So depending on what these needs are and how lacking these needs are will ultimately determine the kind of behaviour that is acted out. This leads to the victim/perpetrator or master/slave relationships.
Perhaps, during an individual’s younger years they were made to feel powerless through the process of their parent/s or caregiver/s using them to compensate for their own sense of powerlessness. Not only have their own boundaries been violated; their own need to feel a sense of power has also being denied.
This might have been an occurrence that has been passed on from one generation to the other.
And as I have mentioned above about ’learned behaviour’; unless one becomes conscious they might then become controlling as a way to make up for what they don’t currently feel internally or what has not yet been realised. This then leads to one controlling another, as this is the only way they know how to feel power. Power over others is the only kind of power they can comprehend.
Being Comfortable With Controlling Behaviour
If one experienced control during their younger years it has likely become what is ‘familiar’ to them. This is why people end up in one controlling relationship after another. I don’t believe anyone would consciously want to be in a relationship that is based on control, but to their unconscious mind there is an association of safety.
So what we can see is that; we all have an ego and as a result, we are all controlling to some degree or another. The choice we have to make is whether that control will be used in a way that is functional or dysfunctional and empowering or disempowering to us and to others.
The more we have integrated our own needs and questioned the associations we formed as children, the more self reliant and less controlling and controllable we will be.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.