Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Energy Vampires - Who is Sucking the Life Force Out of You?

This is a guest post, written by Kate Cave. Kate is the creator of the Handling Autism Stress Program for parents of Autistic children.  For more details about this, visit Kate's site at

I have spent two weeks of the summer visiting family, I say summer as that is the official term but those of you in the UK will know that we've had very little sun! Everyone has to do it I know but it was time to visit the parent-in-law (cue scary music). So we packed up the car and trundled off, we were tense but we thought that it wouldn't be that bad when we got there ... except it was!
They're lovely people really but I am now an expert on the problems in the world according to The Daily Mail, I know about all the doctors appointments, how the surgery runs, what's wrong with it, the faults of each doctor at the surgery, what my sister-in-law is doing wrong in her life, I even know about their bowel movements - oh yes! All conversations lead to illness and death even though there is nothing seriously wrong with them. I wanted to shake them and tell them to enjoy the rest of their life, they could have another 10-15 years!
To top it all we knew that we had to follow that with a trip to see my parents the week after. Thankfully this turned out to be a lot more positive although I was amazed at times at how naive my mother can be about mortgages, jobs, money etc as our generation is different to hers. I am often surprised at how, after 18 years she STILL doesn't grasp my daughter's strange ways. My daughter said that she didn't feel very welcome in my mum's house and this (understandably) upset my mum. I knew what she had meant to say, she meant that she felt uncomfortable but despite her intelligence and being very articulate she still gets basic words wrong. A complication of her ASD that people don't grasp. I shouldn't be too hard on my mum, she hasn't lived with it on a daily basis.
Now, I am a positive person, I can take situations and turn them around. I frequently help people to see their problems from a different point of view. I do it as my job but also it's just part of who I am. Even so, I have to admit that I found this challenging.
People with negative energies will suck the life out of you, equally, people with very positive energies will invigorate you. I know that you cannot stay out of the way of people with negative energies but please consider limiting your time with them. Because we know this our family trips last no more than 4 days at a time, because that is when our tolerance runs out and you don't want to risk leaving on bad terms.
You need to look after yourself, you need to put systems into place to do what you need to do but put self-preservation first. You are important, without you to hold things together would your family be okay? What good will you be to anyone if you've had a breakdown?

We could have spent longer visiting but at what risk? It's the risk to your physical and emotional well-being, and to your relationships with partners and children. You have to know and understand that people are where they are in life, and that if they're not willing to move on then so be it. I've tried to put a positive slant on things when my in-laws moan and groan but at 78 they believe they're right about everything and they just don't want to listen. So if this is you then I would advise you just to stop flogging a dead horse and save your strength for people that may listen to you.

I could go on for hours but basically what I am trying to say, and what I hope you will remember is that People who are wrapped up in their own misery will bring you down, simple fact. There are methods to help you cope but I still want to remind everyone - look after your own energy, don't get dragged down to their level.

Kate has been a complementary therapist for over 18 years. Both before and during that time Kate has worked with many children and adults with autism, she has also worked with people a variety of people who have a wide range of learning difficulties and disabilities in different situations.
Kate works with families to help them cope with the stress of bringing up a child with autism, something which Kate knows only too well as she is an autism parent too. Kate's 18 year old daughter has Pathological Demand Avoidance Syndrome (PDA).

The Handling Autism Stress Program for Parents of Autistic Children
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