Do you surround yourself with people who support and cheer you on, or people who drag you down? If you are feeling drained by your relationships, then you need to know about energy vampires and how they can impact your well-being. Your health and energy levels are at stake in any relationship, and you need to learn how to mitigate the effects of toxic ones on your personal life.
In this podcast, I speak with Dr. Christiane Northrup, a board-certified OB/GYN physician and leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. She is also a New York Times best-selling author and has written the book Dodging Energy Vampires. Listen in, to get expert advice on how to avoid negativity, toxicity, and narcissism from others.
For this episode, Dr. Northrup shares her intimate knowledge on how you can identify and dodge the energy vampires in your personal life and eliminate the stress they cause you. You will be amazed at the potential impact the simple tools she recommends may have on your energy levels.
In this podcast, Dr. Northrup will cover
- What an energy vampire is (And how to recognize one)
- The way toxic relationships are linked to health problems
- Am I an energy vampire? (The one, simple way to self-diagnose)
- How narcissists often present themselves to get their “fix”
- Common traits of energy vampires
- The surprising truth about psychopaths (And the roles they have in society)
- Dr. Northrup’s advice on how to modify the behavior of energy vampires
- What is a super trait? (And why people with super traits often end up in toxic relationships)
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Dodging Energy Vampires with Dr. Christiane Northrup – Are Toxic Relationships Draining Your Energy? Transcript
Ari Whitten: Hey everyone, welcome back to the Energy Blueprint Podcast. I’m your host Ari Whitten, and today I am honored to be joined by Dr. Christiane Northrup, who is a board-certified OB/GYN physician and New York Times bestselling author, a visionary, pioneer and leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. And she’s internationally known for her empowering approach to women’s health and wellness and she teaches women how to thrive at every stage of life.
And I would also say in addition to women, she has much to teach pretty much everybody as well, especially when it comes to energy vampires, which is the subject of our conversation today.
So welcome to the show again, Dr. Christiane Northrup.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Thank you. This is a fun topic and only took me, you know, about a lifetime to come up with it.
Ari Whitten: A lifetime of hard one personal experience.
The most common traits of energy vampires
Dr. Christiane Northrup: That is correct. That is absolutely correct. It makes me laugh to think about it, you know, but I finally have named something that, you know, this is the only book that I’ve ever written… I mean, I’ve gotten a lot of letters over the years, but no one’s writing letters these days. This book, I was getting letters and greeting cards, you know, “Thank you, you saved my life.”
Because this is, this energy vampire thing is a major public health problem that is just not recognized at all by the court system, by the legal profession, by the medical profession. It is not recognized at all.
And once I got into it and I gathered the different experts and so on, I realized, wow, this is the story of my life. But not just my life, it’s the story of so many people, the kind of people who listen to your Podcast. Because there’s a group of us that are, that carry a lot of light, want to make the world a better place.
And we can’t, we have such a hard time believing that there are individuals who are not good in their heart. We have this… Dr. George Simon said to me, “It’s the belief that only hurt people hurt people.” And it’s not true. And once you understand that you can begin to reclaim your life. I was hoping to prevent women from staying, and men, overly long in relationships with bosses, children, spouses, where their energy was being drained.
Because what I noticed, Ari, over time is… You know, you and I were into nutrition and lifestyle and all that. And there was a sub group of people and no matter what they did with diet, exercise, acupuncture, massage, they would do it all and it would never get better. Because every time they would go home, you know, some energy vampire was taking them down a unit of blood, you know, theoretically, regularly.
And so, they couldn’t get their energy back. And so, you know, I finally named it and saw it and saw it in my own life because we tend to be targeted by this, by these energy vampires. So, it’s really, it’s a person, it’s called in psychiatry Cluster B or a personality disorder. And what does that mean? It’s not a chemical imbalance. It’s not bipolar illness.
It’s not a lack of Prozac or Zoloft or the SSRI of the moment. It’s that these people are self-centered, and they lack empathy and they’re out for themselves. And as Dr. Simon says, “Think they’re being aggressive because there’s something they want,” which is your energy called narcissistic supply. And so, he said, think of a cat with a mouse. So, you’ve seen a cat with a mouse. The cat’s excited. It really doesn’t have a lot of empathy for the mouse.
It’s batting the mouse around. It’s kind of horrifying to watch, but the cat is clearly very excited. Well, that’s how these people are. They are aggressively going after what they want while you’re meanwhile trying to think, “How can I help this poor person who must be hurting inside, or they wouldn’t be acting like this.” So anyhow, it’s one in five people. There is a spectrum like autism.
You know, so you might have a friend who is a little self-centered and narcissistic, that’s fine. And that’s on one end. And then way on the other end is the psychopath. And when we think of psychopath, we think psychopathic killer. Right? No. Most of these people are running international corporations and they’re under the radar. And, you know, they just don’t have any conscience. They just go after what they want. You know, our current…
Ari Whitten: I love how you phrased that. “Like he’s not a serial killer. He’s just your local neighborhood CEO.”
Dr. Christiane Northrup: That’s right. It’s really true. It’s really true. They’re the ones you know who have the, you know, they’ve been married six or seven times. They go for… What they’re interested in is status, money, glamour, sex. They’re often very, very good at sex. There’s, and in our space, you know, the spiritual space, there’s a lot of gurus. I mean, what has happened, right, since the #MeToo movement. I was so excited when the Harvey Weinstein thing came up. I was so freaking excited.
But, you know, finally,people were coming forward about stuff that I’d been hearing about since the eighties. You know, where women would come into my office, they’d sit down on the couch, they’d start to cry, they would tell me about, you know, being raped or being sexually abused or whatever it is.
And I’d think, “Well, no wonder they have period problems and menopause problems and chronic pelvic pain.” And right around menopause, by the way, you know, that’s when the ego gets strong enough that these memories come up. Very often they don’t even remember it. And then suddenly, “Whoa, wait a minute, this is what happened.” And so, when the Harvey Weinstein thing hit, I thought finally our culture is waking up.
And now, of course, the men have permission as well to talk about the sexual abuse of little boys by priests. I mean, that’s the scandal of the entire planet with the Catholic Church. And it has ruined the lives of many, many, many men. But this is the kind of thing where these characters are so charismatic often. They are so manipulative. I have a good friend who is, he is hired by a diocese. So, he worked for the Catholic Church and I said, “How’d you get into that position?”
Because his whole practice was men who had been sexually abused by priests and he represented these people and went into the cardinal and the cardinal was so impressed with how good he was that they hired him to work with priests proactively. He said to me, “I’m really good at what I do. I’ve been in this for 35 years and I know that I can be taken in by a really good-looking psychopath.” Because they are men and women. It’s not just men. There are many women especially. And I have a friend, Tommy Rosa who wrote a book “Health Revelations from Heaven to Earth.” And Tommy was killed in a hit and run accident and in a coma for three months and, you know, went to heaven, has an amazing story and now has all these gifts. And he said, “You can tell a female vampire. They’re often a 10.” You know, like we would call, “Oh, that woman is a 10.” And he said, “They have really high butts. They’re gorgeous. And you can’t take your eyes off them.” He said, “Almost every time they’re a vampire.”
So, I really wanted people to understand this dynamic. They’re the people who drive you nuts at Christmas. You can’t do right by them. And as soon as you stand up for yourself, as soon as you say no, as soon as you have a boundary, they are off to the next person. And for those women or men who have been married to such a person for 25 years, it’s devastating because you think…
You do everything in your power to make them happy, to make the relationship work, to do all of that. And then they’re just off to the next person and it’s very hard to believe that the love was never there. But they really don’t have the empathy that you have. I call us old souls, we were born with an inferior ego. So, we keep our ego alive by looking for things to improve about ourselves.
The energy vampires are born with a superior ego and they don’t think anything’s wrong with them. So, we make a match made in hell. Right?
Ari Whitten: Yeah. That’s a very insightful way of phrasing that. I’ve actually done a Ph.D program in clinical psychology. I’ve never heard it phrased quite like that, but I like that. And it’s kind of ironic, right, that the people who maybe need some degree of introspection the most are the ones least inclined to do any of it.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yes. Yes, and because they’re not identified as such, they just go on to the next victim and they’re so charismatic. Did you happen to… I would say one of the best and most extreme examples is this podcast that was created with the files of the LA Police Department and it’s called “Dirty John.” And it is this six-part dramatized series actually interviewing his victims, the women that he married.
And he was a nurse and it’s riveting. I have listened to the entire thing twice. It is riveting and Bravo is going to make a show about it because it is just so unbelievable because the guy was so good at what he did. So good and he would target a certain kind of woman. They all had money. They, I mean, he literally got away with murder and they often do because they, you know, you look into their eyes and, well, you should be scared to death. But usually you know what you think is, “Oh my God.” They “love bomb” you. They know, they have malignant intuition. I’m glad you did this PhD in clinical psychology. I don’t know how much you studied personality disorders, but wow.
Ari Whitten: Very heavily. I think that was the thing that was most interesting to me. Definitely. But I want to dig into something a little bit more here. So, you mentioned this in passing. I want to emphasize this a bit more. I personally have seen that in a number of people, this is certainly not everyone’s issue, but in a certain kind of person, it may be very well the case that their nutrition and lifestyle habits could be dialed in quite well and they still suffer from serious health issues because their major issue is a toxic relationship with an energy vampire.
And this can be, you know, really the major issue for a lot of people’s health struggles or chronic fatigue. Can you talk a bit about, I guess first of all, I’m assuming you agree with me, but do you agree with what I said just now?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Absolutely. That was almost the whole reason that I wrote the book as a physician. I thought people need to know this because this is the reason why women are getting breast cancer, why they have chronic fatigue, why we have all these mystery illnesses. They literally are being drained dry. And no matter what they do… And, you know, and they’re the ones seeing the functional medicine docs, they’re the ones doing acupuncture, getting the sun, they’re doing everything to get better. And until this energy imbalance is addressed, they’re not going to get better.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. And can you talk, I think from sort of a physiological and reductionist biochemical perspective, I know this is certainly not the only paradigm that you want to talk about this from. But just for a moment, can you talk a bit about maybe some of the mechanisms by which being in a toxic relationship with an energy vampire could manifest as health problems and fatigue on a physiological level?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yeah, first of all there’s this thing called gaslighting. So, let’s just talk about what that is. It comes from a movie “Gaslight” where this guy was trying to, I think kill his wife. And what he would do is he would turn down the gas lights and tell her and she’d say, “Who turned down the lights?” And he’d go, “What are you talking about?” And turn them back up. So that’s what gaslighting means. And it took me a while, but you know, people would talk about gaslighting, what is it? It comes from that movie.
But what it really amounts to is this toxic person has malignant intuition. They know what your most heartfelt dreams and desires are, and they give you just enough to keep you hooked so that you will give them your love, your attention, your money, your sex, all of that, and you won’t get anything in return except a crumb now and again. What that leads to is chronically high cortisol levels. Then with chronically high cortisol levels.
If you’ve seen anybody on Prednisone or steroids, anyone who has cancer who’s given steroids, you know, that they’ll often gain 20 pounds. They will have depressed immunity so that they are then susceptible to every germ that’s going around. Their skin gets thinner, their hair can fall out, the thyroid can sort of fall out, and you keep giving and not having this replenished because that’s life force which modern medicine doesn’t really talk about. But the life force can be interpreted as your adrenal health, your ability to produce cortisol and epinephrine.
Now, if you’re producing too much cortisol and epinephrine, the fight or flight hormones, you need additional B vitamins and magnesium just for starters, just to keep those hormones being produced. And over time, you will deplete your body’s levels of those nutrients so that you’re running on empty.
And then you keep trying to give this person what they want. It’s like you’re on continual Prednisone and steroids. You have then incredible sugar cravings. You can’t seem to stop eating. You can’t sleep. Over time you get what’s called executive function disorder. And literally this has been studied where people who are… Now, remember, they tend to target, and I want to get into this concept of super traits. It’s a very specific type of person.
And Sandra Brown has studied this at Purdue to show that this is a real thing. There is a type of person who doesn’t see it. We were born with rose colored glasses and they keep manipulating you. You keep giving until you’ve almost lost your ability to function. You’re depressed, you’re overweight, the immune system is shot, and you’re the one showing up at the health fair. You’re the one going for accu….
You’re doing everything in your power to regain your health and you don’t get it that you’re bailing a boat that has a chronic leak in it. And you’re just not going to get any stronger because nobody’s coming to relieve you until you finally patch the leak. And that is name the toxic relationship and get out of it. But here’s the problem. These individuals are very addictive.
They’re addictive and they don’t go away. I mean, it’s interesting that some of the energy vampires in my life, 20 years later, they’re still in touch. It’s so odd. And then you think, “Oh my God, they really, they really did like me.” No, they didn’t. You’re just the source of narcissistic supply because you have so much light and so much to give to others. But the bottom line is they drain your vital life energy. They drain your vital financial fluid very often, so they’re taking your money. And, but you know, you’re depleted of all of your nutrients and your nutrient burn rate goes way, way, way up.
Is it only men who are energy vampires?
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Beautifully said. So, I want to ask a couple sort of basic questions here and I also want to clarify one point. So, you’ve talked so far about sort of this being sort of a male/female dynamic where males tend to be the energy vampires and it’s usually females that are the victims. Is it also the case that sometimes it’s reversed or is it pretty much always males being the energy vampires, females being victims?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Oh, it’s very often reversed with what’s called borderline personality disorder. Now men have that, but most of the borderlines are women. And I’ve often wanted to give a course for men on how to spot and avoid a female energy vampire because I have watched so many good men end up as, you know, just sort of sucked dry skeletons by the side of the road.
Because a functional person with a lot of masculine energy… Masculine energy is about protecting and serving. And men, most men, most of the time want to please women, most women, most of the time. And with a borderline, no matter what you do, they set the bar higher. So, what I’ve noticed is that good men think, here’s the con, because they always have a hook and the hook is that you can save them.
You can help their business, you can whatever. They’re incredibly seductive. And I have watched this happen so much that I almost want to scream to the guy, “No, no, no, don’t go there. You will not be able to do right by her. She will take your money. She will take your best years and she will leave you bleeding by the side of the road. And then she will be remarried. She’ll get a new victim within, oh, the way they usually do it, 15 minutes.”
It’s awful to see this. So, you know, I don’t know what the ratio is. You know, we tend to think of narcissism as being more in men just because of patriarchy and women being paid less and women being less valuable. But believe me, there are so many energy vampire women. And also, by the way, in a primary care practice as an OB/GYN or a family physician, 25 to 30 percent of your patient load is going to be a personality disorder.
It’s this, “Help me. You can’t. Help me. You can’t.” So I impaled myself on more hooks with these people who would say to me, “Oh, thank God I found you. You’re the only one who can help me.” Now let’s back that up. So here I am. I’m a sort of a newly minted holistic physician. I believe in nutrition. I believe in exercise. I believe in vital life force. I believe in all of that. No one in my profession believes that, so I’m working very hard to stay in the good graces of my profession, but feeling though I had these convictions, I still had the need to be accepted. So these patients would say, “Oh, thank God I found you. You’re the only one who could help me.”
And what I should have done is have been a little cautious. It’s like, “No, like I can’t save anybody. You have to save yourself.” So what I did is I had a whole patient load of these people who were using me as their source of narcissistic supply. What was I getting out of it? Feeling good about myself. I was helping this person that no one else could help. So we have to look at the dynamic between the two things. You’re not going to be a victim of this person unless you have an unmet need inside that you are hoping they will fulfill.
And remember that these people often are reflected at twice their normal size. I mean, they look larger than life and you feel as though you get to be in their aura and it makes you look good. It’s sort of the Hollywood thing, you know, like this person is larger than life. They look so good. It’s the mean girl in the eighth grade. Oh, you want to be in her orbit even though you’re the fat one with pimples. And so, you know, that’s what this dynamic is all about. And then you finally see it and you realize they’re empty inside. There’s nobody home.
The most common traits of energy vampires
Ari Whitten: Yeah, so let’s get specific on maybe some of the traits of an energy vampire. You said one in five people, and that’s men and women are Cluster Bees, are full blown Cluster Bees. So what are some of the identifying traits? And I also want to mention here kind of going back to what we were talking about a moment ago that maybe some of the people who are most, who are least inclined to do the introspective work and see things in themselves are maybe the ones who need it the most.
People that are most inclined to project blame outward are, you know, the people who maybe need to do some introspecting and vice versa. The people who are often the ones who are always seeing the problems in themselves and them being the source of the problems, who are the victims of energy vampires, need to start to learn how to discern, “Is this really a problem in me that I’m creating this, or is this the other person who is just truly, has some kind of nasty characteristics and they’re also contributing to it.” So what are some of these specific characteristics to be aware of?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Well, you’ve nailed it, that dynamic. One, energy vampires almost never take responsibility for anything that they do. The world is doing it to them. They’re very, very clever victims. Very clever. They will always run for the victim position always, no matter what it is. You know, the bank is screwing them, their boss is screwing them, the ex-girlfriend, the ex-wife, their children are screwing them. No one understands me. They cry crocodile tears. Now this is one that has always hooked me.
Go to movies with one of them and they would start to cry at all the right places and you would think, “Oh my God, this person feels so deeply.” No, they don’t. Those are crocodile tears. And they, you know, here’s an example. I went to see the movie, this is an old movie, “Good Morning Vietnam,” way, way, way back with this guy who at the end of the movie is kind of weeping.
A classic narcissist guy. He’s weeping. These Vietnam vets in the movie come back, pat his knee and say, “Are you okay buddy?” This guy I was with never served in any armed forces. He was just collecting narcissistic supply from the guys who’d really been there. So they cry crocodile tears. They often, when they, when you’re new in relationship with them, they can keep up a facade for about two years. Okay?
So don’t marry one of them until two years has gone by. That’s generally, they can keep up a facade for two years. They will often love bomb you, tell you how amazing you are, how they never could be doing this without you. They’re telling you the things you’ve always wanted to hear. That’s the malignant intuition. They’re often very, very good at sex because that’s how they get narcissistic supply from the Shakti of sex.
They’re often very good looking, very charismatic. They’re often very good at what they do. I mean, whether that’s a doctor, a lawyer, an actor, a musician, they’re often just… So, just because they’re an energy vampire doesn’t mean that they’re not good at what they do. Look at Harvey Weinstein. Come on, he produced “Shakespeare in Love,” all kinds of great stuff. There are often very talented. So that’s some of the characteristics. But what you’ll notice is they often do not have any long term stable relationships.
So if they come to you and let’s say that they’ve been divorced two, three times and the rhetoric is, “You know, he never understood me, she didn’t understand me, she didn’t…” Or here’s an example of female… Narcissists don’t age well, that’s an important piece of information. They don’t age well. So what happens is youth, you know, is a great defense.
So when you’re young, you can get away with all kinds of things. As they get older it’s harder and harder for them to get the narcissistic supply. So the typical borderline women that I have known personally have often married a good man first time around and then criticized the bejesus out of him after the first two years. And then he finally woke up and left, maybe from a bleeding ulcer or a health scare or whatever.
Because eventually, you know, you stay with them and you will die prematurely. And then they’ll run off the next four to five guys. Because what happens is that people will wake up. I’ve found that men tend to wake up sooner. This is probably a patriarchal thing, but I’ve noticed that the borderline women that I’ve known will run off four to five different men, and at the end of their lives or when they’re in their fifties, sixties, seventies, they’re often alone and blaming the first husband for wrecking their lives.
The ones that they had children with, and then their own children don’t want them around. So that’s very, very common. The men will just tend to marry the next, you know, the next woman. And many times they’ll often marry each other. And if it’s a really fantastic romance addiction, narcissism where the pictures look good, that will work for them toward the end of their lives. Their children won’t have anything to do with them, but you know, they’re caught in a nice little Neptunian haze.
What super traits are, and how they figure into the dynamic of energy vampires and empaths
Ari Whitten: Fascinating stuff. So you mentioned in passing something called super traits. What are super traits and how do they figure into all of this?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: This is the work of Dr. Sandra Brown who wrote, “Women Who Love Psychopaths.” And when I first heard of this book and saw the cover, it was so scary. I thought I couldn’t read it. I thought it can’t be that bad. And then I read the book and she has identified a sub group. Now in her case women, but I’ve met super trait men as well who had these super traits.
They are fixed personality characteristics. Like they are as innate as your hair color, as your eye color, as your fingerprint. And they are this: loyalty, practicality… I want to tell you how she came up with this. She used to run groups for narcissistic men. So she began to see how that worked. And the other thing I want to say about narcissists, many of them have had a lot of couch time. They’ve had a lot of psychotherapy.
So what you said is, you know, they’re the ones who could use the insight. They can talk… If a therapist does not understand this dynamic, they can come to you for 30 years and nothing will change. But when they’re in, when they’re on the couch, you think they get it. Afterward, you’ll go, “Oh, they get it, they understand.” No, they don’t. They just filled up with your energy for the next thing.
So they’ve often had a lot of couch time. And Sandra Brown noticed that they almost never change. George Simon will say that sometimes in their sixties, at the end of life they will have true contrition. Contrition means to be broken into a thousand pieces and they’ll do everything they can to make it up to you. He has seen that. I have not. Okay. So anyway, what she, she then began to work with groups of women who were called “codependent,” right?
And she found that there was a sub group of women who were not codependent. There was no learned helplessness. These were women who were judges, federal judges, doctors, CEOs, pharmacists. They were running companies. This was not women with learn helplessness. So she’d say, “How are they getting into relationship with these narcissists?” And she’d find out that this sub group had super traits, all the stuff that led them to their success in their businesses, with their employees, with academics, with everything.
They believed that, you know, it’s like, “Let me in there coach, I can fix this.” And so those traits don’t work with a narcissist. They work everywhere else in their life. But they figured, “I could bring my loyalty, my practicality, my belief that I really can’t be harmed because I have so much to give.” They bring these to a relationship and think that they could fix this person and they can’t.
She did a study of personality inventories at Purdue and has finally published this research in the latest edition of “Women Who Love Psychopaths.” And she said, this is the group that they can’t believe that this person doesn’t love them. They can’t believe how ineffective they are with this person because they’re so effective everywhere else in their life.
Ari Whitten: And so it’s almost like being drawn to that leading edge of growth for you, which works so well to generate success in so many areas. But then you’re in a sort of Catch 22 situation. Or it’s like a no win situation where you’re always on the cusp of sort of getting true love and admiration from this person, but it never quite gets there.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: And that’s what they’ll do. See, just when they feel that your energy is being withdrawn, they’ll throw you a bone and that’s what’s addictive. It keeps you coming back because you think, “This time he’s going to change. This time he will get it.” And she has found out many of these women have executive function disorder.
They literally need EMDR, rapid eye movement therapy. They need tapping. They need everything to get their mind back. I have a friend who was married to one of these characters and she said she couldn’t help herself from continually feeling sorry for this guy and he even called her the week before his wedding to another woman to, you know, to get narcissistic supply from her.
I said, “You have to learn. Don’t pick up the phone.” Because they don’t go away. This guy, Dirty John had, now that’s extreme I understand, had 200 different women that he was communicating with through social media at the time that he was, you know, in the final stages of this marriage to a woman who was very wealthy who was supporting him.
Am I an energy vampire? How to self-diagnose
Ari Whitten: So I have another question. Similar vein and a much more challenging one, which is we kind of talked about how to recognize if somebody is vampirizing you, and how to recognize these traits in someone else. Given that this is so common, one in five people, is there any reliable way that somebody could maybe start to identify if they themselves are vampirizing others and they are an energy vampire? Or are they just going to be kind of, as we talked about before, so resistant to any sort of introspection and recognition of what they’re doing themselves that it’s sort of fruitless to even talk about such a thing?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yeah. I love that you brought it up because the only people who ever worry that maybe they’re the energy vampire are empaths. They’re the only ones. It’s almost what you just said, it’s diagnostic. When you worry that it might be you, then you know you’re an empath.
Ari Whitten: Congratulations. You don’t have to worry about being an energy vampire.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: That’s right because remember what you said earlier, which is our job is to stop doing tick checks on ourselves. Our job is to trust our gut and not talk ourselves out of our own goodness, and so here’s what you need. You need to have a reality check group of friends. Now, here’s what you’ll find.
Most of the time your friends will not like this person, whether it’s a man or a woman. Later, they’ll tell you, “Oh God, I knew that was bad from the beginning.” You need to have… Here’s what I have now. Okay. I have a woman, Diane who arranged this and we’ve worked together for about 37 years. She was my first nurse and she has radar that is impeccable, impeccable. She’s never been wrong. But I have said to her, “Now, look, if I’m about to do it again in business, in a personal relationship, you have to tell me.”
I said, “You can’t hide behind ‘I knew it’ and tell me three years later. You’ve got to tell me right away because now I trust you.” I mean, because I’ve had enough experience with patients who have reported me and lawsuits and all of that, you know, I’m now way upstream on this. So, but I have a couple people when I say to them, “Listen.” Because remember, super trait people, that’s a fixed personality.
You see the best in other people. You, honest to God, I think in 200 years, in 200 lifetimes, you’re still going to think, “If I could just get to the heart of that person, if I could just touch their soul, they would wake up and change.” I mean, we become rescue addicts for heaven sakes. So you have to have people who are reality checks for you. So my friend, whose ex-husband called just before his wedding, you know, she’ll call me and she’ll say, “Look, here’s what I’m doing with this other guy I’m dating. What do you think?” She’ll call me the minute you start to feel like maybe this is eerily familiar.
Now, oftentimes, oftentimes we will have had a parent who was one of these. So it feels normal to us. Because as a little kid, aged two, aged three, you think it’s your job to heal the parent. So it’s very, very, it’s a very old pattern. It’s very ingrained and it’s not about not loving the parent. It’s about loving yourself. It ultimately becomes about, “Would I ever treat someone the way I’m being treated?” And the answer is no, you wouldn’t, you couldn’t.
Ari Whitten: Yeah. So basically we all need to Diane in our lives.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yeah. Or just a good friend who can see it because you’re going to have friends, you know, like, here’s the difference. An energy vampire, let’s say it’s a man comes up to me at a bar, not anymore but in the past, and says, “You know, well, my ex-wife won’t let me see the kids and she’s such a bitch and you know,” And I was all about, “Oh, well. I’m sure that I can help you heal your heart and all of that.” A normal person without super traits would say, “What a loser.” Right? Yeah.
Why not all energy vampires are narcissists
Ari Whitten: Yeah. I have maybe an odd question. I’m wondering if you have any insights into this, and I’m probably not going to articulate this all that well, but I’ll do my best here.
So in some formulations of understanding personality dynamics, you have sort of on, and I don’t want to overcomplicate this was too much information, but on one end of the spectrum in terms of how certain personalities are structured, you have the narcissists and the psychopaths and that sort of dynamic. And on the opposite end of that spectrum, you have depressive oriented personalities. And they share some of, in some ways they’re opposites. And in some ways they’re actually similar.
So they’re opposites in the sense that the depressives tend to have more inferior egos. They don’t start from this position of superiority over others. They have this position of everyone is great and better than me.
But in another sense they’re similar in the way that they’re sort of seeking out, I don’t know if you could call it narcissistic supply, but seeking out some sort of way of healing their egos. What’s coming to mind for me is like I’ve seen certain relationships where one of the partners is extremely depressive oriented in their personality. And they’re just always sad and kind of apathetic and not passionate and don’t ever really smile. They’re not playful. They’re kind of lifeless and not passionate about anything. And I’m wondering, I don’t know if you would call this the same term of energy vampires, but I’m wondering if you could also conceptualize the sort of energy sucking nature of being in that sort of dynamic as a sort of energy vampirism, but maybe in sort of a different way. I’m just, hopefully I articulated that decently, but I’m wondering if you have any thoughts on that.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Oh yeah. I think that what you’ve said there is absolutely the truth. I want to give you an example from, that’s an amazing example. So I had a friend who was a psych resident at the hospital and this guy comes in with his wife who’s in a wheelchair.
Now I don’t know quite why she was in the psych unit, but what happened is that in a delirium state one night she got up out of the wheelchair and walked down the hall. And in the morning all the psychiatrists said, “This is phenomenal news. You can walk. You’re not crippled.” She sat there in her wheelchair and said, “I deserve total care.”
Okay. So in the delirium state of a fever or God knows what, she gets up and walks. But in the morning, “Oh no, no, no, no, I’m not going there. I deserve total care.” My psychiatrist friend went up to her husband and said, “If this is what you want for your life, that’s okay if you want to keep… But she really can walk. She just doesn’t want to. So this would be a very good time for you to exit stage left if you don’t want this to be your life.” And so I believe that there are those people who are so… I mean, this is what we would call needy, pathologically needy.
Ari Whitten: And also, I mean, I think overtly masochistic. Their intention of creating their own suffering in order to get connection and attention.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: That’s right. Now these are the people that medical intuitive, Carolyn Mace would say to them, “Snap out of it.” Because they’re the ones who need the tough love. Like, listen, “You are bringing me down.” What I often say to men, if they’re dating, don’t go for the ones who aren’t smiling. If she’s not smiling, don’t go near her because you cannot fill an empty vessel. The filling has to come from within. So I believe that the dynamic is actually the same. It’s still a fricken manipulation and this has taken me a lifetime to figure out. I can not be source for someone else. I just can’t be it.
How to get out of a situation where an energy vampire drains you
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Beautifully said. So we’ve talked about all this sort of different aspects and nuances of energy vampires. What can somebody do on a practical level to, once they’ve sort of recognized they’re in that situation, what can they do on a practical level to either prevent being in that situation in the first place and escape maybe a lifelong pattern or get out of the situation that they’re currently in?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Okay. Knowledge is power, so the first thing you do is you learn about it. You learn the dynamics, and this is what my book “Dodging Energy Vampires” has done. People will say, “Oh my God, you know, I learned so much from that. Now I know what I have to do.” George Simon has a wonderful book called, “In Sheep’s Clothing.” And he used to, and he’s a PhD psychologist and he said he used to teach therapists 25 years ago. And the therapists, many of them would walk out of the room because they didn’t want to believe that this was a real thing. Now he trains therapists who understand the dynamics.
So the first thing is to realize what you’re dealing with and understand that you will have enormous resistance, enormous resistance for seeing the truth. But what’s happening, especially in the new energy, I call this the new energy on earth. We didn’t blow ourselves up as a planet December 21, 2012. So now the light is winning and it’s flushing out the darkness. So what’s happening is the dark is getting darker, but the light is getting lighter. So it’s going to be harder and harder for people to stay in these relationships.
Harder and harder as they’re waking up. You could stay in these in the fifties, sixties, seventies, eighties. You know, when how it looked, looking good as a family was a such a huge thing that you didn’t want to leave. But now we almost can’t keep this up anymore. So the first thing is realize what you’re dealing with. That’s number one. Number two, get in some kind of support group. So, there are a number of them. There’s the “Empath’s Survival Guide.” Judith Orloff has a Facebook group online for people that’s free. She, it’s, you know, how to determine what you do as an empath.
Melanie Tonia Evans out of Australia has her NARP group, the Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Program. So she’s got a big online presence and she’s got a YouTube channel, Thriver TV, so you can go there and learn about that. She’s just coming out with a book. She’s got an online program. And what’s important is to realize that once you get out of the pattern, you notice it in yourself, you get out of the pattern, you can have a whole new life. You can get a whole new life partner, it’s like you completely change your point of attraction.
So there’s nothing to be gained… Dr. Simon said that what he found is that if he could just interrupt the pattern so that people would not stay in these marriages for 35, 40 years, because what you’d often find is some woman, some man who’s 70, 75 and they’ve donated their whole life to changing this character who’s not going to change.
So to me, and then the other thing that I have done in my own life is I just do a timeline and I see, okay, this was a relationship with let’s say a childhood friend that lasted 40 years, but now I’m no longer in touch with that person. This work colleague was 13 years. This business colleague, I saw it within three years and now I have my reality check people. So I see it coming down the road and they don’t even have to have the relationship.
So you can judge, I mean start to laugh about it. First of all, you know, I believe that we are immortal and we’re just learning this particular lesson here on earth. So it’s never too late. But the first thing is you’ve got to believe it. And most people when they’re in it, that’s how it works for the energy vampire. They get others to be their flying monkeys and their strategy is splitting.
They split their children from the other parent. They split their children from each other, divide and conquer. So they have all these tactics that work. And as long as you’re doing their bidding, then nothing can change. The person has to be ready on a soul level to see the pattern. Oh, and then here’s the biggest one. Okay, there’s a song on the radio, “Say Something, I’m Giving Up On You.” I’m sure you have heard it. I couldn’t listen to it for two years because it’s like I would never give up on someone.
And finally, you have to. You have to give up on the vampire. And George Simon talks about that. It’s the only way they will ever change in the one in a million times they do. You have to finally give up on them. There’s not one more thing you can say, you can do, not one more book you can give them not one more workshop you can go to, not one more massage that you buy for them. Not one thing. You give up on them.
Ari Whitten:I have a question on that. So you said there’s nothing else, and maybe I’m misquoting you, but you said something like, “Nothing else will cause them to change except that.” And so are you talking about the energy vampire that by giving, by someone giving up on them they will change, or are you talking about the victim changing?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Okay, n the very rare circumstances when they changed… Okay, now this is a double edge sword because the empath will do anything…
Ari Whitten: When the vampire will change.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: When the vampire will change, so you’re waiting your whole life for them to change, right? So that you can finally get something back. And so you keep thinking that you can heal them. Right? Okay. The only time that they ever change, if they ever do and they usually don’t, is you must proceed as though they will never ever change. It is the only way. It’s the only way.
And then in the one in a million times when they do change, it is because your withdrawal will finally wake them up to the fact, this is the one case where I’ve seen some change. They lose status, money, a marriage, looking good. That’s the only thing that has any relevance for them. The only. It’s not love.
Ari Whitten: I think I get where you’re going when you called it a double edge sword. My hunch is that what you’re saying is you have to then be weary from the empath’s, the victim’s perspective. You have to then be worried about maybe them playing a little psychological game or deluding themselves into sort of thinking, you know, like, “Oh, now I can finally change this person by threatening them to leave” and it, or sort of halfway convincing myself that I’m going to leave, but secretly I’m wishing that it will cause them to change and then I can stay with them.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: That’s right. That’s it. The one time when I saw a change in a man was when his wife already had an apartment. She was ready to leave. She was ready to walk away. This is the other thing people do is they stay embroiled in these toxic situations because of money and possessions. It is better to walk away and have your life than to hang around waiting for an oriental rug. Yeah.
Ari Whitten: Yeah, I have one last question to you. This is a very big picture question and almost gets into like a sort of meta-spiritual sort of question, but basically if you look at sort of the big picture of this, you could call it this cosmic game of human life on earth.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yeah.
Ari Whitten: It is interesting that these personality dynamics even exist. That it’s possible to be in a relationship with somebody where you are either a victim or you’re a vampire or, you know, I mean there’s innumerable different variations of kinds of relationships. Some toxic, some beautiful.
But in one sense when you consider the big picture, you know, not the small scale of somebody suffering in the context of a toxic relationship, but maybe the big picture of certain people suffering in a toxic relationship. Then let’s say encountering the knowledge that you’re sharing and then let’s say having a set of realizations that lead to them getting rid of that toxic relationship, profoundly changing the course of their life.
You could almost see that narcissist and that energy vampire as almost, in the grand scheme of the cosmic game, almost a catalyst for those people reclaiming their power and transforming their life. And I’m certainly not trying to justify those people or say that they’re really do gooders or anything like that, but I’m saying in a weird sort of way on the grand picture of the cosmic game, they may be serving some kind of greater role in helping people rise up to some new level of power in their lives. Is that…
Dr. Christiane Northrup: I completely agree which is why at the very first entry into my acknowledgments in the book was my gratitude to every single energy vampire in my life because without them I would never be who I am today. It’s like they are the grain of sand in the oyster and you keep working with it until you’ve got a pearl.
And I absolutely believe with you that sometime, you know, before birth, when you decided who your parents were going to be and what the point of attraction was going to be. The energy vampire said, “Okay, I’m going to wear the black hat. I’m going to do this and I am going to perform for you the greatest spiritual service I ever could.” I completely agree with you
Ari Whitten: Yeah. Beautiful. Well, I have enjoyed this conversation so much. This has been one of my favorite Podcasts and you are just a beacon of wisdom and brilliance and light and I’m just happy to have finally connected with you. It’s been a long time in the making and this has been super fun to have this conversation.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Great. Thank you so much. It’s been my pleasure. I love what you’re doing. It’s great.
Ari Whitten: Thank you so much. Yeah. Thank you for coming on the show and for everybody listening, I highly, highly recommend that you go to Amazon or to your local bookstore and get a copy of “Dodging Energy Vampires.” I think this is, if you’ve listened this far in this Podcast, it is more than likely that this information probably applies to you and the information contained in that book is must know information. So Dr. Northrup, do you want to direct people to your website for any further reading or anything like that? Where can people follow more of your work?
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Yes. Everything’s on Dr. Northrup, d-r-n-o-r-t-h-r-u-p.com. I have a weekly radio show with HayHouseRadio.com called Flourish! I’ve got an E-letter so you know, all of this stuff if you like it just follow me. I do a lot on Facebook and Instagram and, you know, if you’re attracted to this, come on over.
Ari Whitten: Excellent. Well, thank you again so much. It was an honor to do this.
Dr. Christiane Northrup: Thank you so much. Okay.
Dodging Energy Vampires with Dr. Christiane Northrup – Are Toxic Relationships Draining Your Energy? – Show Notes
The most common traits of energy vampires (1:00)
The link between toxic relationships and fatigue (11:25)
Is it only men who are energy vampires? (17:57)
The most common traits of energy vampires (22:45)
What super traits are, and how they figure into the dynamic of energy vampires and empaths (29:00)
Am I an energy vampire? How to self-diagnose (34:17)
Why not all energy vampires are narcissists (38:54)
How to get out of a situation where an energy vampire drains you (43:38)
Check out Dr. Northrup’s website here
Dr. Northrup has a weekly radio show on hayhouseradio.com called Flourish! Check it out here