Dependents and vampirism by adhesion.
The attention bridge. Chapter 17.
Dependants are individuals who openly feel sorry for themselves. They feel inferior to others but do not hide the fact – quite the opposite. They use the display of these feelings of inferiority to inspire pity in order to get others to become their saviours and protectors. They adhere themselves to those who get trapped in their web of spells; spells such as “Poor me!” and “How would I cope without you?”These victims invest their attention and energy in the arduous task of taking charge of someone else’s well-being and responsibilities at the cost of their own feelings, independence and freedom.
At first, time spent with dependants can seem comforting and rather flattering. Being insecure, they prefer to suppress any urge to express themselves. They are scared of doing or saying something which might make them look bad and so prefer to listen and do nothing to being listened to and taking action. They spend most of their time paying attention and transferring their vital energy and feelings of admiration (or superiority) to those around them. For this reason, if you interact with them your levels of energy increase considerably and you feel more powerful, capable and self-reliant.
Dependants behave like the Father Christmases of energy but we should not let ourselves be taken in. All that glitters is not gold.
When subjected to such a nourishing and intoxicating kind of attention (or courtship), the victims of dependants are barely aware of how they are being controlled. And by the time they realize what is really going on, their feelings of compassion (the compassion the strong naturally feel for the weak) are such that they are no longer feel able to shake them off.
Whenever you sign a contract you should read the small print. And the contract you are signing (whether conscious or subconsciously) when you form a relationship with a dependant is basically as follows:
“I, the adherent vampire, will give you all my attention and admiration, following you to the end of the world if necessary or if you so desire. But in exchange (here it is in the small print) on our journey together, as well as carrying your own load you also commit to carrying mine”.
The victims of dependants will inevitably develop an increasingly suffocating sense of carrying a heavy burden which prevents them from moving freely.
The more the dependant appropriates the sense of independence of the person they have adhered themselves to, the more they feel they have the right to order them about so as not to have to face their feelings of inadequacy, insecurity and lovelessness.
So, dependants (or adherent vampires) are lame ducks. They are those typical individuals (poor things!) who, because they pay too much attention to their feelings of insecurity and self compassion, believe they need the help of those around them to overcome even the most insignificant obstacle.
Someone is ringing our doorbell.
We open the door and are confronted with Malcolm’s forlorn face.
Details of the adherent vampire in question:
Current residence: he rents the flat opposite ours
Additional information: he spent his childhood listening to his father (a first-rate affective vampire) telling him that he was totally useless and that he couldn’t tell his arse from his elbow.
Psychological diagnosis: 20 years after the death of his father, he still believes he can’t tell his arse from his elbow.
“Good evening Malcolm, what can I do for you?” We go straight to the point knowing that Malcolm, as he does most days, will ask us to help him to open a Yahoo email account or some other insignificant problem that he could easily resolve himself if he believed in himself and put his mind to it. But it is impossible to get him to see this. His problems can only be resolved by the divine intervention of his esteemed neighbour who, in his opinion, is capable of overcoming any obstacle.
– You see, a colleague lent me this film and I don’t know why the DVD won’t work.
– All right, – we answer with resignation – let’s go and see what’s wrong with your DVD player.
And guess what? Surprise, surprise – Malcolm had not even checked to see if the machine was plugged in before, for the third time this week, coming in search of our help for yet another absurd reason.
We are totally fed up with being continually disturbed. But the worse thing is that we feel such compassion for our helpless neighbour that we are incapable of telling him to give us a break and get his act together.
However, the most extreme cases of vampirism by adherence are those when an individual is emotionally dependant on us. Especially when they suffer, or make us suffer, the classic fits of jealousy which are mistakenly called “irrational”.
Dave’s mobile phone rings just as he is about to arrive at the house of his great friend, Mark, who he is really looking forward to seeing.
– Yes? Dave answers the phone.
– It’s me, darling. – responds Patricia. – When are you coming to pick me up?
Details of the adherent vampire in question
Current residence: she rents a flat although she has practically moved into her boyfriend Dave’s flat.
Additional information: she always believed her parents paid more attention to her elder sister because she was much prettier (though this does not mean that this was really the case).
Psychological diagnosis: she feels inferior to all women and believes that her boyfriend, Dave, prefers any other woman to her.
– What do you mean, when am I going to pick you up? Don’t you finish work at seven? – answers Dave, unable to conceal his anxiety at what is coming.
– Yes, I was supposed to leave at seven. – responds Patricia, already sulking on noticing that her boyfriend is disgruntled at the news that she is leaving work early.
– But my boss said I could leave work early. – she explains before adding, – Where are you now? She says this unable to avoid revealing her usual paranoid mistrust.
– I’m on my way to Mark’s – he tells Patricia – He’s expecting me – he adds, already on the defensive about not having guessed that she would leave earlier than planned. – I didn’t know you would leave work early!
This is followed by an uncomfortable silence during which Dave intuits what his girlfriend is thinking.
– Are you sure it’s Dave’s house you’re going to?
– What the hell! No, I’m just about to visit one of the houses of my many lovers, Dave thinks sardonically.
At this point, Dave has to decide between meeting up with Mark as arranged, which is what he wants to do, and going to pick up his girlfriend to avoid conflict.
The behavioural strategies or demands for attention of dependants cause their victims to become (depending on whether they feel flattered or harassed) either provers or aloof, respectively.
If a dependant, from their feelings of inferiority and lovelessness, treats their attention-giver as if they were vital, valuable and admirable, it is not surprising that the latter’s ego grows and they become provers. But when the euphoria passes and they begin to feel obliged to constantly look out for the dependant, they will end up trying to distance themselves from them.
The vampirisation of feelings of independence and freedom is, in 90% of cases, the reason couples grow apart or break up.
Victims of this kind of vampirism feel suffocated and shackled due to the continuous demands for attention and choose to distance themselves or put an end to the relationship. As we saw in the chapter on bores, distancing yourself is simply a defence mechanism (conscious or unconscious) against any manifestly invasive form of attention-seeking; like the ones used by bores, dependants and some provers.
There are also many cases of people who, despite not being markedly dependant, are drawn into behaving as such under the influence of prover or aloof personalities.
 As I explained in the chapter “Intuition and the finger which points at the moon”, the causes of fits of jealousy are always rational. This does not mean that suffering them or causing others to suffer them is justified.