“You must learn day by day, year by year to broaden your horizon. The more things you love, the more you are interested in, the more you enjoy, the more you are indignant about, the more you have left when anything happens.” – Ethel Barrymore
I used to view my life through a very narrowly focused lens. I saw the potential in my world as only that which was the most emotionally important to me, those emotional desires I most needed fulfilled. I became hyper-focused on those potentials and I all but ignored anything outside of that purview.
Intensity of focus is what helps us create in life. What you focus on, you get more of, whether you want it or not. For that reason, it’s necessary to have a purposeful focus and a mindful attitude.
If we allow our worldview to become too limited, if we don’t make an effort to broaden our experiences, we can become susceptible to people who will use that intensity-of-focus energy against us.
When we focus on things with such an intensity, our focus becomes palpable. The energy is intoxicating. Some people will be influenced to work on their own goals and areas of emotional importance because of our example. Others, like toxic vampires, will want to take our energy for their own needs. Toxic vampires are unable to create their own life force energy. In order for them to feel any type of fulfillment at all, they have to suck the energy out of other people.
The things I craved emotionally were intimacy (although I had no idea how to really achieve it), contribution (which is why being an educator and a coach is my calling), and recognition (I like to know when I’m doing what I set out to do).
The most intense focus I had was on intimacy because I believed I’d never experienced it. I wanted it so badly. What I failed to do was create an intimate relationship with myself, with my own soul. I hadn’t taken the time to get to know myself well enough, so the hyperfocus on that area created the opportunity for relationships with men who couldn’t be intimate in the way I craved (focus on lack of intimacy created more lack of intimacy).
That kind of energetic focus allowed for a toxic vampire in my life. He presented himself to me as someone to also desired intimacy. Because I didn’t know myself well enough, I believed that we could have the type of relationship I craved. After all, we both desired it, and we both seemed to be goal-setting, goal-crushing people. Instead, I was exhausted when I was with him. I felt suffocated physically and emotionally. And none of my emotional needs were met. At the time, I didn’t understand how to create real intimacy, a relationship that allows for emotional vulnerability and closeness, while respecting each other’s individual space and needs. I ended up being on the receiving end of a suck-your-energy-dry pairing.
When I left that relationship, I began to seek experiences outside of my old world view. Truth be told, I didn’t do it with the intention to find true intimacy. I was in search of my place in the world. An amazing side effect, though, was that I was able to create a more intimate relationship with myself and I began to attract men who were not seeking to suck the life force out of me. The more I put my focus on creating the best relationship with myself possible – that included a broadened view of what my life was and could become – the more I attracted people who were seeming to enjoy my energy, not suck it dry.
If you’ve experienced a relationship with a toxic vampire, you know how utterly exhausting it is. Here’s how to fulfill your emotional desires while protecting your precious energy:
- Recognize the emotional desires / priorities you most need fulfilled.
- Purposefully create an intentional roadmap about how you can fulfill those desires in a healthy way. The healthiest way is always to get in touch with who you truly are in relation to those desires. Who you are without the influence of peers, family, and society.
- Broaden your experiences and begin to see how every experience can contribute to your desires being met. Make it a point to find the connections.
Broadening experiences allows us to recognize when our focus is unhealthy, however good we think the intention may be. It gives us another perspective and the knowledge of how to tweak our focus to we are better aligned with what we truly desire.
With love and light,
Do me a favor? I get many messages from women who are in toxic relationships, are leaving toxic relationships, or are healing from toxic relationships who are so very thankful I’ve shared my journey, my insight, and the tools I’ve created. Please consider sharing your journey by leaving a comment below. Please also consider sharing this article. You never know who you’ll be helping. xoxoxo
Melissa Harrison holds a B.A. in English and Sociology and an M.S. in Psychology with a specialty in Leadership Development and Coaching. She is a life coach working with strong, independent women who seek to escape toxic relationships and the toxic relationship pattern. Melissa is a contributor to Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Possible. Visit her website at www.melissacatherineharrison.com and follow her on Twitter & IG.
Image courtesy of Josh Felise.March 7, 2016