Are These Energy Vampires Messing With You?


Have you felt your energy go down when someone enters the room?

Are there certain people that you avoid – perhaps even family members – because you feel bad when you are around them?

Meet The Energy Vampires!

When we think of vampires, Halloween often comes to mind. However, these vampires never go off duty, never take a vacation or a holiday. And you need to watch out for them.

  1. The Complainers.  The energy draining feeling from complainers can sneak up on you. It is easy to be taken in by them.  Sometimes they will complain about something that you dislike as much as they do so you won’t realize that you are being drained.  Life for a complainer is one long pity party. Being supportive of an individual going through a hard time is an act of friendship. Unfortunately with the complainer the hard times never stop. After a while you may wonder if some of their hard times are self-created. One way to know if you are dealing with an energy vampire rather than a person having a bad day is to suggest solutions. Complaining vampires don’t want their problems solved. If they were they would no longer have such an easy way to be the center of attention.
  2. The Non-Stop Talker. Non-stop talkers have a desperate quality to them. They often seem afraid of what would happen if they stopped talking or let someone else have the floor. The non-stop talker probably had to resort to extreme measures to get attention when he or she was a child – or may have been the designated family entertainer. Unfortunately. a winning childhood strategy is often a poor choice for adults, and can end up feeling used and depleted listening to a non-stop talker who has no interest in you.
  3. The Basket Case. The basket cases are the people who have one endless problem after another – unable to solve any of their own problems. Perhaps they were spoiled as children or perhaps they were made to feel so incompetent that they became helpless as adults. Whatever the reason, they want you to spend your time solving their problems which they don’t think are really theirs to solve. The basket case is a bottomless pit that take all of your time and eventually your whole life with their endless problems, if you let them.
  4. The Blamer.  Blamers can never do any wrong.  They tend to see all responsibility residing in others.  In other words, it is the job of the rest of the world to please them. They are an angrier version of the complainer. They feel entitled to have their expectations met and attack and blame others until their wishes are granted. Blamers are often perfectionists. It helps them maintain their entitlement and also look like a good person at the same time. Who cannot like such high standards!  The problem with blamers is that they always look like the hero either through high standards which sound good or by blaming the failure – you – who could not make it happen. Stay away from them.
  5. The Drama Queen. The drama queen acts like they are about to die at any moment – 24 hours a day.  It probably starts the moment they wake up. All of life is an emergency and they are constantly getting the short end. it is best to avoid them. If you must engage you might recommend some reading on time management but do not take on their issues. A drama queen will probably not stop the drama unless something happens to make them want to change.
  6. The Ruthless Competitor. This person is always looking for a way to one-up you, to look better than you or put you down. Life is a battle with them and they are always at war. You will not win with them so it is best to stay away. The ruthless competitor does not value friendship. This person is interested in keeping score, winning a battle, and destroying adversaries, which is probably what you are in their eyes. It is better to let them have their prize, whatever it is, and walk away.
  7. The Psychopath. The psychopath is a taker, but they need to hide the fact. Psychopaths wear the mask that they think you want to see in order to win your heart and loyalty so they can get what they want from you. Once they have they move on to another person with a different need and put on a different mask for that person. It can be hard to create consensus around the real nature of a psychopath because they present a different face to different people. They are actors and very bad friends.
  8. The Ideologues. Most people have some sort of worldview that informs their lives but ideology is only a part of life. With ideologues, you may think you are have a relationship with a like-minded individual however with them their real relationship is with their ideology not with you. It is an empty relationship. As long as you understand that they do not really have a personal relationship to offer you you can take care of yourself with an ideologue.

How To Take Care Of Yourself With Energy Vampires

There are several ways to take care of yourself with energy vampires:

  • take good care of your health. You are always more vulnerable when you are tired and feeling poorly.
  • operate from a spirit of good will and expect the same. Notice when your feelings of goodwill go away. That is your cue to disconnect from the vampire.
  • consider the white light technique. Create a visualization of a white light surrounding your body, protecting you from the negative energy of other people. If you do this consistently, you will find yourself feeling increasingly protected.
  • have a list of requirements for people in your life: give and take, mutual respect etc. Notice when another person is not meeting minimum requirements for a healthy relationship and consider the actions you need to take.
  • get help if necessary with people who are seriously damaging to you.
  • leave when an individual is too toxic to live or work with.

Making The Best Of It With Energy Vampires

Many energy vampires are ordinary people like you and me who happened to have learned poor relationships habits. Sometimes they are not even aware of it. You can encourage the best in people but you cannot take on their problems.

Your life deserves protecting as much as anyone else’s. Keeping energy vampires at bay is one way to take good care of yourself. The damage they do can be significant  and should not be taken lightly.

Put Negativity In Its Place

Negativity is not what you think.

Negativity is often thought to be a personal character trait.

There is some truth to that but it is so much more.

What Is Negativity?

According to the Your Dictionary, negativity,  at least in a social or decision making sense, is defined as follows:

  1. a word, affix, phrase, etc. that denies, rejects, or refuses (Ex.: no, not, by no means)
  2. a statement of denial, refusal, or rejection
  3. the point of view that denies or attacks the positive or affirmative: the negative won the debate
  4. an undesirable element or quality; drawback, shortcoming, defect, etc…

It is particularly useful to see the definition of negativity as a point of view that denies the positive because negativity is not simply a response to immediate events or misfortunes in life.  It may, in fact, be a world view.

The Free Dictionary defines negativism as

a habitual attitude of skepticism or resistance to the suggestions, orders, or instructions of others…

As the definition points out,  negativism is a habit of thought.

Negative Is Not Good Or Bad

Negativity has received bad press. It is strange, really, because on the one hand we abhor negativity – it is so depressing – but at the same time we also abhor change.

It makes me wonder if most of our social discourse is the collision of different forms of negativity.

To be negative can mean anything. It can mean that we are setting boundaries, respecting our limits and making chices that are life affirming.

To be negative can mean that we are totally risk adverse, and prefer to let others do the heavy lifting of making change happen.

To be negative can mean that we are stingy with ourselves to the detriment of others.

To be negative can mean that we are respecting our own negative experiences in order to live from a wiser place.

To be negative can mean a lot of different things. It depends on the person.

Can Negativity Be Systemic?

Yes, it can. Whenever we try to maintain the status quo in the face of the need for change we are supporting negativity.

Change is a big deal and needs to be respected. However, ignoring the need for change only makes things worse. When changing circumstances do not result in appropriate responses, then we are all harmed.

Nothing stays the same.  A 2 year old enjoys learning to move a round, but we so demand that a person still be crawling at age 18. The same needs to be true of cultural systems.

We all, however, have resistance to change. It is natural and can be self protective. We need, after all, to respect the limits of time, resources and abilities. We can, therefore, empathize with resistance to change. It is part of being a human being.

When we are aware of our resistance to change, respect it but are also skeptical about it, we then can thoughtfully make necessary changes. Cultures can do the same.

Not all systemic negativity, however, is so benign.

Discrimination As Systemic Negativity

Discrimination is a serious and cruel form of systemic negativity. It is not based on facts. It is a use of attitude to exclude and denigrate other people. It is a kind of negativity that extends to animals and nature, because underneath it is a basic distrust of life and people.

I am not trying to be pollyanish here and deny the reality of negative behavior and even evil behavior. I am talking about a way of thinking that denies the good in others. It is a way of refusing to relate and work with others, a way of denying the reality of an ecosystem that includes different people and life forms.

Discrimination is essentially a power grab that controls decision making and resources and tries to maintain that control by managing a social discourse that devalues others.

Resistance As A Way Of Life

Unfortunately, it is easy to get caught up in resistance. We can encounter resistance and react to the resistance and we are then all off and running into a negative spiral.

I think we have to be as intelligent and considered as we can be about negativity and resistance. it is there, but we do not have to give it its head. We can pu it in its place as simply one approach among many  and get on with what we have to get on with.

I think there is a spirit afoot of being fed up with negativity that I think is healthy. If we each do our part, perhaps the legacy of negativity that the world has suffered with for so long, no longer has to be our future.



Workplace Bullying: A Survival Guide

Unfortunately, difficult economic conditions can increase the negative behaviors that people will tolerate in order to keep their jobs. If you ever find yourself the target of workplace bullying, it is important to have strategies to safeguard your emotional and physical well-being.

If You Experience Workplace Bullying

If you are being bullied at work:

  • Don’t deny the problem. It is important to recognize when you are being bullied and to take steps to protect yourself.
  • Don’t blame yourself. Workplace bullying is usually about control and rarely has anything to do with you personally.
  • Get help.
    • Check your company’s policy. Are there any guidelines or protocols that address workplace bullying? Is there a resource person that you can talk to about the situation?
    • Contact your employee assistance group, if one is available. These groups are confidential and may be able to advise you. As an added bonus, your request for assistance can help document your experience of being bullied.
    • Reach out to family, friends, and/or a professional counselor.
  • Create a paper trail of the bully’s “bad behavior” and your “good behavior”. For example, if you receive a threatening phone call from the bully. Don’t call the bully back and subject yourself to further abuse. Instead, respond to the call via email, reiterating the bully’s threats and formulating your own professional response. If the bully ignores your work-related requests, send an email indicating that you haven’t received a response and copy others.
  • If you choose to confront the bully’s bad behavior, always do it in writing. State your concerns in an email, and keep it professional. Indicate that you are raising your concerns in an effort to work better together.
  • Exercise caution when confiding in your co-workers. Be careful about saying things to others that you don’t want to get back to the bully. The last thing you want to do is provide evidence against yourself. Also, some co-workers won’t want to be put in the middle, in which case you should respect their wishes and seek support elsewhere.
  • Be impeccable. Keep your performance level high, and play strictly by the rules. This is often the best defense against someone who is trying to sabotage your success.
  • Maintain a cheerful and positive attitude, even if you have to fake it. While this will be very difficult to do, it will show the bully that his or her campaign is not having the desired effect, which is sometimes the best revenge. (One caution though, some bullies may respond by escalating their campaigns.)
  • Do not lose your temper. Always behave in a professional manner, regardless of how the bully is behaving. Not only will feel better about yourself, but it will also prevent the bully from gathering ammunition against you.
  • Be proactive. Bullying behaviors are repetitive and often predictable. Do your best to anticipate the bully’s behavior, and have an action plan ready. Try to stay one step ahead of the bully.
  • Take care of yourself. Relish your downtime. Relax, and do things you enjoy. Consult your healthcare provider if you are experiencing signs of stress or other medical issues.
  • Update your resume, and keep your eye out for other jobs. It is empowering to know that you have other choices and that you don’t need to tolerate a hostile work environment. You should also realize that many workplace bullying situations can never be satisfactorily resolved. It’s best to be prepared for all possible outcomes.

How To Report Bullying

If you decide to report the bullying:

  • Keep a written diary that details the nature of the bullying (e.g. dates, times, places, what was said or done, and who was present).
  • Maintain copies of harassing/bullying paper trails, such as emails, and save threatening voice messages. You should also hold on to copies of documents that contradict the bully’s accusations against you (e.g. time sheets, audit reports, etc.)
  • Keep a list of people you think may have observed the bullying. Find out if any of those people would be willing to speak on your behalf.
  • Make a list of all the efforts you made to work the situation out (e.g. emails, phone calls, requests for help from HR or Employee Assistance)
  • If you are experiencing serious health problems as a result of the bullying, get a documentation from your doctor.
  • Report the behavior to an appropriate person or department, such as Human Resources or your Union Representative. Be prepared to present your case and back it up with plenty of documentation and evidence.

Don’t be a victim. Take a proactive stance to protect yourself. Use this situation to motivate yourself to find a better situation and environment.

Note: This article was first published in Cliff Harwin’s newsletter.

Criticism Is Not Problem Solving

Much has been written about criticism and the inner critic.

So why another article?

It seems to me that we take criticism for granted as an OK thing to do.

Perhaps it is our consumer culture run amok. Isn’t complaining how you get something done?

Maybe to some but I think we need a rethink about this topic.

Is Criticism Really Problem Solving?

I don’t think so.

Criticism is not problem solving. Criticism often feels intense, but criticism can be deceptive because it feels as if we are doing something when we are criticizing someone or something. However, more often than not we are not really doing anything when we criticize except putting our displeasure on someone else.

I am not suggesting that all criticism is a mistake – far from it. Without displeasure and criticism we could not improve and progress.

However, all criticism is not equal. In our consumer culture, convenience is an expectation and the absence of it often treated as a problem. This is one  kind of criticism that deserves questioning. Were we promised a convenient world?

Criticism And The Need To Be Right

Criticism can often feel strange or a little bit unreal. After all, the sun does not rise and judge us. The wind does not criticize us. A red light will not mouth off at us when we are driving through it. So criticism is our personal expression of some sort of disharmony, dissonance or displeasure.

Implicit in any criticism or judgment is the thinking that there is a right way to think, be, or do something. This is another form of criticism that deserves questioning.

One of the biggest difficulties people have in relinquishing their critical views is that they may feel that their point of view is perfectly reasonable – and they may be right. However, the result of being right and reasonable creates an obstacle to problem solving. Instead of seeking solutions to problems by opening themselves to ideas, many people turn others into the “problem” and are off and running trying to fix their identified “problem”.

Curiosity: The Missing Link

So what is wrong with this picture?  For starters, something is missing.

One thing that is missing is curiosity. Curiosity is a wonderful way to find a bridge between perceptual differences. Curiosity is about possibility whereas criticism is often about lack.  Curiosity can help us see better when we are willing to learn.

Curiosity takes a fixed position and opens it up to new ideas. It enables an individual to engage a conflict with a beginners mind and find a solution to whatever the problem is. Being curious softens self-righteous and entrenched positions.

Criticism often comes from a fixed perspective because it assumes that a “right” answer in advance so most differences will be seen as wrong.

A fixed position is often outcome oriented so an individual with a fixed perspective will have more difficulty understanding an unexpected result than someone who recognizes the fluid nature of processes and the potential and likelihood of different outcomes.

HSPs And Criticism

Highly sensitive people are frequently faced with many critics because of their different perceptions, talents, and processing capabilities.  They will often be misunderstood.  By trying to shift the interpersonal ground from criticism to problem-solving  by inviting curiosity they have a greater chance of improved outcomes for themselves and others.

For Additional Information:

Toxic Criticism

Toxic Criticism and Developing Creativity

Walls Do Not Make Us Safe

The walls are up in our society.

All sorts of walls: brick, stone, identity, geographical, ideological, and economic. There there are social barriers of race, sex and physical abilities. Roles and social affiliations are other forms of demarcation. So are rules.

We can’t live with them and we cannot live without them.

Why We Have Walls

Walls are not intrinsically a problem. However, after thousands of years of creating barriers to protect ourselves, we are now drowning in them.

Rules, roles, customs, conventions, expressed expectations, unexpressed expectations. There are a lot of ways to create protections. We humans have been very creative about it. And of course, we all have our personal walls including our habits and personalities.

Many of our barriers came into being when we needed them when our species was younger and more defenseless. They became a part of our reality out of necessity. Now with 7 billion people on the planet, they are being questioned in a more serious way than ever before.

Walls are meant to protect us when we need protecting. They are not meant to just keep others out. There is a distinction. Walls are a closed and fixed structure; boundaries are more open and flexible.

The Limitations Of Walls

Sometimes barriers are contrived and sometimes they are not. Sometimes they help and sometimes they do not.

There is a reason why, however, at this particular point in time we are in need of a rethink about all kinds of barriers more so than others:

  1. 7 billion people all with their own walls is unwieldy.
  2. we have always needed to cooperate. However, the complexity of our current human systems and the demands on them require a more skillful interdependency.
  3. our problems are bigger. There are too many of us for the resources on the planet. Our walls are making it harder to solve our big problems and we cannot shut ourselves off from the needs of others.
Walls are what we have when boundaries fail when we cannot find a way to negotiate our differing needs and claims on mutually shared resources. They are what we create when we do not trust.

What to do?

Changing the closed structures of the human race is a big task. The barriers cannot be simply brought down. Instead, we need to ask ourselves a new question.

What does a human society look like with cultural institutions built on the basis of and for the purpose of creating trust? Trust is something we create just like anything else.

Perhaps at one-time survival was more important than trust. Well, we survived! Now we have to repair the damage and figure out how to create a different kind of human society built on trust and sustainability.

Structures create results. Now we need new results so we need new structures. It is time for an overhaul. Let’s bring the walls down by creating the world where people see that they do not need them.

The Many Purposes Of Hate


Hate is complicated and it arises on many levels and has many purposes. We can have a complicated relationship to it. According to Dictionary, to hate means “to dislike intensely or passionately; feel extreme aversion for or extreme hostility toward; detest.” One way of describing hate is to say it is the part of us that says no.

So if you eat some food and hate it, you may do so for any number of reasons. Perhaps it does not taste good to you or your body is telling you that it is not good for you. So hating something can provide you with information about what is good for you and what is not.

Hating And Getting Along With Others

Hating also has a social purpose. It is a tool used to teach us what is socially acceptable behavior and what is not. As children, we experience the revulsion of others to varying degrees when we act in a way that is not approved. Those experiences are often combined with rewards and punishments to direct our behavior in a certain way. Unfortunately, they can cause us to suppress important and valuable parts of ourselves. Two common forms of self-rejection are crying in boys and intelligence in girls. When we suppress the good in ourselves to be accepted and survive, which is necessary to some degree for all of us, we often begin hating ourselves. Our identities have been formed around acceptance, which means giving up our true self to get along with others.

Hate also extends to attitudes. Because it can be self-protective, it is sometimes used at a group level to insulate people from perceived threats to survival. This is where hate turns into group prejudice. No longer a tool to identify what is healthy or unhealthy group identity becomes a codified set of attributes that support the identity and experience of group members. Violating these codes means you can be ostracized from a group even permanently. Hate can go even further. Cultural narratives define what a culture works towards – its beliefs and goals. Not to go along can engender hate as can changing the narrative.

How Hate Harms

Unfortunately, hate can be used to manipulate us and others. The fear of being hated, the fear of being left out or blamed, all of these manifestations of hate can influence our choices.

Hate has some additional destructive aspects. It can

  • shut down social discourse by making people feel unwelcome. Keeping social space healthy (non-toxic) is necessary for people to be able to listen to each other constructively.
  • reduces the motivation of others to engage and participate in the social space. It is a way of marginalizing others by raising the stakes of engagement. If you are afraid for your safety it is hard to want to participate with others in life.
  • raise living costs as people try to meet the demands of inclusion. What happens when one cannot afford it?

Benefits And Disadvantages of Hate

Hate can help us understand ourselves better but can also be used to create distance from others. It can be used to increase empathy or reduce it. Hating can be used to establish social norms and demand certain behaviors – both constructive and destructive. It can act as a barrier to social mobility, as a tool of social ranking. At its best, it can inform us about what is in our best interest. At its worst, it creates untold harm.

How Prejudice Creates Grief

We are all born into a world filled with and built on prejudice, which the dictionary defines as preconceived ideas.

We are all socialized into the existing prejudicial arrangements.

Although we cannot escape the reality of prejudice in the human condition, we can challenge it.

Before we can, however, we need an understanding of prejudice and, if possible, some new insights.

5 Reasons Prejudice Exists

There are five important reasons why prejudice exists:

  1. we use categories to quickly process information. Our threat processing minds use categories as a defense against outside threats. We learn that a hot stove can hurt so hot stove is a category of potential harm. From our earliest days, we are building up an inventory of causes of potential harm. Some we learn from experience and others are passed down to us from our family and social group. Sometimes we question our perceptions and assumptions. Most of the time, however, we probably do not question what we consider to be potentially harmful. Since we are all vulnerable creatures we often protect ourselves by being “safe rather than sorry.”
  2. we survive through the support and protection of our social group or “tribe.” We adopt the attitudes and beliefs of that group as a way to maintain our membership. We are built to live in groups. One way we know that is that our brains give us an error message when we deviate from group norms, according to research on how the brain supports social conformity. So not only are we meant to live in groups, but our brains reinforce our conforming with our group. Not to do so will raise a perception of threat in the mind. We will continue to feel a threat whenever we act outside of group norms unless the consciousness of the group changes.
  3. groups create structures around their beliefs, which also reinforce them. Because social structures require a significant investment in time and other resources, it can be difficult to change them. In addition, since people develop skills that enable them to succeed within a particular structural system, they may not have the skills for a different social arrangement.
  4. we often form our identities around our social group and our place in it. It can come to feel like “home,” making it difficult for us to envision a different set of circumstances for ourselves. Often we treat our circumstances as reality when they are really a situation, and situations can change. Losing our group and individual identities can seem very threatening.
  5. group norms, structures, and identities all have a profound effect in that they create and perpetuate expectations. Expectations can be comforting. They can help us feel that we understand or know our world when in fact we do not. They give us predictability and stability in a world that is always changing.

How Prejudice Creates Grief

Prejudice is a natural result of our efforts to create stability for ourselves. Cultural systems inevitably value some characteristics over others, causing us to feel that parts of ourself are not welcome.  The result will be feelings of loss of:

  • our openness
  • our wonder
  • our innocent trust
  • our true self
  • our status as co-creators of our world with others
  • our hope of being welcome fully as ourselves
  • our self-respect our dreams

All arrangements that promote stability do so at the expense of our true and whole self. Our feeling of loss can be reinforced when we interact with others. We may feel unseen.  It does not matter what the prejudice is, we can still feel rewounded. The pain can drive out our true selves and cause us to withdraw our best self, and a process of self-diminishment can develop and even accelerate.

The Path To Recovery

Recovery from the wounds of prejudice can take some time.

Here are some important steps you can take to support your own healing:

  • set up a grieving process for yourself.  Group therapy and writing in journals can be very helpful in finding acceptance for your pain.
  • develop a health program for yourself. Every act of self-care is a validation of your life. It is something you deserve and it feels good.
  • find some energy healing practices like EFT, reiki and meditation to help you heal since they can address deeply buried hurt.
  • recognize the greatest causes of reinjury for yourself and start to move away from them into activities and social groups that offer greater self-acceptance.

Prejudice and all the pain and emotional harm it does often hurt our health. Reclaiming our health is part of reclaiming our lives.

Deep-seated prejudices are being questioned more and more as the world becomes kinder.

As the world changes, we will all benefit and feel better, but as the process unfolds we all need to do our part by engaging with our own grief and grieving process as we join with others to create the world that we all want to live in.

It is worth the effort.

We are worth the effort.

How To Identify A Psychopath

Why do highly sensitive people need to know about psychopaths?

Because we are a dream come true for them.

What Is A Psychopath?

Thomas Sheridan in his book, Puzzling People The Labyrinth Of The Psychopath, gives the best understanding of psychopaths that I have ever seen.

A psychopath, very simply, is a predator.

The human psychopath does not prey on others out of necessity the way animals do for food. Human predators are essentially lazy with nothing to give. So they have to create a reason for you to do all of the giving. They use the inner wounds of others to pretend to be a savior, act superior, or create a sob story to get the other person to give of themselves.

Characteristics Of Psychopaths

There are many ways that psychopathic behavior can manifest. However, Thomas Sheridan has identified five characteristics that apply to all of them:

  1. no empathy or remorse.  Psychopaths do not feel the way your feel.  For whatever reason, your pain does not register with them as a valid concern. When they emote it feels false.
  2. invented personas to manipulate others. Psychopaths identify your inner weaknesses and use them to get you to trust and accept them.  So if you were unloved as a child, they will become the most loving parent figure.  Essentially they figure out your dream and appear to give it to you.
  3. uses pity to manipulate others. Watch out for the pity party.  Psychopaths cover their tracks and get you involved with through one sob story after another.
  4. mysterious past. Psychopaths often have vague histories. They may claim honors or military medals which do not in fact exist.
  5. high testosterone levels. This is a difficult characteristic to discern.  High testosterone levels are associated with impulsivity and risky behavior including sexual acting out.  It can also mean a tendency toward aggression.

It is important to look for all five of the above traits before deciding that you are dealing with a psychopath. Notice your energy. If it is uncomfortable or if you feel it going away from you, pay attention. A psychopath is essentially cold in their interactions with others and has many ways to take your energy from you.

How Psychopaths Reveal Themselves

In addition to the above traits, psychopaths may also exhibit these characteristics according to Thomas Sheridan. These are characteristics to watch out for if your intuition raises a red flag.  Notice some commonalities: distortion and exaggeration, playing on sympathies in various ways, high entitlement and a feeling of being special, exploitativeness.


  • little need for sleep, 4-5 hours tops
  • falls asleep instantly and wakes up instantly
  • wakes up in a sweat
  • eye dead or lifeless; piercing stare
  • faking cancer or other serious illnesses
  • hypochondriac
  • facial distortion when taking a picture
  • does not dream and fabricates dream stories


  • unreliable and broken promises
  • corrects others
  • condescending
  • righteous indignation
  • sycophantic
  • acting and looking busy
  • easily offended
  • easily bored
  • easily entitled to the best
  • quickly interested in cause and then loses interest
  • exploits friends, family, parents, elderly and handicapped
  • claims special relationship with god
  • flunks out of school and blames the institution
  • claims to be spy, assassin, special forces agent or clandestine agent
  • word salad  – uses technical and sophisticated language to pontificate while really saying nothing.
  • no creative talent
  • phony altruism


  • us vs. them you and me against the world
  • sexual promiscuity
  • history of brief or failed marriages
  • idealization followed by cold rejection
  • little interest in parenting

Psychopaths And Highly Sensitive People

Psychopaths love sweet, empathetic and kind people with warm hearts because they do not have that. They rely on your goodness as something to use. However, they have contempt for compassionate people.  They see empathy as a weakness.

HSP’s need to be aware of their attractiveness to psychopaths. Please review the list and see where you think you may be vulnerable. You may also want to review your history to see if there are any people in your life past or present who may fit the description of a psychopath.

Psychopaths will push your boundaries so you need to make sure your boundaries are healthy. There are actually many psychopaths and people with psychopathic conditioning – Thomas Sheridan calls them pro to-psychopaths.

HSP’s need to surround themselves with like-minded people and be aware that the person with sob stories may not always be on the up-and-up. Listen to your energy and intuition. Discomfort and intuitive red flags are important information to be respected when dealing with psychopaths.

The Safety Of The Good

 The safety of the good,  it is a natural attraction.

Do you seek harmony – or the good – especially in your relationships?

Many of us, especially HSP’s do.

If I examine my experience, I notice how often I feel an inner pull towards the good and working with others.

Working with seems natural. Working against does not.

Working with feels good; working against does not.

Our Early Need For The Good

As children we need to harmonize with our social group –  in particular, our parents and family  – because it is a matter of life and death. We also have an instinctive awareness and need for the goodness in ourselves and in others to be real.

We are all born with a naturally open and trusting attitude toward the world. Our trust is our psychological safety.  Therefore, when we are treated poorly, we maintain the “trust”  by assuming, often with encouragement from our caretakers, that the defect lies with us.  When our need for a caring, encouraging and supportive environment is challenged in childhood, a young person is often made to believe that their expectation and values are problematic or wrong.  I certainly was.

Too often we are taught that the good in the world and ourselves is a scarce commodity which sets up the power over others dynamic that creates the struggle and misery called reality.  It turns the “bad” into something abundant and dependable and the good into something that cannot be trusted and something scarce. Even worse, the abundant good becomes something we are expected to earn. Reality becomes a form of misery and our wires get crossed.

The Frame Of Reality

Perceptions about reality are passed from one generation to the next. In good faith, we often take our attitudinal “gift” as gospel. It is, however, our job as alive, aware beings to continually challenge our assumptions. We are, after all, stewards of our lives and the world we live in.  And the world is continually changing.

I suspect that the negativity that we are born into was, in fact, valid at one point in human history.  The ancient memory system in our brain, however, does not get updated.  Once it has received the imprint of “reality” it becomes a kind of know-it-all about life, our point of reference and our frame of reference.  The same was also true of our ancestors, near and far.

And we see our caretakers struggling for the good and we assume they can’t be wrong. We are rewarded for our struggles and even learn that not to struggle means there is something wrong with us. Unnaturally easy becomes uncomfortable.

A Pat On The Back

So what happens when as children we need to align with our caretakers and we need to align with the prevailing view that the good in the world is undependable?  Doesn’t that teach us not to trust ourselves and each other?  For the sake of our psychological safety and maintaining our necessary dependency do we give up on ourselves? When we reach for the good in ourselves do we consider it a fluke?  Do we have the courage to disagree and refuse to go along?  By the time we are adults have we forgotten how?

There is no question that the history of human life has been a challenging one.  To make human life possible, to survive as a species has required a huge effort.  So when I see so much negativity around me I can’t help but wonder if we are aware of how far we have come, and how maybe it is about time that we give ourselves and each other some credit.  Perhaps we can then let go of some of the struggles and find the cooperation and harmony that we yearn for.

So, fellow humans, here’s a pat on the back! We have done well to get this far.

Who knows, maybe in recognizing the good more, we can relax a little bit and feel safer as well.

Naysayers And HSPs

Do naysayers drive you up the wall?

Highly sensitive people can have difficulty with naysayers. Particularly if they consider themselves wiser than the naysayers – which, frankly, can be quite often.

Some people are habitually negative. Sensitive people may have difficulty with those who are habitually negative because they have the capacity for and access to a more nuanced perspective. As a result, highly sensitive people tend to seek and offer insights which are not always welcome.

HSPs inevitably include as much information as possible in their decision making especially all the information in their awareness they have no choice but to deal with.  If you take in or are aware of huge amounts of information, your perception will be informed by all of those inputs. HSPs often have a deeper and more complex understanding than others. The result is that HSPs often feel at odds with rule makers, gatekeepers, and other authority figures without really having an interest in conflict. One of the unfortunate consequences is that many people perceive highly sensitive people as difficult when in reality many HSPs dislike conflict.

The dilemma of highly sensitive people and naysayers is not a superficial one. Naysaying is often a knee-jerk reaction to a behavior, a change or a need.  It is often conditioned behavior based on individual and cultural habits. It is often defensive.

HSPs who are inundated with all sorts of information, both habitual and less noticed, do not have the luxury of mindless obedience. The situation for the highly sensitive is further complicated because their sensitivity increases and supports their awareness and integrity, which then makes them at odds with the more conforming members of society.

It also makes conversation difficult.  Inevitably highly sensitive people cannot help but be on a different wavelength.  Trying to share that wavelength with non-HSPs can be difficult and maybe sometimes dangerous. Unfortunately the desire for seeing and being seen will not be satisfied by many non-HSPs who cannot appreciate a sensitive person’s perspective. Trying to reconcile the differences can be emotionally damaging and affect our integrity and self-respect.

Being an HSP gives us a need for encouragement that non-HSPs may not share since they are more aligned with their peers and cultural direction.  Naysayers, then, can actually damage the dreams, hopes and aspirations of the highly sensitive. Naysayers can also block progress in many ways.

One of the most difficult problems for highly sensitive people is the internalizing of the naysaying around them and taking it as an indictment of their very identity. That is a mistake to be avoided.

Naysayers do not know it all.  They can benefit from the insights and wisdom of highly sensitive people, and HSPs need to continually remind themselves of this so that they can summon the energy to hold their ground. HSPs need to be mindful of the fact that naysayers can cause them harm. Surrounding yourself with more positive people is a great insurance policy against the self esteem erosion that occurs around the naysayers of the world.