I thought I had written something on this already but couldn’t find it so here I am again.
The word ‘energy vampire’ seems to come up every so often in discussions about massage sessions with clients. It is often talked about in massage school too I imagine. I did find an article on it at Massage and Bodywork too.
What is an energy vampire? Is there even any such thing?
I personally do not think so.
What we do have is people…people with issues….people who just had a bad day at work, people who are narcissistic and controlling, people who didn’t get enough touch and nurturing in their early life so they are fearful and defensive. What we do have is people who just want a massage and they don’t want us telling them what to do. What we do have is people who are depressed, isolated, fearful and alone.
What we do have is people who are touch deprived and insecure. What we do have is people who want to control their massage session and may take that to directing the massage session. We have people who want to talk too much. We have people that didn’t have the support that they needed to feel heard and to feel good enough. We have people with attachment issues of all kinds.
People may have busy lives and need to constantly reschedule. They are late. They have drama filled lives and experiences that they bring with them to the table.
How people like these affect you or your massage work is up to you.
The End of Energy Vampires
A massage session IS all about them! Why should it matter to you how they want to spend their time?
People don’t ‘steal’ your energy or put their ‘energy hooks’ into you. You let them in. You let them ‘steal’ your energy. You let them carry on with their drama and incessant chatter that bothers you. You let them come late without penalty.
It is about knowing your boundaries and knowing when it is starting to happen in a session. Is someone’s incessant talking or directing you making you feel stressed? Bring them back to their body by asking them something like ‘What do you feel here under my hands where I am working?”.
Then there is the white light theory or the grounding theory that is about protecting yourself from these so called people who take your energy. Sorry I don’t buy it…white light? I don’t see it, feel it or care about it. I heard about it so many times through the last 25 years and kept trying to ‘find it’ and frankly is is just one more thing that needs to be retired from massage school.
It is just much more straight forward than that. Set your boundaries and stick to them and be professional about doing so.
Take care of yourself and your own needs so that the ‘needs’ of clients to be controlling, always late, demanding or whatever it is that is draining you or that you are saying is being an energy vampire don’t bother you!!!
If something a client is doing or saying on the table, it is also another great opportunity to turn things around and learn more about your own judgements about this behavior.
People’s behavior will only affect you if you let it. That being said, it isn’t always easy of course and it does require some support and awareness of when this is happening in your practice and learning what to do about it. One of the best ways to do that is in the process of supervision. It is also just about taking care of yourself enough so that the things people do don’t affect you or trigger you.
I am not saying that there are not drama issues or attention issues that you may find challenging when dealing with clients. It is also about taking responsibility. It isn’t that the client is the problem and is draining. It is more that I am too tired, I am not able to deal with the clients needs for attention, I am not able to deal with being controlled by clients. It is setting boundaries around your time and your sessions and if that still doesn’t work, letting that client go is also part of having good boundaries.
Or yes you can stop seeing them all together. That is part of boundaries too.
The thing that I really don’t like though is how massage therapists tend to blame it all on the client and call them ‘Energy Vampires’. That just has to stop along with all the other things that I often see on Facebook with massage therapists complaining about clients.