“Dementors are among the foulest creatures that walk this earth. They infest the darkest, filthiest places, they glory in decay and despair, they drain peace, hope, and happiness out of the air around them…Get too near a Dementor and every good feeling, every happy memory will be sucked out of you.” ~Remus Lupin (J.K. Rowling)
Companies are required by law to label their products with an appropriate warning or caution label, depending on the danger their product poses to consumers. Don’t get your hair dryer near water, wear eye protection when mowing or weed eating, and simple wisdom that says to guard small objects when using a vacuum cleaner. We do our best to protect ourselves and others from the toxins and dangers in the world. People, however, don’t come with warning labels, no pictures of a skull and crossbones to alert us to the protection we should wear when they are near. Some people are like the Dementors in Harry Potter’s world, like vampires — draining peace, hope, and happiness out of the air — and out of you and me.
Being married to someone who has worked in the electric utility industry our entire marriage, I have frequently been reminded of the importance of not having ‘energy vampires’ in the house or to at least be aware of the impact of the products we use. Items that are energy vampires continue to use/waste energy even when not in use, even on standby. Look around your house, and you’ll see things that use energy as long as they are plugged in. How can you stop the energy vampires? Here are some tips offered by most electric companies:
- Unplug appliances and electronics, especially cell phone chargers and video game systems, when not in use.
- Use power strips that will turn off all appliances (TVs, cable/satellite boxes, and DVD players) or electronics (all computer equipment) plugged into them.
- Turn off routers, printers and other peripheral computer equipment when not in use.
Chances are you and I have people who use or waste our personal energy by simply being plugged into our lives, and these energy vampires are not as easy to unplug or turn off. Like the Dementors in Harry Potter’s life, they will suck the happy right out of your day, and sometimes it can feel as if they suck it right out of your life. Like the combustible or possibly blinding product in the spray can, there are people who are just as dangerous and toxic to our health.
I frequently find that I need to retreat and be away from people, and for a long time I thought I was just weird. I’m not about to say I’m not a little different, but it seems that other people play a role in how you and I feel about ourselves. We need some tools to stop allowing the vampires and dementors to wreak havoc in our lives.
- Toxic people tend to demand that their opinions should be your facts. (Just listen and don’t engage them in a war of words.)
- Toxic people tend to complain regularly about their problems. (Politely excuse yourself from the situation. A bathroom break is always a good idea)
- Toxic people like to create fear for you. (When you see this happening, offer a positive slant to stop their words, then walk away if you need to)
You and I play roles in how others feel about themselves, too, and if we don’t want to be the ones wearing the WARNING sticker, it’s important to learn how to stop before we find we spend more time alone than we would like. Pay attention to what you say, why you say it, and what you hope to achieve. I’m looking to achieve a space where I can breathe and enjoy life. I’m not going to allow you to suck the wind out of my sails anymore.