August 1, 2013 


Pride and Prejudice and Emotional Vampires


I knew there was a good reason I wanted to watch Pride and Prejudice for the hundredth time last night. (This time it was BBC’s version. I have seen so many versions and love them all) I have been researching the various kinds of toxic people or emotional vampires for my book and have just realized that lady Catherine de Bourgh is a perfect example of a Controller. The Controller is an emotional vampire that attempts to take over your life and control each and every aspect of it. Dr. Orloff in her article The Emotional Vampire Survival Guide: Emotional Freedom in Action says that a Controller is a person who obsessively tries to control you and dictate what you supposed to be and feel. Just like lady Catherine de Bourgh who instructs Mr. Collins and his wife Charlotte daily on what they should eat, wear, do with their house, garden, thoughts and feelings, free time etc, this emotional vampire may appear to be a well meaning individual with experience and/or monetary means in an apparent attempt to support or help someone. However, such people look for weaknesses in our character and self esteem, just like jackals stocking a dying animal and waiting for it to fall to feast upon it, Controller is slowly taking your esteem down notch by notch until you feel like you cannot make a smallest decision without their help.


Association with such person is dangerous; they will quickly take over your whole life. And if you attempt to back off and gain some control over your life back, there comes their secret weapon – guilt. They will make you feel horrible for accepting all their “kindness” and now ungratefully turning away from them. Whoever came up with a phrase “too good to be true” must have been dealing with a Controller’s offer of help. They will feel you out and get their claws into your life slowly or swiftly depending on your level of self-esteem destroying it completely in the process.


Dr. Orloff recommends to never try to control the Controller but be assertive and let them know that you will make your own decisions but you do value their advice.


From personal experience, I’ve learned to never accept money, in any quantity from such a person. If you have to, if it is your parent or someone close, pay it back with interest as soon as possible. You will not be sorry to have paid it even before your credit cards with high rates because Visa or American Express wont be calling you and telling you what to do or feel or make you feel guilty for not accepting their advice.


Just like in Pride and Prejudice when lady de Bourgh demands that Elizabeth stay another month with Collins family, to which Elizabeth assertively responds that she must abide by her original plans and leave so must we when dealing with a Controller.

See more: Judith Orloff, M.D., The Emotional Vampire Survival Guide: Emotional Freedom in Action, (2011)

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