Mood hoovers are people who project their emotions outwards. They are invariably sensitive and highly strung individuals and they almost always have a tendency to look on the negative side of a situation. Your typical mood hoover is a pessimist – they like being miserable and they want you to be miserable too…
The worst mood hoover I have ever personally come across was a woman I worked with several years ago. We used to attend meetings together and this miserable woman would interpret every comment made as personally and as negatively as she could possibly manage. She would delight in playing the victim and looking for ways to be outraged or unhappy. It was awful - We’d all go into each meeting fairly upbeat and come out wanting to kill ourselves (and each other!). The negativity used to last all day and in the end we started to dread the meetings. It sapped the whole team of their energy and eventually we fell apart as a unit. This shows just how powerful the impact of a mood hoover can be - this woman easily and without effort ruled the emotions of all those around her. Through negativity and her own inclination to misery, she influenced the moods and the personalities of every single other member in the team.
The thing is, whether you like it or not, a mood hoover genuinely does have power. In many situations they have the upper hand. If you know that making a critical comment to them will result in either: a) tears, b) hysterics, c) sulking, d) prolonged drama or e) indignant monologues about why they are right and why you are victimising them, chances are that you will end up being a little reluctant to say anything at all to them. The mood hoover loves drama! In the example I gave of the woman I worked with, she enjoyed nothing more than derailing our meetings. The less work we got done and the more moaning she got to do, the happier she was.
Now to be fair, most mood hoovers don’t know they are doing it. I challenged one once on why she was always so miserable. She was genuinely surprised to discover that everybody who knew her thought she was a miserable little madam. I pointed out that sitting in communal rooms (lol – our banking hall!) and wailing into her desk was probably a good indication of general unhappiness but she didn’t get it. Even when I explained that most people will try to absent themselves from others when feeling miserable she remained oblivious to the fact that her permanent and very public downer was having an effect on everybody else.
So you can’t reason with them… Which begs the question of what can you do when a mood hoover suddenly turns up in your life? Challenging them will only make them cry which will generate more of the drama they so love to feed off. I say if they want to be miserable, let them. You can’t change a mood hoover but you can change the way that you react to them. On a practical level, don’t feed the hoover – they can’t handle criticism, they don’t like confrontation and they certainly won’t be able to take a joke. Avoid all of the above. Creating drama is playing into their hands. The best practical way to deal with a mood hoover is not to react to them at all. Be polite and calm but keep your distance. Look out for the key phrases that indicate they are hoping for trouble and neutralize them with cold formality. And promise to think hard about everything they say, remember that the mood hoover has a fragile ego…
Of course, for those of us conversant in magic there are many more ways to take a swipe at an irritating mood hoover. For those who like the harm none principle, there is simple shielding, designed to repel the negativity from reaching you. For us…ahem…less lovely minded people there is prickly shielding – send the negativity back with a nasty sting, mirror shielding – reflect the negativity right back at them and bouncy shields – bounce the misery ball back into their court. Shielding is ideal from the point of view that you are tackling yourself rather than the individual to find a solution for the problem. I work in a job where I meet a huge cross section of the public, I never know day to day who will have an effect on my personal equilibrium so having strong shields in place is an absolute must.
Shielding however is a very defensive way of dealing with a mood hoover. There is nothing at all to stop you taking direct action to prevent the negativity leaving the personal space of the mood hoover in the first place. I have, for example, performed spells where I have bound the person in their own misery with the intention that it ceases to influence other people. This has the advantage that it takes less of my energy to maintain and it benefits other people as well as myself. In a close knit group where I care enough to bother about the feelings of the others, I would prefer to bind the individual than to expend all my energy strengthening my own shields.
The psychic vampire is a different beast to the mood hoover. Mood hoovers, like I say, don’t know they are doing it. In the case of the psychic vampire, generating moods that will inspire negative energy is a very deliberate act on their part. The psychic vampire gains energy by feeding off the emotions of others (negative energy I am assured produces the best results). I know several witches who boost their powers by deliberately generating conflict and using the energy to strengthen themselves (I don’t personally by the way, I’m too busy writing my romance novels to waste my time arguing with everyone). As far as psychic vampires are concerned, avoid them – any interaction at all will help them to feed off you. Possibly if you have the prickliest, bounciest shields in the whole world of witchcraft you’ll be ok. For the less able, avoid them like the plague.
Now, you would think our friends inclined toward empathy would perhaps suffer more from the attacks of the psychic vampire or the mood hoover but interestingly enough, that doesn’t always seem to be the case. I believe this is because the empath will relate to the individual and be concerned with their suffering and overlook the effect it has on themselves whereas someone less empathetic and more selfishly minded (the Degu Witch for example…) will be more concerned with the effect the person is having on them. I am most certainly not an empathy but unless I’ve taken steps to prevent it, I find myself very susceptible to the moods of others. And often a little helpless… I tend to use confrontation a lot in my dealings with the world but of course confronting a mood hoover or a psychic vampire just makes the situation worse.
There is a type of person (often lumped in with the identity as Empath) who do seem to pick up more on negativity in an atmosphere than others. These people feel distress at general negativity in the air and often crumble entirely when faced with a mood hoover.
If this sounds like you, get some shields in place. If you are not shielding, you’re an idiot, a complete idiot (and if you cried when you read that, you’re probably also a mood hoover, lol).
Incidentally, once you know how to play the game, you can actually have some fun with mood hoovers. I’ve known a couple who listened avidly to everything I said, waiting with bated breath for anything they could interpret as hurtful so they could play the victim. It can be quite amusing to walk them right up to the line but never quite cross it…keeping them dangling, desperate for the drama that you are not going to allow them to generate, but managing to annoy them to the point where they feel frustrated. Probably a bit malicious of me, but then if you think of all the misery they are putting into the world themselves, it doesn’t hurt them to get a bit of what they dish out occasionally. (And yes Mrs Miserable at morning meetings, I do mean you...)
Fundamentally how you choose to deal with mood hoovers and psychic vampires and whether you allow them into your life is your choice. If you’ve got enough strength to repel them and protect yourself, you’re not going to be harmed. My only advice is don’t expect them to change, don’t let them take the moral high ground with their belief that they have the right to be miserable and always, always shield like mad around them.
Image http://www.deviantart.com/art/Vampire-81736008 (Lumpling)