With all due respect, it seems that some Churches have little internal conflict during their meetings because the majority of the members ARE followers. Some of us might make fun of them, but some people are entirely comfortable being “sheep”–they would much rather do the minimum of whatever the requirements are to be considered an obedient member of their flock and nothing more. These groups work because the members find docility to be a virtuous quality. There are a few leaders, but the majority are quite happy to remain followers.
This is not the case in the Pagan, Vampire and other “metaphysical” Communities. Many people come into our communities quietly, respectfully…but, with time, many are not content to be followers. Over time, members want to lead their own groups. Sometimes, it is because they want to be of service to their fellow members of the Community–other times, it is because they want the recognition and the praise of being a good leader, elder or teacher. As one of my Pagan mentors told me, Witchcraft and the other Magickal traditions tend to attract people with huge egos.
Huge egos are huge because they are swollen. They are swollen, because of the emotional impacts or negative infections of life…big egos are such, because they are damaged. Damaged egos want power, even if it is only the illusion that others are giving us their personal power. Those individuals who want to be recognized as being in positions of power, sometimes do so to make up for how wounded they feel on the emotional level. Spirituality and religion are very often pathways of healing. Those who are the most vocal often tend to want to be coven leaders, teachers or authorities of some sort in their particular traditions. Rather than focusing on personal growth or wisdom, they look for the secondary signs of someone of value or importance to others….represented as some sort of office in a group or badge/title of office.
The Vampire Community seems to overlap quite a bit with the Pagan Community. Besides the fact that many Vampires are also involved in the Pagan and Magickal pathways, it seems that there are many in the community who fall into two other subcategories. Even if they are actual Blood or Energy Feeders, it might be that they also embrace aspects of the Vampire Mystique to make up for existing ego flaws and issues, perhaps playing up aggressive behaviors and mannerisms associated with the Fictional Vampire–even when these aggressive behaviors might not have been part of their personality, without having heard about the Fictional Vampire. Some members of the community are not Blood or Energy Feeders at all, but are drawn to identify with their impression of the Fictional Vampire, because they cannot relate to finding those empowered qualities within themselves.
Regardless of whether someone is an actual Feeder or not, we have a community of discordant personalities, that cluster into smaller groups, before breaking apart again, scattering and reforming into newer groups on a constant basis. It seems that despite all the efforts that many well-meaning and helpful individuals of the GVC hold, much of our time is spent creating new groups and alliances, because of infighting, disagreement and otherwise unpleasant interactions. Even if a group keeps the same name and banner, its member count is constantly rolling over and changing.
One of the problems that we have in our groups is a very human one. We are not instructed on how to socialize and form cooperative communities, much less trained how to do so. We do not get along with others, in part, because of the personality flaws that we are never taught how to deal with. Unpleasant and discordant personalities are not taught to be the responsibility of the individual–all of our problems are, more often than not, projected onto others.
At best, we are told to control our outward behavior to some degree. With personality issues, our emotional reactions can seem so uncontrollable that we justify acting out on them. We incorrectly judge our emotional reaction as the fault and problem of others, so we feel justified in taking them out on the other party and demanding that they change their behavior for us. Some of us have such extreme internal activity that we feel the impulse to express it in some way–some of this is can be in response to anxiety, depression, mania or a variety of other mental and emotional conditions and illnesses.
Many of us are not raised with whatever it means to get along with other people, much less taught how to put aside our feelings (reactions) when working with others in groups, towards common goals. Some of us have personalities which are naturally compatible with others in general and some of us learn how to control ourselves, when we recognize the value of doing so. But, for the most part, there are plenty of examples of people who overreact, bully and otherwise allow the EXPRESSION of their feelings and opinions to be more important than focusing on group goals or projects.
On one hand, it might be that some members of the GVC have the attitude that all adult members should know how to be cooperate, simply because we are of adult age….and therefore, must have the total capacity to do so….but, that they simply CHOOSE not to. As a Latino, a Leo, a gay man and someone who works in retail sales….I have seen the rawest, ugliest part of humanity. I beg to differ. If we all have the capacity to control our emotions, that working conviction (belief) is missing in some of us. Without the conscious belief that we can influence our own emotions, that faculty is literally inaccessible to our conscious personality.
Telling someone to “just do it” does not work for everyone.
My guess is that some group leaders assume (hope) that all cooperative, stable members of the GVC will eventually gravitate to their particular groups. If they wait long enough, and put in enough effort, only compatible (and Real) Vampires will eventually fill their groups–whether that is an in-person House or online group or a combination of the two. This seems to be the unspoken working theory in some Pagan and Otherkin groups, as well.
Another possible factor is the underlying idea is that “real” Vampires have a naturally strong personality or a highly aggressive personality. In these cases, there is nothing that needs to be addressed, when we believe that is a defining quality of a Modern Living Vampire. This is simply the way that “real Vampires” are and nothing can be changed in them, so it is simply something to put up with. However, because no one is addressing personality issues, this aggressive behavior is being allowed in all non-Vampire GVC members, as well. If a “real” Vampire is just supposed to be aggressive, this same behavior is being allowed in the non-Vampire members of the GVC; which includes all misbehaving Role Players, trolls and (misbehaving) Life Stylers.
The GVC already has a strong overlap with the Metaphysical and Magickal Communities. Many members of the GVC also practice magick, metaphysics and engage in self-development and self-growth practices. We are occultists and new agers. Emotional clearing/healing is not a foreign concept to many in the community. All Vampires are still human–and that includes having an emotional body that comes with emotional issues. Not all systems of emotional healing work for all people–however, if we as a Community promoted these healing systems and had practical, friendly working information in place, then it could cut down on personal wounds in the individuals of the GVC, which would cut down on the amount of emotional outbursts and other emotionally-fueled reactions in interactions with others.
If it were standard practice to encourage emotional clearing, then all members (regardless if what they actually are) might be less inclined to react out of damaged emotion and automatic triggers. Confidence, born out of desire or passion, can be part of the Vampire Mystique. Aggression can often mask insecurity, born out of fear, anger or other negative emotions.
If emotional clearing/healing were standardized practices, many members of the GVC might be noticeably less compulsive and combative. People with very strong emotional impulses can’t relate to the idea of behaving properly or “doing the right thing”. With strong emotional reactions, the reasonable “adult” part of the mind is simply not in control. Not that everyone should be given a free pass to act out whenever they want. We should still have consequences for our personal reactions and actions. However, since so many of us are already involved in metaphysics, magick and self-healing practices….it could be of benefit to share resources and encourage emotional clearing, healing and health for everyone. The benefit could be less NEGATIVE emotion, with more clear thinking in our discussions and interactions.