The Art Of Retreat: Avoid The Energy Vampires.

My lover no longer loved me. Once, I peered into the soul of my partner and built mountains of dreams. The fire blazed between us.

Now, only cold, dark grey ashes remain. Abuse, betrayal and neglect have taken their toll. I sift, but no embers remain that can be breathed on to ignite a flame. I back away to ponder, “Do we start over and build anew? Are we done?”

Sometimes, in a relationship, you need to know when to start toe-stepping to the rear. That is, be the moon and wane. Facing what’s in front of you honestly, and ever so gingerly traipse backwards. A deer freezes when recognized, the goal: to disappear into the background.

This is different. Retreat is when you recognize that movement must be made, but not in a forward direction. Momentum and leaning in stops.

In a moment of clarity and self-preservation, you straighten and see the relationship for what it is, and now you lean back and begin to retreat.

One of the reasons George Washington is considered a great general is because he knew the art of retreat. If the day’s battle was lost, he realized he could cut his losses, skedaddle, and regroup to fight again.

Retreat in love and friendship is not a bad thing. We pull back to a distance that allows us a degree of safety– at times it’s inches, sometimes it’s miles. With courage in hand, we retreat from the physical or emotional storm.

It seems contradictory, but with distance comes clarity. In the middle of it, you can’t see what’s happening for what it truly is or isn’t.

With distance, we massage the relationship under a microscope and check out the nuances of meaning. When he said this, or she said that. We assess the damage and intent. We gather our energy. We look clearly at what’s working and what isn’t.

The energy vampire friend, for example, might provide the perfect opportunity to retreat. You know, the one who, when you talk to or meet, drains your life force. You leave their company exhausted and wiped out. They’ve removed a pint of blood and you feel it.

Haven’t movies taught us, if you don’t deal with the vampire, he will come a-sucking another night? The decision to back up is made.

You take longer to respond to emails, texts and phone calls, dragging the time out as long as possible, and each time you do interact, it only confirms that withdrawal is the best option.

The toxic family that singes our souls as we show up for the holidays. We fortify our walls and internally gather our energy for the encounter. It’s one dinner, how bad could it be? Bad, pretty fucking bad! The battle leaves our hearts bloody and bruised.

Retreat and a hasty exit are key to keeping our sanity.

I used to think retreat meant weakness. Now I know retreat means I value myself. Retreat means something didn’t work and I need to figure out what my next steps are. Retreat means this battle is over, but I will live to fight another day.


DarleneVersakDarlene Versak is a Yoga-practicing truth warrior, who is astounded at the beauty in people, nature and the world. She lives in Plymouth Meeting, PA with her two sons, where she finds laughter at the most inappropriate time and in all things, especially herself. Her evolving mission is to help people awaken to their soul’s purpose and use their gifts to help to heal the world. Searching for her tribe, and living with a heart that has been broken open, she is growing on a daily basis believing that writing her truth will heal her and maybe the world.


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