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Too Bound To Bind

Dear Witchful Thinking,

I met a friend of a friend about two years ago when I first came to college. This friend of a friend in general seems to generate a very positive energy.  However, at the same time this man soaks up negativity like a sponge. It’s very oxi-moronical. He draws others to him with charisma and others enjoy his company, yet I feel such strong negativity that surrounds him.  He’s an alcoholic, and since the moment I’ve met him I’ve felt he has an extreme disregard for his own life.  But what’s even more strange is since the moment I’ve met him I feel this strong urge to help in some way.  I feel drawn to him, but not due to any sort of attraction to him but more an overwhelming urge to help.  I  bonded almost instantly with this person for some reason.  When he feels pain I feel pain.  Because of this strange bond I think of him often. I even have dreams about him. I feel such an overwhelming sense of sadness when I think of him, and I don’t know if it’s the sadness he’s feeling triggering these thoughts or vice versa. I have kept my distance from him because of this strange bond simply because I don’t know what to make of it.  He are not particularly close, in fact we haven’t become anything closer than acquaintances since I’ve met him.

His self-destructiveness reached it’s peak about two weeks ago.  He went on a drinking binge that landed him in a mental institution for a week, and now he is in another state recovering.  Despite the distance still I feel this bond between us.  I have been extremely depressed for the past two weeks. I haven’t slept and I have been consistently thinking of him. I know it’s linked to what he’s feeling and going through right now.

Can you please help me figure out what this strange bond is and why it happened?  I want to be able to sleep and eat again, and I want this horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach to go away.  I know that won’t happen unless I figure out why we have this bond.  I don’t know if I should cast.  Even if I decided to cast I wouldn’t know where to be begin. If I should bind him, if I should protect myself or if the only way to stop this is to do all I can to help him achieve spiritual and emotional stability. I don’t know how to “disconnect” from him so to speak.
Help please,


Dear Desperate,

You sound very overwhelmed right now. It is clear that you are very empathic with this guy and are drawn to him for some reason. Perhaps you have a past-life connection with him that has not been resolved. More likely he has some kind of lesson for you in this life. I hope you can learn it without being hurt.

He sounds like a very Hades or Dionysian personality. His self-destruction is both fascinating and horrifying–like a car accident, we can’t look away. He is charming and makes people feel good, but it sounds from your letter that he is hurting a lot inside. People who drink like that often do it as a sort of self-medication, but have been doing it for so long they forgot why they are hurting. The fact that you feel the negativity around him means you’ve pierced his secret: he may be laughing on the outside, but is in a lot of pain and grief inside. Even without knowing him long, you have made a genuine connection. He has touched you, but have you touched him? The unreciprocated nature is troubling to me, and, it sounds like, to you too.

Does he remind you of anyone you know? Does anyone in your family have a similar problem? Ask around to double check–sometimes we pick things up as children that we don’t realize are adult problems. It doesn’t have to be an exact match to his problem, but if you find someone in your family with a similar situation, this lesson may be your inner-self trying to fix a family problem through him.

Freud would say that you are projecting your own negativity and self-destructive (Thanatos) energies onto him. His advice would be to find a better expression of your that Thanatos energy, perhaps re-routing it through sexual activity. But that’s Freud’s opinion.

I’m going to tell you something extremely important, and I know you aren’t going to listen to me. I wish you would, but I’ll understand if you don’t. But I want to plant this voice in your subconscious so maybe you will hear it and listen to it before it is too late: You Cannot Help Him.

I know it sounds wrong and feels wrong and you feel totally compelled to try, but let me say it again You Cannot Help Him. He hasn’t asked you and you don’t have the skills. Until he works on himself there isn’t enough of him that is safe enough for you in a relationship–even a friendly one. It sounds like he is already getting the medical attention he needs and is on his way to recovery with professionals ready to help him. I bet an occasional good thought would go a long way.

You said that he spent a week in a mental institution. That is the standard procedure for someone who has attempted to kill themselves. Red Flag.

Of course you want to help him: you are a good person, and a sensitive person. Part of you feels that if you help him, the pain you are feeling will go away. If you are feeling bound up to him now, you will feel more bound up if you try and help him. Your intentions aren’t really altruistic in that sense. He hasn’t asked you for help, but the idea is very romantic, really (even if you aren’t romantically involved). The idea of being a hero is very appealing, and you can be a hero! But you should choose your own adventure, and it sounds like this is something you don’t actually want. Your intuition here is good: listen to it.

Tacky horror movie, yes. But also a good moral lesson for magical practitioners.

I assume from your letter that the Binding spell you are referring to is one similar to what they do in The Craft, where she binds Nancy from “harm against other people and harm against yourself”. It sounds good and ethical but there is a problem. When you do magic, your energy and will binds with theirs to cause change, and if you are Wiccan you believe that whatever you send out comes back to you threefold. Do you really want to bind your energy to him in any way three times what it is now?!

You cannot help him, but you can, and should, help yourself. The first step for you will be grounding and shielding.

There are many good meditations for this, so find one that works the best for you. An easy one is to close your eyes, take three deep breaths, and imagine you are surrounded by a blue or white light that acts like a shield. Imagine bad energy simply bouncing off of you. Be sure to tell the energy to let good things in and keep negativity out. Before you go out anywhere, put up your shields. You might choose to make an amulet to hold the energy for you, so that it bathes you in protection as you wear it. Whenever you aren’t sure whose feelings are whose, shield up. Whether you visualize armor, or a protective totem animal perched on your shoulder (I’ve heard of folks who had particular luck with Ravens…), make sure that it works for you. Use it as often as you need to. The more you visualize it, the more it will be there on its own, without you putting conscious effort into it. Yes, you have the power to do this.

You will also need to cleanse yourself from him. I think this is a better choice than ritually cutting yourself off from him (it hurts, besides, you might not learn the lesson you need, and you don’t want this coming around again!). Choose a night on the dark moon, with a thorough cleansing using the four elements. One of my favorite heavy duty cleansers is a steam bath: put on the bath water as hot as you can, put in some Epsom and bath salts or some purifying herbs (skin safe!), pour yourself a mug of chamomile tea and soak up to your neck (don’t get your hair wet) for as long as you can stand. Then hop out quickly and into bed. I recommend putting towels below and above you. Put the blanket over your head and sweat sweat sweat. Purge him out and dissolve your unwanted connection–ask the Gods for their gentle help. You’ll want to set an alarm or something to rouse you, because you don’t want to spend too long doing this–maybe 15 minutes sweating at most. When you are done, cool down slowly by hanging around in the nude and air drying. You will probably feel light headed and a little dizzy, but don’t panic, just have a seat somewhere ventalated. If you have visions, let them come and pass and worry about their relevancy later. Really stay with your body. Have a glass of cool water. Have two. Have a vitimin and something good to eat, like a piece of fruit or a sandwich. I usually go to bed after that, and feel very free, fresh and clean the next day.

You might want to create a series of ritual defense for yourself. Remember that the focus is to change yourself, your attitudes, behavior and beliefs, not to change him in any way. If you keep your focus and align your will, you are guaranteed success.

There may be a time when you feel reluctant to do this, that cutting yourself and your empathy off with shields will make you less special. Your sensitivity is a gift that you must learn to master. Right now, you are in danger from being so close to him, so protect yourself first. You can work on honing your skills later.

The best of luck and skill to you. I know you have the power and will to do this. Please let us know how this turns out.

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