Ask Andrew W.K.: 'Can Negative Vibes Actually Hurt You?'

Andrew W.K.
Andrew W.K.
Photo by Dustin Ashcraft

[Editor's note: Every week, New York City's own Andrew W.K. takes your life questions and sets you safely down the right path to a solution, a purpose, or — no surprise here — a party. Need his help? Just ask: AskAWK@villagevoice.com]

Dear Andrew,

I kind of can't believe I'm really writing these words, but I seriously think my ex-boyfriend put a curse on me using some sort of black magic. We were together for only about a year, and he was always deep into witchcraft and spells and related books on the subject. Early on in our dating history, he had told me that if I ever broke his heart, he would put a curse on me and make my life a living hell. I didn't take it too seriously at the time and kind of forgot he ever mentioned it, but I broke up with him last week (for a whole bunch of good reasons), and the last thing he said to me was to "Get ready for hell," because he was putting a curse on me that was so powerful and evil I would regret ever being born, etc. This kind of psycho stuff is actually one of the many reasons that I left him. But now I have noticed a lot of stuff going wrong since that breakup night. Some of it's small, like a glass plate randomly breaking in my hands and cutting me, or my new car breaking down for no apparent reason. And some of it is big: I just lost a huge job opportunity without explanation, and my cat got mysteriously sick two days ago and is staying overnight in the vet's office with an unknown stomach illness. Now I'm actually starting to wonder if this guy really did curse me and what I should do to protect myself. I never took this stuff seriously before, but I'm genuinely scared and can't stop thinking about it. Am I being an idiot?

Help, please! Cursed By Ex

Dear Cursed By Ex,

The only way someone can put a curse on you is for you to believe that someone can put a curse on you. The human mind is an extraordinarily powerful instrument, capable of all sorts of miraculous feats and achievements, but out of its many capabilities, one thing a person's mind cannot do is infiltrate another person's mind against that person's will. Your mind is your own, and no type of curse or spell or suggestion can impact your inner self unless you allow it to do so and believe in its validity.

With all that you shared with this man, it seems quite clear that he would have the necessary intimate understanding of your personality to manipulate you and your feelings. Part of being in a romantic relationship with someone is letting them into your heart, and with that, under your skin. This is always the risk we take when choosing to follow love and passion where it leads us — and it's almost always a risk worth taking. But we must remember that when we open ourselves to others, we become more susceptible to their influence. This influence can, of course, be good and inspiring and wonderful, but it can also be cruel and abusive and exhausting. It sounds like you were already experiencing undesirable results from dating this guy, and you wisely broke it off. What you must do now is regain your sense of self and allow your heart and mind time to remove his intimate closeness from your immediate thoughts. His spell over you is no more of a curse or a power than the familiarity that develops once you've grown close to and intimate with someone or something.

Malevolent spells are useless against a person who doesn't believe in their potency, so most people wishing to mentally harm someone else must put the majority of their effort not into reciting obscure incantations or creating potions, but rather into trying to actually make their intended victim believe they can genuinely be cursed. This mental manipulation and psychic sleight of hand is very similar to the type of atmosphere a stage magician conjures when attempting to hypnotize an audience into a state of mind in which a trick can be worked upon them.

In many cases, the person wishing to harm someone using spiritual warfare is so convinced of their own ability to curse someone that their conviction is compelling enough to convince those around them. You might catch yourself second-guessing your common sense ("What if I'm wrong? What if it really is possible for him to curse me this way?") with sinister visions of his face hovering in your head. You must allow these thoughts to pass. No need to doubt yourself here. You are safe. Again, no one is vulnerable to a psychic attack by anyone unless they allow themselves to be, whether through their own willingness to be manipulated or tricked, or by their own shared belief that one's own mental fortress is not secure. Insecurity makes us more vulnerable to the lesser intentions of all manner of devious forces, including spurned lovers, con men, and, similarly, politicians.

With all that being said, I do not mean to imply that psychic and paranormal phenomena do not exist. They do exist. What I mean to say is that your own mind and your inner self are your own safe havens — the safest places of all — and you turn them over to others by your own choice, not by anyone else's power. It's time to take back the part of yourself that you gave to this man and get him out of your head completely. And the proven healing ability of time will take care of most of that for you. Just move on and don't dwell on this, but don't try too hard not to dwell on it, either. Just live. Just breathe. And laugh.

Lastly, remember that for some people, playing mind games is their greatest pleasure in life. If you truly don't want to deal with mind games and drama, then don't deal with people who revel in it.

In the end, rather than bashing this man or his interests in witchcraft or the less common fields of knowledge and spiritual study, try to summon up a feeling of compassion and empathy for his type. Sometimes the people who feel the most powerless are the ones most drawn to what they believe are special secret powers that will give them control over the world and other people's lives. As was said earlier, the person who believes he can curse someone else must also believe it is possible for him to be cursed in return, and therefore is constantly in a state of negative warfare and magical battling. In order to send out the bad vibes, you must have them inside you first. And that doesn't feel good at all.

The kind of person who truly wants to curse someone isn't a person we should fear or make fun of, but rather someone we should try and feel understanding for. Perhaps this is a person who is struggling and feeling powerless and lost; perhaps this is a person who could use a little more sympathy and kindness shown to him. Perhaps this is a person to make peace with. No otherworldly curse can match the power of human goodness. Bless you.

Your friend, Andrew W.K.

Read all of Andrew W.K.'s advice columns here.



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