One of my personal long-stay serpents arrived some years ago in the form of a large chunk of family savings I was scammed out of. Let the record show that I take full responsibility for the circumstances by which I allowed myself to be scammed, but allowing the accompanying serpent to take hold of me and become a part my life was pure self-indulgence. The serpent took the form of my repetitive self-accusations of stupidity, naivety, recklessness and irresponsibility, amongst others (and those were still the nice ones!). Every time I reflected on the incident, I allowed the serpent of self-recrimination to grab me by the throat. The serpent's hold strangled the creativity, joie de vivre, sense of abundance and self-respect out of me for months and years afterwards. It wasn't always present, but would come slithering in at the drop of a hat and especially when any other money issue came up for me.
The trouble is that serpents are always around us, ready to strike at the slightest suggestion of vulnerability or weakness. How does one deal with a serpent when one is subject to and weakened by its destructive powers?
We can start by dealing with it as we might with any predatory creature: The first and most important thing is to let it go. If you have a mamba by the tail, for heaven's sake let it go before it turns around and bites you. If you're hanging on for dear life and for fear of what might happen if you release it, try easing your grip and see if it loosens its own grip on you. You may have your reasons for holding onto a toxic relationship, for instance - you may be reliant on money flowing from the relationship, or you may be getting some attention, even if it's the worst kind - but you might just be a whole lot better off in the grander scheme of things if you simply let it go. Scary as that might be, you'll be better off without toxins leaking into you. The principal, however, is that if the serpent has you, it's because you are determined at some level to hold onto it. It somehow pays you to have it in your life.
Secondly, when you've let it go, or even if you don't think you were actually holding on, but were nonetheless flirting with the serpent, let it be. Let it just lie around until it gets bored and slithers off somewhere. The moment you abuse, fear, hide away from, bad-mouth, make up stories about or resent the serpent, you give it power to grab you again. By all means observe it if you must, but remember what happened to Lot's wife when she turned around to take a look. Even just looking at the serpent or otherwise bringing it back to awareness will re-energise it.
Giving power to a serpent is the worst way to deal with it, because it will stay in your life - it has every reason to stay when someone else is giving it power and energy. Take away its power and it will look for a new host.
None of us is serpent-proof, because they are all around and ready to strike at any time, but we can live our lives in a way where they are persuaded to stay out of the way in the shadows. The important thing is to recognise the serpent when it shows up. Only then can you start using effective serpent repellent.