January 27, 2010

The Energy Suckers

We all know them, the giant suckers of all light, the perpetually crabby, the selfish, the me-me-me, the morose.

I call them "energy suckers". Others may call them "energy wasters"

Essentially, they are people that expect and demand that so much of your time be devoted to their never-ending saga titled "I need you to listen 24/7 to how I can't cope" This is an "On Demand" program. Don't look for it on Comcast. The remote is aimed at you. They click and order, you come.

We've probably all known folks like this. They are mired in a mess of their own making and will not get out-not because they can't but because they know if they resolve this "problem" before they get another one to regale you with, you'll suddenly realize:

1) On the scale of human misery this "insurmountable problem" is preposterous
2) You've got enough of your own ____to deal with
3) How come they never help you?

#3 is the point that you realize that you are in an unequal "relationship". You help them and listen to them all the time and they never or rarely help you or listen to you. It's all about them.

I don't have any "energy suckers" in my life. I dump them. It may take me a while, I give everyone a chance, but, eventually, they have to go.

There is a difference between a true friend in crisis compared to an energy sucker. A true friend you will help and listen to them because you KNOW (from past experience) they will help you and listen to you vent when you need it. Encounters with a true friend do not consist of 2 minutes of you sharing and 2 hours of them sharing-not because you have nothing to say, but because they will not shut up.

What does this have to do with Faith?

I know I'm trying to be a Christian but, in my opinion, being a Christian does not mean "be a doormat". Pray for the energy sucker-yes. Pray from a distance. Save your sanity along with your soul.


Blogger Georgette said...

Dear Cathy--

You attract these kinds of people because you are a smart and caring soul and a good listener. Sharing those things is a way of putting God's gifts to good use. I know when people act this way, they can be draining (my sister calls such ones "emotional vampires"), but I think they are lonely (often for good reason, granted, LOL).

Usually encouragement is what they are lookin for. Eventually when their little cups are finally full, they move on in their lives -- and you have much more free time!

January 27, 2010 6:18 PM  
Blogger Mary Rose said...

Oh, boy. How I know the truth of this post. I have called them "black holes" because they suck the light out of a room faster than MSM at a tea party.

Many Christians mistakenly think it's their "duty" to try to "minister" to such a person by being polite, murmuring appropriate responses, and then praying for them if they're open to it. I used to do this until I had a "black hole" persist in approaching me every Sunday after church for prayer. Finally, I said, "You know what? You really need to go to God. I feel you're trying to make me God and I can't wave some magic wand and make it all better. I'll continue to pray for you but you need to lean on God."

Some may have said that was cold-hearted, but allowing folks to wallow in their misery (and helping them by joining in) doesn't help. We have to encourage one another to stand strong and trust in the Lord.

If anyone else doesn't have a relationship with God and wants to dump on you, a good line is to say (with concern), "Have you thought about going to a therapist?" Seriously.

January 27, 2010 6:26 PM  
Anonymous Owen said...

This saying is hard; who can accept it?


January 27, 2010 6:38 PM  
Blogger Melody K said...

"Emotional vampires", yeah, that pretty well describes it! Really complicated when it happens at work, and the person is in a quasi-supervisory role over you.

January 27, 2010 6:47 PM  
Blogger Terry Nelson said...

Cath - I linked to this with a funny picture - took down the link lest it be misunderstood, it was.

That said - I blow such people off. I'm nice, tell them the truth, and voila - they no longer talk to me. Is it really so hard to figure that out?

Big hug.

January 27, 2010 8:31 PM  
Blogger Nan said...

Some of them seem to thrive on chaos and drama so make choices that ensure they have a steady diet thereof. They wouldn't know how to handle what others might perceive as a "normal" life.

January 27, 2010 9:47 PM  
Blogger Adrienne said...

When someone hits me with all their problems, I ask them point blank if they actually want help or just want to blow off steam. It saves tons of time. Mainly I just avoid most people now...

January 27, 2010 10:00 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

Yeah, I've known a few of those, very frustrating.

But...what prompted THIS post hon?

January 27, 2010 10:03 PM  
Blogger LarryD said...

When I saw the title of the post, I first thought "Why is she writing about people who fall for the "alternative energy" malarkey? That's not quite her style!"

Then I read the post. It was very good.

And I'd like to add: "Drill here! Drill now!"

January 28, 2010 11:03 AM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Mercifully no one in my life just now. For some reason, I was pondering the folks who are no longer in my life and by and large identified them as this "type". I perceived a pattern and wrote about it!

With that, many have just wept with relief! LOL!

LarryD: I can't believe the Prez did not talk about this last night!

Ter: What post? Yeah, I know. :-)

January 28, 2010 12:49 PM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

Cathy of Alex: There was a book out some ten years ago called "Emotional Vampires"...a psycho-babbly kinda thing yet very much along the lines of what you are speaking about.
The premise of the book is that good people get manipulated and "sucked dry emotionally" in the analogy of a vampire because they are not aware of some peoples' narcissism, of the reality of some of psychopathic or sociopath personalities that cannot be empathic or care about others' needs or feelings, and the general lack of care for others who are not necessarily borderline or psychopathic, but just plain selfish.
It is not an act of charity to allow predators (emotional or psychological) to abuse you. You have to be very discerning and careful. Otherwise, it will backfire and you'll find yourself in a much worse place than if you had taken some precautions.
Believe me. I have to be careful here. I could be very susceptible to being occupied with all kinds of everything with some people who just want to hear themselves talk!

January 28, 2010 1:50 PM  
Blogger Angela M. said...

I see you've met my EX-MIL.....

January 28, 2010 3:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Amen to what everyone says above. I'm trying to disconnect (graciously) from someone whose phone calls consist of monologues lasting (the latest one) about 2 hours. That call was 2 weeks ago, and I haven't contacted her since. Just have too much to do, and feeling pretty drained. "Emotional vampire" - great description!

January 28, 2010 9:28 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Fr: Is that one of the "Twilight" books? *kidding*

Angela: LOL

Anon: Been there.

January 29, 2010 10:20 AM  
Blogger nazareth priest said...

Cathy of Alex: No. But maybe the "Twighlight" books fit the description:<)!
Don't know. Haven't read 'em. Probably won't.

January 29, 2010 9:32 PM  
Blogger Adoro said...

I once had a friend who would call and as soon as I answered, she would go on for a half hour or so with her most recent crisis. And believe me, this woman went from crisis to crisis!

I remember one night I came home from work fighting a terrible virus, in a crisis of my own and heard a message from her. Not wanting her to think I was blowing her off I called her just after I took my Nyquil thinking that I could just tell her I cared and that I'd call her the next day for all the details.

Nope. She went on for 20 minutes, during which time the cold medicine was putting me to sleep. I finally had to interrupt her tirade and explain I was going to sleep, to keep me updated and I'd be praying for her.

I didn't hear from her for months, finally called her to see how she was. She was very rude, said that I'd blown her off and that she had no further need to talk to me but would "pray for me" if I would "pray for her."


That's the same friend that came out of nowhere last January in dire need for a place to live then stiffed me with the bills she'd agreed to pay..but didn't. Then left suddenly, without explanation, and then lied about why she was leaving as well as about many other things.


Gotta say, if she ever comes back, I won't be rolling out the welcome mat unless she's quite literally dying before my very eyes.

I hope to God I'm rid of her for good, but for greetings in passing. I don't hate her and hope for the best for her. But that's the extent of it.

And I pray to God I never do that to anyone else. Ever.

Hmmm....Cathy dear, reminds me I owe you a LOT given all you've done for me and for Fuzzy-Butt!

I'd be happy to do the same thing for you if there wasn't danger of my dog eating your cats!

January 30, 2010 11:09 PM  
Blogger Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Thank you, my friend. I owe you much, I feel, regarding my faith life. You always remind me that I need to watch my snark. I need that reminder.

Yes, if you were ever in trouble I 'd take you in. Tikaani and Bear may have trouble with Sodak and Kaylen though! LOL!

January 31, 2010 10:08 AM  

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