They are very, very scary!
- They are work, (LOTS of work!).
- They are intrusive!
- They are selfish
- They frustrate us,
- They anger us,
- Work with us,
- Date us,
- Play with us,
- Live with us,
- Inconvenience us,
- Call us! Text us! Email us! Drive us crazy! Don’t Appreciate us!
They suck every ounce of our emotional energy. They are the “emotional energy suckers!” (EESers) Run, do not walk!
We all know them. They come in all shapes and sizes, colors and backgrounds, cultures and religions…they suck! They suck us dry of our time, emotions, energy, money, sanity and life. We can’t blame them. They know no other way. Like vacuums, their only job is to suck. Sad, really.
It starts off innocently enough. There’s no way to detect who they are at first glance. They come across as regular folks; you’d never suspect the vacuum within. Crafty ones they are.
“Can I ask you something?” is an easy lead-in to your energies and life. “I have this problem I need some advice on…” You being the caring human you are, are more than willing to lend a person in need a helpful ear. (Maybe a little bit curious too.) Then, you hear all about how the EESer has had a “horrible break-up,” and how they “just can’t understand what they did wrong,” or “how he could leave” her, and without him, her “world is just not happy.” They seem to be truly upset so you provide well-intentioned support, sympathy and perhaps advice. Bingo! You are now the Best Thing Since Sliced Bread! Lucky you.
You feel good, an altruistic sense of accomplishment since you’ve helped out a fellow human being in need. (You poor thing.) The EESer has got you in their web. It’s only the beginning. Oh yes. It gets worse!
The EESer has figured you out to be the dumping grounds for him to suck when he needs.
(Such a busy vacuum.) “Can I ask you something?” Vroom! “Get a Shark.”
Eventually, the sucking becomes much more than you initially thought. (What did I get myself into?) Phone calls increase, the “problems” intensify, your time is becoming more and more “needed” to listen to what the EESer needs to “talk about.” Your regular job and life become secondary to your Full Time Job of “suckee.” Your initial humanistic reaction becomes a huge regret. However, you feel compelled to listen, help, “be there,” and comfort the EESer, yet your blood is boiling because They suck! They don’t care that your time is precious. They don’t care that you have a life and responsibilities. They don’t know how busy you are. They don’t even listen to you when you give them the time of day! They suck! Suck you dry!
The EESers are truly Bottomless Pits when it comes to getting their needs met and they do not consider your or anyone else’s needs when they need to suck. Remember…they are like vacuums! All they know to do is suck and suck and suck some more.
What do you need to know?
Well, if someone comes to you with personal problems that seem a bit much for someone you don’t know that well…deflect! This is usually your first clue to not get sucked. In Psychology, we call these things Boundaries. Boundaries are what should guide our relationships and emotional giving or keeping. EESer are more than willing to abandon boundaries, and do not know how to appropriately set them for themselves in their own lives. This explains much of why their “relationship problems” become what they burden “willing parties” with. (Don’t be one!). No matter how much caring and sympathy you offer them, they do not hear you! Saving your breath is key because all EESers do is suck, they never return (appreciation, understanding, resolve, etc.)
Let’s talk about guilt for a moment. You may have some of that nasty stuff if you ignore, “abandon” or refuse the calls or needs of the EESer. Don’t. Remember, by allowing the vacuum to suck your emotions and energies, you’re doing them and you no good whatsoever! Breaking away is necessary and essential unless you enjoy spending your days and nights getting sucked.
Imagine this scenario…. you’re on the phone with an EESer. They go into their usual complaints and rants…you want to slam down the phone, right? Here’s what you can do:
Put down the phone while the incessant rant goes on, start the laundry, cook dinner, eat, wash the dishes, shower and put the kids to bed, read the Bible (front to back), watch Ben Hur, read War and Peace, see you child through high school and college, attend their graduation, see him through college, attend her wedding, be present at the birth of his three children, attend her graduation, make breakfast, then pick up the phone again and say “Uh huh,” the EESer will still be ranting and you won’t miss a beat. Then, repeat the process, but rather than raise your children, learn Latin. (After all, you deserve an easy retirement!).
You are not a 7-11, and are not “open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!” The insanity and instability that EESers exude is initially luring to the kind-at-heart, but will eventually ferment into a rancid poison that causes one distress, anger, frustration, stress and grief. Catch the EESer quickly, and don’t become a rug to be sucked!
Being unavailable is not a bad thing. If you feel or sense that someone is crossing your boundaries or sucking you of all of your time and energy to no avail, stop giving it. Yes, it’s okay. You are not a bad person, they will survive without you, and you will be much happier and healthier because of it. Remember! You are not helping someone who sucks by being the carpet! EESers must learn to understand their boundaries and not suck anymore! The likelihood of that happening is not your concern. Your concern is you and your wellness! The EESers just don’t get it! In fact, they get nothing, except what they need.
EESers will always focus their conversations on them. For example, you may think they are your friend, and share with them how upset you are that your mother is so sick that she has to go into a nursing home, your son just got diagnosed with ADD, and you have to get food stamps because you and your husband just got laid-off. The EESer will respond with, “I know! My mother had a sinus infection and my daughter lost the competition to be captain of her cheerleading squad and my boss is a tyrant!” Then the sucker will expect something of sympathy from you!
EESers are “One-Uppers,” or “Me Too-ers” as well as suckers. One must, must, must detach!
We all know our “boiling points” or warning signs when it comes to relationships. Complete an inventory of your life situation, and identify who sucks in your life, and do something good for yourself. Let go! Or, as they say in 12 Step Groups, “Release With Love!” Do something!
It’s a personality trait of most suckees to believe they are on God’s green earth to “take care of” others, and be their “dumping grounds,” cheer leaders, advisors, psychics, therapists, priests, etc. Really? Who said so? Who signed that contract? Trust me when I say, (and please don’t take offense) no one is that powerful, and neither are you! Is that a liberating idea? It should be! Take it! Live it! Believe it! But most importantly, be empowered by it!
Those who truly need our help don’t suck! They don’t suck us dry of time, emotions, energy, life or tempers. Those who do are “frequent flyers” and never seem to get past their own needs and concerns. Those who truly need us take what we give, show appreciation, use our efforts to improve their situation, and rarely if ever, look for it again.
Think of yourself! If you don’t suck, reaching out to a relative or friend for help is truly your last resort, right? You appreciate it, express it, and actually try to use it because you know your loved one’s help is precious, heart-felt, and a demonstration of true concern and love! EESers have no concept of this type of relationship because they suffer. They suffer severe Social and/or Personality Disorders. It is not their fault, but it’s “what they do,” and no amount of extension of you, or “helping” will satisfy their needs or sense of entitlement. Release the guilt. Recognize the warning signs, and be assured that in doing so, you will not be sucked!
As a therapist, I spend many, many hours of clinical time helping suckees stop. Not an easy process to cease the sucking, as it takes much self-exploration to understand why we do, but! The freedom is priceless! You can be a friend without being sucked in!
If you’d like more information on suckers in your life and/or why they suck, please contact me at LeoJBatt@aol.com.
Leo Battenhausen is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.