Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Toxic Personality Week, Day Three: The Drainers

Day Three of Toxic Personality Week and we are on a roll! Can you feel the negative vibes absolutely melting and morphing into positivity? Woo hoo! Let's keep this one simple shall we?

I love your hair! Where did you get it done? Oh yes...I used to go there until I found a much better place! Of course it costs a fortune but I'm worth it. Yours is nice too.

I have been struggling all day with this. I am actually feeling completely emotionally drained. Each time I try to write out specific examples from my life, as I have previously in my series These are the Toxic People In My Neighborhood, I just stare at the screen, my lower lip trembles and I want to go in the bathroom and cry. I had wanted to post this at 11:00 a.m. but here I am at my laptop at 8:15 p.m. finally pulling it all together. This is the effect of The Drainers.

The phone rings at 2:30 a.m. and it's your friend who has just:
Broken up with a boyfriend/girlfriend or taken their pet to the vet emergency room or lost their job or had a bad dream that reminded them of some crappy childhood memory.

And they are calling you because:
They are sad and need someone to talk to; or they have run out of their prescription anti-depressants and are contemplating suicide and you are the only person in the world who can convince them that life is worth living, or they have just taken a handful of speed/snorted a few lines of coke and are flying on high octane and want to convince you to jump in your car right now and go to Vegas.

You are at a party and:
A friend comes over to tell you that you look really great and asks where you got that fabulous dress/handbag/date. You open your mouth to answer and she launches into a rapid fire description of her own dress/handbag/date. She then leaves the party with your date because she thought that they might be soul mates and she knew that you would want her to be happy.

You arrive for a meeting and:
The co-worker who promised to print and make copies of a report that both of you worked on (and will receive credit for) shows up at the meeting without the report. When you ask her why she didn't bring the copies she laughs at your "faulty" memory, insists calmly that she never made any such promise and tells the now laughing room full of people that you would "lose your head if it wasn't attached."

How to Deal with The Drainers
I think that there is really only one thing that works with these people. Give until you feel good and not until you hurt. When you identify The Drainers in your life be insistent on your boundaries and relate with them much less often if not at all. And as I said on Monday, "Increase your Capacity for Pleasure and Decrease your Tolerance for Pain. And as I said on Tuesday, "Walk away people. You gotta walk away."

5 comments:

Debra said...

As a person who used to work in the mental health field I can tell you that the Drainers are on the Rise in America, big time. Our overly privileged, abundunt, almost care free lives (compared with 90% of the rest of humanity) has not generated a load of grateful, generous, kind and thoughtful people but, instead, has unleashed a torrent of greedy, selfish, entitled, self-absorbed people who, worst of all, are easily injured when someone doesn't just want to hear all about it or fix it for them.

Set boundaries, limit your investment and, in some cases, run like hell.

That's what I do with Drainers.

Corinna Makris said...

Drainers are those people who expect/demand that you do whatever they require to help them feel better about themselves.

Right on Deb! Good for you for putting yourself first.

vesta44 said...

I call them the takers, all they do is take take take because the world owes them. I don't owe them anything and I'm done giving to idiots like that. Been there done that and no way am I ever going back.

littlem said...

The one-ups: I stare blankly. I don't remember where I got anything done.

The ringing phone: Voice Mail. Family members who might have an emergency have a special code. Family members without a code have to have their emergencies without me.

Potential date-poachers get blocked at the door and burgundy *almost* spilled on them, and their toes stepped on with stilettos in the recovery post-almost-spill. I'm so clumsy!

Treacherous co-workers with potentially deadly faulty memories get a stream of conversation-commemorating emails. Yes, it's a pain in the ass but they are on notice if they try to make me look like one.

Sheesh.

"Hell is other people." - Sartre

RaisinCookies said...

Yep, keep the crazy far, far away. I was once "frenemies" with a woman who constantly tried to one-up me with her life. When she tried to convince me that her six month old was talking, I finally realised what a crazy old biddy she really was. I dropped her really quickly after that, and I'm freeeeee!