I don’t venture out into the world much, due to my illness and disability, but when I do, I often seem to attract people with a sort of heaviness attached to them. I don’t know if you will know what I mean. They are the people that others try to avoid, and who make a beeline for me. If I had the energy to spare, I would be more giving with them, but as I simply don’t, it often causes me great difficulty. My husband steers me (sometimes literally) away from them. He calls them psychic vampires, people who just drag you down into their difficulties – not just once – but over and over again, so that you feel they are sucking you dry. They do not listen to or take advice, they just want to use you as a mirror to confirm their own reflection (bizarre behaviour for vampires). Please don’t misunderstand me, I am not talking about everyone who is suffering or having troubles, not at all! But the very few whose centre is their own suffering, and whose ears are closed to everyone else’s. I want to think compassionately today about what makes such folk tick.
It’s not that I mean to be a burden, I don’t even realise that I am one. To me it is just that I am leaning on you. I like to be listened to and my problems may be the same ones over and over again, but they are what defines me. The fact that I’m stuck helps me to find an identity as a sufferer. It is all done unconsciously and without malice. If I realised any of this “out loud” as it were, I’d probably be mortified. To me, my neverending cycle of problems is fascinating and impossible. Other people seem to have it so much easier and be able to escape their difficulties. I cannot understand why I can’t, even as I hang onto them with every breath. I treat everyone I meet as a new best friend, or as a parent, because those are the very people who never listened when I was small. So it may seem as though I’m relying on you too much, but I feel as though I’m paying you the great compliment of making you my confidante, even though at the same time my problems overwhelm me so much that I cannot remember a thing about your life.
Photo from Pixabay, text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017