Energy vampires

I was pondering on my relationships with other people yesterday and had a bit of a revelation.  I feel very isolated and alone much of the time and I thought it was because not many people bother with me but that’s not strictly true.  Over the years I’ve had quite a lot of people who want to befriend me but I have held back, the reason being that these people have wanted something from me that I wasn’t willing, or more importantly able, to give.

It feels good when you meet someone new who shares similar issues to you and the tendency is to then off-load all your pent-up anger, frustration and unhappiness on to this new person because you know they’ll understand and be supportive, but I don’t have the energy or emotional resources to take someone else’s emotional baggage on board.  I strive every day to rise above my difficult life and to be as joyful and happy as I can be but it’s hard and takes every ounce of strength I possess – I simply don’t have anything left over to be someone else’s free branch of the Samaritans.

I’m a naturally empathetic person and I hope a good listener but in the past that’s meant that I attract people with problems and many of my friendships have become one way streets with the other person using me as an emotional crutch but not being interested in what’s happening in my life or wanting to listen to my problems.  Initially it felt good to me to be needed which is how I got sucked in but in the end I’ve resented the inequality in the relationship, so these days I’m much more careful about who I get close to.

I’ve had long standing friendships in the past, particularly with people who are also ill, that have sucked me dry emotionally and then when I finally had enough of being there for them when they were never there for me and ended the friendships I was castigated as a terrible person!  How dare I be “nasty” to X when they are poorly, but everyone and his dog seemed to forget that X had been treating me like shit for years and I am also ill!  Not only that, I am single and under huge stress caring for sick elderly parents whereas these ‘friends’ were either married or in long-term relationships or still being cared for by their healthy parents – they already had strong support networks where I have none.   I’m at the age now where I feel confident enough to tell energy vampires to jog on.

I’m very lucky in that my best mate is very emotionally self-sufficient and has her shit together.  That’s not to say that we don’t talk about negative stuff, or our health, or our frustrations because we do………a lot……….but it’s a two-way street.  She talks and I listen, I talk and she listens and although we offer each other advice we don’t expect the other person to fix us.  It feels really healthy to have that in a friendship.

The upshot is that although I have far fewer people in my life that I would like, the people I am close to are good for me and I hope that I am good for them.

 

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7 thoughts on “Energy vampires

  1. Lisa Sullivan

    Amen sister! I feel the same, I only have 3 friends that I can truly say would come if I called in distress, or will listen to my psycho breakdowns, but it definitely is two sided too, they’re are just non spoonies who are very empathetic. All my so called nursing friends (the irony that healthcare professionals are shitty friends), they left the minute I couldn’t work anymore and couldn’t partake in any fun – read: drinking and wine tours (great if you can afford and walk)! All my other friends are EDSers or MSers and we reciprocate on a cyber level, one or two have made the effort to come meet me in person. I felt sad like you for a while, always gave everything I had, and got nothing back, it’s taken a few years to learn hard lessons about energy and who is worth it. Funny thing when you’re ill, you eventually get to the point you described where you won’t tolerate energy sucking vampires anymore, and you learn to refuse to feel guilty for it. I have always been a couple of good friends is better than a heap of fair weather/fake ones, kind of gal! I’m glad you have your best mate Jak, that relationship sounds perfect 👏🦓👭💞

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  2. Amy

    You are lucky. I have very few friends- like none. Either they were one- way streets of negativity or just not people I could count on or they completely ignored me when I got sick. Like one person literally “ran” when she saw me at the workplace pharmacy. Lol. I thought-well, hell, you are only hurting yourself. It’s Friday at closing time & I am getting my prescription. I guess you will have to wait until Monday. Haha.
    But, I would love to have supportive friends. And not like all about me type friends but ones I can vent to a little bit and they can vent back. We can go for coffee. Little things. It’s hard. But like you I attract vampires. So I am alone. With my dogs. Sigh.

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    1. Jak Post author

      That’s tough Amy and I feel for you 😦

      I don’t have any friends from my healthy pre-ME days left and only have new healthy friends now because I am no longer bedridden and able to get out to my photography group. When I was bedridden/housebound I only had one healthy friend and she lived 300 miles away so I only saw her once a year if that.

      I met my now best mate at an ME conference about 16ish years ago – it was just fluke we were sitting next to each other.

      I do have online friends, all of whom are sick and I value those relationships very much, but it is hard to maintain those friendships if you are both sick and/or they are miles away or live in other countries with different time zones.

      Sending hugs. Jak x

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  3. coolncreative17

    I too haev very few friends and unfortunately there are no conferences in Australia for any of my conditions so I never meet anyone like me. You are so lucky to haev a best friend also living with ME who understands you and takes the time to listen.

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    1. Jak Post author

      I am very lucky I agree, though it took a lot of energy and desire on both our parts initially and I’d say it took about 3 years to go from being acquaintances to proper friends and much longer than that to become really close friends.

      I do feel for you and felt much the same way when I was bedridden. Hugs x

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  4. Holly

    Like quite a lot of people here, I have a small set of good friends &communicate mostly online.

    Because of EDS crap I’m rapidly moving towards just working at home. I’m not sure how livig out ofone room will affect me, but it has to be better than trying to wheel myself through lightening style pain.

    The internet has a lot for mamy of us to be thankful for (not just kitties)

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