Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm coming to drain your life...

I heard a new term today, and I LOVE IT! "Emotional Vampire" I can see said person now, with the evil muhahahaha laugh "I'm coming to suck your life...." It's from an article on the Chicago Tribune's Online (new) Family Page titled "Dial down the parenting stress" Something we all want to do right? Well one of the very first suggestions was this:

Set limits with emotional vampires. Emotional vampires are people who sap your energy and leave you feeling fatigued, agitated or craving comfort food. They come in all forms, from needy children to unpleasant co-workers. When you're around people who drain your energy, practice saying no, politely excusing yourself or communicating your limits clearly and calmly.

I am not good at this, at all. For one, believe it or not I don't particularly like confrontation, a lively debate, yes, but face to face confrontation no. Especially since in this day and age most of that "face to face" confrontation is actually "IM to IM" or "e-mail to e-mail" and everyone interrupts things they way they want to whether it was meant or not. Ugh. I'm also no good at this because I am no good at saying no or feeling like I am disappointing people. I never want to feel like I let someone down and setting limits or breaking up with an emotional vampire I feel is letting someone down - even if its not.

So I have been struggling with this for awhile. I was part of a "mommy group" that was kind of an emotional vampire for me. I didn't feel like I really clicked with any of the moms ans the leader was someone who I had no chance of getting along with, it was just not going to happen. She's one of those people that would take you asking "how are you today" personally..."what do you mean how am I, is something wrong with me?". There were a lot of passive aggressive jabs on the message boards to current and former members, and I hate passive aggressiveness. If you don't have anything nice to say keep your mouth shut. For example, I asked if anyone was a runner and wanted to run with me. The first comment, "I HATE running, I find it so BORING". Why comment? If you're not a runner there is no need to say anything. I knew I needed to leave the group for my own mental health but part of me wanted to meet the other moms, there were some I liked and I wanted to feel like I gave it a chance, in my head I joined a group I should stay for a year and then drop it.

Well I read this article and it clicked, it just clicked. I wasn't gaining anything from this group but headaches and resentment. The only person I was letting down was myself because in the end all I was doing was trying to reach some arbitrary time frame in my head. I feel lighter and more relaxed and ready to put that drama behind me. I have "politely excused myself" from the situation and will have a much happier (and per the article) healthier weekend because of it!

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