Clean Up Your Own Mess: Protecting Ourselves From Chronic Takers
Do some people act entitled to your energy? This Blog is for you.
Does a disproportionate amount of your time go towards people who like to sit in their poopy diaper and complain about it? Whether they are taking through endless talking, habitually falling apart, asking for favor after favor, or actually kind of bragging in a super draining way for you- these are all examples of chronic taking. When the person's behavior makes your body feel bad, this is your personal barometor, you can trust that they are taking too much. Hey, I’ve been there. And, in all humility, I’ve also been the one sitting in a poopy diaper and complaining about it. I try to wear big kid pants now, I mean, I still have my days, I take more than my share. I get stuck in insecurity or self-pity. But I try to recognize it, love myself and the wounds it comes from, and put a timer on my needy behavior.
In healing we all have periods of great need
We ALL have times of great need, such as when my world fell apart. I sought all the help (and every kind of help!) I could get, to heal myself from PTSD, domestic abuse and the shattered state it left every category of my life. The healing process takes the time it takes. It will not be rushed. It cannot be side stepped without great consequences. I don't know anyone who has not had some kind of dark night of the soul, where feeling stable is just impossible. It's when we truly are in a healing crisis.
If we are in a period where we just need MORE, there is no shame in that. It is your time to heal, angel. I've been there. In these times, there are healthy ways we can take with consent, (like my best friend knowing I needed more listening space, we checked in about it, I asked if it was ok, and she gave me permission) or through compensation or barter, like paying my therapist and seeing her more frequently, trading services, or a friendship that is mutual because we are in similar stages of need, and neither of us has chronic taker patterns.
Over the years of working on myself, I've continued to get the help I need. I don't think we are meant to do it alone. One of the best parts about getting sick was I released any shame or pride that I 'should' do it alone. I wanted to live. I knew I could not make it on my own. The help I got saved my life.
I am still, and will always be working on myself. I remain suspicious of anyone who says they are done. It's a big reg flag, LOL. I take responsibility for my own experience and my F-ups to the best of my ability. I have healthy shame when I do F-up. But my biggest issue is an unhealthy and overexagerated amount of guilt. Yes that's right, pervasive, old-trauma fueled, TOTALLY IRRATIONAL, guilt. My biggest struggle is learning how to stop feeling over-responsible for others. Feeling too responsible.
I’ve learned that in every moment we are either giving or taking. I am not trying to shame myself or anyone else, we are all human. Each of us has unique challenges and adversity. Some of us have been through major traumas. And even if none of that were true, it is natural to both give and take at different times. Balance is important.
In times of stability we all still have needs!
Needing others in a healthy way, co-regulating, authentic connection, asking for help, it's all absolutely necessary for wellness! Human vulnerability is a strength and the only real way to intimacy. We aren’t meant to be islands; tough, needless and cut off like the Old Paradigm taught. We need each other, it is healthy to need each other.
We need regular periods to ‘empty our bucket’ and vent in a safe space. But I don’t let myself live in a state of venting (anymore) because that can turn into complaining. I still need to vent a fair amount, but I try to focus on moving forward as quickly as I can. I ask myself 'what can I do to take my power back in this situation?' I take responsibility for myself. I recommit to learning, growing, and making the changes I need so that there is less for me to vent about, in the first place! 🤣
I practice forgiving myself for my errors, and forgiving the people I love. We all make mistakes. I will never be perfect. I don't want any of us killing ourselves, trying to be. I want to spend whatever time I have left in this precious, short and bittersweet life, with those who are also imperfectly human, and also, on a conscious healing path. 🙏
What about when someone is a chronic taker?
There is a difference between a healthy expression of vulnerability, desire to be appreciated, a favor here and there, vs. a perpetual behavior of crisis, victimhood and/or entitlement. How do we care for ourselves when someone is going too far? I can’t be party to endless attention seeking in whatever form it takes; bragging, grandiosity, self-absorbtion, negativity, blame, irresponsibility, victimhood, insensitivity, entitlement, self-pity, endless favors or worse 'emergencies', etc. Feel me? And we aren't doing any favors by helping another person keep behaving in these ways. We feed their false self by letting them drain our energy through their chronic taker behavior.
But geez, do I forget my better knowing when someone ‘needs me’. I have been equally disarmed in other cases when a chronic taker with narcissist behaviors, pretends to be my friend, but they feel superior to me. They are only using me to feed their grandiosity. They take my life-force to fuel their false self. Whether flailing in emotional need, always asking for something, tricky shades of manipulation, or complete falsity, chronic takers often seem genuine. And for almost everyone, there is a genuine need, it's just not my responsibility. I can see their beautiful, gorgeous Soul shining underneath the crazy making dynamic. But they don't! Their insatiable need is NOT mine to deal with. No amount of me trying to lift them up will encourage them to *WANT* to help themselves. Why would they? I (and others) are enabling them, making them feel better, carrying their burdens and lifting their false self up so well. It’s time to recognize their behavior just STINKS, and so does my self-sacrificing, self-betraying and self-abandoning, codependence.
More often than not, in fact since I was a child, I’ve been the one listening and listening, listening…… and LISTENING. When someone is fully engaged in their own desire to heal, whether they are my friend, family or client, it is an enlivening, heart opening, and totally incredible experience for me to support them. I was born to listen in those moments. It fills me up in a sacred way. But when someone is looking to be ‘right’, 'justified' or any kind of help from a disempowered place, it hurts me to give. And I am finally understanding how much it hurts them too. When I get lost trying to help them, I am dumping all of my life-force down the drain. I get so empty it even got me sick. I’ve struggled with my physical health ever since I partnered with someone who was an abusive, rare and dangerous extreme of an energy vampire. She did not have a conscious. Now, I would recognize someone dangerous like that a football field away. My new task is healing my pattern of cleaning up crap from the more common and less dangerous, BUT STILL, REALLY? 'I don't want to clean up my own poop' garden variety, taker behavior. And believe you, me, I am getting stronger and a better sense of humor, every day! 😁🤣🤦🏻♂️
The only way I will help myself in the next stage of my life is some PHD level boundaries. As a Highly Sensitive Person and Empath, this is not just codependence in my case. I can feel another’s suffering to such an extent I have actually absorbed their illnesses. When I would discover a loved one going through that exact physical affliction my body was mirroring, my 'illness' would dissipate. I realized it was not mine. I can feel what emotional state someone I am connected to is experiencing. When they are withdrawn in grief or shame, when they are anxious, when they are feeling bad for themselves, if they are wanting me to reach out and resenting that I am not, I can feel it. I can feel my loved one's emotional states through state lines with no physical ‘evidence’. But I know.
There is an innocent and ancient part of my Soul, that simply cannot fathom love and light would not heal ANY human in pain. What a bitter pill to swallow, nobody heals unless they want to, unless they CHOOSE TO. But I am wired to love. I came here to love. I am learning how to recognize and prioritize people who can love me back. Setting boundaries with, or walking away from, those who are just chronically taking, is still hard for me.
It’s difficult to face when these incredible, beautiful, intelligent, and sometimes even highly spiritual people, whom we TRULY LOVE, don’t want to take off their own dirty diaper. What they do want is to spend our precious time and energy complaining about it, or telling us it is all in our imagination. They temporarily feel better when they have our energy. But they have every intention to stay where they are, they'll just call us (or someone else) back when they need another human hit. What helps me is this fact: If I reduce myself to being their latest fix, I am actually helping them stay stuck, and I am hurting us both.
We all have a moment when it is time to make a choice. Here were some of my choices:
Now here is my FINALE:
It starts by recognizing that this is happening. Yes, I see their heart, but I must also see their current behavior. The way to recognize if someone is using you, or taking an unhealthy amount from you, is listening to how your body feels, NOT what they are saying. 🙏🙏🙏
We ALL deserve more than adult poopy diapers. It's not a good look for any of us. We all deserve to grow up fully and expect the adults closest to us to also behave like grown-ups. Our wellbeing MATTERS. Let’s make the changes necessary to go from survival to thriving. One of the steps I missed in all my years of hard work, (the missing ingredient that I could not rise without,) was by letting myself be close to people who were NOT committed to their own healing and growth. They were saying, or doing just enough, to make me think that they were. Letting these people be close to me, more than anything else combined, held me back in old stress responses and survival patterns.
For some of us, that life altering deciding moment, (the one where things really do start to get better,) is in setting boundaries. I am having this moment now. It's been a process and feel me on this, I'm at critical mass. As wise people say, enough is enough.
Can I hear an Amen and Hallelujah!?
How does this land? I would love to hear about it. And if you know someone who could benefit from this blog, by all means, share it! HAHA, God knows this the blog I wish I had many years ago. I am with you on this self-discovery trip, and learning how to choose our True-Selves first. Let's keep going. Every choice we make for ourselves rewires us to Source. Every step is closer to home.
❤️🔥 Coach Aodh