Surviving Another Birthday

Gratitude for all my wonderful loving friends.
Gratitude for all my wonderful loving friends.

Gratitude for all my wonderful loving friends.

Surviving another birthday, whew!  I did it.  20% of all my Facebook friends sent special wishes.  5 girlfriends called from all over the country.  One is coming to visit from S. Dakota this winter.  My son sent me a spectacular present and he doesn’t know this yet, but I am bringing him here for a long weekend for some mother/son love time.  It gets better.  My wonderful friend who lives in Israel is calling me today for some chick talk time.

This doesn’t include the special treatment I got from my husband, the love of my life either.

It was a wonderful day, filled with love, a lot of love, and it came at me from all directions including places that surprised me.

I had been considering a Facebook clean up recently mostly due to person who projects her misery on others.  Then I removed only her and everyone else shines brightly now.  Funny how that works.

The gift of friendship is one I treasure.  I took the time to write down on a list all the names of people I could count on if I needed them.  I had no idea the list would be that long.  Then those on social media with me got a message of gratitude and thanks (and not a copy and paste either).  I took the time to send personalized messages.  Those not on social media got a message in the mail inside a card.

It was so worth the time it took me to do this.

Try it.  You will be so surprised at the responses you get.  We live in a “chop-chop” hurry up world of emails and texts and rarely a phone call.  Sit still for a moment and imagine a friend opening mail and finding a note about how much they are appreciated.  Wouldn’t you like to receive one?

 

Surviving the Energy Vampire

Energy Vampire

Energy Vampire

Surviving the energy vampire isn’t easy.  By the time your energy vampire has gotten their teeth into you it becomes much more difficult.  We try so hard to be good friends, good people, nice people.  Sometimes we go to far and we find ourselves staring out of a deep abyss into nothingness after one phone call, one conversation with an energy vampire.  We have been sucked dry.

Sound familiar?  We usually all have one, or maybe more than one depending on how nice we are.

Energy vampires are victims in life.  They ALWAYS have something wrong with them.  Sound familiar?

  • My migraine kept me up all night/kept me from going to work/sent me to the ER.
  • My diverticulitis keeps me in constant pain/on the toilet and nothing happens/prevents me from eating when out with my friends.
  • My mother is losing it and needs care but/when is it my turn/why do I have to be the one to handle this/she was a horrible mother
  • My husband doesn’t listen to me/asked me to stop talking about all my problems/won’t go to the hospital with me when I have a panic attack
  • I have to go to the ER every time I have a panic attack because it could be a heart attack/I really have a crush on the ER doctor/it’s the only way I get attention
  • No one from my organization has called me/texted me/emailed me/why?

There are just examples and while some sound off the wall, I have heard every single one of them from different energy vampires.

In the dark ages when we used phones more often we would look at the caller ID and not answer certain phone calls.  We all did this.  Now we have social media and private messages and we get sucked in because as soon as we open the message the sender knows because they get a check mark so it’s tough to hide there now too.

More Energy Vampires

More Energy Vampires

Years ago I was introduced to someone and warned that there were victim issues but I moved into this friendship arena and eventually over time the fangs came out. I was warned.  I realize now that while the people who did the warning still hang in as friends, they do something a lot of us don’t do.  Let’s look at these things.

  • They take a deep cleansing breath before answering/responding/talking.
  • They create a buffer zone where they actually zone out and say the right thing when there is a pause like “OK, then what” or “Uh-Huh” or “Yes.”
  • They set boundaries – whew am I guilty of not doing this.  Why?  I want to help.  I get sucked dry because I really want to help.

An energy vampire can really drain you dry after even a brief interaction. You may feel irritated or put upon and your mood may be low for several hours afterwards. There’s nothing you can do to “fix” this person and they are very unlikely to care about your well being. They are likely to be self-centered and self-serving and take more than they give.

Now what?  We all probably understand what happens to us when we have an energy vampire attached to us but how do we effectively slay one?  Garlic and crosses are not going to work in this case.

Energy vampires are setting you up to exploit you in whichever way best suits their purposes later. What seems quite innocent at first, they are just so friendly.

Get rid of them.  End the relationship (there isn’t a relationship there so walk away).  Stop answering the call, ignore them.  Or be bold enough to tell them or be a chicken poop like me and let someone else (another energy vampire at a higher level) tell them you are not a nice person.

Just get out for your own sanity.

A very good friend of mine who is a retired Catholic priest spoke up when I asked about victims and this is what he said:

It has to do with the stories we tell about ourselves that gain us attention, sympathy, and a basic kind of affirmation that we have some value that has not been noticed. The pattern then becomes a habit as the friends we choose feed off our energy and we off theirs.”

AND then he said this:

It produces brain chemistry that is pleasurable. They feel good feeling bad. They also fail to feel gratitude for the good because they are convinced that any good they receive is fleeting or will be taken away because they don’t think they deserve it. Victims ultimately do not love themselves.”

The sad part in all of this is that my former energy vampire sings the praises of everyone in her life except herself.

I had to make myself tone deaf- trust me it works.

They are everywhere.

They are everywhere.

Surviving When Your Friend is a Bully

This is me. Where I am now and while it is not really me, it is me.

This is me. Where I am now and while it is not really me, it is me.

Goodness my life has changed so much since that day that I wrote a blog about my former BFF and she dumped me.  I really did not have the courage to dump her, so I took the passive/aggressive way out and wrote my feelings.  I wasn’t sure she would see it, but her daughter subscribed to my blog and BAM within minutes my former BFF was in a fit of rage over what I wrote and she dumped me.

I survived.  In fact I am better emotionally now that she is gone.  At first it sucked because we did so much together over the years but in looking back what we did came with an emotional price tag.

It was a tough time in our lives.  We were possibly going to lose our home, my husband had been through several unemployment periods, and we were at an age where getting a job wasn’t easy.  Younger people than us got the jobs that we were qualified for because of many reasons, lower salaries of course being one.

I grieved the loss.

Then I began to realize I no longer missed her.  My husband was a great support during this time, he was kind but reminded me of all the times she had hurt me deeply with her callous behaviors because she knew or thought she knew I would just take it.  Go ahead hit me again JG, I will still be there.

Think I am kidding?  Oh no, there was a period in our friendship where she did get physical with me and more than once.  I always came back for more, because I knew it was the booze.  I know now I should have never come back because physical turned into emotional abuse and the true word is bully.  She is an alcoholic, she is a bully.

I am writing about this now because this morning a closed group of dynamic women I belong to on Facebook inspired me to write about proud moments in our lives.  I wrote about how I no longer take bullshit.

In one of our last conversations she yelled at me telling me to get a real job.  Well as the country song goes “How Do You Like Me Now?”

This year alone I have spoken or been invited to speak at 6 conferences all over the country.  I have 2 podcast shows that make money, and I am starting a 3rd one soon.

I work in the world of kindness and I allow no one to bully me in any way.  JG you taught me well.

I don’t have a job.  I have a life.  My life includes working on a book, working 3 podcast shows (one is daily), doing public speaking, being hired as a consultant in social media PR, running my own company and that company is an integral part of my life.

My friends, now, are kind, loving, supportive and special.  We make time for each other and we laugh a lot.

JG you missed the best of me, but maybe my best would never happened if you had not dumped me. Thank you!

P.S.  Please people if you know you are in a bully relationship, leave.  Be the dumper or if you are strong enough be the dumpee.  I promise you that it is so much better on the other side.