Recently, I met a guy who tried very hard to woo at the beginning, and subsequently called every day (late at night when I'm sleeping geez), and sang love songs to me.
Typical romance, typical brief courtship.
The conversations were not unenjoyable, but I always felt tired at the end of it. It struck me that this guy spoke nothing but his experiences, and when I shared, I could tell he wasn't really listening. He was self-obsessed. People that are like black holes, who suck your energy, that even your light cannot escape from it.
So I, like any other person, went to Google what it means to be around emotional vampires. From Mark Mason(.net):
1. Do you feel that people often don’t (or can’t) understand you or your problems?
Do you feel that there are many barriers in your life which you have no control over?
2. Do you often ask for help from others and/or feel like few people are willing to help you?
3. Do you feel like you often don’t receive the attention or appreciation that you deserve?
4. Do people often complain that you don’t listen to them, when in fact, you feel like they don’t listen to you?
5. Do you feel like most other people have lives that are much easier than yours?
6. Do you fight with close friends and loved ones often?
If so, is it usually their fault?
7. Do people suddenly drop contact with you with no explanation and refuse to communicate with you again?
8. Do you often feel helpless, like you have little opportunity to improve your life?
Interestingly, I answered yes to some of them. So today, I decided to confess to parts of myself that I never acknowledged existed - until today.
(Having said my best friend as a knack for dragging me out of that cesspool of self-pity.)
I'm an emotional vampire too. On deeper reading, I deduced that emotional vampires really only care about themselves and have this vortex of self-entitlement that my problems are more important than others. That my "predicament" is unique. Now I wonder how many people are silently judging when I go into one of oh-my-life-sucks mode.
I think the more people I meet, the more I become self-aware that my mum falling to a stroke, may not actually be the worst problem in the world. I realise that not having a life-partner is not the most important issue. It's easier to consider that our problems are the worst, when many times others are called to fight different demons within their cell of existence.
It's not that "things could be a lot worse". Not that "lucky that life isn't mine". It's not that a stroke is worse than a sprain or a perpetual kidney problem. Rather, recognising the inner strength it takes for each and every one of us to carry on, takes the focus away from myself, is far more a productive way of dealing with my problem than self-wallowing. Ultimately, we've all been there, and because we have, we know the personal triumph needed to overcome obstacles in our lives.
Of course there will be days where we slip and fall, and consider our days the darkest because it really seems so. Of course, we are entitled to be emotional and lean on others a bit. It is a nice feeling to be taken care of, and like that patient who refuses to leave the hospital, getting used to that makes us a burden to others. Eventually, no one likes hanging around a vampire. It's an open market, and people have limited time. Don't waste their time with our inane selfishness.
To those whom I've burdened with my problems, I'm grateful you stuck by my side when at times, I refuse to budge from my sickbed when I'm perfectly well to walk again. I will be stronger, more self-less =) I will be there for you, as you have for me.