|pic credit: wired.com|
We all have some experience with those that suck the life right out of us, like that all too thirsty vampire, lurching at your neck for one drop of your sweet, precious blood. These creatures of the night will almost always leave you drained, exhausted, stressed out and possibly with little time left for all your other daily commitments.
For some reason we are attracted to these life drainers as we truly believe we are trying to be a good friend, sister or that comfort for someone in need. And if it was only once in a while that we were needed in this way, it wouldn't drain us as drastically. However, the vamps of our day, are relentless. One drink of your compassion has them coming for more. Each day is consumed with counselling them in their daily strife, their marital woes or child-rearing nightmares. Hours are spent on the phone, or visits with them, never to satisfy their appetite for your listening ears, kind words of encouragement, and/or helpful advice. (Not that they ever take that advice, mind you....it's not advice they thirst for, it's your time and compassion.)
Vampires are lonely creatures. They do suffer, and it is Christian compassion that has us answer the phone at all hours of the day and night to offer solace to them. Don't get me wrong, I firmly believe in compassion, with a serious but........I believe in compassion and assistance, truly I do, however, when the life sucking vamp can't see beyond themselves to see how the compassion that is being given, is above and beyond, and reeking havoc in someone's life, then it's time to cut the strings....and leave that boat of loneliness. It's no longer friendship if the love and compassion doesn't swing both ways.
A vamp who can't see that sucking all this compassionate blood is in reality leaving a person for dead is no longer a true friend. That vamp is using you....for his/her own needs with little regard for yours. In true Dracula style, vamps take way more than they give.
When HH and I were engaged, I had a vamp in my life. She was very dear to me, very close and I valued her and her opinion more than I can truly express. She always looked out for me in that sisterly fashion, and when her family life and marriage began to suffer in multiple ways, I figured, it was time to step up my end of this relationship and assist her in any way I could. And I did.
Months went by, with almost daily conversations lasting several hours each time, as we lamented her situation, her current *snafu* with her husband or children, her finances, her household....we talked about it all. Rarely, did she ever ask how I was, not that I was bothered by that. She had her hands full of conflict, and she was consumed with it all. I understood, and tried to be there for her, as a support, a source of comfort, or a piece of advice now and again. I stepped up to babysit, payed for outings and all the rest.
Just a few weeks shy of our wedding, a long, late night phone call from my vamp had me contemplating cancelling my wedding to the man of my dreams. I remember sitting with HH in his car one evening, and I broke down, crying, exhausted, confused and ready to throw in the towel. That long phone call included so many woes of married life, and the advice of my vamp was to not marry my hero fiance, because in her words, "Men change after the wedding."
I loved HH more than anything, and our relationship was more than I had ever thought a relationship could be, and it scared me to death, to think and believe that it all would change for the worse after we said, "I do."
It was then, that HH put his foot down and truly began earning his nickname of my Hero. He helped me to see how destructive it was taking each and every phone call that came in from this vamp. He helped me to look objectively at the situation we were in, and he gave me a firm warning to limit this blood sucking relationship with this person. It was difficult to take that advice. In a way, it was an ultimatum.
I wrangled with this for a while, as I loved her more than I could say, and I felt it was my duty to assist in any way that she let me. And then it hit me.....she wasn't letting me. She wanted company. Misery loves company. I understood that more than you know.
One of my very last truly personal phone calls with this woman included telling her that I just didn't feel that I was really helping her at all, and that all I could advise, was to seek counseling for herself and/or together with her husband. I didn't tell her that her rants were destructive to my own life, because I didn't want her to carry that burden. I saw with clear eyes what was happening, and I made a choice right then and there. I consistently began to tell her to get professional help.....and the phone calls ended.
I never really had to cut the strings of this relationship. I think my vamp wanted company so bad, that my responses of "Get help" weren't satisfying her thirst for my life's compassionate blood. I married a few short weeks later to the man of my dreams, and it has only gotten better since the day I said, "I do."
When I take stock of my life and hers at this point of our lives, now 13 years later, I can see that God had a plan all along. I wouldn't be here in this life, happily married with five amazing children without the strength of my Hero Finance those many years ago. I saw then, what I still see now, an amazing man in my life, who isn't afraid to challenge me to make me grow as a person.
This vamp who was such a big part of my life, still has, 13 years later, the same marital woes, the same nightmare situations with the children and the same financial worries. Not much changes for the blood sucking vamp. I wish things would change for her. I pray that she would no longer want to be in that sinking boat, pulling others into it to sink with her, only to leave them for dead, while moving on to the next willing victim.
I understand more now, than back then, what it means when they say, "They gotta hit rock-bottom." Sadly, that sinking boat sinks ever so slowly, especially when there's company helping to plug a small hole here or there, when ultimately the ship is going down, one way or another. Sometimes, the best gift you can give a vamp is to help them hit that rock bottom sea bed, and if it's drastic enough of a crash, they step up, and make real change.
When a vamp runs out of victims, reality is all that's left, and the rock bottom is the only way out.
I think truly it's about prioritizing relationships. Do I value this one over that one? Why? Does this one help me to be a better person, mother, wife, sister or friend. Do I give as much as I receive? Does that one only cause division, feelings of isolation, desperation or despair?
In this life, so much tears at us. Our friends should be those who build upwards. Friends are not friends who leave us drowning in their sinking blood splattered ship, struggling to gain momentum to stay a float, all the while, this 'friend' has been invigorated by our virtue pulsing through their veins, to once again, rob and raid the night of new victims.
This Halloween, let us take a moment, examine who is draining us of our life blood, as well as take a moment of self-examination, are we the vampire in someone's else's life? Are we giving as much as we take?