by Latha Vidyaranya
We often come across people after speaking to whom we feel so drained of our energy! Perhaps we can call them ‘energy-vampires’! They keep talking to us endlessly about themselves and their woes and constantly complaining on somebody or something that they seldom allow us to talk in between and make a contribution to the talk. It becomes a monologue rather than a dialogue. In spite of getting bored and irritated with such people, we continue to give them our precious time thinking that we are in some way obliged to listen to them. S/he may be our friend, our sibling or our own parent, especially mothers, who go on talking about their past difficulties or their present poor relationship with another child or in-law or about anything else that least interests us. But we simply surrender to them and continue to give them our time.
STOP! We are in no way obliged to listen to them always! It is fine to give our ear to somebody who may badly want to share his/her difficulty to lighten their emotional burden. We are doing a good job by helping them to relieve themselves of some life problem that they had been suppressing all these days. In fact at the end of the session they feel so grateful to us that we were patient enough to listen to their woes and perhaps even gave a few valuable suggestions to overcome those troubles. It is perfectly laudable.
But not so laudable is lending our time to listen to the same old stories of our own kith and kin day in and day out! We have every right to withdraw ourselves from such people because we are ending up as victims ourselves! This surely is an abuse on our time! Please understand that as adults we all have our own priorities set and we need time and energy to reach these goals. We can not let someone eat up all our time and constantly weep on our shoulders. We have an obligation to help them realize that it can not go on and on and that we will not be available to them henceforth to discuss things that may not have any solutions and that we are all obliged to cope with certain of these difficulties that have no visible end. In fact we are doing a disservice to them by developing a kind of dependency in them upon us.
Once this is stated matter-of-factly the ‘energy-vampire’ realizes that each one of us adults is responsible for our own upliftment or digging our own graves! We all have to draw energy from our own inner resources and help ourselves out of difficulties or learn some coping strategies. They need to very clearly see that their continuous outpours everyday with us is creating distances in our own relationship with other family members. Others (our spouse, our kids) have an equal right to demand our time, all of which is currently being drained by this particular person. You can not let other relationships get damaged because of your misplaced priorities on this person’s woes. Please wake up now and keep people at right distances and allow yourself the precious time and space that is very much required for your own growth.
Latha Vidyaranya’s articles featured on RwB:
- Learning Disability in children
- Fathers also need to balance home and work
- Postpartum Depression
- Celebrating Differences in Life
- Synesthetics can see smells, hear pictures, and smell colours and numbers
(Latha Vidyaranya is a Special Educator and Counsellor and has founded ‘Empower Counselling Centre’ in Malleswaram, Bangalore.)