“No one is in charge of your happiness, except you.”
Hi, my name is Catherine; I am a fix-a-holic. I don’t do it anymore, but darn if people don't try to pull me back into it. I don't do it anymore because I began to really understand that when we do for others what they ought to be doing for themselves, it’s not how we help a person but how we cripple a soul.
My specialty was attracting broken people (like a magnet) and making projects out of them. It was exhausting, chaotic, thankless, and caused resentment on both sides. I had fixorexia nervosa. Worst of all, I didn’t even know I was doing it. I’d like to say I am a former fix-a-holic, but like any addiction, it is always laying in wait, always ready for a new vampire, and we must be aware of when an emotional vampire is getting close.
Waking up to this fact changed my life immeasurably. These days I hold my palm up to these people who still have a knack for finding me, even if it’s through a back door of someone else. Unfortunately for them I have made it my business to recognize the signs of a vampire, often long before the person who brings them to my life’s doorstep.
Life Class is in session, everybody. We're learning our weak spots as we go. We can't learn other people's lessons for them. We can’t change people. Well… we can, but they'll hate us for it.
There will be plenty of people who will drain you dry of emotions, finances, patience and care, in fact, they will kick the care right out of you, leaving you feeling empty, exhausted, angry, sad, and wondering what happened.
For some of you it might be a friend, a spouse, a co-worker, employee, boyfriend, or girlfriend, and for many of you it might be your own children. You would be shocked to know how many people I know that are enabling their fully “adult” children by giving them money, solving their issues for them, and keeping them from learning their own lessons through the action and consequence progression.
Consequence is important. Most of the time, it is the only way we learn right from wrong. That stove won’t be hot the next time.
Often, the manipulation that goes on to engage people to feel compelled to continue to “do” for someone who should be doing for themselves is covert (the emotional vampire is an expert button pusher) and sometimes it's in your face. Sometimes it's an illusion. We make up in our head what might happen if we don’t clean up someone else’s mess. Our imagination can go on overdrive of what might happen if we don’t give them the money, clean out their apartment, ask them to leave home because they are now in their twenties, force them to go get a job, and the list goes on.
Vampires like to make sure they know our biggest fears and play off of those.
Are you a vampire magnet?
There is a big difference between being there for someone as they do the work for themselves. Giving deadlines, making strong boundaries and not moving them, making firm rules and sticking by them are all loving things to do and gives you a light at the end of a tunnel, we can do anything for a fixed amount of time. Ultimatums only work if you plan to stick to what you say you're going to do, and mean it. When we move the line in the sand, we weaken our position and it is nearly impossible to get it back. Keep moving that line, and soon it disappears
Once you draw a boundary, do what you say you’re going to do and watch things change. Say what you mean, and mean what you say. Think things out and don’t speak in the height of emotion. Do not allow yourself to be forced to speak if you don't want to or you are not ready to. Write your rules down, make a contract and even have them sign it if you want to. Black and white, baby. Hold people accountable, no matter who they are. That way, you won’t have to hold your feelings inside, or be afraid, or make yourself sick wondering when things are going to get “better,” and feel sucked dry by a vampire.
I like to look at it like this: My Earthly father has been gone for a long time. But my Heavenly father, God, is now and forever. God is the best parent, ever. He allows me to operate my free will and simply watches as I fall down, get broken, cry my eyes out, make big mistakes and hurt myself terribly. Action (choice) and consequence.
Not until the day I say, “God, please help me, show me a different way” and only then does he send me the teachers. I just have to be smart enough to recognize them. It’s up to me to get up, dust myself off, and learn the lessons with grace and smarts.
My teachers are life, circumstances, making decisions that were not well thought out, and accepting the punishment for foolish choices. I am the only person who can truly change my life; through changing the way I look at life and changing my actions. God loves me so much he does not live my life for me, he lets me have free will. And through it all, I know He is always there.
The beautiful by-product of growing up emotionally is that people are always happy to see you and spend time with you. When you are self-sufficient and don’t expect anything from anyone, you are agenda free and therefor people feel safe around you.
We can be there for someone to lend an ear without taking on the need to fix his or her problem. Just listening is a loving act.
Life Class is in Session. Stand firm. Your journey will be so much lighter. As my beautiful sister Kim says, “it’s their journey. You don’t have to go on it with them.”
You have your own journey and I want you to enjoy it.
Love For Sure,