Editor’s note: Liberty Forrest, author of several self-help books and a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach, reminds us that it’s exhausting to try to be all things to all people. To stop the energy drain, put yourself first. Read more about Liberty.
By Liberty Forrest
Life can be exhausting. Even when things are going great, there’s always so much to do. Life that involves a sociopath is absolutely draining. How do you stop the energy drain?
There are no words for how it feels to interact with sociopaths. Until we figure out how to stop or minimise it, these psychic vampires suck the energy right out of us.
There could be a list of reasons for how you ended up with this person in your life, and each one was likely innocuous. No doubt it was something like, “I wanted to help,” or “he/she needed me,” or even some other situation in which you were just trying to be nice, to be a good person. It could also be that you’re stuck with them because they’re family members and it’s impossible – or at least, extremely difficult – to stay away from them completely.
Sociopaths have radar for us
Sociopaths recognise us instantly. They can spot us a mile off, those of us who are givers, who want to “be nice” or “be helpful.” Or those of us who just want the family to stay connected so we do our best to get along with them, despite the insanity.
They see all of those reasons as weaknesses, each one a “way in,” and once we’ve let them into our lives, that’s it. They’ve got us right where they want us. They’re just so charming and seemingly kind. They say all the right things. So we trust them. We open up and share more of our vulnerabilities. We serve up our frailties on a platter, thinking we’re building meaningful bonds but the sociopaths are just laughing behind our backs, rubbing their hands with glee at how much power they’re planning to take from us when we don’t see it coming.
They do it by stealth. We don’t even notice. Slowly, our energy is drained and the more involved we get, the more energy they take, ultimately leaving us so far beyond exhausted that there’s no word for it.
The rest of life is draining, too
And on top of that, there’s the other stuff, too, to suck the life and energy out of us, isn’t there? Working – perhaps at a job you love but it could be one you don’t, leaving you even more exhausted. Maybe it’s the demanding boss who knows all too well that you’ll keep taking on more and more and more because you really need that job.
Or perhaps it’s the sociopath husband who expects dinner on the table at exactly 6 pm and the children should be silent and the house should be spotless and oh, dear, you’d better take off that apron, fix your hair, throw on a little lipstick and look fresh and beautiful when he walks in the house. Or maybe it’s the high maintenance sociopath wife who can’t seem to spend money fast enough in her pursuit of looking like a glamorous movie star on your parts-clerk salary.
Then there are the children who need need need affection and time and homework help and room tidying assistance and the one who is crying on your shoulder because the object of her crush just humiliated her in front of the whole class and the family needs dinner and the baby won’t stop fussing and refuses to be put down and you got only a few hours’ sleep last night and your head is exploding but you have to cook that bloomin’ meal anyway and deal with all these children…
And your bank account just looooves the colour red much more than it loves black and it’s like you’re playing a losing game of checkers with it.
And it’s holidays and birthdays and gifts and shopping and decorating and parties and company and “We have to” and “I should” and “It’s tradition,” all of which are big bullies and shove aside the whole meaning and purpose of holidays, whether it’s Christmas or Pesach or birthdays or just a family visit to Aunt Marsha’s in the summer, and it ends up being a miserable, frustrating, depressing and utterly disappointing time.
Yeah, there are lots of reasons to feel exhausted and fed up and you keep trying to hold it all together but despite your best efforts, the house looks more like Roseanne’s than Harriet Nelson’s, and forget Harriet’s pearls around her neck, you feel more like there’s a noose around yours, and your whole life feels like you’re trying to fill a colander with water. Everywhere you look, there are demands and needs and drains on your time, your money, your energy, your patience, your spirit. The sociopath is like all of them combined.
Similarities in post-partum depresson
Whether the sociopath is an active part of your life or if you’re still dealing with the fallout, you could probably use a lot of healing, nurturing and self-care to even begin to restock your energy supply.
I spent 12 years as a volunteer for the Post-Partum Support Society in Calgary, offering support to women who were struggling with varying degrees of depression after the births of their children. I studied social work, too, during that period, then did a lot of counseling work, and later became a homeopath, listening to the details about the struggles in my patients’ lives. In all of these situations, whatever specific troubles women suffering from post-partum depression were having, there were many similarities among them.
Over and over again, I heard about different versions of the same kinds of problems. One of the toughest and most common was the trouble they had in dealing with other people’s expectations, and many of them were in difficult relationships that were anywhere from dysfunctional to abusive. Toxic partners were, to one degree or another, almost “the norm” with these women, which was shocking to me but somehow not surprising. These women were coming apart from stress and expectations with minimal (if any) support from their self-centered or sociopathic partners and/or families.
It didn’t help that the women were trying so hard to be or do what others expected of them (friends, family etc. on top of their partners), which is also all too common. When you’re used to dealing with sociopaths or toxic relationships, you get really good at neglecting your own needs and feelings. It has always been such a joy to help them learn how to move past this kind of unhealthy thinking and into a place of self-love, self-respect through developing a deeper connection with themselves.
An essential first step to stop the energy drain
Whatever you do, whether it’s housework or family stuff, or dealing with your sister and her kids, or your mother expecting you to be perfect, or your boss who expects the world from you – you will never please everyone. You will never get it all done. There will always be something left to do, some job or other waiting, or some piece of your life that just has to wait.
And this is never more true than when the expectations come from a sociopath. They just want to keep you dancing. They don’t care how you dance, or whether or not you like dancing, and they don’t even really care about the dance at all. They just want to make sure you’re following orders (perhaps to the point of exhaustion) because it reassures them that they’ve got all the control.
So if there’s lots of stuff that needs doing and you’re tired, let it wait. To stop the energy drain, put yourself way up at the top of that list of priorities. No one else is gonna do that for you, so if you want to be in the best possible shape to be able to give and do and help and work and, and, and, and – ad infinitum – then you have to be sure and take care of yourself first in order to be well and fully functional.
So go on. Take a look, see what it is you really need to do so you can get some help or a break, whatever will stop the energy drain and get you feeling energised again. You – and everyone who truly loves and cares about you – will be much happier for it.
This article was originally published at LibertyForrest.com. Reprinted with permission from the author.